Wildstar “open” beta started

Wildstar will go free to play in 5 days! And maybe you’re sitting there, in front of your PC, wondering: Is Wildstar for me? Will it suit my gaming needs? Is it fun? And, most of importantly since it is going “free to play”: Is the cash shop fair?

Up until this morning (or last night, depending on time zone), you had to rely on people streaming the closed beta which has all the upcoming changes and the cash shop already. Or people writing about their experiences in a blog. For example, I had considered writing about my impressions here. But due to a lack of time I have not been able to do so yet.

WildStar new character creation screen

Thankfully, a bug happened. Carbine had given out beta keys for people to test the upcoming changes and/or to take a look at the game itself. And apparently, some of those keys expired and players were not able to access the test realm anymore. So, instead of fixing the keys, Carbine decided to just open the gates for everybody! But keep in mind: This is the beta test. It’s the test server. None of this is… real. :p That is, once “free to play” arrives, you will have to start over on a live server. The test server client’s size is close to 14 GB, by the way, if you’re wondering whether it is worth downloading now.

As I said, I’m lacking the time to sit down and write a proper blog post on what I think about the game. My impressions from back before release haven’t changed, though. If it was free to play, I would play it immediately. And it will be free to play in 5 days. I think the biggest complaints – other than the payment model – have been about the raid content of the game. Since I am not going to raid in Wildstar, I do not care about this aspect of the game. I care about the world, the housing, the combat itself and, last but not least, how they implement the free to play features. I love the world as it’s weird and quite open (you can leave the city without facing a loading screen, for example) and the monsters and animals there are actually quite funny to look at! The housing is decent – more than just decent, I assume. I have not done much yet because I focus on levelling instead for now. But housing has a purpose. I have a field with mining ores, I have a garden for plants (used for cooking), I get rested XP when I log out there and there’s a board which gives me a buff (like more XP). On top of that, you can also decorate your place, of course! Then there is the combat. I actually enjoy it more than the combat in Guild Wars 2. The telegraphs themselves are distracting sometimes, but they’re also useful, because I don’t feel like I have to memorize which skills a mob can or may use at which time. It’s just much easier. And yet, I’ve died much more often than in Guild Wars 2. But I also always knew why I died. So yeah, I like it. :)

Wildstar Beta

This leaves one thing: The cash shop. First things first: There are lockboxes. I still don’t like them and I doubt I ever will. I want to know what I get for my money before I spend my money on it. I do not want to buy an RNGed item. So many games use them (Rift, Trove, Guild Wars 2, just to name the few that I’m playing), so I guess this is the side effect that we have to live with. On the other hand, I didn’t see anything that would be labelled as “pay to win” either, so that’s good. And we will get daily login gifts which is something I have come to love. It’s become part of my morning routine before I start with my work. I get my first cup of coffee, sit down, check the news, my emails, Twitter and grab my daily login gifts from the games that have them (Rift, Trove, Guild Wars 2, just to name the few that I’m playing… :p). But I would definitely recommend you check out the cash shop for yourself to judge whether you like it or not.