It’s not about what’s wrong with Wildstar, it’s Wildstar being wrong in itself.
I recently got FFXIV because I could get it for cheap at around $10, and that’s enough for me. I rather enjoy it. System-wise, Guild Wars 2 is superior, but it has none of the charm and personality, so in the end I enjoy FFXIV far more than I enjoyed GW2. I play FFXIV because there’s an interesting world, because it has content. Whereas GW2 has good systems, but feels like an empty, dull shell. So these two are the only two MMORPGs that I consider barely worth the attention at this time.
Then there’s Wildstar (TESO is also out of my zone of interest, because of what I perceive as a total lack of direction). I have zero interest in it because it makes the stuff I hate in GW2 even worse. The super-fluorescent, over the top, completely inconsistent style. The stuff put in the game for no real reason. It’s like the worst of Facebook games rolled into the ugliest, most monstrous package ever.
To better understand what I mean you can read Tom Chick’s impressions. What he writes there is PRECISELY the reason why I wouldn’t play Wildstar even if it was completely free. I hate its style, I hate its UI, I hate its game design. It’s not “personal” hate, it’s just wonderfully explanatory of everything I dislike in a MMO. Take Wildstar, turn it upside down, and you’d get what I consider a masterpiece.
It truly looks like a patchwork of systems without any coherence. Just an ugly monstrosity derived from this kind of game design without a direction or vision. It’s not a MMORPG, it’s an imitation of one.
Some selected quotes:
At this point, you’d think Wildstar is a collection of things other MMOs do, mostly World of Warcraft, done in pretty much the same way they do them, but without any sense of vision or identity, without any selling point, without anything to distract you from the inevitable burning question, much less provide an answer: “Why am I playing this instead of an MMO I’m already invested in?” It is a collection of MMO systems in search of a game. It is unconnected and uninspired stuff.
The text pops up on screen and the narrator says something supposedly funny, like, “Holy shit, you’re going to fuck up the bad guys now!”, except the words “shit” and “fuck” are bleeped out. It’s as if someone played Brutal Legend and liked the font.
“some people liked it, so they left it in there. That’s Wildstar.”
Stuff that’s stirred into a game because some people liked it. Not because it’s good, or clever, or well made, or part of a distinct vision or coherent design. But because someone liked it and a bunch of other people shrugged and decided to leave it in there. What a terrible way to make a game, particularly an ambitious one like a subscription-based MMO.
And it has a narrator. “Double kill!” the narrator hollers, “Triple kill!” I think he even says “Killtastic!” or some dumb thing if I keep going. Who is he? Why is he talking to me? Is this a gladiatorial MMO? A narrator is watching over my shoulder and commenting on my battles, on my achievements, on my leveling. Shouldn’t this be my adventure? Why is the idea that I’m entertaining spectators introduced into this game? Who puts a narrator in an MMO? Someone must have liked the narrator.
It’s the anti-world, anti-immersion, anti-simulation. Basically the entirety of the MMORPG genre when you squeezed out all the good aspects, and are left only with a skinner box with no soul and no art. The worst of fast food of gaming.
I’m glad it exists, because I can point to it and show everything that is wrong, so perfectly summarized in just one game.