Is It Possible To Balance Melee and Ranged Classes?

It’s a perennial problem for MMOs: either melee classes have the advantage or ranged ones do. In WildStar, the constant moving and dodging out of red means ranged classes have an advantage simply because they can keep attacking while they move. In older MMOs like Lord of the Rings Online, where most of the ranged classes are rooted casters and most of the melee classes have a lot of instant casts, melee classes have the edge. From what I’ve heard about SWTOR, it seems that they’ve recently swung the pendulum; melee classes have always had more DPS/tanking potential, but many of the recent dungeon and raid bosses have included mechanics that require melee classes to move back to avoid massive damage, thus limiting their output. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that I do better with melee classes in games with action combat like Elder Scrolls Online because I’m more likely to miss with ranged attacks. Sure, this isn’t really a balance issue so much as a “stop failing” issue, and probably less of an issue in dungeons where, if it’s anything like every other MMO I’ve played, most bosses are the size of a small house, but still, this is a genre where people create massive spreadsheets of damage output to determine the META, and I’ve seen people literally complaining that one race or faction has an “advantage” over the others because their casting animation is a little more subtle.

The best solution I’ve seen to this problem is in Guild Wars 2’s, where most classes can be either melee or ranged depending on what weapon you’re holding. This allows the developers a lot of freedom when designing fights because everyone should be able to step back and hit things from range at least sometimes. Unfortunately, it also means that you really have to have at least one ranged weapon set to be viable most of the time, which is annoying because there are many classes that have two melee sets that I like (for instance, Revenant’s Mace/Axe and Sword/Shield). Couldn’t I have a whole bunch of weapon sets like Guild Wars 1?

So what do you think? Is it possible to truly balance these two class styles? Have you played any MMOs with any clever ways of bringing these two class types into balance?

WildStar: The Joy of Esping

Coming soon to theaters: Disney and Wildstar’s new movie, Occasional Hero 6

Ever pick up a class in an MMO and it instantly just feels right for you? That was how it was when I played the medic for the first time. Nice big AoEDOTs, responsive attacks, and good burst healing for when things get rough. Then there are other classes that you hate at first, but then you give them another chance and fall in love. That’s how the esper has been. Espers have a combo mechanic similar to the medic’s (except that the medic’s actuators reset to full while out of combat and not zero like the esper’s psi points), but the main combo point builder for esper is a smallish line attack that doesn’t do much damage and takes about half a second to cast, meaning you spend 2.5 seconds building a full combo before you can do one big numbers hit. That is, at least, until you unlock a few more skills. As I did, I realized that there are a few cooldowns that build combo points more quickly, and from there things started to fall into place. I’ve also come to find the cast time on the main combo builder to be a blessing, because, being a line AoE, position is everything if you want to hit more than one target, and it gives me a half a second of telegraph visibility to move into place. It also helps me make sure I’m lined up for a couple of instant cast skills (reap and mind burst) that have similar hitboxes. I’m pretty happy with my hotbar loadout as well, with a nice mix of cooldowns and sustained DPS abilities.

One of the things I’m always surprised about is just how much survivability healers have in WildStar. As someone who prefers playing healers, I’m used to being at best a glass cannon and at worst a cloth-clad squishy rooted to one spot that practically needs a tank just to level. In WildStar, however, I feel like, between the mobility of casters and accessibility of self-heals, healers can really hold their own in solo combat. On my esper, I have two HoTs slotted, one that’s just a simple cast-it-and-forget-it, and one that’s an AoE that I can put around a target that damages enemies and heals allies, which is a really neat ability, especially for a game with a limited hotbar.

Overall, my esper is shaping up to be a lot of fun. Leveling is going a lot faster this time around–as it usually does the second time around–and I’m over 30 after just a couple weeks. I’m hoping to cobble together a set of support gear and try healing some dungeons soon, so wish me luck!

