Gamescom 2015: WildStar F2P beta is now live!

The announcement that WildStar developers Carbine Studios plan to make the MMO the latest addition to our ever-growing free-to-play piles happened a while ago now, and superfans have been waiting patiently since then to see how the transition would affect the game. The wait is officially over as the F2P version of WildStar is in closed beta right now. Players who have been granted access to the beta will now be able to see for themselves the changes that were presented to me by Product Director Mike Donatelli and Lead Designer Mike Barr during Gamescom. Stick with me to read more about the closed beta and the changes you can expect for the F2P version of WildStar, or if you prefer, check out the new trailer below.

First things first: You should probably get up to speed by watching the new teaser trailer so that we’re all on the same page!

Now that we’re all aboard the hype train together, let’s look at what we can expect from the upcoming F2P build of WildStar. The most fundamental change is that the game’s main world story commences much earlier with the introduction of the new Alpha Sanctum instance. The intention is to hold new players’ attention by increasing the emotional impact of WildStar by employing the use of an excellent narrative and creative gameplay within a unique environment.

Donatelli freely admitted that players have continually pointed out that the story introduction happened too late, and he said that players didn’t really start engaging with the main heart of the narrative until level 35, which isn’t great by any MMO standard, but would be especially damaging to a free-to-play game in which newbies have made no real financial or time commitment and can easily uninstall and walk away.

WS_2015-08_Pre-Tutorial_Zone_02

Immediately obvious to newbies who will play the game for the first time upon its F2P debut is the new starting tutorial instance. It has three specific settings that will tailor the experience to the experience and comfortability of the new player. I got to try out the middle-of-the-road tutorial option, dubbed “New to WildStar” after the presentation, and I found it laugh-out-loud funny and highly immersive and not at all patronising or pandering. Result!

It was exactly the kind of impactful storytelling that made me fall in love with the genre in the first place, so I was really very encouraged by how gripping I found the short tutorial. I definitely felt that there was enough enough context and instruction to get me started without leaving me feeling overburdened with the amount of information given. It eased me in gently but still managed to keep the action rolling so that it didn’t lose my attention.

WS_2015-08_General_02

I also got to tinker around with the new-and-improved character creation options, which now feature ever-so-shiny playstyle hints that spell out clearly what each choice made during creation will actually mean in-game. No more dropping a character, and perhaps the entire game, because the playstyle wasn’t to your liking and wasting all that playtime. I think all MMO players can get behind that! The descriptions are very punchy and give me just enough of a hint without totally spoiling the context before I set foot in the game world, so I was very impressed yet again with the balance that was struck between helping players make an informed decision and giving too much too soon and overwhelming people.

Lopp fortune-teller Madame Fay will help players to turn modest investments into fantastic all-new treasures that are ready and waiting to be discovered in the new random reward system called Madame Fay’s Fortunes. Quality of life improvements also feature heavily in the F2P build, and pretty soon you’ll be sprinting through cities without needing to stop for air. Navpoints are in to make objective tracking a doddle too, and daily login rewards will be of great benefit to regular players while they’ll also encourage newbies to keep on logging. This improvement list is just the beginning for the F2P build, with a full list that’s around a mile long shared on the official website for your perusal.

WS_2015-08_Dungeon_Boss

All of these features are very much still in development, and Donatelli was very eager to state that player feedback is absolutely crucial to a smooth F2P transition:

We can’t wait to have players get into beta and check out all the new content. Inviting plyers to test all these systems is key to our success. We’re looking to them to provide critical feedback that will enable us to launch free-to-play this fall. — Donatelli

The dedication of WildStar’s community despite a hard first year is a testament to their believe in Carbine Studios, and the team want to reward that dedication by introducing a loyalty scheme for the existing playerbase. Anyone who has subbed to the game, redeemed C.R.E.D.D., or purchased MTX items will earn loyalty points retroactively, which will be a big boost for veteran players. The points will be used to get some very cool new gear, pets, and items, to name just a few purchasables.

