Wildstar Blues: Sensory Overload


After hovering somewhere around the 25% mark on my hype meter for the last few months, Wildstar’s dropped to neutral. I’ve spent some solid hours in the open beta, and while it’s improved since I tried one of the weekend betas a while ago it’s not enough to grab me. It still has potential, and I’ll be keeping an eye on it, but I definitely won’t be playing at launch. There are a few things I really like about the game, but those factors are up against stiff competition.


The design aesthetic is right up my alley. It’s a good looking game. I’ve always been charmed by the cartoonish, stylized visuals in World of Warcraft, and Wildstar skews the same way with science fiction. Out of the four or five zones I’ve seen, Nexus is a beautiful world filled with unique geography and lots of little nooks and crannies to explore.  Weapons look awesome. I have a hard time getting excited about gear when it looks bland, like for most of the leveling weapons in FF14, and the swords & guns of Wildstar keep me entertained. I get the sense they have a strong vision for the world they’re trying to create, and it’s a visually exciting one.

On the other hand, they have some serious issues with clutter. I’ve got beef mostly with the UI for this, but the in-game world gets awful busy at times too. Between pops up for quests, lore, loot, and everything else you’ve got bubbles and windows all over the screen. To their credit, Carbine gives you some good options for UI customization right out of the box, but the designs still feel built out in too many different directions. Feels like a lack of unity.


I could talk about more, but these factors left the biggest impression on me. Combat feels fine, like WoW with less targeting & more movement. Quest design is nothing revolutionary, and the use of % bars instead of the “8/10 rats” format means zilch. My engineer’s at level 8, and I’m still debating whether to push to 14 so I can try out housing. It looks cool, but the rest of the game leaves me so neutral I don’t really want to put more time into it right now. Still deliberating, I guess… Should I push a little further to see more?


3 thoughts on “Wildstar Blues: Sensory Overload

  1. “Should I push a little further to see more?”

    Depends — how involved are you in this experiment to get to 14 vs how involved in playing something else? If I were just waiting for the next game to come out, I might spend some time in it — I’ve done it in the past. A friend wanted me to play Champions Online with him, and while it didn’t really grab me, it was a nice diversion between games I was more invested in.

    OTOH, if you are actively playing and enjoying something else….. opportunity cost.

  2. Depends on what you were hoping to get out of Wildstar.

    If catching the excitement of the launch crowd while leveling, doing dungeons while in the right level range for it and getting in while the iron is hot with the hardcore raid guilds is important to you, I’d push to see whether you like the rest of the game to pay the launch price for it.

    If you’re just thinking of leveling casually, seeing the sights and stories, playing with housing and such customisation options, it may be less critical to catch the launch zeitgeist, though one has to bear in mind the tendency for lowbie zones to depopulate once the main playerbase gets to max level.

    If you’ve got an existing game you plan to be playing in June, Wildstar and that game is going to have to duke it out in your mind, imo.

    Wildstar is so traditonally WoW MMO model that it is like a clingy girlfriend, it demands attention and -will- suck all your time and opportunity cost in return for a hopefully good experience.

    You can try to play it casually, but you’re just not going to get as much out of it without hardcore commitment – eg, group quests in zones give attractive blue gear, but that presupposes you’re going to play at the right time to have crowds and fellow lowbies to group up with, else you’ll be chatting to an empty map and have to settle for greens via solo questing.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, guys! Right now I’m thinking I’m probably going to bail on Wildstar and put that time into GW2. I just hit 74 (almost my first 80) and I’m having a blast in WvW so I’d rather have more time with that. I’m not really into raiding and I don’t mind playing mostly solo, so it won’t hurt me to check out Wildstar after the initial rush.

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