WildStar - Introduction
WildStar is two years old now, but it’s fresh again thanks to its free-to-play conversion and shift to the freemium model. The game is now completely free-to-play with some optional services for purchase, along with a rather reasonable subscription model that makes the game easier to play and the content faster to move through, but is completely optional for most activities in the game.
Set out in space on the planet Nexus, it features two factions, The Exiles, and The Dominion, fighting to uncover the technology from the lost planet. WildStar Reloaded has a number of improvements, including a revamped tutorial, more than a year of updates, and of course it’s now free for life, no box copy required.
We’ll be taking a dive back into the world of Nexus to see if this is a valid avenue for you and your friends to explore and how the new payment model impacts gameplay.
WildStar - Positive Marks
WildStar is a very fun game. At launch, it consumed large swaths of my time and the only reason I quit playing was that everyone I knew had quit, due to various PvP concerns with the arenas. Now, after launch, it’s something that I can return to and have fun with. Leveling new characters or participating in PvP on my time, without worrying about a subscription or having enough CREDS in my inventory to make it through the next month.
In addition to the fact you can login without having to pay, there is a lot of depth to their currency system. It’s not a simple here to there system – nay, it’s a bit more deep than that. There isn’t much agency to pay unless you’re going to be doing high level content and even then, they don’t really force you to. There isn’t a paywall that you’re going to run into. Not only is the daily login rewards rather generous, but there is plentiful alternatives as well. The Omnibits system, while a little slow, will let you purchase nearly everything in the shop itself.
So frugal players who don’t want to support the developer at all while playing will find their game experience to be beyond acceptable, I dare even would say, rather great. It’s probably one of the more lenient free-to-play experiences out there – never stopping you while playing to remind you that money makes life easier. Instead, they sit on the corner on a hot day, offering to sell you lemon-aid, with free samples and all the water you could drink, if you just want to be hydrated.
Potions? Who needs them, when they run XP weekend events as well, meaning that there isn’t some hardcore grind where you need lemon-aid to make it to the end, instead, they’d gladly offer a lift to bring you along.
None of this matters unless the game is solid and of course it is. Nothing much has changed with what made WildStar so magical, except the barriers of entry into raiding are nowhere near what they were and PvP is far more balanced now. WildStar features, to me, the best action MMO combat out there. Yes, you don’t line up the strike of the sword with the player, instead of using telegrams on the floor, but it’s so satisfying and makes for nearly fatigueless gameplay. You don’t have to struggle to aim heals like in some games, instead aiming your character in their general direction.
The combat is just so fun, that for nothing else in the game, you could just fight enemies day in and day out and just enjoy the experience. The rest of the game has plenty going on with it, from the PvP which features well over a year of updates to raiding, dungeons, and more. Before, this wouldn't been acceptable as you were paying for the pleasure, but with the free-to-play experience you can farm enemies all day long with the super satisfying combat.
WildStar - Average or Neutral Marks
I don’t have much to say that isn’t good or bad in one direction or the other, but I will say that WildStar’s funniest time is leveling up and the battlegrounds for me. I haven’t gotten a lot of raid experience with the game, but just the general combat is a big motivator for why I play WildStar.
The game’s graphics, I guess I should touch on. Featuring a bit of a cartoony style, they are becoming more dated, but they’ve got some buffer against “looking old” as things are drawn rather colorfully and you won’t see too many harsh polygons exploding against your eyes.
WildStar - Below Average or Negative Marks
One of the hard things about sticking with WildStar is that at the endgame, you need others to play with you to get any enjoyment out of the game and unless you find a solid group to run with or constantly seek out world boss groups, you’ll be stuck grinding battlegrounds over and over again. That’s not a bad thing, in anyway, but it’s notable because you’ll need to either choose raiding or arenas as your endgame activity and that’s about the only two things to go and do. There is lots of endgame solo content, in the form of dailies and various zones to play in, but ultimately it’ll boil to needing to be social as the endgame is mostly group content. That’s not a bad thing, per se, but there isn’t anything wrong with WildStar. It’s a great game, so there isn’t much bad to touch on really.
The free-to-play transition did add in a lot of things you’ll want to buy or need to buy at the endgame. You can earn them and it’s actually not very painful, but that mechanic does exist and does sneak in with the rune system. Rerolling rune slots required buying items over and over, if I remember correctly, but now you can reroll the rune slots. For power gamers, this is a big money sink. You can use omnibits to reroll them, but, it’s one of those gotcha things. You can raid, do anything, PvP, etc. without doing it mind you – it’s not a wall. There isn’t some rune reroll wall, but, it’s a negative to point out.
The game has aged and other games have quickly outpaced some of the dated mechanics. This is just a realistic truth, but should no way detract from how fun the game can be.
Yeah I’m wracking my brain, outside of elder content grind and the rune thing, there isn’t anything that offends me or even makes me upset – WildStar is hype and WildStar Reloaded transforms a hype game into a hyper game.
Conclusion and Final Score
In conclusion, there is no harm in trying WildStar - even if you don't want to do endgame content, leveling up is an amazing experience. If you love video games, of any kind, WildStar offers something for you and you’ll likely find your time in Nexus to be enjoyable. Without a subscription, you can enjoy the content at your pace and without paywalls, you can move throughout the game and enjoy almost everything it has to offer without spending a dime, although if you stick around I’d highly suggest supporting the developers and looking at some of the cool things offered.
I enjoyed WildStar a ton when it launched, the only thing that made me stop playing was that there wasn’t anyone to play with, but now with servers overloaded with players, especially on the PvE realms, there isn’t much reason not to hop in – so while I give this a 9.0, I’d easily argue that is sufficient enough for you to go out and download this now and see what you think yourself – I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.