WS_2015-08_General_01

Those who have been enjoying the game since its launch will also receive more perks than I can say without taking a huge breath, not least of which being the Ikthian Crawler mount and four months of Signature service, which is a paid-for service that complements and enhances the free account type with a big raft of added perks that you can explore in the F2P FAQ. Don’t panic if you were there from launch but let your sub slip along the way: if you signed up again before June 15th and maintain a sub until the F2P release, you’re entitled to the same pile of goodies. If you missed launch but maintain an active sub until launch, you’ll get a smaller but no less cool bonus that includes the DJ Caretaker housing décor item, the Disco Snoglug companion pet, the new housing music track, four months of Signature service, and the “Nexus Loyalist” title.

I was glad to see that some sort of reward was put in place for the people who have supported the game with their hard-earned subscriptions, especially since those players have given a phenomenal amount of feedback to Carbine in order to make the F2P launch successful and ultimately to create the product that they dream of. MMOs are always better with company, so it’s in fans’ best interests to make their voices heard whenever a dev team calls for it. The WildStar community has gone above and beyond with this opportunity to change the game for the better, however, and that’s exactly why Carbine wanted to announce F2P long before it was ready to be implemented.

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Between the new loyalty scheme and the sizable revamp of so many features (definitely check out the full list on the official WildStar forum because I’ve only just scratched the surface), I’m sure many of you are rather curious and wouldn’t mind signing up for future beta access. You can do so at the game’s website by clicking the relevant beta sign-up button. I’m more than a little curious myself after I lost myself in the opening scenes and tutorial during Gamescom, and I’d love to hear your feedback on the beta if you’re playing yourself. Whatever you think, I know that Carbine Studios really wants to hear it, so don’t forget to give your feedback. Let me know in the comments too!

Oh, and I’ll leave you with a nice little gallery of juicy new screenshots to tide you over!

Massively Overpowered was on the ground in Cologne, Germany, for Gamescom 2015, bringing you expert MMO coverage from NCsoft, Blizzard, CCP, BioWare, and everything else on display at the world’s biggest gaming convention!
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69 Comments on "Gamescom 2015: WildStar F2P beta is now live!"

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Dread1313
Guest
Dread1313

Koshelkin Yeah they should reword it to “Wildstar F2P Beta Active (or underway or started)” putting beta and live in the same sentence kind of an oxymoron. :D

Dread1313
Guest
Dread1313

Jacobin Wat? PVP dungeons keying and raiding sucks? Might as well not play any MMO then and go back to pokemans, cause you just basically said 95% of what is done in 99% of MMOs sucks. You kinda feel like a troll. Just saiyan.

Edany (AmberACurtis)
Guest
Edany (AmberACurtis)

josefreaksalem I waited to jump in and try it because of all the “WoW Clone” complaints, more of the same, etc. etc. – when I did try it, I was really surprised by how much I actually enjoyed it. The only problem was that it was too late – I waited too long, and by the time I jumped in there wasn’t anyone left to play it with.

That, and the realization that there was nothing left to do after max level other than grind PvE dungeons. If they had had something more at end game, I would have stuck with this for the long haul. Now that it’s going F2P, I will most definitely be going back.

Ardid
Guest
Ardid

Very interesting. Without the absurd fee model bothering anymore, I’m going to try it as soon as it releases.

samruck
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samruck

Pay model didn’t keep me away from it and sure won’t bering me back if they change it.

voydd
Guest
voydd

josefreaksalem Main reason was high difficulty. This game was very hard to play, especially dungeons and end game.

josefreaksalem
Guest
josefreaksalem

I’ll probably check this out once the official release goes live and see why most people hated it. I’m guessing it’s because of the collection quests, severe grinding, bots, boring pvp, a theme park with a slightly different skin? How’s the background music?

DasBenty
Guest
DasBenty

Played around a bit with it tonight. Were they working on the performance? It seems like its a lot smoother when I’m running around. 

