As I wrote earlier this year, WildStar game developer Carbine has thoughtfully diverged from traditional combat mechanics. They’ve been savvy about taking the community through the walk of their design thinking in a series of Dev Speak videos on YouTube.
WildStar is now in Open Beta, so anyone can download the game and play. People have been asking me on social media about my Beta experience. The answer is that it’s been intentionally short.
There are multiple reasons:
I’ve been really busy IRL. My priorities are work, spending time with my wife, kickboxing, gaming, and when I have time, blogging about gaming
I’ve been disappointed with the majority of MMORPGs I’ve played since 2008. This is not a new theme for me nor for many of you. I have spent hundreds of hours playing games in Beta; the list includes: Warhammer Online (WAR), Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR), and Guild Wars 2 (GW2). All of these games came up short in the eyes of the community and what I was looking for personally after they launched. I’m careful to not get my expectations up too high nor to over-invest in Beta. If a game doesn’t grip me within the first hour (e.g. Age of Wushu, Elder Scrolls Online) or lack sufficient polish (e.g. WildStar back in February Beta), I wait til it launches. Or I skip it entirely, as I did with Neverwinter, Final Fantasy XIV, and based on your feedback ESO. I don’t want to play a game because it’s new. I want to play a game because it’s good
I’ve finally found one MMO that has skill-based combat: World of Tanks (WoT). WoT is not an MMORPG, and I do miss having character(s) to build up and relate to. That being said, WoT is the highest skill PVP I’ve ever experienced: positioning matters, spotting matters, aiming matters, flanking matters, awareness matters, terrain matters, etc, and there is no way to heal your HP. I’m not into pure FPS games because I find them to lack realism and they’re heavily twitch-based, whereas WoT is a nice mix of twitch and tactics. This isn’t to say WoT is perfect – I think the game has balance issues and gold ammo trivializes dealing damage – but I’ve found it challenging and enjoyable, and I’m working my way towards account-level Unicum (top 1% of players)
The gaming community has greatly evolved in terms of the content it produces. I’ve been writing gaming guides since 2005 and making narrated videos since 2008. When I started publishing my narrated videos in 2008, it was something that very few people were doing. Most PVP videos back then were instagib videos with music, not narrated commentary like my videos. Thankfully, there are many thousands of gamers who are cranking out videos and guides about upcoming games, so there is no lack of content on games
I am looking forward to WildStar. As with RIFT, I’ll be going into launch basically knowing very little about the game.
I leveled 3 classes to about 6-7 in WildStar (in order): Medic, Warrior, and Stalker. Right now I’m leaning towards Warrior or Stalker, as both classes are MDPS, and in PVP this means I’ll have the opportunity to circle-strafe keyboard turners and in PVE I’ll be able to tank, which has always been the PVE role I enjoy most.