A happy posthumous birthday to the dearly departed WildStar

    
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A happy posthumous birthday to the dearly departed WildStar

Today marks the six-year anniversary of WildStar’s release. There are no in-game events planned for the game, however, due to the fact that the game shut down in November of 2018. But you know, we are still quite fond of the title, and we feel like this is a point when everyone would probably like to be able to build a flying sky island home covered in fun obstacle courses. Also, double-jumping on a hoverboard, that’d be fun.

Alas, for all the many things that our writers and many players loved about WildStar (housing, art style, humor, movement, and some of the combat mechanics), the game was saddled with a hideously outdated and disliked group content structure that saw not only brutally difficult dungeons and raids but strict timing requirements that more or less made that side of the game unplayable. This hit hard at the level cap, and the game floundered and never really recovered from the poor reception at that level cap, even after a free-to-play conversion. You can read more in the roundup just below; this game was one that we quite liked.

And let this serve as a reminder to the emulation community… there are people who would really love a rogue server addressing these issues. Hint hint.

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Castagere Shaikura

Yeah, the devs really screwed up with all the raiding crap. I still can’t imagine the meeting where they are saying let’s make it a hardcore raiding game because everyone likes that.

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Stanelis

I played wildstar back in the day and completed all the raids when they were relevant.

The problem with wildstar was indeed that the game transitioned too quickly from an enjoyable game to a hardcore game at level cap, without any intermediate content in between. The casual or people who didn t want to raid from the player base only had terrible daily quests to do at level cap and it wasn t ok.

Tgat s a shame because there were some the best innovations I ve ever seen in a mmorpg since wow. Namely the solo dungeons in space, the open world dungeons with crazy mazes, the amazin 40 men raids (that had the most innovative encounters, bug aside).

The housing was stellar also.

I m very sad the game was plubished by arenanet because I really believe some of the issues came from publishing directives.

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Lethality

I do get a kick about how people in the comments write their very own narrative about why WildStar didn’t last. Or even how it began.

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Dankey Kang

why WildStar didn’t last.

All it takes is one word.

Spoiler
Hardcore

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Shadex De'Marr

Wildstar was one of the best MMOs I have played with the single most entertaining characters, world, and concepts I have ever seen.

Every year great movies, books, art are created and seen by extremely few because the general public wants Keeping up with the Kardasians.

Wildstar was a fantastic game that simply did not appeal to the general gamer mentality of that time. The Secret World suffered a similar fate. An undeniably good game whose appeal demographic was not large enough to satisfy some faceless suit’s goals.

None of which made them bad games. It made them games that were not for certain gamers. Now while indie companies like Funcom are able to keep the lights on for titles like AO Wildstar could have survived had the suits wanted. Unfortunately NCSoft gets off on destroying games with strong but small fanbases. City of Heroes is a prime example.

Wildstar may not have been enjoyable to some but that does not mean it was not enjoyable to others.

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Anton Mochalin

No it wasn’t a fantastic game, it was a fantastic promise of a game. It just didn’t work as a triple-A mass appeal title it was supposed to be. It had a very casual and extremely easy (but lengthy) leveling in open world and then nothing to do at the endgame except hardcore instanced content. One cannot make an MMO like that and expect it to sustain.

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Bruno Brito

It just didn’t work as a triple-A mass appeal title it was supposed to be.

I feel like people are missing on this specific part. Triple A games are not made to be “just for some people”. They actively need to cater to the biggest number of players.

And Wildstar was incredible, but it failed for a reason. Fantastic games last. Wildstar didn’t.

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kirmmin

Happy Birthday, Wildstar.

There’ll be a private server one day…

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Bruno Brito

By the way, for any deniers, i’ll just leave this here:

This was the trailer for the Jumpstarter pack. It focused on things like hoverboards, housing and casual stuff. It’s marketing was: “Desperate times call for decorative measures”.

This was clearly them taking a shot at their own idiocy. They realized, albeit too late, that focusing on the minority of what are, by the way, some of the most toxic players, was a shot in the foot. And they spent the ENTIRETY of their F2P post release trying to go full casual and marketing themselves as such. Arcterra was proof of that, giving gear that was as good as Raid gear, without you needing raids.

