WildStar: A fun ride

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combat screens

Today is my second day in WildStar.  I have to admit Jay did way more research on this game than I did, though I did watch the videos when he mentioned them to me. I was most excited for this game because Jay was excited for it. I love to play games, but more importantly– I like to play games with the hubs. We make a great team, and we have a lot of fun when we play MMO’s together.  That being said, there were some things about this game that interested me more than others. Mainly the housing system. It was reminiscent of UO to me, where we could create homes that were completely left up to our imaginations. But aside from the trammy aspect, we would sometimes spend hours fighting at the BiC Compound where sometimes there’d be over 40 of us and who knows how many !C!, basically battling until we got bored.  I could see WildStar offering us a bit of this.   Anyway, I’ve put a few thoughts together on what I like so far.

  • Objective Arrows –  I often find myself lost when questing in games. The arrow sort of holograms through your surroundings to quickly show you where to go. Hate it? S’ok. There’s still a mini- map should you prefer old skool.
  • Level Up Modal – This is just plain awesome. I hate when I’m playing games and level, and then shit pops into my bag, and I have no damn idea what the hell I just got. This box sits there and invites you to click it. Once you do, you’re rewarded with a snappy list of the various and sundry things you got for hitting your level.
  • Quest Completion – often time you can complete your quest without having to run back to the quest giver. This makes me cheer.
  • Combat/Healing – this is probably my favorite part of this game. All AoE all the time. All your damage/healing is basically shot out in a cone or some sort of clearly marked pathed damage that you can see before casting. I love this so much. The fact that I don’t have to micro manage a bunch of bars and tab targets and the like makes me want to sing from the mountain tops. I don’t understand how anyone who has spent more than a single moment in combat in this game can say it feels ‘just like WoW’. I don’t see this at all. Combat skips along at a brisk pace that keeps you on your toes.

Working in the game industry these last couple of years has opened my eyes a lot, and I have to say I’m completely over the whole droll ‘just like wow!’ commentary about every fucking MMORPG that comes out.  World of Warcraft is an MMORPG. An MMORPG that’s been around a long time and has earned those ‘best in class’ stripes.  Blizzard borrowed much from the MMORPGs that came before it, long before it became the heavy-hitter it is today. Just like the standards of cars change over time, so do the standards and expectations around MMORPGs. 8 track tape decks were standard in cars at one time. Then cassettes, CD’s and now we have ports for our iPhones. But almost all cars come with blinkers, seatbelts, tires, brakes and all the other shit that makes a car work. Some people really enjoy the rugged flexibility of a Jeep, while others prefer the luxury of a Mercedes. Both are great for the personalities that own and love them, but they are obviously used differently by people of different personalities. The same can be said for MMORPGs. Blizz earned their stripes and so every game is put up against it for comparison. Put in a UI a player recognizes and is comfortable with and you’re already a couple of steps ahead. Every game that comes out doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, but they do need to keep things fresh and new.

WildStar isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it’ a fresh perspective on combat, and I’m really enjoying that right now.

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