WildStar is a 3 Monther

I’ve been in the WildStar beta since June of 2013.  Graev and I both received access early back when there were almost no other people playing on the server.   We’ve seen the game come a long way, and I feel like I can personally give a very accurate overview of what someone can expect to get out of WildStar.

WildStar is a Themepark

There can be no doubt and no surprise that WildStar is 100% true to the themepark model.  Leveling is done by going from quest hub to quest hub.  It’s go here, pick up this, click 10 of those, kill that, come back, get a levels, slot your skills, go kill 10 of those, etc.  End-game is vertical raid treadmilling.  If you love themeparks, you will LOVE WildStar.  This is the themepark fanatics dream come true.

‘Active Combat’ is annoying

First, it’s not original.  The telegraphing has been done in Smite, League of Legends, Age of Conan, a bit in GW2, TERA, TSW, and even ESO.  I hate mashing my keys constantly like I’m playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.  That’s not what I want.  This makes me love the old school original EverQuest combat.  I’ll take white damage over mashing any day.  WildStar’s “skill”-based combat is still highly completely stat and gear dependent; you won’t be out-playing someone if their gear is better than yours.

WildStar isn’t more difficult than Vanilla WoW

I don’t know where this started, but I keep hearing people say WildStar is more difficult than vanilla WoW.   Simply untrue.  I mow through mobs and level in WildStar like there’s nothing in my way.  The leveling process in WildStar is so scripted and holds your hand so well that they practically hand you levels for quest rewards.  It’s meant to be that way.  They want you to feel like you are hyped up on sugar when you play.  As accessible as WoW was back in 2004, WildStar is the accessible version of Vanilla WoW. Seriously… they show you the red circles on the floor you have to avoid.

20 and 40 man themepark raids won’t last

The 20-man raid is required for the 40-man (A and B team drama, anyone?).  The 20-man takes 3-5 hours once you get the fights down.  The 40-man will take 4-6 hours.  I’m not going to name any of my friends, but there are a few of you who I know can’t play for 45 minutes without your wives giving you absolute GRIEF over being on the computer, and you are telling me you are ‘excited’ for this raid content.  I want to shake you right now.  Does anyone think bringing back attunement is a good idea?  It was neat, rewarding at times when you finally finished, but ultimately irrational and annoying to gate story behind inaccessibility.

I see this as a huge ploy to market WildStar to the imaginary “hardcore” crowd.  Give it a little while for things to settle, and their first 10-man raids will be announced.  It’s going to happen.  Raid finder is going to happen.  They will never leave raiding inaccessible.  There’s a reason Blizzard left the 40-man hardcore raid model behind: < 1.0% of the population was able to access them!  They are logistical nightmares full of drama, loot distribution woes, prone to server population issues, cutthroat, and the antithesis of the modern themepark model.

Battlegrounds are cluster….s

Telegraph ALL THE THINGS! AoE pew pew ‘splosions ranged face melting zap zap dead.  Repeat.  I hate battlegrounds in every game, and I can firmly say WoW’s are better.  I never got to test the Warplots.  I’m pretty sure no one has… right?  They look really cool.  Out of all the features in WildStar I think I’m most interested in Warplots.

Dungeons.  There are a couple.

I think there are five dungeons with one being a level 50 dungeon and the rest having ‘go back and play them when you are 50″ modes.  Someone fact-check me please.   They’re going to be pretty good.  I think the one I tried was level 17ish?  It’s been a while.  Overall, I bet they’ll take about 40 minutes and are like WoW dungeons with complex mechanics.

WildStar is a 3 Monther

WildStar is probably worth the box price and the first month.  You easily reach the max level in your first month, run the dungeons, get some gear and probably start on the first raid before getting bored and feeling like you would rather sit and do nothing while waiting for the next best thing to release.

Being a 3 Monther doesn’t make WildStar a bad game.  Quite the contrary.  Owning that fact can make a game very, very good.  WildStar has a LOT of content in that 3 month window, and if you are manage to find 40 people and 6 hours a night to raid then WildStar is going to be a great distraction until the next WoW expansion comes out.