While we’re on the subject of WildStar, I wanted to say that I’m deeply saddened by the news of massive layoffs at WildStar’s studio Carbine this weekend. I hope that these talented people can land somewhere else quickly. I usually try to be optimistic about this kind of thing, but I can’t imagine how this can realistically signal anything better than maintenance mode going forward. It really is a tragedy, for my fellow players who love this amazing game, yes, but even more so for all of the people involved in its production.

December Adventures

To no one’s surprise, my December ended up being busy, and, while I got a respectable amount of gaming time in, I never got the time and/or inspiration to write about any of it before the new year, so I’ll dive right in and catch you up on what I’ve been up to.

House 2The biggest news from WildStar is that I finally hit 50 with my medic. I really love the way the medic plays as a DPS, and I’m in the process of piecing together the beginnings of a healing set. I’m hoping to start running veteran shiphands and dungeons with my guild soon, but I’m not promising I won’t get distracted by something else. I like the fact that, when you reach the cap, your XP doesn’t just disappear, giving you no reason to continue with content after hitting 50, but goes toward earning Elder Gems. I guess Guild Wars 2 has a similar system in Soul Shards, but the rewards for Elder Gems seem more worth my time.
I also took a little time out to get a couple of characters up to 14 so I can have some extra housing plots to mess around with, as well as scouting out a potential alt (Spellslinger? Engineer? Warrior? None of them are jumping out at me yet, which bodes well for my medic). My main character’s housing plot (pictured above) is desert themed, featuring scattered scrubby plants, a rowsdower farm (filled with plushie rowsdowers and rowsdower statues, since I don’t think you can get real ones), and even a crashed UFO. While I really like my house, it kind of rules out a lot of decor options. The first of my two new plots is going to be winter/ice themed. I say “going to be” because so far all it has is a few snow-covered rocks and the wintersday sky from the cash shop (which is beautiful, by the way). I’m holding off on dropping the 2 plat (ugh) for the snow-covered ground until my medic is a little more financially stable, and without that it loses a lot of its effect. The other plot is a bit of a hodgepodge at the moment. It’s where I dumped all of my space ship parts from the event they ran a while back, and I’m hoping to take that theme and run with it. It’s my engineer’s plot, so I’m hoping to make a kind of garage for ship building and repairs, which also happens to make it a great place to put all of my crafting and gathering stations. I’ll be sure to post some screenshots if/when they are a little more interesting.

HoT JungleI’ve been making my way through the jungles of Heart of Thorns with my revenant, slowly but surely. I won’t spoil anything, but the story is starting to take some interesting turns. My wife is working on a revenant of her own now, and I’m a bit torn as to which class to work on with her. The druid elite spec looks really fun, but I’m a little burnt out on the vanilla ranger. The thief’s daredevil elite spec also looks fun, but I’m not really sure if it’s my style. Then there’s my warrior, who I really like, but the Berserker elite spec doesn’t really interested me, though to be honest I haven’t seen many (any?) in action and never messed with one in the beta, so maybe it’s better than I think. I could, of course, also bring along one of my 80s for the sake of masteries and some much-needed hero points. So far I’ve spent a lot of time jumping around between all of the above, not making any significant progress on any of them.

One day I got a random craving for a superhero MMO. Marvel Heroes satisfies this craving most of the time, but I like the creative aspect of inventing my own hero instead of playing one Stan Lee invented fifty-some years ago. I never got to play the much-loved City of Heroes for more than an hour or two at a friend’s house, and every once in a while I get vicarious nostalgia for it just from reading fans’ reminiscences. So I loaded up both Champions Online and DC Universe Online and played both for about half an hour before remembering why I never played much of both and uninstalling them. It’s really too bad, because I really like the idea of a game where everyone can run around (or fly around, as the case may be) in tights and capes with campy names flinging all manner of superpowered attacks around. How is it that City of Heroes was so well loved, yet no one has really filled its void? I know there is a variety of revivals and spiritual successors in the works, but all of them still seem quite a ways from completion despite being in production for some time.

