WildStar’s free-to-play transition — with the accompanying massive feature patch — hasn’t gotten a set date yet, but with the update in closed beta testing I think it’s a safe bet that we’re looking at a September or early October launch. That puts WildStar in the middle of all of the fall MMO craziness, which is fine since I doubt that it will get overlooked. Carbine’s putting a lot of work into making this do-over count, and that means a lot of press, player previews, and marketing.
So with a month or two until free-to-play, current, former, and potential players have to be asking themselves what they should be doing to prepare. It’s always better to be ready than to be scrambling to catch up, in my opinion, which is why I’ve jotted down five things anyone interested in WildStar’s F2P should be doing right now to get ready.
Obviously you can’t play the live game right now without being a subscriber, which either means plunking down money or snapping up some CREDD. But I imagine that there are many out there waiting until WildStar is free to jump in and enjoy.
That’s fine. In fact, when the patch hits, I will be removing my subscription for good (I’d always rather be playing and paying a la carte than on a timed monthly basis). But there are a few good reasons why you might want to get into the game right now if you’re thinking about coming back (or starting up) this fall.
First, you’ll be accruing a few future rewards for subscribing now, including cosmic points and housing items. Second, you can beat the crush of players coming into the tutorial and early zones by getting in a month or two beforehand — assuming that you’re rolling up a new character, of course. And third, if you’re going to be playing anyway, why wait? The game’s here, it’s fun, and it’s ready for you right now.
2. Keep tabs on the patch changes
Many systems and features will be getting overhauled when F2P releases, and the more one knows about the changes, the less one will log in that day feeling overwhelmed and bewildered. Since most of the patch has to do with features more than story content, you don’t have to worry so much about spoilers.
Lots of people are playing on the test server and sending back reports, so there’s a dump truck load of info out there if you’re willing to sift through it. I’d say at a minimum to visit the official website every few days for deep dives, read the highlights here on Massively OP, and read this closed beta summary on the forums.
Free-to-play is starting to feel a lot like launch all over again, especially as I observe people scrambling to figure out who among their friends is coming back, which guilds they should join, and which faction they should choose. These all aren’t things you’re going to want to do on the first day, especially if you decide to wait until release to hop back in instead of signing up now.
Having a re-entry plan, even if it might not survive, is important for your sanity. What will your goals be on the first day? I am thinking that I will squirrel myself away to my housing plot, check out my rewards, respec my AMP points, investigate the store, and work on making my pad at least 75% radder than it is now.
4. Budget appropriately
Maybe you see “free-to-play” and have made a vow to not spend a penny on the game. More power to you. I certainly do and have done that often in the past, as it’s sort of a game unto itself. And with WildStar offering up ways to buy subscription time (with CREDD) and anything in the store (with omnibits) without paying real money, there are paths to this end.
However, if you know that you’re the sort to get tempted by all of the “shinies” in a cash shop, then be kind to your wallet and budget now rather than on the fly. Decide how much you’re willing to spend in that first day or week of post-launch bliss and then stick to it. Investigate what the shop has to offer and decide what you really want now so that you can sleep on it and see if it’s that crucial to pick up. I’ve made too many poor impulse purchases in other MMOs to know that I can be a sucker as much as anyone else.
5. Get stoked
Despite what the usual doom-and-gloom crowd is chanting, there are a lot of people genuinely excited to see WildStar make the leap to a new business model and potentially draw in a whole new audience. Instead of getting cynical and reserved, I think this is exactly the time to give yourself permission to fan the flames of excitement and ride the wave of goodwill that’s going around the community.
If you always expect the worst and carp on about it, then chances are that’s all you’ll find. But if you allow optimism and joy to permeate your hobby, then the sky is the limit on the future. Yes, we need to be careful not to always buy into illogical hype, but looking at everything that’s coming our way, I would say that we have every reason to get psyched for a better game with a more appropriate model.
What are you doing to get ready for WildStar free-to-play?