So I finally caved to the pressure of new shinies, and that of peer pressure and bought Wildstar. I am a little upset at myself for not being able to resist another mmo launch after the last failed so miserably for me, I was quite excited for Elder Scrolls Online as the beta experiences were great and the draw of a new big AvA space after being bored of the Zerg Wars in Guild Wars 2 pushed that hype over the top. After reeling back from that experience a little I was left wondering what did I really want, what is the game I’m after and while I don’t think that is entirely Wildstar it is far more aligned to things that engage me.
Before making this decision I even tried jumping back into ESO for a bit and just mucking around but that special something just wasn’t there. There are many reasons why but the main is just that the experience is just so generic… nondescript and uninspired. From one moment to the next, in just about every part of the game I feel exactly the same and that is an issue. If I want to have an average story delivered to me with average combat for the entirety of my gameplay then I guess, this would be the game but there are so many other games that do things better than it. They might fail in other areas but at least other areas enthral.
I Believe this all falls down to the absolute lack of options within ESO. Yes it has crafting and dungeons but they are a rather minimal part of the gameplay. If you want to progress, to grow your character and even experience new things then you have to get attached to the levelling game and this doesn’t really change that much. The story elements from one place to the next are remarkably similar and then the mechanics underlying them the same. There is a guise of an open levelling experience but it’s a mirage, your mostly stuck in a march of inevitability.
ESO is the most unremarkable average mmo out there. I neither hate it like I did TOR and others, and it doesn’t have any elements to make it stand out like GW2. The story isn’t anywhere near as good as TSW. It’s neither a closed Themepark grind or an open world experience. It is something wherein it has tried so hard not to stand out in any aspect so as not to put off any potential players. It is what you get when metrics and market analysis runs development, a carefully constructed MMO that lacks any real soul. Yeh, not exactly a shocker to many of you… you can commence your “I told you so dance” now.
Restrictions on Play
Now what could have made this experience better, like it does with most multiplayer games is playing with friends and other people but, it makes this so god damn hard. The Phasing makes this next to impossible unless you’ve perfectly levelled with someone the entire time. You can neither be involved, contribute or benefit from helping others in many quests you don’t have. And with the more open aspect to questing, where you can kind of bumble around a zone in a variety of ways means you are not guaranteed to have the same quests or goals as another player in your Vicinity.
Then you get to level 50, It’s finish point that is then yanked away from you in some cruel joke called Veteran Ranks. This problem is magnified ten fold then as there is another whole range of restrictions on this grouping between friends and guild members.Someone at the same VR rank as you might be in another zone entirely, or maybe just a few quests away and someone helping you get to your level is only slowing themselves down dramatically. Yeh you might play after you get to the same spot but what happens when someone logs, or plays at a different time. It breaks that flow.
It’s also a situation that fractures the playerbase. There are only a certain amount of dungeons but they are split amongst the VR ranks and have certain recommended VR levels.Unlike most end game content in other mmo’s this has created many different layers of people grinding through rather than mostly focused on the same goals. There is heaps of space in between these two as the way VR, and well, levelling in general is designed with resist and penetration making content above you extremely difficult. Now, it is possible but then you’d be hard pressed in finding a group who would actually want to have you on that run. It’s not elitism, more just people not wanting to waste their time. So with the levelling, and the dungeons here at cap you have an extremely fractured group of players that will continually diminish leaving me worried about the experience the more I put it off.
Now I could, maybe support this model if there where more options on how to level, and level with a group efficiently but there isn’t. Questing is a mostly single player experience. There is PvP but the experience gain is minimal in comparison and VR ranks seem to make a rather large difference on play there. Oh, and I forgot to mention that they nerfed many effective ways of just grinding it away. No mob spawns to really help and only singular benefits to many public dungeons and events so apart from this your just stuck. Stuck doing the same completely average questing experience… mostly alone, over and over again with increasing difficulty. Even the thought of that is just soul shattering to me.
I just need more options there throughout play, available to when I want to break up whatever monotony I’m stuck in at the time. A nice spot to sit back and grind. Running between events with a group, delving into dungeons over and over, PvP, CRAFTING to get experience…. WHATEVER really just something else where there is currently nothing. And it seems they want to keep adding to this problem with each update by creating content at the VR cap while also increasing it.
This is why I think Wildstar is appealing to me so much right now. I’m just starting out and I’m bombarded with options on how I want to play. Questing, challenges, events, instances, adventures, dungeons, … and PvP gives freekin GREAT experience and I love levelling alts that way. It’s a game that opens itself up to everyone and says play the way you want. GW2’s original buzz word reborn. Even at cap there seems like enough options to keep you busy with the other adventure, raiding, crafting, housing and all manor of achievement orientated things.
So, I guess.. see you in Nexus