As far as non-MMOs go, I picked up Shovel Knight on the Wii U eShop. Normally I prefer PC versions of games, but it seemed wrong to buy a game like this that’s a love letter to Mega Man and Zelda 2 on anything other than a Nintendo console. Also the Wii U’s touch screen allows you to switch magic weapons without pausing, which is as close to a good a use for the tablet as any. It’s wonderfully weird and the levels are beautifully crafted; I highly recommend it.
I picked up Ark: Survival Evolved on the Steam Christmas sale. I think I’ll save this one for its own post, but for now I’ll say that I haven’t punched this many trees since the first time I played Minecraft.

So that’s what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks. With the Holidays over with my life should be a little more normal, so I should be back to more frequent updates soon. Happy new year everyone!

WildStar Events

Hoverboard RaceAs if to make up for the fact that WildStar hasn’t had a single holiday event in its nearly one and a half years of existence, WildStar is currently running not only its Shade’s Eve Halloween event, but also a Back to the Future themed hoverboard racing event.

I’ll start with the Halloween event. I guess I’m not really that big into Halloween. I mean, I’m looking forward to dressing up in my new Jedi robe and custom lightsaber (both of which I spent way too much money on), but other than that the whole thing is not that exciting to me. So when a game like WildStar gives me outfits out housing decorations that I can really only use in October without them looking out of place, I’m not as thrilled as other times. Christmas stuff I can at least put up in a winter/arctic themed house, or costumes on a character who’s supposed to be in or from a cold place, but I’ve never been tempted to make my character live in a haunted house or a graveyard. That would be depressing, and I don’t think of any of my characters as moping around in a ruined gothic cathedral when I’m logged out. It makes me appreciate games like LOTRO, who comes up with items that don’t look obviously halloween-ish. For instance, my theif wore that Mask of the Raven forever, and I loved the Cloak of Falling Leaves and used it on several characters. I’m sure there are plenty of people that are excited about WildStar’s Halloween giveaways, I’m just not one of them.

Uninviting rewards aside, I did enjoy the holiday dungeon. The maze section was a little bit frustrating, especially the first time, but fortunately they eventually just show you the way out if it takes you too long (and yes, I know from experience). The whole thing has a uniquely WildStar feel to it; the maze and its flickering flashlight and the insane cultists were both very mature horror themes, but Jack Shade and the shadelings that pop up everywhere were so goofy and over-the-top it dispelled any real fear. It was a good call to not only make it an Adventure instance (formerly known as shiphands) that scales to fit parties of one to five players, but also bump all players to 50. I hate it when events like this end up either being something that has no actual combat, which makes them seem disconnected from the rest of the game, or has combat that higher level players just roflstomp all over, while us mid level players have to slog our way through.

Apart from the dungeon is a variety of dailies that take place around your capital city, which hit a good middle ground between giving you something to do and just being a chore. My favorite is one that has you collecting floating plant fibers that turn you temporarily translucent.

WARNING NO ROADSAs for the hoverboard races, I really like what they’ve done with them. Games like LOTRO and Guild Wars 2 have done races before, but usually end up feeling a lot more awkward and gimmicky than what WildStar has put together. And the “WARNING: NO ROADS” notification that pops up when you hit a big jump is just awesome. I love the Back to the Future cosmetics and housing decor; you will definitely be seeing burning tire tracks if you visit my housing plot. It’s surprising how many games did homages to the Back to the Future hoverboard on October 21st. WildStar was unsurprising (they gave away a McFly-style hoverboard as a beta test reward, so we knew they were fans), and I guess Secret World isn’t terribly surprising given its modern setting and its recent inclusion of other, similar mounts, but Star Trek Online came as a surprise (a shame you can only use them on Risa).

DeLorean Hoverboard
I snapped up the limited edition DeLorean hoverboard from the cash shop as soon as it was released. It’s pretty disappointing that, given its $15 price tag, it’s not an account wide unlock, especially since they’re saying they have no plans to ever bring it back. I actually thought maybe it was a typo, but alas it was not. I don’t feel bad about it, though, because I’ve had a lot more fun in WildStar’s free to play in the last few weeks than in a lot of games I’ve sunk a lot more money into, so it’s worth splurging on a cool cosmetic, especially one as awesome as a DeLorean hoverboard.

