WildStar Shut Down
If you hadn’t heard, WildStar, one of the MMORPGs with the most potential I’ve seen in years is shutting down.
It’s always a sad day when an MMO closes its doors – when the character you’ve logged in to play every day, every month, every year since launch finally gets to lay down their weapon and rest.
I’ve often felt that way with World of Warcraft. Every time I quit an expansion for a time, I log out each of my characters in the same area, and like to think that they’re all having a blast relaxing while I’m gone.
And one day, when WoW inevitably shuts down.. I plan on retiring each and every character on every server I have to the Tavern in the Mists where they will live out the rest of their lives in peace, helping out all the adorable Pandaren.
Okay, maybe I’m oversharing here a little bit.. and maybe I’m getting a little teary-eyed.
WildStar may not have been the best MMORPG on the market. WildStar may not have had the best combat, the best graphics, the best leveling experience, the best PvP.. but the game still had a place.
I know the game had a lot of issues surrounding its launch – as the game initially came out as a pay to play MMORPG like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV.
A lot of those issues were remedied with continued content patches and updates rolled out over the years, but MMO players are an unforgiving lot.
I mean we’re glutton’s for punishment.. being repeatedly burned with every new release, but we don’t give games a second chance!
Carbine Studios, the team behind WildStar attempted to repair the reputation they had gotten with WildStar. They fixed problems players had, they pushed out content they believed players wanted, but nothing they did ever received any traction.
Nothing they released ever caused the game to spike in numbers. The game was in a perpetual state of decline over the years – and I’m not saying they couldn’t have changed that.
Maybe better advertising campaigns. Maybe reaching out to content creators and sponsoring updated playthroughs of the game. Maybe doing giveaways in their other games like Blade and Soul or Aion would’ve helped.
Who knows. The fact of the matter is, they did nothing to try and circumvent their own inevitable death. And they knew it was coming – as did every other player.
Nobody knew exactly when it was coming – I personally thought the game still had a fair amount of time left before it finally went under, but then I don’t know the exact population numbers.
I can’t imagine they were very high if shutting down the game instead of leaving a single server live was the solution they came up with.
I’m just.. a little disappointed that this was the route the game took.
I never had the opportunity to play all that much of the game, granted, as I believe the furthest I got was into my 20s, but from my personal experience, it was one of the highest quality feeling free to play MMORPGs I’ve played in recent memory.
Yes, it didn’t feel as good as WoW. Yes, it didn’t seem like it was packed with story like Final Fantasy XIV. Yes, the combat wasn’t as good as Black Desert.
But WildStar offered a unique feel that no other game did.
It had an action combat system that felt like a mix between Black Desert and Guild Wars 2.
The graphical style was cute and comical, just like World of Warcraft.
The worlds were large and expansive, the questing experience was very traditional – which may or may not have been a pro, admittedly.
The skill tree and ability to customize your character was probably the best I’d seen in a free to play title. Granted Guild Wars 2 does it incredibly well – but to access everything, you do need to purchase the expansions.
So I don’t classify Guild Wars 2 as a “fully free to play MMORPG”.
I never had the chance to experience PvP unfortunately, as when I played the game the population had already declined to such a degree that the battlegrounds and arenas were pretty much barren.
The player housing in WildStar was actually quite an experience. I’ve dabbled in it a little just like I have in ArcheAge, Final Fantasy XIV and Rift, and I gotta say.. you don’t really know you need something until you have them.
Now I know there’s nothing we can do about the game closing down. And I’m not going to go dwell on the subject, complain any further, or really go into what could have been done to fix the game.
Carbine released WildStar, it didn’t really stand out at first, and people gave up on it. That’s the gist of it and that’s what people will ultimately remember.
With its closure, though, players are going to be left wondering where exactly they should go now. What MMORPGs are similar to WildStar? Are there any good alternatives?
Suffice it to say.. there is no MMORPG like WildStar out there. At least, nothing that offers exactly what WildStar did. There are games that are, I guess, comparable in various ways to WildStar and I’m going to go ahead and list them below.
So if you’re looking for a new home.. maybe this’ll help you find it.
Final Fantasy XIV
One of the three most populated MMORPGs left standing, but also requiring you purchase the game and then pay a monthly subscription to continue to play it.
It lacks the action combat system WildStar has, but offers some of the most expansive player-housing and guild-housing options in an MMO.
It has a much richer story, a significant amount more content, a very fantasy-themed graphical style, a very traditional questing and progression system, and is overall a very high quality game.
