I canceled my WildStar subscription this morning. Admittedly, most of the reason for this comes down to finances: It’s a tough time of the year, this month’s tighter than most, and so forth. Fifteen bucks for a game I rarely play is fifteen bucks I could put toward… food, let’s say.
To be fair, WildStar is a great MMORPG-type game. It’s inventive, it’s colorful, it’s clever. It features the best housing system I’ve ever seen in a game. I love the “telegraph” feature, which lets you know exactly where a given power is going to strike. (Those of us who cut our MMO teeth in City of Heroes know the pain of having to guess where that cone AoE is going to land.) The worldbuilding detail is incredible.
However, what a lot of people love about the game is what I don’t love at all: WildStar is MMO gaming on Hard Mode.
I am a casual player. I admit this. I mostly want to putter around, do a few missions here or there, gather resources for crafting, that sort of thing. Every now and then I’ll team with my girlfriend to run some content. (The partnership that slays together, stays together?) The rest of the time I’m soloing. And WildStar doesn’t want you to solo. Nor does it actually want you to team for regular content, near as I can tell.
Normally, when on a team, what you expect from an MMO is one of two things: Objective completion will be shared, or objective completion will be individual. WildStar cannot make up its mind on this. A mission with two sets of objectives may have one with shared completion and one with individualized completion together! This leads to a constant string of “did that count for you?” questions back and forth.
So, having a buddy helps, but it also hinders in some ways. Great.
But you really want a buddy. Why? Because there are a lot of critters in the world which are ranked “Prime,” which basically means “super badass with two layers of interrupt shielding that unless you’re a super badass gamer yourself you will NOT be able to beat it by yourself.” These critters are strewn everywhere in the world. “Hmm,” I think, “I’d really like to go get that mission objective over there… NOPE, there’s a Prime lurking right in front of it. NEVER MIND.”
Okay, I hear you saying (in my head), just practice and level up and get the right gear and use the right combination of powers and become a super badass!
Stats in WildStar are a number-cruncher’s dream. There are breakpoints. There are buffs to powers that synergize with other powers in arcane ways. It’s not just about getting better gear, it’s about getting better gear with precisely the right numbers to boost as many of your stats to certain breakpoints as possible.
I am a casual gamer who also happens to be easily overwhelmed by numbers. This ain’t happening, folks.
So, I wish WildStar all the best. I think they’re doing a lot of things right.
Just… not right for me.