This month in MMO Co-Opportunities, we take a look at Wildstar. Unlike other times Wildstar has been featured, this time we have some very preliminary impressions of general gameplay and features experienced in the first handful of levels.
A bit over a week ago, I was granted access to the Wildstar closed beta. This was quite exciting for me, as I’m very much looking forward to the game. At the moment, the press is only allowed to cover content experienced up to level 15 - which ends up being completely fine for this month, since as of time of writing, I’ve only hit level 8. There’s still a ton to write about, though, even in this very first handful of levels.
Though I’d love to gush about some of the game’s technical mechanics (e.g. combat, classes, and skill customization), this time I’ve decided to focus on three aspects that are social in nature: grouping up with friends in-game, mentoring, and circles. These social aspects really address some of the major questions we, as co-op-minded people, generally ask ourselves as we’re considering buying an MMO.
Is the following scenario familiar to you? You and a friend decide to play an MMO together. You roll characters as the same time. You pick X race and your friend picks Y race. You load into the game to discover that races in this particular MMO start in completely different areas of the world. Been there? Welcome to one of my biggest pet peeves of MMOs. In my mind, MMOs are meant to be played with friends, and yes, even from the moment a player loads their brand new character into the world (if they want, of course). Has it ever stopped me from buying an MMO? To date, I don’t think so, but it’s certainly resulted in a lot of complaining and grumpiness, depending on the severity of the offense.
Wildstar doesn’t have this problem. Right out of the gate, all three of your faction’s races are in the same area. There’s one small caveat: once you finish the tutorial (around level 3), you leave the tutorial area and cannot come back. So if you have finished the tutorial and your friend hasn’t, you won’t be able to group up until he or she completes it. The tutorial isn’t super lengthy, however - it may have taken me an hour, but I was reading lore entries and exploring a bit. The tutorial area also spits characters out in the same location, so players out in the world can just go and wait for their friends at this spot. In short, super big thumbs up from me for Carbine understanding that people want to play with their friends now, not later.