Its population numbers are as high as they are for a reason.
Guild Wars 2
One of the five most populated MMORPGs that has a base game that is free to play, but requires you purchase various expansions if you want to partake of the content associated with them.
It has a similar action combat system to WildStar and a detailed class and skill system.
It has quite an emphasis on story and player choice, overall has more content, a more fantasy-scifi themed graphic style, one of the most unique questing systems in an MMO and is a great quality alternative.
Blade and Soul
One of the ten most populated MMORPGs and probably one of the three most populated completely free to play MMORPGs on the market. And while I say “free to play”, there is a slightly negative connotation associated with it.
The game itself has arguably the best combat in a free MMO, some of the best graphics, cutscenes, worlds, and is still actively updated every few months with new areas and classes.
But there are aspects of the game that are heavily pay to win and NCSoft, the people behind Blade and Soul, cater quite heavily to the whales in their games.
So if you’re looking for something completely free.. this is one of the two you’re going to want to look at.
Black Desert Online
One of the five most populated MMORPGs and one of the two that are actually buy to play. Meaning you purchase it one time and own it for life.
Also considered, at the very least, semi-pay to win, and I cannot confirm this myself as I can’t give my opinion of endgame, but, regardless there are aspects of the game that are quite similar to WildStar.
The action combat is the best in the genre. The player housing options give you quite a lot of customization over your humble little abode. And the character creator is just.. unparalleled.
Crafting, open-world exploration.. Black Desert has a lot going for it in terms of things to do, but if you’re looking for something with a story.. or even a questing system, you’ll want to give BDO a hard pass.
Although this little beauty has yet to launch, it will be in the very near future, having an expected release date of October.
While completely free to play, and possibly a little pay to win as it is a Nexon game, it offers very cute Anime-inspired graphics, an action combat system, and has a large emphasis on character customization and player housing.
From what I could tell from the 2 beta’s I participated in, there is also quite a fun, quirky storyline to follow with a lot of entertaining, highly engrossing mini-games as well, helping set itself apart from what we’re used to.
Elder Scrolls Online
Elder Scrolls Online is one of the three most populated MMORPGs, and like BDO, is buy to play, meaning once you purchase it.. you own it and can play it forever.
Although there are subscription services that assist with the game, it is not in any way required to have one active to fully enjoy the game.
ESO has an action combat system with a very highly customizable class system – probably one of the most expansive I’ve seen in an MMO.
It has large, explorable areas, a plethora of story and side quests, phenomenal voice acting, the ability to own several different houses, and is actually one of the most non-MMO feeling MMOs I’ve played.
One of the ten most populated MMORPGs and easily one of the three most populated completely free to play MMORPGs at that.
But then again that isn’t saying much as there are maybe, at max, five MMORPGs that are completely free to play that have any semblance of a population worth classifying as “populated” anyway.
TERA is.. pretty much like Blade and Soul. A fairly large emphasis on story, fantastic combat, great graphics, large explorable worlds, updated fairly regularly with new classes and content.
However the game is also much less pay to win than Blade and Soul. So if you’re looking for a non-pay to win alternative.. there you have it.
World of Warcraft
You can’t have any “top list” or “list of good MMORPGs” without including WoW. It is, after all, what a lot of MMORPGs were modeled after, and WildStar was no exception.
You have the same faction vs faction, same graphical style, same comical characters, same.. well, if I had to explain what WildStar most reminded me of, I’d say it felt like a mix between World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2. Which is a great combination, honestly.
I feel like at this point in time everyone has tried World of Warcraft out so there’s no real reason to go into detailing exactly what it is, but suffice it to say.. Battle for Azeroth has been their fastest selling expansion to date.
If that isn’t reason enough to jump back in.. then maybe the allure of classic servers will, with Blizzard’s recent announcement that they’ll be re-opening progression classic servers.
Regardless of which game you choose, nothing is going to bring back the memories and feelings you had when you played WildStar.
There is no game around currently that in any way resembles it. There are games that resemble parts of it, but none that capture what WildStar did.
The most you can do is find something that can fill a small part of the hole you’re going to feel after no longer having access to the game.
And while that is saddening to hear.. the truth is that it is the unfortunate eventuality for every MMORPG.
Now to end this, I just want to give WildStar a moment of silence as it goes under. A moment to remember the game. A moment to remember exactly what made you love it.
.. now with this moment, go down in the comment section and tell me.. what made YOU love WildStar? And what is your fondest memory of the game?