WildStar: Where It All Went Wrong For Me

I count WildStar among my favorite MMOs. The combat is fun, the housing is great, the setting and lore are original and different, I run around in a Samus costume on a DeLorean hoverboard, what’s not to love? And yet I haven’t played regularly for months, and that really saddens me. I recently went back for the free level 50 character, and it got me thinking about just where it all went wrong.

The biggest reason why I quit playing was that my guild broke up. There was no drama, we just had trouble getting critical mass for raids, and the two main leaders really wanted to raid, so they left, and from there it just kind of fell apart. While I’m glad it didn’t go up in smoke and petty bickering, it was no less sad, since I really liked a lot of the people in the guild, who have now gone in a bunch of different directions. This isn’t the game’s fault, but it was probably the biggest reason why I left.

Closely related to that is the fact that there isn’t a whole lot to do after you reach endgame if you don’t have a guild. This problem isn’t unique to WildStar–some might say that it’s inherent to all MMOs to some degree–but even most of the dailies require some sort of group content (dungeons, adventures, shiphands, etc.). Arcterra requires only small groups of people, so at least you can usually do the easy dailies there with only a few random people you bump into during peak hours. Even housing is easier if you have a guild, since a lot of the nicer stuff costs prestige (which can be obtained from a variety of sources, but group content dispenses it the fastest), and raid gear is where the real money is in the game. I’m sure I’ll find a new guild sooner or later, but I’ve always hated guild shopping.

Massively OP’s Eliot recently visited WildStar for the site’s Choose My Adventure series. In his wrap-up post, he made the comment that, “in many ways, when I write about WildStar now, I’m still writing about the launch version of the game.” While he goes on to say some things I don’t agree with, this line really struck me as exactly the problem. There are a lot of little annoyances and bugs that have been in the game since I played it in beta and are still there almost three years later. Sometimes I can’t right-click on a quest on my tracker, and I have to click a bunch of other things to get away from it. Sometimes tooltips get stuck on. Certain mobs reset if you pull them a few feet away from where they spawn. That dumb DDR minigame in Thayd that you can only complete once and it will never let you back on. None of these are big issues–if I had to choose one or the other, I’d rather have more content than have these small annoyances fixed–but it still hurts the overall experience.

Overall, I think WildStar is a great game that started out with some missteps that could have been corrected, but sadly Carbine never managed to turn the Titanic. A lot of that had to do with lack of funding, some of it seems to have been the fault of a studio that was not designed to be agile and responsive to change. I don’t want the negative tone of this post to come across the wrong way. I think the negativity surrounding the game also plays a large part in my lack of attention to it. I love WildStar. If it wasn’t such an incredibly fun game, this post wouldn’t exist; the answer for where it all went wrong would be that the game was lame, and that’s not worth writing about. I really want to go back to WildStar and see it succeed and keep cranking out content for years to come. I don’t know if that will happen, but hopefully my boosted level 50 warrior will be the incentive I need to get back into the game.


Guild Shopping

Recently I’ve become disenchanted with basically all of the guilds I’m in in all of my games. I’m not sure if it’s the cause or the effect of the burnt out feeling I talked about last time, but either way it’s there. Surprisingly, there’s no drama happening in any of them, and they’re all for slightly different reasons (even the different divisions of the multi-game guild I’m a part of). For some games, I just don’t feel like I fit in anymore, for some I feel like the guild grew so much that I’ve gotten lost in the crowd, and one in particular had just decided it was time for us all to go our separate ways. This has me a little frustrated, since I hate trying to find a good guild, and the idea of doing it in a bunch of games makes me not want to play those games. As I see it, other than spamming zone chat, I have three options, none of which seem terribly appealing.

Forum Trawling
The most obvious first stop is the forums. Here, there are tons of guilds vying for my attention, with descriptions and sales pitches and raid times as far as the eye can see. But how do I pick? Everyone seems to market themselves as “a friendly, community oriented medium-casual guild,” many with raid/dungeon nights in my time zone. I guess I pick one with a name that I like and see if I feel like I fit in?

Find a Multi-Game Guild
Currently, I’m in a guild that has divisions in Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Elder Scrolls Online, and, until recently, WildStar. This is great because it means that I don’t have to go guild shopping in every game I go to; it’s just there waiting for me. If I don’t think I’m going to play a game for a while, I don’t feel like I have to notify anyone or leave the guild, because I’m still technically active within the guild, I’m just spending more time in a different division right now. And yet, I haven’t really done anything with them in ages. They’re a great bunch of people, but recently they’ve gotten so big that I feel like I get lost in the crowd, especially when jumping from game to game.

Start My Own
The final option is to start my own guild. Running a guild means I get to set the standards for the kind of community I want, I get to decide the rules (though “try to keep it PG-13 or less and, in general, just don’t be a jerk” about sums it up), and I get to set the tone for how serious we are about the game. It also means I have to deal with people when they want to cause drama. I’ve toyed with this idea for a few months now, but the problem is that, in that time, I haven’t really played just one MMO consistently; I’ve played a bunch of games a little bit. If I’m going to be a guild leader, I’m going to want to be in my guild’s game at least three or four nights of the week for a few hours, and I’m not sure I want to make that kind of commitment to any one game at this point. However, if I did, it would probably be Guild Wars 2, since that’s the game that I feel the most knowledgeable about (despite having never seen the inside of a raid, even in a video), and have the most leveled and geared characters. It’s also the game where I have the most friends playing at the moment (though most of them are even more casual players than I am, so they probably wouldn’t be the best foundation for a new community, but at least I would have a few members to pad numbers with).

Maybe it’s because I’m such an introvert, but I hate shopping for a good guild. If anyone has any recommendations for guilds active in the US Eastern time zone for Guild Wars 2, WildStar, or Rift, go ahead and leave a link in the comments. I won’t guarantee that I’ll join, but I’m willing to take a look. Or let me know if you’d be interested joining a potential Occasional Hero Guild Wars 2 guild (just kidding… mostly).