It’s hard for me to get excited for WildStar knowing that I have it all figured out.  I see the pattern all too clear.  But like I said in the beginning — and this is the best praise I can give – If you love themeparks, and you are just tired of WoW, you will LOVE WildStar.

  • Agree with most of what you said. A couple of things I would add to:

    The difficulty argument compared to WoW is entirely related to end game raids and is completely player driven. I have never read anyone who is a serious tester state that the leveling process (including 5 man dungeons) is more difficult. It is just the hype train blowing through. What I have read, directly from the Raid Designers mouth, in Raid streams is that the content is on par with the original Naxx raiding. That is a pretty high difficulty curve to set. Lets see if they pull it off.

    I would be very surprised if they brought in 10man raids and raid finder. It would spit in the face of everything they have spoken about for the last year. I think this idea comes more from your perception of what they will need to do to survive versus actuality. The Hardcore player base is a lot bigger then it was when we did it many years ago. I think they will be just fine in that regards.

  • Nothing about “Adventures” ? (oregon trail one, mystery one, moba one, tower defence one etc..).
    Also they have something similar to wow scenarios, mini dungeons.. cant remember what they are called.

    Also warplots are also 40 vs 40.. need 40 people in your war group thing (kinda like a second guild), need 40 for everything end game mostly.

  • @bartillo: I did the first adventure. I think it was good ‘content,’ but I think the dungeon was more fun. I liked the Shiphand stuff more than adventures.

    I forgot about Paths. They are neat. I’ve tried them all and find they all provide an interesting addition to the regular content. I personally enjoyed explorer the most; I didn’t think I would. Settler, the one I thought I would like the most, became almost like a chore gathering all the parts. I think the scientist brought the most practical value to a team situation by providing portals and the ability to summon groups.

    @Phandy: What I don’t understand then is why people think the vanilla raiding was harder than the current stuff. The hard part back then was logistics. Coordinating 40 people who (1) Didn’t HATE each other, (2) showed up on time, or (3) Moved out of the fire (the hardest mechanic) was what stopped progression. I was the server-first raid leader on TWO servers for Rag, Ony, Nag, and C’thun. I just don’t see it.

    @Mlwhitt: Only sad if you wanted more than a solid themepark capable of giving you 3 great months of gameplay. Even though I think a lot of what they offer is “meh” … if you don’t play WoW and you’re not in love with Landmark or ESO — it’s the best alternative. WildStar looks like it’s exactly what some people want. I’m definitely not one of them, and I think it’ll only be what people want for a limited time.

  • @phandy @keen

    I raided Nax 40 back in the day, and maybe we sucked, but I remember wiping on trash pulls plenty of times for instance. Nax 40 was definitely much harder than say when I raided Nax 25 in WOTLK

  • Most people trying Nax 40 hadn’t geared up in full T2 or T2.5. It was SUPPOSED to be the hardest raid pre-BC. Unlike modern WoW, there wasn’t a gear reset to give people a big boost in items prior its launch. Wiping in the entrance wasn’t skill — it was a gear check.

  • Well that video is more mob cc. but I know I have seen most classes have support trees that include a lot of crowd control

  • Yeah this is why I have long since stopped hoping for a AAA MMO that I would play long term.

    It was pre-BC WoW that original made me believe it was possible to hold my interest past a few months, and then their focus on accessibility, followed by all of the accessibility-driven clones, to convince me otherwise; but who knows maybe it was just the novelty of my first MMO that originally kept me playing for so long?

    At this point I just sit back and wait for you guys to report back on your in game leg work as I can’t even be bothered to muster enough faith to beta them anymore.

    Now the indies on the other hand may provide something different…




  • Yeah I know, too true, but what can an excitable boy do in this age of instant information!

  • I’ll repeat what I said on the earlier thread about MMO gamers being smarter. I played a Destro Warlock during Vanilla WoW. I literally shadowbolted my way through MC and BWL. “Vanilla WoW was hard” is one of the most hilarious myths of the MMO sphere. Its roots lie deep in the Massive Grind = Difficult fallacy, and the fact that the average Joe in Vanilla WoW was actually even worse than today.

