There’s a grand total of two MMOs in development that I hold the slightest interest in: Guild Wars 2 and WildStar. While the former is a sequel to an established MMO franchise, the latter is a lesser known foray into the genre. I’ve maintained a peripheral interest in WildStar since the game’s announcement at GamesCom 2011, but recent events have thrust it back into my field of vision.
WildStar is a science fiction MMORPG set on the alien world Nexus. Players take up the mantle of either an explorer, soldier, scientist, or settler and lay claim to the resources and ancient technology hidden on the mysterious planet. The whole thing has a genuine “space cowboy” feel to it, echoing Firefly and other gritty science fiction works. Generally I prefer swords and sorcery over blasters and bionics, but the game’s charming art direction and action-oriented gameplay were enough to sway me.
“But Radiostorm,” you might ask, “don’t you hate all MMOs? Haven’t you written article after article imploring developers to stop making them?” True, my tragical history with the MMO genre has left me cold and dead on the inside. However, WildStar has managed to provoke my attention with its recent spree of uncannily robust community updates.
Capitalizing on the wake of E3, developer Carbine Studios released a meaty trailer full of footage from WildStar’s friends and family beta. The four minute exposé consists of a string of gameplay scenes narrated by executive producer Jeremy Gaffney. Gaffney coolly explains what’s happening in the footage, what new features the team has added, and the design philosophy behind those features. It’s a refreshing departure from the trite and overly staged trailers endemic of this year’s E3, and it’s always great to hear from a game designer rather than an intermediary marketing mannequin.
It was Gaffney’s next exploit that truly impressed me though. The executive producer started an AMA (ask me anything) thread on Reddit, opening the door for fans and critics alike to grill him not only on questions about WildStar, but on his 18 years of online game experience. I cannot understate how fantastic it is that a game designer would put himself on the line in this manner. Gaffney dove into the questions, eagerly revealing dozens of tantalizing new details. He even humoured my own humble query:
Whether or not WildStar ends up being a good game, I’m genuinely impressed by the open doors approach Carbine Studios has taken to development. It’s almost enough to reignite my love affair with MMOs. Almost. If you like what you’ve seen, check out the official WildStar website for updates every Wednesday.