Why I Play(ed): Remembering WildStar’s sunset, five years later

What was I made for?

Time shouldn’t zip along as quickly as it often does, especially when it taps us on the shoulder to look back and see how much has passed. The loss of WildStar from the MMORPG genre still feels fresh even though — tap, tapit’s been five years since Carbine’s imaginative sci-fi romp closed its doors for good.

In the half-decade since, fans and developers tend to come out each November 28th to light a virtual candle in remembrance of Nexus and the four short years that WildStar lived. For my part, I wanted to mark this sad anniversary with a trip through some of the most notable trailers and videos that the studio published over the lifespan of the game’s development and operation.

WildStar’s debut trailer wasn’t just an adventurous CGI romp around an alien world. It was an emissary from a brand-new IP that had to lay out the basic premise, show some of the classes in action, communicate the flavor and style of the world, and stir up hype. It’s still a fun, self-contained romp of a trio of adventurers who land on Nexus and quickly find themselves up to their necks in mobs and mystery. I showed this to my kids the other day for the first time, and they immediately wanted more.

As WildStar was seriously steeped in lore and secrets, the story of this game mattered more than most. I’ve always been a huge fan of the story trailer because of this, as it shows races from across the galaxy converging on Nexus to unearth long-dormant mysteries and tech. Jeff Kurtenacker’s score here is a great example of one of this MMO’s big strengths, too.

It wasn’t always super-serious, end-of-the-world stuff with WildStar. Right from the start, there was a cheeky, cartoonish humor that ran through many of the trailers and into the MMO itself. The class trailer is a good example of this: A beat-up alien recounts how all of these different types of classes used their various abilities to traumatize him.

And the faction trailers were pretty great, too. When these popped out, we still didn’t have the full roster announced, as Carbine was saving one race per side for a final reveal. Even so, these trailers did some subtle heavy lifting to teach fans about the world and its varied cultures.

The transition from a strict subscription to a hybrid free-to-play model was too late to save WildStar’s bacon, but at least it did give us a pretty fun trailer. Who knew that the Guardian moonlit as a DJ on the side? “I’d say things are going to get… wild!”

And of course, what WildStar fan can forget the exuberant, informative, humorous, and sometimes misleading DevSpeak videos? I know I always eagerly awaited the next “WildStar Wednesday” to get one of these videos during the development period. Who doesn’t remember those disclaimers!

And here’s the very last official video that Carbine put out in October 2017, looking at the winners of a player housing contest.

So that’s probably enough nostalgia and moping and bittersweet memories for one day! Maybe one day a rogue server or spiritual successor might emerge to fill this void, but for now we have videos, screenshots, music, and stories. What’s your favorite WildStar memory? Let us know in the comments!

There’s an MMO born every day, and every game is someone’s favorite. Why I Play is the column in which the Massively OP staff members kick back and reminisce about all their favorite MMOs. Whether it’s the new hotness or an old fan favorite loaded with nostalgia, each title we cover here tugs at our heartstrings and keeps us coming back for more.
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