So massive multiplayer role playing games are everywhere now with their main habitat being on PC. Every one of them trying something new and different and even trying to convert well known franchises into MMO games too.
Carbine Studios and NCSOFT’s brand new entry in the genre, WildStar, is an ambitious take on the now familiar formula dipping its fingers in a lot of pies. What i mean is WildStar is nothing new mechanically but still feels fresh and sits nicely amongst the best of them. Embark upon the planet Nexus to uncover its secrets amongst some of the most unusual races I’ve seen in an MMO game.
Planet Nexus, known to be home to a mysterious and powerful race called the Eldan, suddenly finds itself abandoned with two races battling it out for possession of its resources and any powerful artefacts left behind. The Exiles and the Dominion are at war to try and have anything this planet holds to themselves and it’s up to you as either race to help gain the upper hand. It’s a basic premise but thanks to the cartoony Ratchet and Clank/Jak and Daxter aesthetic, WildStar holds a lovable charm. Each and every race that can be chosen whether it be a strapping human or a robotic like Mechari look like they have been ripped straight from a Saturday morning cartoon which is why WildStar shines so bright amongst the traditional Elves and Orcs types of games. The story is told through a set of nice to look at cut scenes however the sound was a broken at times. The cut-scene would start and the dialogue would overlap due to a delay even though the characters mouths were moving. This happened a lot during my experience which i hope is patched up soon.
WildStar plays identical to the likes of World of Warcraft, you control your created character which can be one of six classes and eight races, each of which are just buttered up mages, warriors or the sneaky variety. Then you must choose one of four paths which is where this game starts to become a little unique. The path you choose determines the type of side quests you will encounter throughout your time on Nexus, each are different and unique to one another. The path system is a fantastic means to replay the game as different paths means different item pickups and quest types and it took be quite a while to be satisfied with my choice. Once you have created your guy or gal, your then left to undergo a few introductory quests before being left to your own devices on the vast planet. WildStar takes on a third person perspective which is the traditional viewpoint with keys assigned to make your character sprint or jump as well as hotkeys for different special attacks. The mouse is used for the direction of travel with the mouse buttons being used for the action buttons, MMO vets will be right at home here. WildStars inventory, mailing and banking system works almost identical to that of World of Warcraft as a window pops up when needed which shows a grid of your picked up items and items can be exchanged via mail or deposited in the bank, it’s all familiar ground for MMO veterans and for newcomers its really simple to get your head around. Mission types are dominated by grinding “kill a ton of these” and “deliver this to there and this to there” quests which soon become mundane with a huge amount of text to read through to link them together.
Of course like all MMO titles, WildStar opens up when you’ve reached max level, this is when you can traverse dungeons with other players as you take on 2 of three available roles whether it be healer, damage dealer or tank. Each of you has to keep to your role otherwise you will die quickly as enemies in dungeons are tougher. The battle system takes on a simple mechanic of telegraphing which shows ahead of you the area of effect of any attack you choose in a type of shaded rectangular box. Any enemies inside here when you unleash your attack will be affected although there is a key you can use that auto aims but it’s not entirely effective when in large scale battles. An optional feature in WildStar which i must recommend is the Sky Plot system which is a housing system. These don’t come cheap but they allow you to create your own base which has some cool rewards like your very own workbench for WildStars extensive crafting system amongst other useful features and also logging out in your plot gives you a rested bonus earning you extra experience whenever you log back in. Again a previously used mechanic but well executed here.
I said before that WildStar uses a Saturday morning cartoon like appearance, the characters look brimming with character making it easy to see who are the good guys and bad guys with the Dominion races looking more menacing and fearsome than the angelic seeming Exiles. With the graphics ramped up, the detail is nice and sharp on each character model, the world however is vast but texture less most of the time. Some of the locations like Algoroc look featureless but the floating islands are a nice sight from afar.
There is lots to do in WildStar though for those looking for a new MMO to sink their teeth into. It’s worth a look if you’re willing to pay the dreaded subscription fee with is millions of side quests, storyline quests, challenges and of course Player versus player battle scenarios to test your mettle which are nothing short of exciting when working as a team.
WildStar is among the best of them with its charming look and plays it safe with its familiar game-play. Sound hiccups and irritating grinding and fetch quests hinder the experience though but in a whole it’s a nice addition to the MMO genre.
Story - 3/5
Graphics - 3/5
Game-play - 4/5
Overall - 3.5/5
PC only title