WildStar is a modern MMO that brought a lot of joy to a lot of MMO fans who for years had had a fairly similar concept to WoW whichever MMO they tried to play. Even Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, arguably one of WoW’s biggest competitors follows a similar combat style, professions system and a lot more. However, WildStar came along in mid-2014 and completely shook up the MMO market by bringing a game that felt like an MMO that wasn’t trying to be like World of Warcraft. Don’t get us wrong, there are many similarities, but they are more due to the constraints of the genre than trying to copy the incredible behemoth MMO. Initial impressions and reviews of the game were incredibly high with critics lauding the combat system, the different abilities section, the interesting characters, the incredible player housing system and just the fact it felt different to most other MMOs.
Recently then, WildStar was announced to go free to play and that got a lot of fans excited. You see, a lot of people found WildStar great but the end game was lacking and so once you’d hit high level there wasn’t really much more to do after that. This deterred a lot of players and, as a result, left a fairly sour taste in the mouth for the MMO with the potential to rival WoW. That’s why, when it was announced it was going free-to-play, a lot of people got super excited. A lot of changes are going to be made to make the MMO competition back on. So here is why WildStar going free-to-play could mean real competition for World of Warcraft.
There’s Going To Be A Lot of Changes
One thing the developers stated they wanted to make a priority when they announced WildStar was going free-to-play was that they wanted to make a lot of changes to make the experience for new players a lot more of an enjoyable experience. From the initial impressions and writings on the Beta of the free-to-play servers, the changes are all things that the critics and players had problems with the first time round. For example, the first 15 levels or so in WildStar are a little dull to a fairly slow storyline pace and not a huge amount of content to unlock. However, they’ve improved this and also given players the option to completely remove the first tutorial area which takes up the first hour of your playtime for a really quite dull intro.
This may sound like a really obvious and dumb suggestion as to why it will compete with World of Warcraft but being completely free will open WildStar open to a much larger audience than ever before. Free-to-play is a business model a few MMOs have taken lately along with Guild Wars 2 and Terra being two of the biggest. Making the game free allows absolutely any player to come in and try your game to see if it’s something they want ti invest their time and money into.
Then you get the divide of people who like the game, the ones who are happy paying nothing and getting the basic experience and those that love the game and wish to support the developers and unlock new content. WildStar is looking to offer similar incentives. Along with these, they’ll earn their money through available cosmetic purchases through their store, progression boosts and more. The one problem with free-to-play games is the worry that they will end up offering ways to pay-to-win. With MMOs as long as they don’t offer any buffs such as better weapons or better stats for money, then they’re fine. Progression boosts and cosmetic items are ways of characters feeling more achievement for investing their money into it.
The Gaming Media Will Cause Hype
You could argue that every MMO that comes out these days claims to be a WoW-Killer because, essentially, that’s what most MMOs are trying to do. They want to be the best and to be the best you have to be better than WoW. As WildStar gets closer to its free-to-play launch on September 29th, more and more gaming journalists and technology journalists will garner interest in the game and announce new features coming to the game, what will happen to old accounts and what to look forward to. Therefore, more and more people will see it and more and more people will be likely to join and play the game upon its release date. Obviously, positive initial impressions for the big reviewers such as GameTrailers, IGN, Polygon and such will help people make their minds up as to whether to play. But even if the reviews aren’t highly positive, it’s free and that means a whole MMO for free. Who could say no to that?