Things move quickly sometimes. After the WildStar beta, a lot of BTers — myself included — concluded that we didn’t particularly care for that game and probably wouldn’t pick it up when it was released. Raids were still being planned for once a week (though without much enthusiasm) and we braced ourselves for the upcoming Summer of Suck.
Then right before the WildStar headstart, a bunch of us — again, myself included — picked up the game and ended up enjoying it way more than we expected. Suddenly raids were cancelled one after another and no one was particularly choked up about it. The guild, nearly as a whole, just shifted to a new game and dug in to the leveling process.
As for myself, I went with the engineer/explorer combo that I enjoyed in the open beta. Unlike open beta, though, I am fully leveling as DPS and haven’t decided whether I particularly care to jump to tanking. I’m enjoying the idea of just being another face-in-the-crowd DPS and not having to worry about having to tank for a party of ingrates. Then again, I’ve only twice done content with random groups, so I’m not exactly avoiding a great burden here.
Anyway, I’m having a great time with the game, and I’m doing my best to keep my expectations low. This is a dalliance, a flirtation. After all: the wound left by my affair with SWTOR still hasn’t healed, and frankly I’m not sure if I can bring myself to love another other-MMO in the same way. I’m definitely not going to “invest” in WildStar in any specific way (for example, starting a new blog — just no) and I’m not sure I’ll do anything in there other than some casual endgame stuff.
I’m still saving myself for WoW. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
With raiding on indefinite hiatus, I have zero things to do in WoW. In addition, money isn’t exactly free-flowing and opportunities for scrimping here and there isn’t a terrible thing. So last night I decided to check and see when my WoW subscription was up for renewal. I opted for the 6-month recurring plan to save a few bucks, and I figured if it was renewing soon I could cut it off at the pass and save some dough to justify (well, rationalize) my splurge on WildStar.
As you can see, I caught it just in the nick of time! Four days before I was going to be charged again, what luck.
This is actually the first time in recent memory I have cancelled WoW. I’m not sure I even cancelled my subscription back in my post-Cataclysm break. And I wasn’t sure back then that I’d ever come back.
On top of all this, I received an email on Monday night that I was invited to the Warlords Alpha and it was just so sad. I really can’t imagine what would get me in Draenor right now at this moment, so that invite was totally wasted on me.
I’m telling myself, fervently, that I’ll be back for the actual release of Warlords — whenever the hell that is — but this is a well deserved break and I intend to make the most of it. Even better: with raiding on hiatus, it’s a guilt-free break to boot. That’s quite a rare thing.
I’ll just be over here recharging the batteries, must like I did after Cataclysm, writing little posts here and there as things move along. And I’ll be saving $13 a month while I do it.
So what’s so great about WildStar?
Let’s finish this post on a happy note and talk about what’s so attractive about this diversion so far.
Above all: the game is so fresh.
They do so much differently that, even dissatisfied as I was with the open beta, I truly missed some of those mechanics when I was in WoW the week afterwards. Combat is so frenetic with the telegraph system and the emphasis on mobility, I love it. Whenever I’m in combat (especially boss fights!) I’m zipping around, rolling from side to side, dashing out of some big hurt about to come crashing down, lining up my attacks, and taking care to not stay too long in one place. It’s a huge change of pace from WoW’s combat in a very fundamental way and it makes going back to WoW’s combat feel like going back to dial-up after trying broadband.
I’m also really excited about how much the WildStar devs have embraced customization in their game. You can customize so much of what you experience. All armor can be dyed in various ways which blows transmog out of the water in terms of personalizing your character from head to toe. You can even bolt flexing biceps onto your mount’s head. And the housing — the housing!
I’m not a terribly creative person, so I haven’t really gotten deeply into shaping and molding my character’s housing plot but others have really taken the concept and run with it. (Also, I’m really cheap and don’t want to spend all my meager savings on crates and sconces.) Nonetheless, I can make up for that by visiting the housing plots of people on on my Neighbors list and living vicariously through them. For example, I can visit this monstrosity that Rades created:
I imagine that what Rades has created must be the Hell of some sapient race that exists out there in the infinite void of the WildStar universe.
I should probably step back and temper my enthusiasm a tad now, lest you think I am gushing. Obviously the game isn’t the second coming or anything; it’s still an MMO, and in some way a derivative one to boot. When I was stalled in the beta, it was mostly because the questing was too boring for me to want to invest significant time in when a beta wipe was coming. I was told that the questing game changes noticeably after level 15 and gets far more interesting.
Now I’m not 100% sure that’s true, being up to level 21 at this point and still finding myself having to wade through a heaping helping of boilerplate quests that involve killing predetermined quantities of x’s and collecting plenty of y’s. I’ve mostly made my peace with it, but even challenges aren’t enough to make questing some amazing experience.
There are sparkling flashes of innovative here and there — the shiphand missions for example — but overall the leveling is pretty much same old-same old as far as I’m concerned. Maybe it gets even better at even higher levels. But all in all if that’s my primary gameplay complaint, then I have it pretty good thus far. (Aside from the bugs. So many bugs right now.)
Anyway, I can think of worst ways to spend my summer than a whole new adventure with my friends in a whole new game. This will do nicely for the time being.