Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wildstar Thoughts

Wildstar continues to impress me with the speed that they are maintaining with content patches. Already we have the next drop available on the PTR! This drop includes a major amount of bug squashing. Lots of class changes, especially to the engineer. Also a great change for the warrior; attack ranges from 1.5m to 1m, which is not a nerf! It affects how close a mob is to you when you will actually hit it. Many times I'd pull one to me only to have it being too close and not getting any attacks to land, it was simply too close. Glad to hear this! Check out the full PRT notes here. Things look great as far as content and updates. So what is the problem with Wildstar? Why do the servers seem to be thinning out, many with low populations?

Why is the game losing rank on tracking programs such as Xfire? The Nosey Gamer has an interesting post showing stats and ranking, check it out here to see just where Wildstar is. The game is great, it has a lot of polish, a lot of charm but it just seems to be bleeding out the population that was there at launch. I'm still playing and I rarely even see people out questing, let alone in town. I don't think they are all in their houses either. I do see people, but not as much as I do in other games. Maybe it is time for a merge, maybe barriers off the factions as Rift did? I don't think it is the summer lull either. Next it will be the holidays, what then? It is an issue for players. Cross server play is great (PTR notes), but what if you don't have friends on other servers OR the correct faction?

I'm thinking it may be a multitude of things. My first concern is - Who is this game aimed at? Is it aimed at the wrong players? It offers a colorful and charming world, very 'cutesey', housing, lots of fluff and frills. Honestly the average, casual gamer would probably be intrigued and grab the box. Though with a hardcore focus on instances and raids, the game must be a rude awakening in that aspect. Can it survive with the target 'hardcore' audience? Because it really looks like a ghost town. Many people I heard screaming for hardcore, most of them rarely play or simply quit.

I think this game has a lot of potential to draw in players from WoW, especially during this lull between expansions. This is a huge jump from the ease of, as well, as laid back, combat in WoW. In WoW we jump around, but on bigger things, like rare mobs, in raids, and so on. Each mob we kill for quests doesn't need to feel like an epic encounter, to the point where it is hard to even reply to a tell while in combat (these are words I hear when talking to others about the game). I have also been told the combat is awesome and blows WoW out of the water, but these are from people who didn't last a full month playing the game. So is it really that great? Or is it something else? It looks similar, has the same theme park feel, groups, raids, a bonus with housing as well. But the combat... it goes on for too long, requires much movement, takes more time than it should and many times requires interrupts and stuns to be executed properly.

You can go back over 2004 with rose tinted glasses,  but you can't make a new game ten years later and expect a 'classic' feel to go well with action combat. Do players want to spend eons on leveling? It isn't that bad but it isn't that great of a speed either. There are simply too many other games out there to compete with. Perhaps Wildstar is intended to be a niche game? I say this laughingly as it is very close to being WoW than most games. So what now?

I don't think many people want to admit a lot of the things they don't like. Maybe it just feels like they are not as hardcore as they'd like to be. Being hardcore isn't about a type of combat or how many people you raid with. For me, it has to be the combat, it is the killer. I need something more along the lines of WoW. My wrists have issues to begin with so Wildstar is very hard on me, especially without auto attack. That is the number one reason I'd move on. Which makes me sad. I love this game, it has a lot of awesomeness. I just don't know who it is aimed at because it doesn't seem to have much of a target audience right now.

That about wraps it up with my concerns for the game. I still would highly recommend it to anyone. I think it will only get better, given time. I think the development team is really on the ball, truly awesome. But I think the game needs a better customer support team as well.

My eighteen year old is playing the trial seven days, he loves action combat. Maybe he is the target audience? He doesn't seem to love housing as much as we do (his uncle and I) he's all into min/maxing and fast combat. But I don't see a huge pull with him, I think he gets bored of the questing and slow pace of progress. Then again he logged out to go play EverQuest the other night. Maybe the game is just too contradicting in many aspects? My personal opinion is that yes, it is, and this is the biggest problem for Wildstar.

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