Subscription Guilt

I’ve just remembered why I don’t subscribe to MMOs anymore. I feel a sense of guilt for not playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, which I am currently subscribed to (technically my subscription is canceled, but I have the better part of a month left). I haven’t played Marvel Heroes as much as I’d like to lately, and my Guild Wars 2 guild probably thinks I’ve fallen off the face of Tyria. There are also, of course, a number of non-MMO games that I’ve wanted to play, like last weekend’s beta of Star Wars Battlefront (not to be confused with the 2004 game Star Wars: Battlefront), which, incidentally may break my general apathy toward shooters. Playing those games isn’t as fun right now because I have the swiftly approaching deadline of Knights of the Fallen Empire hanging over my head, and with it the end of the 12x XP bonus that I subscribed for. I’m really in love with the newly-F2P WildStar right now, so I’ve actually been playing that a lot, but every time I launch the game, the SWTOR icon right next to it calls out reminding me that I have less than a week to get my characters to 50, or they’ll have to go back to the normal leveling slog that I’ve had to do in the past. I keep consoling myself with the fact that I’ll be getting a free insta-60 token at the expansion launch, but I really want to wrap up a couple of the class stories before the deadline.

My normal philosophy when it comes to games is that you should play the thing you get the most fun out of at the moment. It’s a game. If it’s not fun, it has no purpose. There’s a certain amount of deferring fun for the promise of future fun that I can stand, but I have a lot less patience for that in a game than, I don’t know, real life. But on the other hand, I paid $15 for a month of SWTOR game time, and if I don’t play during that time, I’m essentially throwing away a chunk of my limited gaming budget for the month. WildStar isn’t going anywhere any time soon. In fact, if I wait a couple weeks there will probably be less random lag.

And the thing is, it’s not that I’m not having fun when I log into SWTOR. I still want to play it, it’s just that WildStar is more shiny right now. And in a few weeks, Guild Wars 2’s expansion will be more interesting than that. That’s just the way things work, and it’s frustrating that, so often, they all hit at the same time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for gaming.

My WildStar F2P Checklist

Reloaded
In case you missed the media circus, WildStar is now Free-to-Play. It’s been a rocky start so far, with multiple outages, ridiculous login queues (often 1-2 hours or more), and, worst of all for an action combat MMO, absurd amounts of lag. So, basically, exactly what you’d expect from a F2P relaunch. It didn’t bother me too much, since I was in bed with a killer sinus infection for almost two weeks around the time of the relaunch (hence my general lack of blog activity, sorry). A couple days into the launch, Carbine rolled out some extra servers to balance out the load, which has helped, though there are still some problems. Wisely, the devs are making it clear that the servers are a temporary measure, naming them (at least here in the States) Entity-2 and Warhound-2, respectively. I always cringe when games throw a bunch of servers into production for a launch, only to have to merge them back down a few months later. It’s a real paradox; leave the servers alone and you’ll get flack for poor player service, seemingly not caring about their hour-long queues to get into the game they just spent hours downloading. Put servers up, and, when you inevitably merge them back down to what you had before, you get all kinds of bad PR and naysayers crying “SEE! Proof that this game is failing just like I said it would!” Neither is good, and this is yet another reason why I never want to ever work in the MMO business. Let’s all take a minute to collectively feel bad for the IT guys at Carbine and hope they get to eat and see their families soon. But not until you get our game working, dangit.

Anyways, enough about the launch. Ever since I canceled my WildStar subscription a couple of months ago, I’ve been thinking about what I’m excited to do once I get back to Nexus. Here are a few of the more major points.

