Throughout the past nine years of World of Warcraft, there have been a lot of would-be WoW killers. These hyped MMOs, sporting well-known licenses and grand budgets, tried to topple Blizzard's powerhouse and failed.
WildStar is an unlikely challenger. It's an MMO from a new developer based on a brand-new IP. However, the team at Carbine Studios has crafted a fun, innovative game that could attract many former WoW players. It improves upon the older game's formula with many welcome changes.
I don't think any game will "kill" WoW. It's too entrenched for another game to completely oust it. If WoW's subscriber base takes another steep drop in the next quarter, though, WildStar's probably the main reason why.
CombatWorld of Warcraft's PvP and raid bosses can require a lot of movement. However, in most situations, you're stationary. The key to success is nailing your rotation of spells or abilities.
In WildStar, though, you have to stay on the move. Many of enemy's abilities can be dodged. If you don't move out of the way, you'll get wrecked. There's no standing around.
Dodging around around isn't enough to win a fight, though. You're going to have to return fire. You can use many abilities while you're on the move, but you have to aim them too. Simply clicking your enemy and casting a spell doesn't work.
The result is that even battles against unnamed quest mobs are engaging. You're constantly dancing out of the way of enemy attacks while positioning yourself to counterattack. WoW just feels so slow by comparison.
Carbine Studios makes it really easy to adjust to this type of combat through telegraphs. The area-of-effect for an enemy ability is displayed in red on the battlefield, while your own abilities are displayed in blue. This allows you to react to enemy attacks or adjust the aim of your own abilities.
Crowd ControlPlayer-versus-player can be intimidating. They're frequented by a hardcore subset of players that will gladly carve up the inexperienced. WildStar manages to ease the frustration by making changes to a fundamental part of PvP: crowd control.
If you're affected by a stun, root or some other form of CC, you don't just have to sit there watching your character get pummeled by enemies. You'll be prompted to hold down a random movement button. If you push the right button, you'll be able to shorten the duration of the CC.
Players have many other ways to reduce crowd control. Items and abilities can grant Interrupt Armor, a buff that stops one incoming CC ability. The Resilience stat, meanwhile, reduces the duration of crowd control on you. Furthermore, each class has an ability to let them break out of crowd control every twenty seconds or so.
Crowd control is still an important part of the game in both PvP and PvE. However, WildStar allows players to actively fight against these effects. The days of being stunlocked and taken from 100% health to zero are over.
HealingI've already talked about combat in WildStar but healing deserves its own special section. It's another way that WildStar sets itself apart from the pack.
WoW players, even the ones that like healing, will often describe the process as "whack-a-mole." You spend most of the battle staring at health bars rather than the actual fight. When a party member's health starts to dip, you fill it back up. Rinse, repeat until all the bad guys are dead.
However, WildStar healing has a twist: you need to aim your heals. In practice, this means you're racing after the tank and damage-dealers to keep them alive. On top of that, you're trying to dodge all the crazy attacks that enemies are throwing your way.
Is this stressful? Sometimes. Is it fun? Always.
HousingWoW players have been asking for housing for years. WildStar has at launch. WildStar's housing might be the most surprising feature of the game. It's so much more than just building a virtual dollhouse and filling it with pretty things.
Granted, building a sweet home is a large part of the fun. WildStar gives you lots of building materials and lets you rotate and resize them all. The possibilities for your housing plot are almost endless. I've seen players make race tracks and skate parks around their home.
There's plenty of incentive to build a home even if you're not vain. Homes function like towns or inns in other MMOs: you can log out there to earn rested experience, which boosts the rate at which you level. Items you place in your home can boost the speed at which you earn this rested XP. WildStar is going to make you care about collecting lamps.
The benefits of your home only increase as you keep leveling. You can install amenities like a garden, or a vending machine crafting table on your land. If you're looking for something to do, you can even place a challenge or dungeon there.
WoW will introduce housing with the next expansion pack Warlords of Draenor. It'd better be something special because WildStar set the bar really high.
C.R.E.D.D.Some MMO gamers may be turned off by WildStar's monthly subscription. However, unlike WoW, WildStar doesn't require you to pay this fee. Carbine Studios offers players an alternate way to buy game time called C.R.E.D.D..
C.R.E.D.D. is an in-game currency that players can redeem to extend their play time by 30 days. It can be purchased with in-game gold from the C.R.E.D.D. Exchange. Players can also buy C.R.E.D.D. for cash through the game's website and sell it for gold on the Exchange.
In other words, a dedicated player can keep playing WildStar for months and months without paying an extra dime. They just need to put aside some time to make the gold to buy C.R.E.D.D.. Players with money to spare but not enough time to farm up riches in WildStar can sell C.R.E.D.D. to make a tidy amount of gold.
The side effect of this system is that it cuts out the shady gold sellers that prey on players in WoW and other games. If players want a lot of gold quickly, they no longer have to risk losing their account or money to scams.