E3 2015: How WildStar Is Transitioning to Free-to-Play
And it's headed to China!
06.25.15 - 11:01 AM
When I took a look at Carbine Studios' popular MMORPG WildStar at E3 2014 it seemed like a fun, cartoony space western that despite all its charm, was ultimately not my cup of tea. Added to that, many - often, players of other MMOs - had mentioned to me last year that while the game started out fun, WildStar suddenly, inexplicably became very difficult at endgame.
To their credit, WildStar has received about five major updates since last we spoke. The developers came up with fun and crazy ideas for the game's mechanics, dungeons and raids - which ultimately got away from them and left not-so-veteran players feeling lost. Between this and the enormous amount of interest and signups the game saw ever since the free-to-play plans were announced, Carbine has been hard at work at making WildStar more accessible to MMO players of all types.
Many of the changes won't be implemented until the free-to-play model, but they will be welcomed nonetheless. For starters, the way players are introduced into the game will depend entirely on your specified MMO experience: none at all gets you the most in depth tutorial; some but new to WildStar introduces you to mechanics unique to the title, and WS veterans simply get some decent gear and sent on their merry way. Dungeons, which started at level 20, will be paced better, and will be available at level 10, starting with a tutorial dungeon, and one of the previously level 20 dungeons will now be lowered to level 15. Gear for newbies will also be offered so that the dungeons are less of a jarring experience the first time around.
In addition, WildStar will see many other adjustments, like the reworking of character stats. Primary and secondary stats will be simpler to understand, yet more experienced players will have all the customization options that they currently have access to. Existing players will notice several quality-of-life improvements, such as the ability to sprint endlessly out of combat, prime monsters being moved 'out of the way,' the ability to sell junk with a single button, and more.
Despite the announcement being weeks old, however, WildStar will not implement these changes or switch over to the free-to-play model until sometime this fall. Carbine intended for players to sign up for the eventual rewards that current subscribers would receive upon transition, to get used to the title, and so that they can pass on feedback. Players who stick it out for the transition will be rewarded with points depending on how they purchased WildStar, how long they subscribed, and how much they've otherwise spent on the game previously. You can also enrol in Coins or enrol in a 'signature plan.' You don't need real money to earn these points, as they can also be earned via the CREDD system, and can in turn be cashed in for ingame items.
Aside from all this, the update will come with a large, icy, multilevel PvP arena called CryoPlex, and an area called Alpha Sanctum, home to a key plot point. Communities will also be introduced sometime after the free-to-play transition, in which up to five players can combine their housing plots into a small area to share space and community features, and invite up to 15 more players into this commune setup.
Finally, it was announced today that WildStar will be expanding into the China region. That launch is several months away, but testing will begin soon in the coming months. When we asked if there were plans to launch in other regions, they were currently looking into it, but there were no other confirmations at the time, during E3. The free-to-play update and the Chinese launch do not yet have exact dates.