WildStar Free-to-Play version Review
Wildstar is setting itself up to switch to its new free to play business model very soon and so we dipped into the game on their private test realm to check out what was in store with the changes. We told you a few weeks back after Gamescom about some of the changes that were being implemented and recently we got the chance to experience them in full for ourselves.
Stepping into the game as a new player is now going to be far simpler, a direction the Wildstar team definitely wanted to go in with the hopefully large number of new players that will be trying the game out for the first time. The new player experience is a lot more accessible with everything from video guides for the classes and paths that are available, simplifying the stats, facts and figures in the game, and the new three tier tutorial.
The first question any player will be asked when making a character for the first time is: what is your experience level? The “Novice” option is for those who may have never played an MMO or MMORPG, this leads players into a VR setting where you are walked through the basic controls as a AI character assesses your viability for your species, it’s all still very comical and tongue in cheek and useful for those unfamiliar to the genre. When the VR is complete players progress to where those who selected “New to Wildstar” begin, which is geared towards those who know how MMORPGs work, but maybe aren’t familiar with Wildstar and its lore and so want to skip the VR tutorial and get into the gameplay. Lasting about 3 levels it gives you a handful of quests, introduces some lore, and gave us a rather challenging boss fight… seriously.. we must have died about 10 times trying to kill this thing as a Spellslinger and only managed to take it down when another player (who we watched die from our ghostly form) returned and we tag-teamed it. Once defeated we worked our way through a few more waypoints until we finally headed down to the planet Nexus, the starting point for those who have selected the “Veteran” experience option, best used for those making new characters who don’t want to go through the tutorial each time and will instead start at level 3 on Nexus; pretty cool idea.
From here the game is, for the most part, the same for everyone whether you are a free to play account or a “Signature” account, ie. the paid for subscription account (which can still be paid for using C.R.E.D.D.). Players that had already acquired a lot of C.R.E.D.D. through the previous system, ie. the currency required to subscribe to the game previously that could be acquired through game play (similar to EVE Online’ Plexx system) will automatically have their accounts upgraded with Signature membership for the duration that their CREDD would have lasted them. There’s a lot of extra stuff coming the way of those players who purchased the box prior to the f2P changeover, including extra character, costume and bank slots and the ability to place more décor items in your house.
So what do Signature players get that F2P accounts don’t? For the most part it leans towards extra convenience but seemingly not at the free to play accounts expense or their direct inconvenience. For the most part these revolve around extra boosts and bonuses that free players won’t get, such as Circuit Board Crafting (15%), Currency (25%), Gathering (10%), Coordinate Crafting (10% Radius Size), Reputation (50%) and XP (25%). Then there are quality of life features such as being able to create and invite people into Warparties, Circles or Guilds, getting Queue and Customer Service priority and a higher number of active bids on the Auction House and active buys on the Commodities Exchange (F2P: 3, Sig: 30).
Finally Signature players get a free allotment of Loyalty Points each month, which free to play accounts don’t, though everyone can earn them (though no details on how just yet) for buying all manner of items and perks as well as free to play accounts buying some of the features and bonuses from the Signature perks à la carte.
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WildStar Free-to-Play version Review
TBD Overall Score
A lot more simplicity of what your character can do, ideal starting locations for different experiences, Signiture accounts aren't at free-to-play accounts' detriment
The tutorial boss is really difficult to solo with a non-melee class!