Could WildStar be the next WoW-killer in the ever-growing list of  challengers?

I came across WildStar a few weeks ago while listening to TWIMMO on Gamebreaker.tv. With the premise that the game is from 20 or so ex-WoW developers who helped create vanilla WoW, their reputation precedes theme and there are some expectations that they will create something that will click with MMO gamers the same way WoW has done.

It should be an even fight, considering how WoW has been doing a fine job killing itself, especially during this particular time as it is the lull period between the last big content patch while also on the cusp of their next expansion.

So what is WildStar?

WildStar is a mix of sci-fi, magic, MMO, and Team Fortress.

Here’s a quick intro to the setting of the game from the official site:

Nexus is the legendary planet of the Eldan–a powerful, technologically-advanced race that mysteriously disappeared from the galaxy more than a thousand years ago. Located in the unmapped regions of space, Nexus has been sought by archaeologists, adventurers and treasure hunters for centuries–and its recent discovery has ignited a mad rush across the galaxy to uncover its many secrets.

The Dominion, a powerful galactic empire, has claimed Nexus and all of its treasures, declaring war on the mercenaries, rebels and refugees called the Exiles, that discovered the planet and now call it their home. Caught in the middle of this intensifying conflict is a chaotic and vibrant mix of different races from the furthest corners of the galaxy, including hostile alien races, bloodthirsty space pirates, and greedy intergalactic corporations.

In terms of available characters and races, there are so far two confirmed factions: The Dominion and the Exiles (as per above), and three playable races currently revealed for the Exiles faction which include the Aurin (the one with the bunny ears), the Granok (big, golem type), and the standard typical human. It is currently assumed that humans will be part of both factions, and the Dominion will feature analogous versions of the Aurin and Granok, so as to allow both sides to be equally appealing.

Is it a WoW Killer?

Too early to say, but I’m just using the cliche term anyway. Because it’s from ex-WoW developers, and from the gameplay and art theme that they are going with, it’s offering a very similar looking style that WoW has, but with improvements in combat (free-form targeting) and the way you progress in the game (based on “path”).

It will all depend on how fun the game will be, how smooth the gameplay is, how much customization is allowed, and how much it will cater to all the gamer types out there. There needs to be enough for those interested in PVE, PVP, RP, crafting, exploring, achievement-seeking, sandboxers, theme-parkers, leveling-on-railers, and so forth.

Gameplay demo:

Longer demo:

Here’s what’s needed at launch if they are to stand a chance:

Full UI customization, add-on capabilities, combat logs, cross-server group finder, macros, 6+ end game dungeons (maybe 5 dungeons, 1-2 raids), cross-server auction house, open-world PVP, structured PVP with 5-6 different battlegrounds, and either something absolutely new to the industry or something re-imagined in a fresh way that no one would have even thought of yet.

Enough with the intro. What’s the payment model?!

This is probably the most important piece of information along with the release date.

Unfortunately, no indication in terms of what model this game will follow. If I were to guess, it is going to go the route of Guild Wars 2 — Buy to Play with aesthetic cash shop. If it’s subscription or free-to-play (aka pay-to-win), then it can seriously ward off large segments of players. I seriously hope it goes B2P, as the sub model just doesn’t cut it anymore.

When is it coming out?

That’s probably what everyone wants to know, even the developers. It’s still currently in beta and it’s not even clear whether or not it is open to friends and family of the dev team. In other words, it’s going to be a while before this game comes out. As per the payment model, my over/under prediction is the game will be out definitely in 2013, either in March or late May/early June. Basically, the worst-case scenario is this being released one year from now, which is a very long wait. Hopefully I’m completely wrong and this gets released by Thanksgiving, but that’s probably wishful thinking.

Additional Information

For more info on this MMOG, here are some useful links:

Official site: http://wildstar-online.com
Subreddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/WildStar/
Fan Forums: http://wildstar-central.com