WildStar Launches Today

Yes, there has been beta and open beta and a headstart for those who pre-purchased the game, but all that is in the past now.  Today is the official launch day for WildStar.  Today the game goes live for everybody and anybody can wander in off the street, buy a copy, and start playing.


Well, you can start playing is you can get into the game.  I thought I saw somebody mention a server queue time estimate of 3 days over the weekend.

But, if you’re going to have a problem, being too popular is one to have.  And the team at Carbine is trying to do what they can, even offering free realm transfers.

Granted, your options are from specific, high population realms to specific low population realms, but at least you have an option.  How often are realm transfers even a thing this early in a game’s lifecycle?  Sure, it was understandable back when EverQuest launched, but server transfers tend to be a post-launch item for most games, coming along when things start to go south.

Of course, the team at Carbine has had a lot of time to consider what ought to be in a game at launch, the founders having been made up of 17 former Blizzard employees who left the company back in 2005 to make their own MMO.  Fortunately… or maybe unfortunately from some points of view… they didn’t lock themselves away to develop their game, but paid attention to what has come to pass in the industry.  So along with the Blizzard polish, they have some other twists, like the combat system and the paths mechanic (which I think represents a misunderstanding of what Bartle meant by his types, but whatever) as well as some older ideas like their PLEX-like CREDD and the whole now very retro monthly subscription fee thing.

The question now is, will it work?

Lots of people seem happy with the launch, aside from the whole “help, I’m stuck in a queue!” issue.  Blog posts I have seen so far trend towards very favorable… but that tends to be the case for most launches, unless something is horribly wrong.

Even my pal Gaff, who has worn out his most recent return to WoW, is quite enthusiastic on the subject.  Some actual IMs from him:

wildstar is worth the money

already, in my experience of 3 hours or so, a seriously cool mmo

very polished, huge, great graphics, smooth

combat system awesome, more like diablo with just a few buttons

lots of depth

be ready for stupid queues right now though

I do have to take that with a grain of salt though.  He does get enthusiastic about games early on.  There is a history of him finding a new game, telling me all about it and at just the point where I plunk down the money and log in, he stops playing.

So his enthusiasm hasn’t lured me yet.  I am content with what I am playing now and don’t feel the need to drop $60 on a box to start up another $15 a month subscription.  As Forbes put it, that is asking for too much commitment, at least for now.

We shall see how things look a few months down the road when things have settled down and the first blush enthusiasm has been dampened by the realities of the game.  Will WildStar be able to hold on to its initial subscription base and maybe even grow over time?  Or are we past that even being a possibility these days?  Is holding on to enough subscribers to pay for the transition to free to play the only thing we can hope for in the long run of MMOs now?  Is the first wave of players more like the last round of financing?

[For those scoring my F2P attitudes at home, this post counts as a tie, as I both eschew the idea of paying $75 up front to play the game AND I complain about the idea of it going F2P.]

13 thoughts on “WildStar Launches Today

  1. bhagpuss

    I dunno. I waited five years to try WoW and when I did I found it to be an enjoyable but not particularly gripping example of the genre. I didn’t even take to it sufficiently to make it to max level on even one character although I got into the 70s on one and had several more in the 30s and 40s. Maybe you had to be there when it started or have a history with Blizzard’s previous games to really “get” WoW. I never did, although I’d happily go back and play it again, on and off, if it ever goes F2P.

    Given that history I really can’t build up a whole lot of enthusiasm for WildStar, which really does feel more like WoW than any other MMO I have ever tried. If it had launched today on a F2P model I am betting I’d still have been playing GW2 this evening, or even Everquest (I tried to take my level 15 Enchanter to Befallen last night on a whim, died, ran back from PoK, died again and gave up for the night but I’ll be back!). I’m fairly sure I could get the requisite 2-3 months out of WildStar if was willing to make the time but honestly I could make a list of twenty or more other MMOs I think I’d enjoy playing more.

    I’d bet on WildStar being sufficiently successful not to need to convert to another payment model in the medium term. I’d guess it will hold out at least as long as Rift, which was a couple of years I think, and quite possibly longer. Unlike TESO, which will be B2P by the end of the year, most likely. Carbine have a really good launch window. Is there anything comparable that you might call direct competition coming out even by the end of this year? Or possibly ever? Off the top of my head I can’t think of a single AAA Themepark MMO in development. Everything’s at least claiming to be a Sandpark if not a full-on Sandbox.

    Good luck to Carbine, although I’m not sure I look forward to the ripple effect on the genre if WildStar turns out to be a bigger success than, say, GW2. If that happens I’ll no doubt end up playing one of its clones one day. If not I may crack and play WS at some point, especially if I suffer a bout of MMO ennui. Last time that happened was how I came to play WoW.


  2. Shintar

    I wonder where the Forbes article writer got the idea that Wildstar is supposed to be a casual MMO, considering that the devs’ advertising focus has been on 40-man raids, Rohan wrote that he found the beta too hard for him, and Tobold is already complaining that the very first dungeon-type thing is too difficult.


  3. Gaff

    The vitriol you spit at my person, sir, in this “article” is both unsubstantiated and misdirected. You only join games after I have won.


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Galaji – My view hasn’t changed much over the years. Back in EQII, we were out in a group a few weeks after launch and saw our first level 50 and the group consensus was, “There is the loneliest guy in the world.” Nobody to play with now.

    But that was back when leveling was still thought to be something you did in a group, and groups formed during the ascent to level cap formed the nucleus of future raid and dungeon groups. There was a lot wrong with EQII at launch, but it did stick to at least that idea from EQ.

    So sure, it is an achievement to be first. But what do you do next? Roll and alt and actually see the game? WildStar is supposed to be more group focused, maybe actually level again with your friends?


  5. Galaji

    I agree with what you said about the achievement part of being first. My question was geared more toward the design philosophy behind having an MMO, subscription based at that, where your players can hit the level cap in a single day.

    Is the game about growing and leveling or is it about running the same bit of content countless times at max level? If it is the former, it seems they have failed. If it is the latter, is there honestly enough variety there to validate a subscription fee?


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Galaji – I think many a blogger wiser than I has been down the path towards the answer to your question.

    Basically, game companies cannot make content faster than people can consume it. That is pretty much a given. So they try for breadth and depth and quality of content in hopes that you won’t mind running through the game again with a different class or faction or whatever.

    The people who tried to run through the game to claim firsties, they are anomalies. But eventually even the slow and steady player is going to hit level cap. Somebody being done in a day or so isn’t a worry. Most people being done in a month or two and walking away, now that is what keeps MMO devs up at night.


  7. SynCaine

    I also have a Gaff-like friend who is trying to lure me into Wildstar; not falling for it though, still trying to figure out wtf happened with ESO.


  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @SynCaine – The talk about the group content requiring some effort and even the solo content being suitable for small groups does have me interested, though I am sure they will probably “fix” that before I get around to buying a copy.


  9. sid67

    The talk of more difficult group content has me interested to but then I got as far as clicking the link, seeing the little bunny (or mouse or whatever) mascot and then closed my browser, lol.


  10. Dreemlife

    Haha, ye the game is so fun its crisp and i like it. Maybe it will cut down Woorld of Warcraft sales until they bring out the new expansion :) For now I am having fun in WildStar


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