Not so wild about WildStar

WildStar’s promising players the moon, but are gamers just star-struck? I know I personally wasn’t paying too much attention to the game until the recent video about paths. I’m not against the graphics, I think themeparks can be fun, and I’ve put up with PvE vs. PvP stats for about a decade and a half, so what’s another year? But… well, I just keep getting the feeling that there’s a lot of hype and no substance. The path video and the scientist path hands-on preview got me excited though. No longer were these empty promises! Someone had seen some of them first-hand! But maybe this was my downfall.

For those who don’t know, E3 isn’t about playing any game you want any way you want. Sometimes devs just bring the live game and let you have at it, but I find that often these games don’t have a lot of announcements to make and are mainly there to let… ah, “less informed” gaming journalists see the game. No, instead, you often have a developer leading you on a very strict path, if you’re even allowed to play the game. Maybe they release you with a premade character into a specific dungeon that “ends” when the boss dies. Or, as with my hands on with Wildstar, you might be restricted to a few class/paths and have to do the newbie experience.

Now, this can be good, especially with players who don’t know MMOs well. I had a young woman standing next to me who didn’t know a MOB from a muppet, and the idea of a map that shows you where your quest takes place is a feature just for her. That’s fine! It’s good to teach people how to play your game. The problem for me was that I know a bit about WildStar. I know who the Dominion are, I know there are two races we haven’t learned about, and I haven’t heard about a full hands-on with the settler yet. I was sadly stuck with known races, classes, and paths.

First, played a Cassian spellslinger that followed the explorer path. I was put on a planet and given the usual assortment of MMO stuff. I’ll be blunt: I thought I was playing World of Warcraft with Guild Wars 2′s combat with bad controls. There, I said it. I don’t mind WoW’s graphics or humor, and I’m sure the yellow exclamation marks will help themepark veterans orient themselves, but as a seasoned MMOer, I was a bit let down. I had the usual speak/click/kill/collect type quests, and it was just not something I was able to get into. I was literally doing this in at least five other games today. I did appreciate the combat, but not the controls, and being unable to remap keys during the demo probably added to my frustration.

More on that later, though. My spellslinger had style. She shot guns to cast spells, so that was fun to watch. If things got too hairy, I could teleport away, which stunned my enemies. Heck, just for fun, I double-jumped off buildings and teleported in mid-air. It was just cool to do. But I run around and kill things in almost every game. I’ve been a newbie a million times. I wanted to see something new, so I decided I’d stop doing quests from NPCs and try the “path” thing out.

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