The store looks to be a lot like the GW2 store with the same type of items. The one weird thing is the Madame Fay mystic thing, plop in some coins and up pops three cards that look like they were copied from Hearthstone, click a card to turn it over and see what you got. After dumping a bunch in there I ended up with six guards for housing, a spiffy pet(they do have the best pets in this game) some free omnibits or whatever they’re called, some dye packs and a couple pieces to some rare costumes.

Joseph C
Guest
Joseph C

Jacobin Telos_ This act of pretending that P2P is a huge positive is just sad. P2P is
associated with failure and/or greed. The quest grind is ramped up so you’ll continue your subscription and
housing is decent if you like instanced stuff, and the rest of the game
is garbage – pvp, dungeons, keying, raiding sucks. You have lock outs on gearing up weekly that force you to keep your sub active for months on end just to see any loot.

Add to the fact you’ve already bought the game, and they’re extorting a fee out of you monthly just to access a game you already paid for in the first place, and it becomes pretty clear what’s actually going on.

You see? Your statement can be easily flipped. There are negatives to both F2P and P2P. I consider demanding money for access to something I already bought to be absolutely insane, thus, I do not partake. As for F2P, a lot of them are grabby at your wallet, yes, and it’s why I’ve come to prefer B2P, though B2P doesn’t equal a solid experience as well.

The most we can do is vote with our wallets. Support the good F2P games and burn the ones that are terrible cash grabs by giving them nothing.

Vagrant Zero
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Vagrant Zero

PurpleCopper  Why do people pretend they don’t like the person they have a crush on?

Smiggins
Guest
Smiggins

Ill just be back here with my bag of popcorn.

Wildstar, best game ever.

Smiggins
Guest
Smiggins

BrianSleider SenshiruK Bannex19  Bingo. Sounds like Archeage had a more progressive character mechanic than Wildstar.

dionm01
Guest
dionm01

dragonwhimsy dionm01 Hello Dragon

I just wanted to say I agree with you and your comment and it sad that Blizzard is going in this direction.  I thought I was kinda funny however, that you echoed near exactly what I said back on the 7th of August a few days ago in a video comment to Bree that she aired a couple episodes ago on the Massively OP Podcast.  For your listening enjoyment, here’s what I said in the video https://youtu.be/1qZ69uGTrRA.  Enjoy, isn’t it amazing how great minds all think alike.
Dion Markgraf
AKA: Dionsol

PurpleCopper
Guest
PurpleCopper

Why do developers pretend that their MMO games will never go F2P?

Higgens
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Higgens

Arthwyndar BrianSleider RyanMahaffey Yeh I know, thats why I was thinking “fuck it” entirely.

Higgens
Guest
Higgens

SenshiruK BrianSleider Bannex19 Why do we need classes at all? Why should we chain a player to a choice made when they may have no idea about the game?

Lets have a pool of skills that the player chooses. Letting them build the class they want. Limit certain combos for balance. But if you wanted to build a stealth, off healer who also cast dots, you could. Class systems are lame because there really isnt a lot of variety.

dragonwhimsy
Guest
dragonwhimsy

dionm01 WoW has already lost half it’s player base. The only result is that Blizzard puts more focus on games like Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch. It is obvious Blizzard has abandoned MMO’s when they gave up on Titan and now will just ride WoW into it’s sunset while it builds up it’s newer, highly profitable, but less resource intensive games.

KirkSteadman
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KirkSteadman

Jacobin Telos_ It’s a NCSOFT game and they have a pretty good track record with cash shops IMO

Jacobin
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Jacobin

Telos_ Jacobin That’s a bold statement considering you don’t know whats in the cash shop. If they following the SWTOR model they will just nerf quality of life / general game experience and annoy you into paying for a sub anyways.

KirkSteadman
Guest
KirkSteadman

Can’t wait to jump back in, probably gonna roll an esper on dominion side.

