Wildstar review (PC)

Wildstar offers MMO fans a wealth of storylines and quests to explore in a brand new, rich and detailed alien world. Newcomers to the genre might find themselves overwhelmed at first but those who are interested in a sci-fi themed MMO could do a lot worse than start right here.

In Wildstar, you travel to the planet Nexus in search of long lost technology that was left there by an advanced race of aliens referred to as the the Eldan. Before you embark on your quest though, you get to choose your character. And as in many other sci-fi epics, there are two distinct sides to this story. On the one hand there’s the Dominion, an empire with Eldan roots that stretches the galaxy. On the other hand there’s the Exiles – people and creatures driven from their respective homelands by the aforementioned Dominion. This is what unites the Exiles, and creates a gameplay world where your initial choice implies a difference that’s as big as day and night.

Within your faction, you still have familiar choices between character traits such as ranged or close combat, magic or brute force, etc. After you complete your character profile, you’re thrown head-first into the storyline, although Wildstar does well in blending a tutorial in before you actually descend to Nexus. This, however, is where MMO veterans and newcomers will have a very different experience. We had a number of people explore Wildstar’s first steps, most of whom were new to MMOs. When confronted with the sheer number of menu options and controls, they all felt lost in how much was on offer and in getting to grips with Wildstar’s controls. To MMO veterans, however, Wildstar was a warm bath that immediately feel intuitive.

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This feeling of being lost translates into the actual game as well, as Wildstar is absolutely packed with content, personality and storylines. Those of us who were used to single player experiences struggled to get into their respective storylines, partly because some of the quest goals do not seem to relate to the overall goals you’re trying to achieve. This being a common occurance in MMOs, this was no problem at all for those who had played similar titles before. Quite the opposite – their experience was that Wildstar’s developers proudly borrowed from a number of classic MMOs (including World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2) but never forgot to make these gameplay elements their own.

One way this is done is by adding a small layer of freedom in how you complete otherwise menial quest tasks. Clearly an area of enemies can either be done by taking out tons of easy opponents, or by tackling some of the tougher foes for a larger effect on your completion goal. The biggest and baddest of these are sometimes too tough for you to challenge by yourself, adding a social element to your quest. That being said, Wildstar still has its fair share of all-too-familiar goals to complete, carefully treading the line between a fresh new gameplay experience and a “been there, done that” feeling.

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So after a few weeks of exploring Nexus, our response to Carbine Studios’ new game is mixed but generally positive. There’s a massive amount of content, characters and storytelling – even adding depth to otherwise irrelevant portions or the game and blending humor and action with the epic storyline taking place on a remote planet. This, combined with extremely solid gameplay mechnics, makes this a must-try for MMO enthusiasts. Newcomers who otherwise play single player games might feel overwhelmed and could be better off waiting to see if they can watch a friend play it first – or wait until Carbine adds a free to play option.

Score: 8.0/10

2 comments on “Wildstar review (PC)

  1. Well, I remember back in 2011, when they first announced it, (I think it was around then anyway; there were some videos circulating the web at that time for sure, such as this from 2011: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4fIruA4fxo ), Wildstar got me all hyped up. Took some time before it actually arrived, but when it finally did, it was a pretty good experience tbh.

    I had some beta invites, but by the time I got those, I was a bit on the fence. Nevertheless I picked up the game on launch day and started running around with a Warrior. The whole experience of it was pretty decent (I am saying this as a long time WoW player). The story is compelling and the areas (zones) are well made. Lacks a bit in some of the sub-systems such as trading/crafting/auction house interfaces, but I suppose that will all be ironed out as time goes by. The PvP is pretty decent too.

    As an MMO, I can put it this way: If this was the first MMO ever made, people would be over the moon about it. It IS a great game in itself. The raiding has an unprecedented approach, for example ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lr5wzAviCQ ). Thing is, over the years we have seen so many games fall into the trap of trying to copy one another or do the same, only better – well, this might be a good thing actually – because it creates competition and we all know competition is good for the end user. But none has really “risen to the challenge” of becoming a “WoW killer”. Honestly I do not think anyone ever will. A new, successful MMO has to be a good experience in its own right and for its own reasons.

    As for the economy there is one thing that really separates Wildstar from other MMOs; the C.R.E.D.D. system. The way they laid out this whole feature is pretty unique. It is about taking power away from the 3d party actors and transferring it over to the players. I know that one can get a good deal on some sites, such as g2a: https://www.g2a.com/r/wildstar-category-global – but if one can make big bucks in game (being sort of an in game tycoon), one can actually end up paying for the subscription by just playing the game.

    In the end I think it is safe to say that the impressions one gets from playing a new MMO depends on where you are coming from. If you have played MMOs for 15 years, you will not easily get impressed. But if you are just starting out, and Wildstar is your first MMO experience, it is as good as any.

    • Excellent observations. We actually attended a presentation hosted by the developer about 9 months before the game’s release, where they said the game would be easy to get into for non-MMO players as well. This is very relative, as experienced MMO players will have a very different (initial) experience than newcomers will. Still, this is a solid MMO, even though it might not blow other ones out of the water.

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