Subscription based MMOs are becoming more and more rare with the rise of Free to Play games. It almost takes guts to ask players to pay a monthly fee to play a game, when games like The Old Republic and, now, Defiance, have no real entry fee. So, when a game does ask players to pay that hefty entry fee, it stands out. This was what initially attracted me to Wildstar, a new MMO from Nexus. Having had the chance to invest a number of hours in it, there are a number of things about Wildstar that seem to make that monthly subscription worth the investment.
Wildstar sees two factions, known as the Dominion and the Exiles, fighting for control of the Nexus, a planet that the Exiles had hoped to call home. The Dominion is an interstellar federation of planets and races that seek to completely dominate the galaxy, while the Exiles want to fight against this oppression. My first character in Wildstar is an Exile Human, though there are plenty of other races to choose from, such as the Mordesh, a group of aliens with an incurable blood disease, or the Aurin, who are basically furry’s make up a startling amount of the exile player base, it seems.
Then, when it came time to create my character, I had a pretty decent number of options. Rather than using these options to make a character who would embody everything that the Exiles fought for, I decided to make my character look like Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force…because video games. My character, named “HeyFryman”, is what is known as a “Spell Slinger.” Spell Slingers use magic and guns in combat to fight off enemies, creating some pretty brutal combinations of spells and actions.
When you’re first dropped into Wildstar, after having a quick tutorial, you are actually given a choice of starting zones. I opted to venture to the Northern Wilds, a frozen area being ravaged by storms. From there, I had plenty of missions. On top of having a class, you can actually have a subset of missions for your characters Path. Paths give you optional quests that you can complete in any of the games areas. For HeyFryman, those quests were that of the explorer, meaning I had to scout the environment, climb up various mountains and generally had to explore. It was nice to see additional missions on top of the already vast number of quests the game gives you.
The initial quest, from a story perspective, fell somewhat flat. Wildstar is a world with a large lore catalog and performing tasks like killing a certain number of animals or burning down nests is a bit boring in the grand scale of things. Hopefully, as the game progresses, the quests become more involved in the actual lore of the world.
When I first began playing Wildstar, I found it fairly easy to get into, as much of the game plays like World of Warcraft. Having last played The Old Republic and Defiance, Wildstar felt refreshingly simple to get into. There’s a simple interface that makes playing it incredibly simple and the initial tutorials helped ease me into playing. Make no mistake, this is a very traditional MMORPG and, in a way, that’s somewhat refreshing.
One issue that I did find when I was playing, however, was that my Spell Slinger seemed to have a very limited number of items he could use. Heavy armor was right out of the question, as were any medium armor, any two handed guns and any melee weapons. This problem was clear when I began to get loot that I was unable to use at all and became more apparent when I went to buy equipment and barely had any options. Hopefully, as I play more, loot will be more plentiful, but early on it seems that Spell Slingers will have a very rough time.
The art style of Wildstar is fairly impressive. The world is bright and alive and many of the environments have some fairly creative designs. Enemies can also be fairly unique looking.
Wildstar is shaping up to be a very fun experience. Its simple to get into and feels like a very traditional MMORPG. However, it also feels very full of content and its easy to see why it was decided not to make this game free-to-play. As the next few weeks pass, we’ll return to Wildstar to give you some more impressions on it.
A code for the Deluxe version of Wildstar, as well as a code for six months of game time was provided to Pixel Related for review.