Probably because…imagine that, a population of raidloggers don’t make the world alive, since they log only for the raids once a week.

No successful MMO will ever try to cater to the hardcore crowd again. Wildstar wasn’t just a failure, like you people think it was. It was an absolute unmitigated trainwreck that sealed Carbine’s fate, getting the studio shutdown. I’m absolutely sure most of them regret a LOT following those “make it more like WoW” orders when in the development phase.

You wanna play hardcore games? Hard games? I can respect that. Go play Darkest Dungeon. Deity mode Civilization. Go play Project 99. Play Souls games. Pledge for kickstarted MMOs with those focus.

But deal with reality:

There won’t ever be a hardcore focused triple A MMO ever again. Any game that does that is setting itself up for failure. Wildstar didn’t just fail. It was Carbine’s disgrace and suicide.

No MMO studio will ever toss millions in the fire like that.

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jinarra

Only two things are infinite: The universe and stupidity. There is some minor evidence that the former may not be true; The latter? Not so much

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Bruno Brito

If that’s a jab at me, i wasn’t part of the demographic that made Wildstar fail. So, there’s that. No matter how much people want to deny reality.

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jinarra

Nah, it’s a jab at gaming publishers.

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Anton Mochalin

The problem is that they didn’t make that content casual, they just made it easy. Compare their hoverboards with ones in Warframe – in Warframe there’s actual gameplay around hoverboards from crafting them to racing for Ventkids standing – and that gameplay is perfectly accessible for almost anyone. In Wildstar it just became very easy to get a hoverboard so you could move around faster and that’s it. Casual is when the gameplay mechanics don’t require you to read a ton of wikis to have fun. Tetris is casual – but Tetris isn’t easy. In Wildstar you had to choose 10 skillbar skills from 20-30 you had unlocked by lvl 20 or 30 but there was no reason to care about that because you could cheese to level cap pressing 1 and dodging from time to time and the leveling still took a long time no matter how well you knew your class’ mechanics. And then one was expected to somehow know the skills mechanics and have a perfect build to do endgame content.

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Bruno Brito

True, but they had several casual content yet. Housing was one of them. Their hardcore mentality didn’t fit to what the game was actually, and it felt artificial.

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angrakhan

I see a lot of discussion about what killed this game and how at some point they nerfed things and that didn’t fix the problem so that must not have been the problem. I played the game during beta. I was in some phase where to get a guaranteed invite to the next phase you had to hit level 35. I was level 34. They released a patch and in the notes basically said the game was too easy, so they turned things up to 11. Now every fight was like soloing an elite in WoW. You burned every cooldown you had and prayed you didn’t get an add because that guaranteed your death. The fight lasted 2 minutes minimum. At the end of the fight you wiped your brow and looked at your quest tracker and realized it just advanced by maybe 3%. I quit on the spot and didn’t look back. I never even hit 35. It wasn’t worth my time. This wasn’t even group content. I couldn’t fathom what the group content would be like. The game CLEARLY wasn’t for me, so I left.

This article is literally the first I heard they nerfed anything. I assumed they went down holding tight to their tiny hardcore raiding demographic screaming CUPCAKE! as the ocean of financial reality swallowed them.

No, what killed this game was the fact they very obviously and publicly shit all over the casual player base that actually has the money to keep an MMO afloat. When they tried to turn the ship around the casual player base was too busy trying to dig themselves out from under the original shit storm to hear things changed. That or they didn’t feel like going back and getting a second round when the game became profitable and they cranked it back up to 11.

Carbine got what they deserved. I don’t feel the slightest bit bad about their demise.

Also, quit referring to casual players as “necessary evil”. We aren’t the thing you need to grit and bear with. We PAY YOUR FUCKING BILLS. Be grateful. Be thankful. Be appreciative as if your gaming career depends on us because it does. Build content we enjoy and build lots of it to keep us coming back. We’ll reward you with keeping your company solvent. It’s a nice symbiotic relationship when done right. You’ll have enough budget to build some fancy hard core raids for the 1% of players that care.

