WildStar was very disappointing because I felt that it improved very little over World of Warcraft-era gameplay and systems. Yes, it did add a few things, but nothing that prevented me from being either overwhelmed by content spread across huge maps, stuck with no quests left to do or confused by some design decisions and apparently simple oversights that were had over a few systems across the game.

After a functional character creation, I was thrown into an obligatory tutorial area where explanations about how to jump and how to move were given, there also were platforming segments for some reason after that, I 'chose' which starting area I was going to, but the choice was pretty much already made by the game for me, following the 'path' that I had chosen. I have to say that I'm fairly disappointed with paths.

The way they are described in big lines make them seem like they give you more experience for doing things that you'd usually do. The scientist analyses enemies and trees and stuff, the soldier kills things, the settler builds structures and the explorer explores stuff. I thought these things would be woven into your ordinary gameplay experience, but no they are discrete missions, often annoying ones, the scientist for instance had me click on ten things scattered around a huge map, and they weren't even marked. The soldier had me click on beacons and do specific things around them. I wish these quests were more natural; that the scientist could scan enemies to learn about them, the explorer could complete quests just by discovering the map, etc.

Not like the normal quests are better themselves, they try to throw some action in by making you play simon says or really simple rhythm mini-games, but they are typical mmo fare. Collect ten of something, kill something else, go kill a boss, go talk to this person. It works sometimes, but most of the time it fails flat of being good, another big issue I had with the game is its pacing. First of all, I hate arriving in capital cities and having eighteen different people give me quests that are mostly about walking around and talking to people. Second, I hate just arriving in a new quest zone and having ten new quests in the same hub or on the contrary, doing quests until you have none left, then wondering where you should go, only to be told that you have to go back somewhere very far away to get more quests. Why not string them together in a better way? Why was I going from point A to point B and missing a bunch of quest hubs on the way, coming back there afterwards to find them too low level for me to do?

The battle system is okay; you have a bunch of cones and zones and areas on the ground to tell you were your attacks and where the enemies are, when attacks are being cast you can see a bar filling to show you when it's going to actually hit. In reality, it works in a wonky way - enemies sometimes will just launch into a flurry of attacks and no amount of cones on the ground will help you dodge them, sometimes their attacks will be very slow and damaging, but most of the time you're still fighting a guy that hits you regardless and you hit him regardless. Maybe it would've worked better if normal attacks didn't have such things and only special attacks did.

The crafting system is flawed in many spots - not being able to craft multiple things when you should be able to, only to be required to click many times on "craft" and wait for the one thing to be completed, why not being able to queue these up? There is an interesting achievement system tied to the crafting - you unlock achievements for crafting a number of specific things, finding recipes, collecting reagents, etc - but the way they are tracked varies wildly. Some will tell you exactly what you need and what you already have done, some will be cryptic and show only a number without telling you what the missing items are. These things unlock new recipes and bonus perks that help you craft more efficiently. There are also different systems for different types of crafting, one has you connect nodes that provide power to craft gear, others have you try to hit certain targets by spending money to add ingredients, it's a neat idea.

The classes are also a bit weird, you have three skill trees and you buy skills in them as you level up, you also buy ranks of skills and higher ranks give your skills a few special effects. It's a nice system as you can buy and try mixes of skills to see how they interact with each other. I had some issue with the engineer where my robots would always aggro everything, but then I changed to Esper and got better. The passive skills, however, aren't great. You need to find or buy the higher tiers of talents, and these are the ones that change the way you play your character. Playing for a month, I never found either in the auction house or in the wild a single talent unlock that I wanted to use. 

I also felt that the mount felt quite slow for something that should help me go faster than my usual running speed. There's a stamina system so you can't run endlessly and you have a limited number of active dodges, these things are well explained but I still wish you could move faster. Slow movement is a typical MMO trope, I suppose. There's also a weird thing where I kept getting different buffs for no reason, is it because I'm killing enemies? My skills don't seem to apply buffs to me, I wish the game would tell me about these too.

To conclude, no housing system will fix a game, no sassy cartoony animals will make me want to run around aimlessly to try and find what I should be doing, no amount of random quests you can fail or get useless rewards from will make me want to continue running into a monster someone ten times tougher than regular enemies and dying without being able to slow down the enemy because of crowd control resistance.

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories2/5, MMORPG