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.
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.
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.