    Keen is dead on.

  • @Hol:

    One’s perception of “easy” may also be dependent upon what aspect of the game they are referring to.

    For instance, I usually play kiting AoE mage and warlock types and so I create my own increased difficulty level by running farming circuits of multiple pulls of mobs a few levels higher, and I don’t think it was any more difficult back pre-BC as compared to any game is now.

    On the other hand unless I have become tremendously more efficient at leveling, I do feel that it took much longer to reach cap back then than in any current MMO I have tried, including a free WoW trial (I think immediately preceding the SWTOR launch) where I hit level 20 in half a day if that. Also gold generation jumped massively for me in BC with the dailies.

    So while an individual pull didn’t feel harder back then, with respect to leveling difficulty it did feel that more effort was needed.

    Maybe some of the disparate opinions of WoW difficulty may be attributable to such differences in the definition of “easy”?

  • I totally agree with you on the time factor.

    Why is LoL and Hearthstone so popular? you can jump in and in 30 minutes accomplish something.

    Any game that thinks it can make money around a 5-6 hour time commitment is crazy. Those days are long gone.

  • 1) I like themeparks. I like Wildstar.

    2) I also like active combat more than ‘white damage’. Whether it’s “original” or not is irrelevant to me.

    3) Most discussions on difficulty, including this one, usually turn into an asinine pissing match. Difficulty is multi-faceted and completely subjective. Not to mention that higher difficulty isn’t even necessarily a good thing.

    4) Someone else mentioned it, but there are some nice things (Housing, Paths, Adventures, Shipboard MIssions, etc) that weren’t mentioned here.

    5) I do agree about the raiding and time commitment. I’m excited for Wildstar but will tell you right now I will NEVER do a raid. 40 people and 4 – 6 hours sounds like an absolute nightmare. Jim is right, people want something where they can hop in for 30 minutes and do something significant.

  • I have to shake my head every time a new MMO implements a system where you have to split up your guild into team A, B, or C. This is never ever good for the game or your guild in the long run. It’s mind boggling how bad something like this usually turns out.

    Where’s the scaling raids people have been talking about for as long as i can remember? That should be something devs should sink their teeth into instead of separating their player base.

  • They dont want scaling raids in Wildstar. They want raiding to be for the “hardcore”

    If they devs eventually add 10 mans, scaling, etc.. it would go against everything they said the last year.

    The hardcore raiding community is actually larger then when we did it in vanilla and TBC. ALl the streamers (like towelliee) are pumped for 40 mans, and plan to be raiding it.

    I really think theres enough WoW guilds who will be happy to raid in wildstar, esspecially during this year of no new content in WoW.

  • Oh i understand that but there’s no reason scaling raids cannot be hardcore. My definition of scaling raids may be different i suppose. For me they would scale from 20-40. I personally don’t even consider anything below 20 a raid anyways.

    While i personally don’t have the time i did 10-15 years ago, i appreciate the draw of difficult content. It’s something that’s desperately missing in today’s MMO’s. That exclusivity factor pushes players to achieve more. It’s been so damn long since i last uttered “holy shit this guy has “insert awesome rare difficult to obtain item”.

  • I expect I will be playing, I enjoy active combat over mashing 50 hotkeys
    I always assumed it would be a ‘3 monther’ but I think I will enjoy that time I do spend in it

    hopefully there’s a good bit of re playability with it, (rolling alts is fun for me, long as its not identical content on the way)but if not, should be decent enough for a bit

  • @eva i suspect if each of your chars does a diff path you will have diff experiences right there.

    Explorers can discover jump puzzles, soldiers activate public quests, etc..

    However as far as I know the quest zones are the same for ever race on your faction.. So exile and Dominion quests in different zones though and areas but come together a few times (for pvp servers mostly)

  • For me I will say I love the combat in wildstar. having to skill shot, dodging, etc..

    I prefer that far more then slow paced EQ combat,

  • @Evalissa: There isn’t a lot of replayability. The paths are very, very minor. The active combat in wildstar feels like pushing 50 more buttons than you have to in other games even though you have only a handful of active skills. Imagine the original EQ’s number of abilities but you have to spam them. That’s WildStar.

