Just Not Feeling the Hype: ESO & WildStar

The last major MMO I’ve felt hyped up about was Guild Wars 2. And that was… two years ago. Man, was I super hyped about that game! I launched a fan Tumblr, made lots of GW2 friends even before the game was released, set up everything for the little guild I was launching, introduced friends and family, co-oridnated servers for release night, and was in game before midnight on the night of pre-release, capturing all the names I wanted to use.

It was an amazing time and a great feeling to have something to be excited about. And that excitement carried through all the beta weekends and stress tests and months into playing the game after release. (I long for the days when I felt GW2 could do no wrong… but that’s another story.)

I enjoy being hyped up about a game, I won’t lie. But I’ve also become more attuned to my own tastes over the years, and a bit more sensitive to design and story elements in games when I test them out. Gone are the days when every new MMO release was a hype train for me. There’s just too many games and not enough time.

No Modern Motivation

I guess you can say I’m a bit disappointed that all the shiny and new (ESO & WildStar) just aren’t pushing the right buttons for me. I have enough games to play already, but I’m always open to trying something different. I love being whisked away to new worlds, rolling new characters, and experiencing new places and stories. I love sharing the fresh and new game feeling with everyone else at launch — there’s nothing quite like it! I’m not an end game player or raider, so a game holds on to me through the journey and exploration. Being a casual player, this journey often takes me far longer to complete than most folks… if I reach level cap at all. I own several MMOs where I’ve not even come close to level cap, even after playing on and off for 5+ years!

So, I’m sad to say that neither ESO nor WildStar really hit it off with me. Sure, my experiences with the games were limited to betas. However, while games can and do grow beyond their beta state (I tend to see about year 2 of a MMO as the point they begin to mature), the base of the story, world and feel of the game should already be well represented at that point.

I was very glad that beta was available for both games. I was able to judge them and come to terms with the fact that neither game was for me.

ESO Woes

I knew people who were quite hyped for ESO for different reasons. I wanted to be, too.

About as hyped as this logo.

But when I actually played it, I knew it was lacking in the things that mattered most to me (immersion, story complexity, the way the story is presented, questing, NPC character development, ability to play and share the game’s story with friends). Come to find out, these things weren’t fixed at launch, and now other folks are catching on to what I sensed during beta. Now that the first month’s shine is wearing off, I’ve read that plenty of folks are starting to voice their doubts and disappointments.

I’m glad that I followed my head and didn’t follow the hype. I feel like I dodged that bullet.

My Beta Khajiit

WildStar Woes

Okay, so with ESO out of the picture, I should be excited for WildStar instead, right? Nope.

Again, I wanted to like WildStar. I loved the idea of mixing quirky space-cowboy tropes, the crazy cartoony art style, a strong sense of humor and a brand new IP to boot. With player housing being stressed and lots of playstyles to choose, including explorer types, you’d think that something about it would have resonated with me.

This guy looks like he’s got a headache, too.

I played it (both factions) and it didn’t. The game’s art style is to be lauded, but it’s just too busy. The UI pop-ups and constant bombardment of light and color might be reaching for excitement, but becomes too muddled for me. I wanted a cartoony character in a vibrant cartoony world… instead I got too many things trying to clamor for my attention at once, leaving me exhausted from the environment alone.

Add to that a combat system that focuses solely on telegraphed attacks for both you and the enemy, and it’s headache-inducing to me. I’ve had more than enough circles on the ground from FFXIV and GW2. I don’t want to make my own circles or squares or trapezoids or whatever just to fight common forest creatures.

The game is touting itself as “hardcore” in it’s end-game raid focus, too. While that might excite the 2-5% of the game’s population it’s aimed at, I’m not a raider and I can only wonder what’s for the casuals come end game. That’s one thing that I laud FFXIV for — they release a continuous balance of content for those who enjoy the challenge of raids as well as for normal folks, like me, who just want to log in, have a little stress-free fun for the night.

Taking a look at WildStar’s new raid video (I know they’re very proud of their raids), it just gave me yet another headache. Telegraphed insanity everywhere. Totally not for me.

Is it for you? Are you hyped? That’s great! Go for it! I’m not saying you shouldn’t!

I’m just not feeling it here. It’s a personal thing.

Maybe my heart is drawn to sandboxes now days — give me Landmark development. Give me ArcheAge or Shards Online. These are concepts that stir something in me that may, perhaps, become hype one day. I’m waiting for that feeling. I really am.