So, you know I play a lot of games right? Well, WildStar is a game that I have been eagerly awaiting. I figured I would give you some of my opinions on the game as it has been viewed through the Beta, especially now that the game is entering Open Beta for the next
10 days 9 days.
I have what I call the 20X2 rule for video games, mostly because I’ve a large backlog of games that I need to get through. So, the 20X2 rule, that’s where I give a game 20 minutes to make me want to spend the next 2 hours play it. It may seem like a very harsh rule, but to me that first 20 minutes of game play is probably the most critical for a game to sell itself, at least in my opinion. This is especially important in MMOs, who traditionally make you kill 10 boars the first several hours as the introduction into their worlds. It’s also a reason I feel most MMOs wind up failing, lack of engagement in that opening credits. WildStar both has and doesn’t have this problem. During the beta, I rolled multiple toons of every class and for both factions. I found that the Exiles had a fantastic introduction. Without ruining it, I will say that you start your character in the middle of an attack on your space ship by the Dominion. While you will still have to go to X and kill Y or gather Z, it feels a lot better in this context. Even shortly after the introductory stage, it is still a game of survival, and that’s a hell of a motivator. Dominion on the other hand, is flat out conquest and bordering on religious zealotry. I found it interesting because it literally forced you to do borderline mundane things under threat of death, and then after that you get on with the whole invading, attacking, taking other people’s toys things that the Dominion is all about.
In both cases, even though I preferred the Exiled start up, the game passed my 20X2 rule. 20 minutes into the character I was already willing to invest far more time into the characters, the story and exploring the world. In fact, on my first Exiled character, from creation to getting up from my computer chair almost three hours had passed without me even realizing it. That speaks volumes to the level of engagement even at early levels, at least for someone like me.
On top of that, there is a thing called a path that you choose at character creation. Scientist, Soldier, Settler, or Explorer. These are not professions, but a method of giving players additional engaging tasks in the world. Explorers climb mountains, fill in maps, and try to get everywhere they can. For your efforts you level up your path which unlocks abilities for you to use. This is present even in the introduction quests where you either have to climb to the top of a giant boulder or scan a number of items or provide beer for everyone on the ship. It adds an extra flavor to the character and further engagement in the world and half the time I found myself following my path more than the quests. It adds a lot more depth to the game play than you would think.
Questing itself is also really well done, and not completely puffed up with exposition. There are story quests, and events, but for the most part the quests are like twitter updates. 140 characters or less or a task list of things to do and not much else. Story is delivered through more than just the quest text, and that’s really good at keeping players from feeling like they have no choice but to read every line of every text ever. Quest areas are well defined, and tooltips show if items are part of your quest or not. It’s really easy to figure out where to go and what to do. That also helps a lot because you don’t just feel completely helpless and lost all the time.
The game feels like the Wild West in Space, which does combine two of my three biggest loves. I find the characters and NPCs pretty engaging, the levelup animation is pretty fun and the game has a the promise to be something great. Honestly, there’s a lot to talk about, and I’ll be posting about it often as I have quite a bit to say about the game, but I think that’s good enough for now.
See you later Space Cowboy (or Cowgirl)
Until the next time, have an Aurin. She can kill you with her brain.