I’ve been playing in the open beta of WildStar, an upcoming SciFi-themed Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) from Carbine Studios. I’ve had an eye on it for a couple of years, as the artwork I’ve seen is beautiful and the tone of the game seems irreverent and fun:
WildStar is one of the last AAA subscription-based MMORPGs we’re likely to see for a while. From a professional perspective, it’s of interest to me to see how online social play has evolved to create a compelling virtual environment that people actually want to visit. WildStar has followed in the footsteps of recent World of Warcraft expansions, enhancing the game mechanics with greater layering of content to create a refined but packaged experience. In its pursuit to be the ultimate destination MMORPG, WildStar even applies the Bartle gamer psychology test to appeal to one of four base types: the explorer, the lore hound, the combat seeker, and the social supporter.
During Open Beta I got a chance to play the various character classes up to about level 10. Starting May 31st, I’ll be able to start anew with a new character when the game officially launches.
I rather like the cat-like character because she reminds me of an actual cat that I boarded for a while named Jenny, who would get the most mischievous look on her face. But really, there are a number of fun characters I could make. Dark haired pirate women with flashing eyes! Angry Scots packing giant laser canons! Whatever the character ends up being, I’ll roll-up on whatever the Role Playing (RP) server because the people are less likely to be jerks, though I doubt I’ll actually join. The RP scene, in my limited experience, is comprised of improv that doesn’t catch my interest, but I do think it’s great that they’re trying to elevate the experience in a way that the game does not directly support. Online collaborative storytelling is still an area where video games has fallen short; for all the graphical advancements that have been made with MMORPGs, they are essentially bad text adventure games with fancy 3D graphics on the back-end, not very “immersive”, from the storytelling presentation perspective.
Still, I must play! If I get back into video game development, I’d like to work on this social play challenge.
The server list is out! I’m rolling up characters on EVINORA, the RP-PVE server, as the community on RP servers are usually more chatty. The out-of-character (OOC) channel to find out what’s going on is called “WSRP”, so
/chjoin wsrp to add it to your chat window. The WildStar chat window is kind of bad; hopefully they’ll fix it.
I’ve started with a blue cat-like Aurin named Sri, of the Spellslinger/Settler persuasion. I couldn’t help it…I like her inscrutable cat smile that implies everything in the world is going to be OK.