WildStar – Are You Sure It Gets Better?

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According to my site statistics, I should be writing about ArcheAge and nothing but ArcheAge. But since I’m no slave to the SEO system, I’m going to write about WildStar instead. (Because everyone else is.)

The skinniest hero in the land.

I’ve already pre-ordered, but lately I’ve been forcing myself to play in the open beta anyway. I use the word “forcing” deliberately, because I’m having a hard time getting excited about this game.

I think maybe I’m too old for the WildStar demographic. When I play it, I feel like I’m assaulted by lights and colors and sounds. It’s like I’m at a rave (or, ahem, what I imagine a rave would look like). It’s almost impossible for me to find anything on the screen, because nothing “stands out.” It’s a kaleidoscope of bright colors, like a city at night lit up by neon signs. Nothing looks like it’s highlighted because it looks like everything is highlighted. I spend quite a lot of time running in circles trying to figure out where I’m supposed to go. If there was ever a game that needed a sparkly trail to follow, it’s WildStar.

My eyes! My eyes!

And the yelling. All of the NPCs yell at you. The Real American Heroes beer commercial level-up guy yells at you (it is that guy, isn’t it?). He also yells those summaries of new areas when you enter them. The “challenge begins now” guy randomly yells at you when you kill some random thing, and then yells at you again when you fail the challenge because you don’t give two goddamns about killing 20 foozles in 2 minutes while you’re trying to find a quest NPC.

I’d like to say that the combat makes up for all that but I’m just not feeling the combat vibe. It doesn’t feel right to spam hotkeys instead of the left and right mouse buttons when you’re moving around so much. There should be an option to lock into permanent mouselook mode and map actions to the left and right buttons, like TERA, Neverwinter, and ESO. And it’s kind of a shame that I never get to watch the character animations because I’m always staring at the ground for telegraphs.

Major gripe: There’s no mouse sensitivity control. That’s an epic fail of an oversight. The WildStar camera probably spins three times faster than any other MMO I play.

Okay, okay, I haven’t gotten past level 7 on any class, so I really shouldn’t be saying anything. But honestly most of the classes aren’t that great in the beginning. The Warrior is the only one that actually feels “fun” to play. The rest I feel like I have to “endure” until later in the game (they do get better, right?). I think part of it is because most mobs’ combat is melee-based, so they run up to you, but most of your combat abilities are ranged, which is just weird. There’s that whole “shooting guns at point-blank range” vibe that we all love so much. (Not.)

(By the way, this game does not in any way feel like science-fiction to me, any more than WoW’s golem technology or Rift’s Defiant technology feels like science-fiction.)

Is it too late to cancel a pre-order?

But no. I can’t very well make fun of it without playing it, now can I?

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