Work on my house
So far the two houses I’ve made have consisted mostly of a smattering of plants, the pack of items they give you when you buy a housing plot, and maybe a few plush Rowsdowers and such that I’ve gotten from events out in the world. I haven’t actually made an effort to plan out what I want to do with my plot yet. I have a few disconnected ideas inspired by things I’ve seen, but nothing specific. That said, when I last subscribed, I shipped a bunch of materials to my Architect character, so hopefully I will soon be able to make something other than scrawny bushes and ugly metal planks.
I’ve also spent some of the more lag-infested play sessions just messing around in people’s public houses getting ideas for what to do in the future. People do some crazy stuff with their plots. Why play Minecraft when there’s Wildstar? A lot of people don’t even use the prefabricated houses they give you, opting to create their own, much more elaborate buildings out of decor items. I’d be curious to find out how much money some of these people have dumped into their housing plots. Do people just accumulate some of this stuff as they go, or are they burning through hundreds of platinum so their house looks cool? Or is it just the product of a crapton of crafting? I’m sure the answer is usually “all of the above.”

Actually get a character 50
As my readers know by now, my biggest weakness in MMOs is that I get distracted easily. I really want to play endgame content, but I’ll get a character about half to two thirds of the way to the level cap and–hey look, a shiny thing!

Hit the gear treadmill
Man, I miss healing groups. I flew through Little Healer (Android/iOS) and it gave me so much nostalgia for playing a healer (plus, you can wipe as much as you want without getting yelled at!).
Honestly, I’ve never done raid healing in any of the games I’ve played. I’ve done a fair amount of dungeon healing, and dabbled in raid (off) tanking, but I’ve never stuck with a character/game that had actual raids long enough to get geared enough to be viable at raiding. But what I have done has been some of my favorite group activities in MMOs. And since I doubt I’ll be getting my ranger to 80 for the Shaman healing Elite Spec in Guild Wars 2 any time soon, WildStar seems like the perfect place to get back into healing.

Roll a new character
Completely counter to my above two goals, I always feel the need to roll a new character when returning to a game after an expansion or other big update. Especially one like this one that streamlines the story at the lower levels. This is why I never achieve the above goals. This time I think a new gunslinger looks tempting, especially since I hear they’re the best raid healer. Early on I got frustrated with the class, since their targeting area is this game’s equivalent of a single-target spiker, but I figured I’d give it another shot (no pun intended). Hopefully, now that the skill unlocks are all free, I’ll find a build that I like better this time around.

Three Features Every MMO Should Have: WildStar

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.

Housing
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.

Mobility
Ronen_Zell.150806.230349This 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
nameplate iconsFile 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.

WildStar: Returning to Nexus

Jix 13WildStar is one of those games that I’ve really wanted to play ever since I played it for a short time in beta, but I’ve been kept away by the subscription fee. I hate subscriptions because they make me feel guilty for playing free to play games when I feel like it. I’ve been dabbling in Marvel Heroes and Lord of the Rings Online lately, and I don’t feel bad for not playing Guild Wars 2 even though I would consider it my “main” game right now because it doesn’t have a subscription. The news that WildStar is finally going free to play has really got me excited. The features matrix looks pretty generous, especially for people who previously owned a copy of the game. Only time will show what hidden annoyances are in there to try to get you to shell out some cash, but from the looks of it I don’t think it’ll be game-breaking.

So when the Humble Bundle included WildStar digital edition in the “pay what you want” tier of its E3 bundle, I was there in a heartbeat. One month subscription, plus a free account upgrade when it goes free to play? Absolutely worth a dollar. Plus it gives me a chance to get into the game before the madness of the inevitable rush of players trying out the game for the first time when it goes free to play.

For reasons I haven’t been able to determine, the game still doesn’t like my dual graphics card CrossFireX setup (one card is maxed and the other sits at zero) so I have to turn the graphics pretty much all the way down and the frame rate is still painfully low (around 15 on a good day). It was excusable in beta, but come on, the game has been out for a year now. I guess this is the motivation I need to finally save for the single, high end card I’ve had my eye on (a GeForce this time, because Radeon drivers are really unstable half the time, though at least they’ve finally gotten to the point where they just freeze up for a while and recover and don’t just bluescreen like when I first built this computer).