Telos_
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Telos_

Jacobin
I disagree.  F2P gives more choices.  Subscriptions do not.
F2P gives the same amount of content that subscriptions do, and in some titles, even more content.

Arthwyndar
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Arthwyndar

BrianSleider Arthwyndar RyanMahaffey Oh man, that would be terrible.

ColdinT
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ColdinT

Belcross Most of the new stuff won’t be anything that big at low levels. Faster leveling, shorter tutorial. Basically stuff you could see within a half hour.  The new Drusera instance will be available for all levels, so no need to worry about missing that.

SenshiruK
Guest
SenshiruK

BrianSleider Bannex19  Not that I believe you don’t have valid points, but I am curious if you have any ideas for other class types.  Seriously just wondering, I love having a huge choice of classes to choose from, but in the end most will fall into the typical “Trinity”.

The last time I felt there was a lot of different classes/playstyle was in Anarchy Online, but I am sure there are other examples.

SkyyDragonn
Guest
SkyyDragonn

You really haven’t been paying attention to EVE In a long while have you?

MorpayneRADIO
Guest
MorpayneRADIO

Won’t happen. Blizzard, like CCP, have gone full on diva and refuse to listen to their playerbase or popular gaming site comment sections. Two places that are extremely important imho.
Any and all critisim and suggestions are ignored with a “father knows best” mentality. Let them crash and burn.

Belcross
Guest
Belcross

I want to resume my warrior alt I left around lvl 35 but I want to see all the new stuff early on. Hmmmmm. Choices.

Higgens
Guest
Higgens

Arthwyndar BrianSleider RyanMahaffey Ohhh, They I had been reading it was that you get gear chests that require a key. So like all the 5 man gear needed a store key. So thats good.

Arthwyndar
Guest
Arthwyndar

BrianSleider RyanMahaffey Progression gear isn’t locked behind store keys. Store keys, (which you can buy with omnibits, the in-game currency) give you access to an extra chest at the end of a dungeon. That chest doesn’t have better stuff in it either, just another shot at something already available inside that dungeon.

Dystopiq
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Dystopiq

OK, bye.

ColdinT
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ColdinT

Koshelkin Soon(tm).  Based on this, I’m guessing we’ll see Wildstar F2P sometime in September, October at the latest.

ColdinT
Guest
ColdinT

Lights_andMusic Bannex19 RyanMahaffey BrianSleider Funny, I was never a big fan of Neverwinter’s combat or character building, though I did like TERA.

Higgens
Guest
Higgens

RyanMahaffey BrianSleider I said the combat gets old fast while lvling. In a raid/pvp situation its probably very good. However, I first need to slog through 49 lvls of boring.
Races fit the same molds every mmo has, humans, monsters, shortys, elfy types. Classes are the same too. 
I got to lvl 15 on an engineer, and am working on a stalker @ lvl 6. If a game cannot grab me in the early levels why am I going to bore through to the supposed fun stuff at the end? 

I still plan to get in and play more. Try out some pvp or an instance. 

Though with progression gear being gated behind store keys I may not even bother.

Higgens
Guest
Higgens

Bannex19 We got some humans, some shortys, some elfy types, Some monster types. Yep so does every game. 
Classes, You got a warrior, a mage, a couple heal classes, a pet class, and a stealth class. Yep breaking the mold there. 

Its not a BAD game, its just nothing special.

