Today we're going to compare apples to oranges by comparing The Elder Scrolls Online to Wildstar. This comparison is going to be rough, because they're fundamentally two different forks in the MMO path. One takes the standard MMO formula and adds in exploration and a hardcore RvR system. The other sticks heavily to the MMO formula, but adds in wacky humor, a crazy zany PvP system, and iterates heavily on raiding to make it and the endgame a central focus.
If you don't know which is which, ESO is the first example and WS is the second. Here are the main contrasts between the two games. ESO is very traditional, it sticks very much to this professional "this is an MMO and we're taking this MMO very seriously" attitude in everything that it does. From the skills, to the U.I., to the gameplay, everything is extremely serious.
ESO is drastically different than WildStar.
WS on the other hand takes nothing serious. PvP involves being a 40-man team, building a sky fortress, and throwing the sky fortress down on the ground to try to overtake another 40-man team's sky fortress, while keeping yours defended. The entire quest line is one zany joke after another while the entire game looks like a Pixar movie.
ESO on the other hand is very strict in the approach to questing, no two quests are alike (well, they don't have the exact same steps). The world is full of surprises, random NPCs could approach you any second and be like yo, I need help with something. You have to explore, actually, the majority of the world to uncover the quests.
WS has breadcrumbs for everyone. Lots of quests and lots of direction pointing.
Now this is interesting - your class isn't what your role is, but your skills are in ESO. In WS, your class is part of the trinity of healer, tank, and DPS. As such, you sort of kind of have to conform to those roles. ESO goes for a more fluid class system, where essentially your class is just three specific skill trees that you have access too, while it uses a more GW2 like approach to weapons (very light comparison) where you can equip any weapon and use its skills.
Lorewise they're both drastically different. ESO has a tome full of lore and background and carefully researched stories from the games and the entire Elder Scrolls universe. WS on the other hand is your usual arbitrary go over here and do this because reasons!
ESO is drastically different from WildStar in so many ways that I can't honestly see anything very similar between the two. They appeal to two completely different audiences. ESO appeals to players who want a very solid, heavy experience that's very serious and features a lot of depth to its combat system.
WildStar appeals to players who want a very fast paced action oriented combat, lots of zany fun, and a crazy sci-fi world with hoverboards. We're basically comparing a fine steakhouse to a Gastropub. Both of them are about the same price, but one is very formal and the other is business casual.
Which one is better though? Well, I can't tell you. For a lot of games, I can tell you the superior product (at least in my opinion), but for ESO and WS I've found that most people have completely different views and either like one or the other.
That's just simply because they're so different. Just so drastically different from one another that it's hard to find a lot of overlap. I mean, they have quests and movement controls, but they also are so unique in so many ways not only from each other, but the industry.
It's almost as if they decided to fork the industry. ESO went down the path of innovating the formula and trying new mechanics in a very streamlined MMO shell while WildStar iterated on the standard post-WoW MMO concept to create an entirely new beast - something familiar, but drastically different. Essentially taking the formula and trying to inject some fun into it, which is much needed.
I'm enjoying both games, to be honest, and I can't say which one will be my preferred one yet. I need to get a lot more hands on time with WildStar for me to give a definitive opinion about it, but as it stands, lets break this down:
Play ESO if…
- You like lore.
- You like exploration.
- You like generic fantasy to the point you Lord of the Rings daily.
- You're a huge fan of a semi-classless system.
- You love fiddling with skill points and using different skills with different weapons.
- You want to find NPCs to talk to you and give you quests while wandering around.
- You don't like fast horses.
- You want an MMO that's different, but very much an MMO.
- You hate auction houses.
- You hate breadcrumbs.
- You love pretty realistic graphics.
- You really want to toy with how your character looks.
- Three factions sounds awesome.
- You played 4000 hours of Skyrim and want to take a quick 80 hour break.
- You want to.
Play WildStar if…
- You snicker at everyone's jokes.
- You love questing and breadcrumbs.
- Milan's Fashion Week has nothing on the hair styles you think characters should have.
- Two factions are better than three.
- You want to PvP by throwing your pseudo guild housing down and challenging someone.
- You want super cartoony graphics.
- You want to get ground floor on one of the first super successful sci-fi MMOs (this is conjecture).
- You're not big on lore, but big on sillyness.
- Making buff stations sounds awesome because everyone will love you for it.
- You want to.