In a lot of games I go through a lot of characters at the beginning because it takes me a few tries to find one that clicks with me. In WildStar, I’ve had trouble picking a class because all of them are really fun to play. I’ve settled into the Warrior and the Esper, but Spellslinger and Stalker are appealing as well. Strangely, the Engineer still doesn’t interest me that much. I feel like it should; it’s a tank with pets that do extra DPS or pocket healing, which sounds really fun in theory, but in practice it just doesn’t do it for me. But hey, I said that about the Guild Wars 2 Engineer at first as well, and then it became my first 80. Anyway, I absolutely love the unique combat system they have in WildStar, with telegraph AoEs that combine the best of both tab-targeting of WoW-like MMOs and the FPS style aiming I normally associate with the term “action combat” in an MMO.

Network Edge NomPerhaps the most refreshing thing about the game is overall personality of the game. One of my favorite moments was the first time I used a food item and, as my character sat down and began to eat, “NOM NOM NOM” popped up over his head as he healed. Similarly, I love the fact that taunts elicit random grawlix over the target’s head. Carbine has also done a great job giving the NPCs a lot of personality. I love voiceover lines from Arwick mocking typical generic MMO fantasy voice toasts like “The queen would wish to convey her thanks. So… thanks!” and “You’ve much to do. So get going already!” The Lopp are basically Guild Wars 2’s Skritt with a less annoying accent. And the Chua’s sadistic mad scientist one liners are always entertaining. I know the announcer got a lot of hate, especially early on when there was no way to turn off the narration when you enter a new zone, but I think he really adds a lot to the over-the-top, goofy vibe of the game. Also, I think every game should make sarcastic remarks when you die.

WoW Nexus2

Coming Next Update: The Horde Invades Nexus!

Even though I’m running it at minimum settings, Nexus still looks nice because it’s not even attempting to be realistic, opting for a comic book inspired feel. It’s funny, sometimes the style of WildStar seems really unique, but then other times it slaps you in the face that this game was made by ex WoW devs. Yes, a lot of games have much more shameless ripoffs of WoW’s visual style, but it seems more obvious when you’re riding around on your hoverboard and talking to robot trees and suddenly you see zeppelins floating around buildings made out of giant bones, garnished iron bands with bolts the size of your fist, and covered in rough-edged animal skins. Suddenly you feel like you should be killing Orcs and Trolls instead of Draken and Chua. It’s not terribly immersion breaking, just something that jumps out at me from time to time.

I could go on, but the point is I’m really enjoying my time in WildStar. Sadly I haven’t gotten to dig into the housing system much yet, and that’s half of what my WildStar-playing friends get excited about. I’m toying with the idea of continuing my subscription after my 30 days is up, but I also feel like I should just wait till it goes free to play. I’ve never been the type who has to be ahead of everyone else, but with the amount of lag I’ve been getting in some zones at peak hours, I’m betting there will be a lot of downtime (or at least de facto downtime where the game is so laggy it’s no longer fun to play) as soon as there’s a large influx of players. Hopefully they have a plan for that, we’ll see. Either way, I’m glad to have the game back in my rotation.

Travelog: Wildstar Beta

This is a part of my MMO Tourism series. For more information on the series, click here.

Opening Comments
First of all, let’s open with some comments on the state of the MMO space to date. Like it or not, World of Warcraft is king. It has the most players, has been around longer than anything still running with the exception of EverQuest and perhaps a few more obscure titles, and is without a doubt the most recognizable MMO title. MMORPGs now fall into two categories: WoW clones, and not-quite-WoW-clones. There have been many games that have tried to take them on, but no one has really succeeded. Some have even directly attacked the MMO giant (and, debatably, failed spectacularly). But I’m going to go on record here and say that if any game to date can take on WoW, it’s Wildstar. This game takes all of the ideas that I like from Guild Wars 2 and all of the ideas I like from WoW-like games and mashes them together.

Also, I know I’m starting this project off on the wrong foot by playing a subscription-based game, but it was in free open beta last week, so I figured it technically counts. Anyways, let’s make a character, shall we?
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