Friday, June 27, 2014

Wildstar: Making The Steam Summer Sale More Attractive

I've played MMORPGs for nine years, so I know better.  Don't play a new game at launch.  Wait at least 90 days to let the developer work out the bugs.  But I just had to find out how C.R.E.D.D. would work at launch, so I violated the rule and pre-ordered Wildstar.  Probably not the best decision I've ever made.

My initial problems with the game were mostly my own doing.  Carbine added two-factor authentication in the form of Google Authenticator.  Google Authenticator?  If Carbine had come up with their own app, I would have downloaded immediately.  But I'd never heard of Google Authenticator before and was wary of how it worked and what getting the app would mean, so I delayed getting the app until I could do some research.  Unfortunately, my account was hacked while I was at work less than 12 hours later.  To add insult to injury, the hacker put Google Authenticator on my account so I couldn't get back in.  That cost me two days.

Okay, now I'm playing for a weekend.  But the following Friday, I leave my iPhone at work.  I'm not about to make the round trip into Chicago just to pick up my phone.  Sure, my fault, but that was another two days not playing the game.  Good thing I'd set up my computers at home so I didn't need the authenticator for logging into Google.

Not playing because of my own stupidity, no problem.  But last night was ridiculous.  After playing EVE I decided I'd log into Wildstar for 30 minutes and knock off a couple of quests.  So I downloaded the patch, logged in, got to the character select screen, and couldn't enter the game world.  Apparently Wildstar misplaced my cryo-pod.  Not just my cryo-pod either.  A lot of people had the problem.

Look, I know that MMORPGs have issues at launch.  Having to log out every so often because the bruiserbot on my Engineer was bugged was irritating.  Opening the AMP window on my Medic and seeing no tool tips, I was able to work around (I think).  But creating a patch that introduces a bug that keeps a large number of people playing?  That's really poor QA.

Another thing I did last night was watch Alikchi stream Crusader Kings 2 on the TMC stream.  I'd seen a video for the game on Steam and Alikchi's stream allowed me to check out the game for an hour.  Alikchi is pretty good and I was interested in buying the game afterwards.  Imagine my surprise when I checked out Steam for the latest bargains because I couldn't play Wildstar to find Crusader Kings 2 on sale for 80% off.  Needless to say, I quickly snapped the game up.

Now I'm in a bit of a quandry.  I'm absolutely playing EVE this weekend because I need to do some practical experimentation of some theory crafting I did.  But if I only have time for one other game, I may not choose Wildstar.  The new car feel is wearing off fast.


  1. I picked up CK2 because of Syncaine's recommendation a few years ago. It's a bit big in scope to play anything quickly with but if you can zone out for a few hours it's fun.

  2. I have classically been a first expansion (at least) kind of buyer, EverQuest: ROK expansion, WoW TBC started my dwarf paladin going. Eve... well ok, that one I missed the first expansion... and the next...15? but I am happy I found it. Even single player games, or at least non MMO's BF3: bought whole thing after first dlc because I liked it. BF4 same deal... Still Isn't Battlefield cops n robbers? who knows, but I wont be a launch day fan. There was a time when games came out incredibly well polished. But that ended with the Web. Someone realized that they could turn things over quicker and cheaper if they let their diehard fans beta test for them after buying the game, and patch the problems.

    I can actually understand this in a way. in theory less overhead for testing all the different combinations of video card. OS, etc, and the quicker turn around means that more content can get into the games, but I think this has gotten to the abusive state.

  3. Reminds me of reading reviews on Amazon. A whole bunch of 5 and 4-star reviews. How amazing the product is. How its never failed them. How they (or their kids in the case of toys) love it.

    And then there is the 1-star reviews. How the product failed after 1 day/week/month. How customer service was horrible and gave them the run around. How it ruined their kid's birthday/holiday. How they will never buy this brand again, and going to stick to another brand (which if you check that brand's reviews looks basically the same).

    So who is right? They both are. Wierd.

    1. Wildstar has bugs galore. Path skills, which work as a secondary class of sorts, are still bugged for a large portion of the playerbase. For some reason they stay at base level and never upgrade. No one on the forums has a clue why it effects some people and not others.

      The storyline instances are borderline broken. Unless you like rerunning the same thing 3 times in a row hoping for a go it doesn't come to a screeching halt.

      The game has weird class balance issues. The AMP System is very nice, but certain AMPs are outright needed to be effective, if you don't have them you might as well not even try to keep up with everyone else, which leads to the Drop Rate issue on AMPs. Some classes, AMPs drop like candy, *cough* Warrior *cough*. And others, are running low level instances ad nauseum long after they've hit level cap looking for the things.

      All that is somewhat forgivable, because it is challenging and fun. Sooner or later they'll straighten it all out and everyone will be happy, but then you hit the game's not too well thought out conceit.

      Wildstar's largest issue, to me at least, is it's too damn hard. I usually like hard. But Wildstar requires dedicated blocks of time, 4-6 hours at the level cap to really learn an instances. Then next week some of the encounters change, so another 2-3 hour block of time to relearn the new bits.

      I'm in my 30s, I don't have a dedicated and uninterrupted 4-6 hours. I have an hour, then 15-30 minutes of RL interruptions, then another hour. Repeat. On weekends I can probably scrape together 2-3 hours at a go. Maybe.

      So I've already walked away. If the time blocks were smaller, I could deal with it. An hour of deaths and try again on a one off boss of the same difficulty, sure. But stringing 4-6 of them in a row? I don't know anyone in my age bracket that has a life which allows it.