    @Ald: That’s why I think time =/= difficulty. Something can be difficult and take an hour. Why does it have to take 8?

    @Bartillo: When they add raid finder and raid scaling I am going to link you to this post. 😛

    @Fidgit: Read my comments above yours. I added my thoughts on those features.

  • aye, I don’t expect the paths too add a huge amount
    as for the combat, that’s pretty much the style I enjoy (I liked DDO’s combat for example) although cant really say until I play it
    either way, its this or ESO, Landmark has not had enouth to keep my occupied for more than a short amount of time a go

  • Sounds like the opposite of a 3 monther if the raids are as difficult as advertised, unless the 3 monther title is now just for anything that is a theme park and not games that have 3 months or less worth of content. By that definition vanilla WoW was a 3 monther.

    I haven’t had any interest in this game for a number of reasons, but your description of the 40 man raids with no easy modes has me at least raising an eyebrow.

  • @Jenks: Vanilla WoW captured people’s attention for years. Definitely not a 3 monther. WoW’s expansions now are 3 monthers. Just because 1-5% of the people can see content doesn’t mean the game as a whole isn’t a 3 monther.

    @Evalissa: Then I think you will definitely enjoy WildStar. 🙂

  • Thanks for that succinct and informative overview. I’d already decided to wait until either WildStar goes to some form of F2P or has a free trial/open beta lasting at least a couple of weeks (stress-testing weekends just aren’t long enough to turn around a predisposition, I find). Your account of your experience just helps to firm up that decision.

    Although neither WildStar nor ESO particularly appeals to me I’m well aware that you can’t really tell whether an MMO will grab you until you actually play it, though, so I remain open to the possibility that my mind could yet be changed. I’m just not willing to pay to test that theory. If I was short of MMOs I wanted to play or bored with what’s already on offer that might be different but I’m neither so I’ll wait for a freebie.

    Looking forward to reading about how it all plays out n the meantime.

  • I really don’t get the relation with Vanilla either… Vanilla wow was not pure themepark. It wasn’t sandbox either of course, but not a pure themepark as we know today. Questing was not linear either. Also wow had a great lore, what is the lore of Wildstar? Will Wildstar offer an epic journey until we hit the max level? Will I spent 3+ months in a world full of lore and interesting places before the max level?
    All I see is looney toons with 40-man raiding… nothing reminds me vanilla wow.

  • Wildstar is actually “easier” (so to say), than Vanilla WoW. Before they streamlined the world and linearized questing in WoW during cataclysm, leveling actually involved some exploration and discovery, some “work” by the player, some knowledge to have and use.

    Wildstar is a totally linear experience starting as soon as you log in.

    Not to mention the graphics (notably the landscape textures) which look much worse than WoW…

    I’ll stick with Landmark and WoW, along with my visit to GW2 every two weeks, for my MMORPG needs. Wildstar and ESO are just two more bad clones of what we were getting the last 10 years.

  • I’ve been in the beta since July ’13 and unfortunately, I have to agree with most of Keen’s assessment. Although I tend to think people who have a solid raiding guild will stick around longer. The group content is the best part of the game.

    I didn’t see a mention of crafting or housing. Neither grabbed me, but most people seem to agree that the Housing is awesome. Some say it’s worth the price of the game alone. You can’t get involved in it without playing the PVE part of the game though. Opinions on Crafting are very mixed. I can’t tell what most people think, but I didn’t like it at all.

    Many testers are pretty upset at the sudden end to testing. Warplots are a mess, most of the endgame isn’t tested properly yet, and we haven’t even seen the new UI, much less tested it. “When it’s ready” was just marketing apparently.

    I’m disappointed. Wildstar sounded like my game for years to come.

  • I agree that vanilla WoW was not a 3 monther, but why? Just the leveling difficulty?

    I played vanilla WoW both PVP and PVE at its highest levels, and PVP is somewhat cheating when determining if a game is a 3 monther. If vanilla WoW was released with easy LFR raiding, I believe it would have indeed been a 3 monther.

