Many WildStar fans, past and present, are digging into the sumptuous buffet of the free-to-play patch on the test server for a better idea of what to expect when the transition hits this fall. Light Falls Gracefully’s Mercury has a lengthy writeup of her observations and experiences approaching the game from the perspective of a new player.
Her conclusion? It’s looking promising so far: “Based on the first 10 levels of the free-to-play PTR beta, I like what I’m seeing in terms of the way new players are being treated. Keep it up and we’ll still be playing WildStar years from now.”
Former World of Warcraft player Bhagpuss has a lot to say about his feelings surrounding the expansion announcement but not so much about Legion itself (which you might ascertain from his headline there). Like most prior players, he’s evaluating whether or not this news is enough to pull him back in. The verdict? Perhaps.
“On that basis, with a whole new archipelago and ten more levels, if WoW was my game I’d be signed up for Legion right now, even despite the odious addition of the single upgradeable weapon, a mechanic I loathe with a passion. If, that is, I didn’t already have three-and-a-half WoW expansions to go through first.”
Never had a chance to play Asheron’s Call, nevermind get into the game’s PvP scene? Not to worry, as Mylex has you covered with a fascinating post sharing the “complex geopolitical hurricane” of the MMO’s Darktide server.
“Unlike the other servers, Darktide was unique,” Mylex writes. “It was 100% PVP, 100% of the time. No housing, no safe zones, no NPC guards. If you died then the guy that killed you took your best gear from your corpse. Cheating and hacking was rife and progress in the game was achieved through grinding in dungeons, meaning if you wanted to level you joined a ‘Monarchy,’ got some mates, got tooled up and went to fight for it. […] It was the best game I have ever played and that had nothing to do with the gameplay.”
Thoughtful, constructive posts about MMO failings can be crucial to understanding fatal flaws that developers are overlooking and to fashion future games that can overcome these issues.
Fedalas presents several arguments as to why, despite his trust in Trion, he couldn’t get into ArcheAge: “I’ve always felt Trion is generous in what it offers free players in its other games. Free players in RIFT, Defiance, or Trove can enjoy every activity on an equal footing with patron subscribers. But in ArcheAge, this simply isn’t possible due to the limited availability of plots for housing and farms. Free players can’t own land, which instantly demotes them to second-class citizens. Instead of rewarding patrons, free players feel punished. It’s an unavoidable consequence of the game’s design.”
Hellgate: London. Now there’s a game name that is guaranteed to stir up all sorts of grousing and unkind words regarding its development history. Yet Zyngor wants to remind us that there’s actually an interesting and somewhat fun game at the center of it, one that’s still playable in parts of the world.
“The game may have its share of existing bugs and quirks, like the occasional crash and some outdated models, but I feel it still holds up as an enjoyable action RPG, and should provide hours of hack and slash entertainment,” he writes.
Speaking of going back to games, Rav has a few thoughts to share about her experiences going back to Lord of the Rings Online and creating one of the new shapeshifting race-class Beornings. She even gives a bit of literary context to her adventures.
“It seems a little absurd to have lots of Beorning characters running around in the normal inhabited world,” she says. “Luckily, it turns out it’s not as immersion-breaking as I thought, as they look like normal humans (just with less well-tended hair). Since you need to have fury to change to bear-form (which drops down to zero after combat), there are no floods of bears running around in towns.”
Are levels the best? A necessary evil? Or just plain lazy game design? This discussion’s been going on a long time in gamer circles, that’s for sure.
Ash weighs in with his thoughts on why he appreciates levels, using a few MMOs as examples of how attempts to diverge from them haven’t worked. “I think more than that, my problem is that most level-less systems that I’ve seen so far either aren’t (The Secret World) or are 100 times worse (Destiny), with a few exceptions. EVE seems to have figured this out, but it has the problem of being EVE. TSW claims not to have levels, but that’s a big fat lie, as your power is 90% based on your talisman levels.”