Reloading Wildstar and My MMO End-Game Musings

I gave Wildstar another chance recently, now that it’s F2P on Steam, and I’m actually really enjoying it. Some things are making more sense, and the leveling experience seems a bit better. Here’s my three current characters on Wildstar, with Cael being my main. I’m even sort of creating a bit of backstory for them all.

Cael and Aruvia are husband and wife, and have been happily married for a few years before coming to Nexus. About 6 years before Nexus, they had a child… But their son, Christopher, was killed in an attack on their peaceful colony by the Dominion when the colony rejected membership in the Dominion. Tavinalis Thrawn lead the ground assault and killed Cale and Aruvia’s baby after pretty much defeating Cael in combat. Cael fought valiantly, but he was a construction labourer who helped build and maintain the settlements, not trained in combat. The couple were imprisoned and separated for a little over 4 years.

Aruvia’s Esper talents began to manifest during her captivity, and after months of practice and strengthening help from an elderly Aurin woman she was imprisoned with, she freed herself and Cael along with a couple dozen other prisoners. They fled and joined the Exiles, deciding to try making a fresh start and try to re-start their family on Nexus. They had thought their trials were finally over… Until the Dominion showed up in orbit of Nexus. Cael has no doubt that Tavinalis is among the Dominion troops, and Tavinalis knows that Cael and Aruvia are among the Exile escapees on Nexus. It’s only a matter of time before their old rivalry comes face to face, when Cael and Aruvia will have their revenge on the metal beast who murdered their child.

I am really hoping to find people to group with in-game, but I had a thought about people I’ve tried playing MMORPGs with – when they get to end-game and the whole dynamic of the gameplay changes, they have zero interest in dealing with leveling again so are massively reluctant to actually bother helping other players level their characters, and their own alts are more a passtime when bored and their other end-game friends aren’t online. I think I’m one of the few that actually really does enjoy helping other people level after I’ve hit end-game. Sure, a lot of people say they do, but very few make a consistent effort to do that; usually they’ll help occasionally here and there.

It also doesn’t help that I personally tend to get bored with end-game a bit easily, because the story’s ended while the game keeps going. It’s the stories that are my addiction and my stress-release. It’s why I can lose myself for hours in video games, books, movies, TV series, comics, etc. Few MMORPGs offer concrete and easy to use ways for players to create their own stories; Cryptic’s Foundry (Star Trek Online, Neverwinter) is a good attempt, but too limited and clunky to wield for average users. There’s also no UCG engines that allow for custom voice work to be added; I’d love to see an MMO with a UCG engine that not only was simple to use and intuitive, but allowed for players to add voice acting etc. to characters, and had a good way to balance player rewards without becoming an exploit.

I’ll keep playing through Wildstar and see where it takes me, but I’m starting to see the main flaw in my love of MMOs. I’d love to see many more single player games of Mass Effect’s caliber add co-op to their story campaigns; I’m thinking of delving into past attempts at co-op games (namely the Army of Two series) and seeing what they did right vs. what failed. Perhaps I can design a co-op game that might succeed better?