Today I’m starting a new series: Three Features Every MMO Should Have. It’s pretty self-explanatory; I take the top three unique features from each MMO I play (or have played in the past) that I wish would follow me to every game. For some games, it’s been hard to pick only three, and for others… well, you’ll know when I get there. I thought I’d kick things off with my latest obsession, the soon-to-be-F2P WildStar.
If you know anyone who plays WildStar, you probably knew this was coming. Given that this is a game that tried really hard to bill itself as the savior of hardcore raiding crowd, it’s a little odd to find that their housing system is perhaps the best casual, out of combat feature of any game on the market. There are other games that have housing, but I know of no other game that combines so much creative freedom with the wide variety of whimsical housing objects that WildStar has. Sometimes I log on just to visit random other peoples’ public houses and see what creative things they’ve done with their housing plots. Thus far my favorite is an Aurin who turned their “house” into a giant aquarium (underwater theme, a large glass pane in front of the door, aquitic-looking plants, and I think some kind of fish?) and had built a giant tree house in the forest of glowing trees outside. I know there are more elaborate houses out there, but for some reason it struck me as somewhere I would actually like to live, something that doesn’t happen for me in just any video game location. I wish I could say my housing plot was super awesome, but so far I don’t have tons of money to throw at housing, and the character that ended up being my main character (a human medic) isn’t an Architect by trade. I can’t wait to see what people with the significantly increased number of housing item slots coming with the massive patch accompanying the F2P transition.
This is an odd one, and it took me a while to put my finger on it. One of the things that makes WildStar feel so good is its sense of mobility. I’m not just talking about hoverboard mounts, though those are a joy to ride as well. I mean that, in general, moving my character around the world feels very fluid and natural. This is surprisingly hard to get right in an MMO, especially with varying character model sizes that all need to run at the same speed, but it’s absolutely crucial in a game with very active, mobile combat like WildStar. It’s also not just about running around; it’s surprising how much the double jump adds to the game. Seriously, Guild Wars 2, you need to get on that. It would make your all-too-frequent jumping puzzles much more enjoyable. And then there’s sections of the game with low gravity. Forget flying mounts; I’d rather jump a hundred feet in the air between floating bits of rock.
Nameplate icons for kill quests
File this one under “why the heck didn’t someone do this sooner?” WildStar puts an icon next to the names of enemies you need to kill for quests. No more guessing if this is the particular brand of rat you’re supposed to kill for your “kill 5 rats” quest. There’s even another icon for things you need to kill for challenges. It seems like a really small quality of life thing, but it’s the one I would gladly take with me to other games over the other two on this list, possibly more than any other feature in subsequent lists. If clicking quests in the quest log didn’t put an arrow over your head that points you in the direction of the quest (feature every MMO should have number four, but that’s cheating), I probably wouldn’t ever need the quest log, because my targets are obvious just from looking at them.