    By saying WoW isn’t, but Wildstar is, I think you are starting to narrow down the definition of what a 3 monther is, but I’m still not sure where you are drawing that line. Is difficulty in getting to max level your main determining factor? I think I would agree with that, but vanilla WoW’s endgame setup and things you rail on like attunement were at least half the reason the content lasted so long.

  • Thanks for the write-up. You nailed it for me.

    My first look at Wildstar was during the recent beta weekend. I played for about an hour and realized that I have absolutely ZERO interest in playing the game: the art style, story style, and overall feel of the game did nothing at all to pull me in. It felt hackneyed, been-there-done-that, and all in a cartoonish art style that made me feel like I was playing a game targeted at my 10 year old daughter.

    And THAT may be the real issue: i’m a middle-aged gamer looking for something more in my games, particularly my MMOs.

    ESO will get my time and money next in the MMO space. And I’ll keep on building my mountainous, harsh, small city in Banished.

  • Nax40 was and wasn’t a gear check.

    It was because you could get past the first pull if you haven’t been farming BWL/AQ for a while. It wasn’t because you never got the chance to ‘up gear’ the place and beat it via gear; TBC came out before new gear was added, and Nax40 went poof.

    So if you made progress or even beat Nax40, it wasn’t due to gear; everyone raiding Nax40 had similar gear.

    That said if all of WildStar raiding is Nax40-level difficulty, I expect a lot of ragequiting. Nax40 was no joke, as it was really the only 40 man raid in WoW that more or less required 40 competent people, vs 10 or 20 good players dragging the rest along like all previous raids.

  • “But like I said in the beginning — and this is the best praise I can give – If you love themeparks, and you are just tired of WoW, you will LOVE WildStar.”

    This is pretty much what I’ve been hoping for since I saw Wildstar, since I’ve mostly just been wanting a new WoW with some fresh content. Because as good as WoW can be, there’s nothing quite like leveling up with the first surge of new players.

    I’m also holding out hope since it’s the first MMO in forever that seems to be making any kind of effort to support UI Mods, and lord knows that crappy UI design has ruined several MMOs for me.

    Dunno whether I agree it’s a 3 month, as much as I love Keen’s sneak peeks at stuff, we couldn’t have more different taste (I can’t see the reason for playing Landmark or ESO for 3 weeks let alone 3 months).

  • I agree with Jenks here.
    Keen you say you are against attunments and 40 mans but one thing they do is prolonge the life of the game. If it takes you a month to complete an attunment that defintely makes the game last longer till they can get out more fresh content.

  • @Jenks: WoW vanilla wasn’t a 3 monther because it was radically different from any game previous. It was the first time someone took all of the formulas from the 10 years prior and made a super accessible version that would appeal to the masses. Vanilla Wow was a masterpiece of marketing, design, and strategy. If a game were to release today under the same circumstances, it too would most likely be a success.

    @Bartillo: Pack food full of preservatives and it’ll last longer too.

    @Shutter: I can’t see a reason to play ESO either. Landmark I enjoy.

  • @Keen: I just can’t dig a sandbox, dunno why, but they’re the dullest experiences I’ve ever had in gaming.

  • This Raidng and time iventment thing is bugging me fora while now, why oh why does no company reward TIME invested, its our true currency as players, regardless if i want to play solo/5 man or raid with 40, give me something for the time being invested not for the difficulty – that is gear or tokens. Give Raiders cosmetic stuff or titles but dont devalue solo players, by patching in stuff that is unattainable to so many. if i play for 10h i want the same stuff a raider has after 10h raiding. He will still invest more time and have his fun, but i still have a chance to get to that level in my own terms, even if im not named Ifrim of the Nine Dark hells riding a pink Pony.

  • To be honest, rewarding solo play to the same extent as group play, in an MMORPG, is a ridiculous notion. Don’t play a social game and expect the same rewards while playing solo.

    Difficulty is the only token of longevity in a linear themepark MMO and that difficulty, must involve a social element. Otherwise just go play Skyrim!

  • about “mashing buttons” there is a n option to enable “Hold to continue casting” so no mashiung really….