ItsatrapLOL
Guest
ItsatrapLOL

Bannex19 Truth: Polishing a turd doesn’t make it into something else.

dionm01
Guest
dionm01

As I said in the past, I will give the game a shot once Free to Play happens and all the dust has settled.  I hope the game turns out really well, and hell once they get home from work today I’ll sign up for the beta just for the hell of it, and see if I get it or not.  Don’t expect to by the way, but that’s OK.  
I hope the game turns out really well, because I have a hidden agenda, games like this along with others need to steal market share away from Blizzard Entertainment to kick Blizzard Entertainment in the butt to start to produce the quality that they used to do.
Sorry! I’ll stop now, I’m slipping into a WOW rant in which we are talking about Wild Star.  Best of luck to Wild Star hope it does well and has a better system than Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I updated my client for SWTOR, logged in for about 5 minutes and said NAAAA! logged right back out.  Gates suck in that game, and that’s why I have lost interest.
Hopefully Wild Star will do better, but I will have to wait and see.  Oh that reminds me, does anybody know what classe &  spec to play that would be as close to as possible to a Warlock in WOW, thanks for let me know.

Dion Markgraf
AKA: Dionsol
Disillusioned level 100 Undead Warlock
Terokkar US

Jacobin
Guest
Jacobin

This act of pretending that F2P is a huge positive is just sad. F2P is associated with failure and/or greed. The quest grind is fine and housing is decent if you like instanced stuff, but the rest of the game is garbage – pvp, dungeons, keying, raiding sucks.

Lights_andMusic
Guest
Lights_andMusic

Bannex19 RyanMahaffey BrianSleider  The combat was unique.  The questing, story, and non-existent PvP, was not. The combat was better than most tab-target MMOs but not as good as other action-combat MMOs like Tera and Neverwinter (IMO), but that’s pretty much it.  Housing is awesome too.  Otherwise, it just wasn’t that inspiring or engaging of a game – maybe things will have changed by the time F2P comes out, but I already gave it one shot, so I’ll probably pass on trying it again.

Oh, and I played in beta through to 50, just to clarify.

Bannex19
Guest
Bannex19

Yeah there are TONS of games out there like Wildstar. When I’m playing my Chua medic I’m like damn he is exactly like…. Wait come to think of it I can’t come up with anything that compares to it. Seriously, couldn’t they come up with races not every other game has like undead plagued space aliens or cybernetic robots of death.
I hear ya man what uninspired crap, better go back to WoWXIV where originality is just pouring out of the tab targeting 2 sec gcds.

Bannex19
Guest
Bannex19

Says badass but not hellfire?
Humans…

Bannex19
Guest
Bannex19

You’ve been against it since the beginning? Sounds like a terrible use of energy and time.

RyanMahaffey
Guest
RyanMahaffey

BrianSleider Races are the most unique I have ever seen in an mmo, same with classes, and I can say you are in the minority about disliking the combat. But hey, it is just your opinion

(*COUGH COUGH probably got like lvl 3 COUGH COUGH*) What?

Bunzi
Guest
Bunzi

Sounds like a lot of people are getting on that “strong narrative” train ever since FFXIV proved successful with it.

ColdinT
Guest
ColdinT

deekay_zero ColdinT Not really gated by my understanding. You can still run the dungeons and get all the normal loot. Just at the end of the dungeon there will be a lockbox to open that offers a second chance at some of the loot available.

MorpayneRADIO
Guest
MorpayneRADIO

Won’t matter how much you drop into those boxes. I use an action combat addon and play the game as an fps, making me a god against most people. You’ll need some real skill to kill people who know what they’re doing.

Ghostmourn
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Ghostmourn

Cant wait for FTP release :D

Satyros
Guest
Satyros

I am positive towards giving Wildstar a shot. And that says a lot, coming from someone who has been against this game since the beginning. The first pitfall on their way now is moving from “HARDCORE OMFG” to Black Desert in difficulty. If they hit some balance (the bell curve of difficulty that WoW has been maintaining), they will make a strong comeback.

MatthewRiddle
Guest
MatthewRiddle

Not really interested in the beta. Let me know when F2P actually releases.

ColdinT
Guest
ColdinT

Neighborhoods are likely not coming until the month or so after F2P, since they are a big addition. And I’m guessing Madame Fay’s rewards will shift over time.

danielwhitcomb
Guest
danielwhitcomb

Man. That trailer is badass as heckfire. Reminds me why I want this game to succeed so bad.

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