Warlords of Draenor launched yesterday and as you might expect, swathes of massively multiplayer fans have flocked to the game to see what all the fuss is about. Here at Tower Hammer almost every single member of staff is up to their eyeballs in the game. What does that spell for WildStar? Probably nothing good. The latest earnings report from NCSoft show that the game had revenue of around 16 billion won, which is around 15 million US dollars. Over a three month period that equates to around 5 million dollars or roughly 350,000 subscribers. The only caveat to that is the fact that the revenue stream doesn’t differentiate box sales or CREDD purchases. With 440,000 box sales in the second and third quarter but considering the game crashed from around 40 full servers a few days after launch to 15 that were marked as “High” population, we might only be looking at around 100,000 active subscribers, with the rest of the revenue earned from CREDD and subscriptions. Either way, these results are not good for WildStar. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a considerable amount of money to be earning but in comparison to the likes of Guild Wars 2 or even Lineage (which is forever old!) WildStar is doing very badly.
The answer for many players to WildStar’s woes is the release of the Defile update and while I’ve been playing it the last few days, I’m not yet ready to reveal my thoughts on it. What I will say, certainly from the early sessions I’ve had many months ago on the test realms and with the recent developer session, is that it doesn’t bode well. Even after playing the patch I still have no desire to continue playing because although there are swathes of improvements (140 pages worth!) they don’t change many of the core mechanics or systems. Fundamentally, though, there’s still swathes and swathes of bugs introduced in this patch that I know I reported months ago. It’s honestly inexcusable. Here are some of them.
To say these are errors from day one of The Defile and considering the testing period, I’m honestly lost for words. I’m still going to plough through the patch and attempt to establish the good underneath, but it isn’t a good start and it further undermines Carbine’s attempts to improve their Q&A. If anything, I’d say it has gotten worse simply because the time period has increased with no discernable improvements: that’s never a good thing when you’re trying to turn around your fortunes.
Coming back to Warlords of Draenor, yesterday Carbine announced that it was slashing the price of its game by 33%. The price of the box is now $39.99 for the standard edition and $50.00 for the Deluxe. At $10.00 cheaper than Draenor there’d be an argument that WildStar is worth buying: it has a newer engine and a far more active combat system. To play devils advocate however, at only $10.00 cheaper than Draenor and still requiring a subscription the quality on offer in World of Warcraft eclipses WildStar by a huge margin. To also spell out the obvious when it comes to cost, by purchasing Draenor you might not be getting a game with the newest of combat systems but what you are getting is wealth of content:
- Level cap raised to 100
- Boost to level 90 (one boost per expansion purchased)
- New version of an old world — Draenor
- Updated player character models and improved models in general
- Build and upgrade your own Garrison (character specific housing and more)
- Account-wide heirlooms, 'toys', and probably tabards will not take bag space
- Class-specific perks
- 11 new zones (3 of which are PvP)
- 2 new capital cities
Best of all, previous expansion packs are now super cheap (you can pick Mists of Panderia up for as little as $10 or everything before Draenor for $19.99) and offer an eye watering amount of content. Considering WildStar’s questing system is a replica of World of Warcrafts, with Blizzard still doing it better, I’m struggling to recommend WildStar. Unless you have a specific love of Sci-Fi and irrational loathing of Blizzard, Draenor is unquestionably a good buy. Its Garrison system alone is brilliant and while I think there’s more flexibility in what WildStar’s housing offers, Garrison’s are larger in scale and remind me fondly of Skies of Arcadia’s housing system: that’s a good thing.
Draenor isn’t bug free and there are pages of issues, the key difference however is that players have faith that Blizzard will fix them. Blizzard are well known for delivering a polished product and Draenor is no different. There might be server stability issues, lag and a variety of crashes caused by launch day but that’s only because millions of players are flooding back to the game. Those millions are flooding back in because the genre offers little in the way of quality and polished competition.
So would I recommend you buy WildStar now the price has been cut? Honestly, no. It still has a long way to go before it’s anywhere close to where it needs to be. It might have awesome combat, housing and dungeons but that’s not really enough to justify the price tag. It’s highly probable that after you’ve spent your $40 that you’ll struggle to get through the first 20 levels. If need be and if you don’t currently have the money, I’d save for another few weeks to spend the extra money on Draenor. Even if you’ve never played World of Warcraft or have taken a long term break, the level boost to 90 will put you level with everyone else, should you want it.