Also, be respectful to casuals. Not only because of the above paragraph, but a lot of us are actually former hardcore players ourselves. I used to offtank Molten Core back when that was pinnacle content. We just grew up. We got real jobs, spouses and families. Now we have plenty of disposable income but not much time. You want some of that disposable income? Don’t treat us like a “necessary evil”. Treat us like a valuable customer.

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Bruno Brito

Wildstar did have a issue with leadership. The hardcore switch was weird. The game was initially, really early, marketed as kinda of a sandbox, with a cool world to explore and pioneer, and the raiding and fight wouldn’t be that hard but it would be challenging, good to everyone.

Then…”HARDCORE CUPCAKE”.

They started changing their focus after the F2P change. More housing stuff, more hover races. They launched a open world zone that gave raid-like gear.

I don’t feel good about Carbine. But they absolutely deserved their demise.

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Anton Mochalin

I joined when it was F2P and by that time the open world was too easy even for my casual tastes. The instanced group content difficulty was OK at that time as I heard but I didn’t play much of it myself.

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Bruno Brito

That’s most of the point. Not many people rejoined the f2p. Those who did got a broken RDF and a terrible pvp experience because of bots. Also, the game was confusing as hell at endgame.

Not many people stuck. And the marketing towards hardcore people did enough damage that not even F2P could save it.

Wildstar is the kind of game that will only succeed as a Private Server.

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Stanelis

When thet nerfed things it was far too late.

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John Mynard

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Anton Mochalin

The gameplay wasn’t very good (I played quite a bit) but the soundtrack (and the world) is definitely one of the best ever in videogames.

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Bruno Brito

I think the game was pretty polarizing. The gameplay wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. All the visual clutter was a mess. The zones were awesome, the story was great, altho the way it was all conveyed wasn’t.

I also have a specific pet peeve with the game: I didn’t like the classes and the lack of weapon versatility. I felt like a Warrior should be a Soldier, and be allowed to use Pistols, Rifles, etc etc. I felt like the game had a possibility to be versatile, but it was quite constrained.

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John Mynard

That was my one gripe about the game after they updated the class rules and I got to have my Auran Engineer(She was supa-kawaii!). The various classes should’ve been able to use multiple weapons.

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Bruno Brito

That would take development resources they didn’t have. I think the classes should have been designed with more weaponry in mind. They were really constrained.

And there were really weird mechanics. Wildstar suffered from quite a bad way of explaining core mechanics. Example: Volatile Rising. It was the Engineers mechanic that allowed it you to function as a class: When your volatility had risen above a certain threshhold, and didn’t risen above another threshhold ( 25-70 ), you would regenerate volatility. Which means the Engineer had to juggle it’s volatility to keep the regen up and not lose DPS.

It was a talent that was easily forgotten in the talent wheel. That was terrible design, it should be a core part of the class, not something you can end up missing and screwing your talent tree.

Celestia
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Celestia

It was so very very close to being onethe best MMOs in a decade.

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EmberStar

Then it got taken over by a handful of people who decided (somehow) that hardcore 40 player raids are the bestest thing ever, and nothing else mattered. Story? Who cares. The Paths system? Nah. I fell in love with the initial cinematic trailer, Saturday morning cartoon meets Firefly, bunny girl and stone dude and all. The game that they released was… only barely connected to that.

Then they did a server merge, and the only notice I got was an email on a Tuesday saying that the merge would be finished two days later on Thursday. I got back home (from working out of town with no access to the game) and all but one of my characters had been wiped. Canceled my subscription, uninstalled, never looked back. They’d decided who their target audience was, and made it *abundantly* clear that I wasn’t it.

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Bruno Brito

Yep. It was also weird. The way Wildstar was marketed initially gave a huge Sandboxy feeling. You had this huge world to play as you felt like. Then it came and it was a huge themepark, with a hardcore focus.

It was a really weird 180.

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Castagere Shaikura

Man, this game could have been so good under a different company. I loved exploring the world and doing the science path.