Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wildstar Goes F2P

The latest news is that Wildstar will be converting to Free-2-Play this fall. It's sort of sad that it never got traction, but at the same time it is sort of expected.

I played Wildstar in the Beta, but never signed up after launch. Pretty much everyone has theories about why Wildstar failed. Personally I blame the swearing on level up.

Another explanation might be that the default gameplay action combat style was too intense for a long-term MMO. Or that the base difficulty was pitched too high, making group content really difficult. Or that the attunements required for endgame were overly grindy. Or that the classes were uninspired and boring.

(But really, it was the bleeped profanity.)

However, it was a game worth trying, and at least F2P means that a lot of people will get to try it out. The housing system is supposed to be excellent.

I really wonder if we'll ever see a Sci-Fi MMO setting again. At least a third-person single-character style one. Other than Eve Online, the track record for Sci-Fi MMOs is pretty dismal.


  1. Science Fiction is a bit of an interesting beast. We have what, SWTOR, Wildstar, and EVE Online? Of the three, EVE is the only one that's pretty hardcore Sci-Fi. Wildstar and SWTOR are basically High Fantasy with Science Fiction trimmings.

    And yeah, the level-up...exuberance annoyed me as well. Actually, that announcer in general annoyed me, even when he was giving me the info on the next zone. It was so over the top that it pulled me right out of whatever I was doing. I did enjoy leveling in Wildstar, though.

  2. Before beta I was pretty hyped, then at some point before launch very much unhyped. Then I was there for launch and I loved it. I think I played actively for at least 6 months after launch, but as I wasn't keen on raiding again (after so many years in WoW) and I've never really enjoyed small group content my interest kind of vanished.

    Looking forward to F2P and get back, but it just wasn't worth the sub in the last months for me.

  3. Everyone definitely has their own theories, and I love your tongue-in-cheek insistence on it being the announcer above all else, Rohan. =P

    I have friends that quit because they dislike Sci-Fi; friends that quit for Warlords of Draenor; friends that quit because they died too much while leveling; and friends that quit after realizing that they could not commit enough time to raid. Pretty disparate reasons, honestly.

    For my own part, I am still an active player in Wildstar. I have been raiding about six hours a week since last August and I truly adore Wildstar. I could go on forever about my love for the art style, the animations, the setting, the music, the healing, and the humor.

    But I will never forget the first time I ran a level 50 dungeon with a couple of friends and a couple of folks from LFG. There was some mechanic in one of the first few trash packs that kept killing our tank, and I remember thinking after the seventh or eighth wipe that I wasn't good enough for the game. I felt like the challenges in the rest of the dungeon would be insurmountable if we could barely handle a trash pack. That moment stuck with me for awhile, even after we overcame that trash and completed the dungeon. What was it about that experience that made me feel that way? Surely we have all had that moment in other MMOs where the group wipes to trash for any number of reasons.

    Well, that feeling of inadequacy extended through many months of attunement and raiding. And although I am now comfortable and confident when playing Wildstar, I do not doubt that anyone (including myself) could be claimed by that feeling in a way that would make them put the game down for something more gratifying or familiar. Without all the aforementioned qualities I love about the game, I doubt I would have persevered long enough to find a guild, make some friends, and get more comfortable.

    In short, I'm sure the game did not catch on for a number of reasons, but I would hazard to guess that when a player feels that inadequate after years of playing MMOs, those smaller reasons suddenly take on much more weight, teetering the scale that leans towards another game experience or a break from the genre entirely. So maybe it really was too hard? Or possibly just seemed that way in a manner powerful enough to make us second-guess our confidence?

  4. @A. Lee Doyle, that's a very good way of putting it. Of course for me, that experience happened at level 15 or so in the Beta. In some ways that made it a lot worse, because it happened so early and I am an experienced veteran (heroic raider in WoW, etc.) of these games.

    I even made a long post on the Beta forums where I stated that "I don't think I'm good enough for the game you are making".

  5. I considered Wildstar "Texas Meets SF MMOs", and my experiences left me wondering what Wildstar really wanted to be. For example, they have grim and gritty evil/maniacal elements mixed in with over the top Texas sized humor, and I felt that they could go with one or the other but both just seemed to clash.

    Still, I'll be interested in checking it out again when it goes F2P.

  6. The way people react to failed MMOs seems a little backward to me. Every time an MMO goes under or turns FTP, people ask "Why did this MMO fail?", as if the failure was a surprise.

    Over the last 15 years, it seems that most MMOs have been failures. Apparently making a successful, long-lived MMO is extremely difficult. So like it or not, failure is the default state for an MMO. There is no need to explain failure. What we need to explain is success.

    This is basically my explanation for why Wildstar failed. It failed because all MMOs fail, and simply being a decent game isn't enough to buck that trend.

  7. I'm giving it a whirl again as I'm not playing other action MMOs at the moment. Looking back to the beta of Wildstar I was playing Neverwinter as my main game so it's no wonder the combat was too much for me. Now I'm playing FFXIV mostly I think I'll be able to give the game a fairer go...