Sure as shucks happy to see you ’round these parts!
Sorry, but poorly-recreated Western slang is just something you’ll have to get used to around this blog. If you’ve ended up here because you know me from the World of Warcraft community, then thanks for giving me a chance to talk to you about another game I enjoy. If we’re crossing paths for the very first time, then hello and howdy – glad to have you here.
Many people have asked me over the last 6 months why exactly I’ve been talking about WildStar and why I intend to play it at launch. I’ve tried to explain its appeal in quite a few tweets along the way, but a brand new blog seems like a much better space to explore this question.
Personality, Style & Humor
The thing that first stood out to me about WildStar wasn’t anything about its combat or its systems, but simply how it looked and how its creators talked about it. The trailers and “Dev Speaks” (brief videos that introduce some part of the game) are some of the funniest and most eye-catching marketing I’ve ever seen for an MMO.
I was engaged immediately by WildStar’s incredibly stylized visuals, and while that sort of cartoony brightness doesn’t appeal to all, I found that it was a refreshing and amusing change from the games I typically play. Even more importantly, however, was the amazing sense of humor the game displays about itself, its marketing, games in general, its characters and pretty much anything and everything else you can think of. Though WildStar recognizes the seriousness of having fantastic gameplay and systems, it is never in danger of taking itself too seriously.
I find myself laughing constantly when I play this game, whether it’s because I find a new creature that’s one of the goofiest things I’ve ever seen (I’m looking at you, vinds) or because the in-game narrator has congratulated me for being a “total badass” when I reach a new level. I am constantly amazed at how well this humor is balanced, because it could so easily tip to the side of feeling like a self-congratulatory brofest extraordinaire. But it never does. It expertly toes the line between teasing gaming culture and yet also being a part of it, and since that line is a place where I spend quite a lot of my time these days, WildStar made me feel right at home.
Building a Home
Speaking of homes, WildStar has a player housing system that rivals The Sims in its depth and customizability. Now, again, if you know me from the Warcraft community, then you know that I pretty vocally don’t give a rowsdower’s patootie about player housing – or so I thought. When I started playing around with customizing my home in WildStar and then inviting my friends to become my neighbors, all that changed.
Over the last 2 beta weekends, I spent hours at my home. The housing system in WildStar feels as if someone handed you all the bits and pieces that game developers use to create a world and said, “Here. Let’s see what you can do.” It isn’t simply a matter of choosing a bed and some curtains that you like. Items can be fully manipulated in 3 dimensions, allowing you to create literally almost anything you can imagine (even a grand piano made one piece of wood at a time, or a giant skate park for you and your friends).
WildStar has chosen a combat system that is primarily based on “skill-shot” mechanics. This means that rather than simply choosing an enemy to target and then using your keybinds to send spells or other attacks at them, you are constantly and actively aiming your skills to ensure that they hit the maximum number of targets possible.
While this type of system isn’t completely new for MMOs, it was completely new for me since my MMO resumé only included games that used a standard tab targetting systems. I found WildStar’s skill-shot (more often referred to as “telegraph”) system to be highly engaging, entertaining and rewarding. It required me to focus on what I was doing during combat more than I usually need to, and gave me the freedom to turn nearly every ability into a multiple-target attack if I was able to line up my shot correctly.
Because I have primarily been an MMO healer for the last 5 years or so, I couldn’t wait to see how this system translated into healing mechanics. While that will be a post of its own, for now let’s simply say that WildStar’s healing is so engaging that I’ve seen MMO players who never play healers talking about how much they enjoy doing it in this game. More on that to come.
See Ya’ll in Nexus!
So yes, obviously, I intend to play WildStar at launch. I can’t wait to spend my time in a place that makes me laugh so loudly and so often, while simultaneously challenging me with new gameplay systems and mechanics that I hadn’t considered before – and it doesn’t hurt that I’ve managed to wrangle a few amazing friends to make the journey with me.
Happy trails to you and yours!