Wildstar Blues: Sensory Overload

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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.

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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.

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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?