WildStar: Free-to-Play cometh… and it cometh hard… eth…

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, the good people at Carbine Studios held a special Twitch stream to announce the start of WildStar’s Free-to-Play Closed Beta Test (CBT). The stream was hosted by Community Manager DD Hollis (aka CRB_Sunshine), Creative Director Chad “Pappy” Moore, and Senior Product Manager Jen “Bardic” Ortiz. Unfortunately, Tony Rey, Community Creative Content Manager (too many words!!) and the former host of the infamous Zero-to-Fifty Podcast, was hiding behind the camera. Perhaps, he was traumatized by all the spider tweets he received from the WildStar community (I certainly didn’t send him one). Today’s post is going to focus on some of the information that was revealed during the stream, and I may add my own thoughts as the post progresses.

For the Dominion!

New New Player Experience

The first new (new) feature that was covered in the stream was the New Player Experience. Narrated by the raspy tones of “Pappy” Moore, viewers were shown that the first step to playing WildStar is, like many MMOs these days, to create a character. Instantly, players will be able to see the effort that has gone into updating the game for the transition to Free-to-Play, because the design of the character creation interface is completely overhauled from what existed before. The first choice a player must make when creating a character is deciding on their experience level; Novice, “New to WildStar”, or Veteran. This first choice determines how much tutorial gameplay a player will start out with. If players select Novice, which is the term used to represent someone new to the MMO genre, they’ll be presented with more introductory content than a Veteran player would.

The next step of character creation continues in the expected direction. However, the presentation of each step has been dramatically changed. For instance, when players are given the choice to select a race, each of the choices are standing before them, animating on screen, just waiting for the player to select one. Additionally, some new elements have been added to aid players in making informed decisions. So, as players select their race, class, etc., they will be presented with some information about each potential choice, videos showcasing the gameplay of each class and path, as well as making sure the current character under construction is clearly visible. While this sort of update isn’t new to the MMORPG genre, I, personally, always appreciate an overhaul in the presentation of gameplay, or non-gameplay, elements. Once players finalize their characters, they will begin a brand new journey through the world of Nexus.

The In-Game WildStore

Immediately after “Pappy” finished showcasing the (new) New Player Experience, Jen Ortiz was given the enormous task of presenting the, arguably, largest feature being introduced with the Free-to-Play conversion. Here are few things before move forward, a.) there are several new systems being implemented alongside this one including new currencies, a loyalty system, and more, b.) the in-game store in the CBT is incomplete, missing at least 20 different items that will be available upon the official Free-to-Play release of WildStar, and c.) the in-game store is, sadly, not called the WildStore. I won’t apologize for that last note. This is my blog, and I am fully in the right to entertain myself, thank you. Moving on.

If you’re familiar with in-game stores in MMORPGs, WildStar’s in-game (Wild)Store shouldn’t shock you. There is a lot of the standard fare, cosmetic items, consumables, mounts, and several account unlocks, including a decor cap increase for those housing junkies. The aforementioned Loyalty system rewards players for playing the game and purchasing items from the in-game (Wild)Store. There are two types of currencies affiliated to this new system called Omnibits and NCoin. NCoin is the real-money currency used to purchase absolutely everything within the in-game (Wild)Store, whereas Omnibits can be earned by playing the game, but will not allow players to buy every item in the (Wild)Store.

These are just a few of the facets of the (Wild)Store that I intend to cover, because there is one more majorly awesome feature coming to WildStar that looks to be pretty entertaining.

Madame Fay’s Fortune (Cookies)

What is this fantastical feature, you ask? Well, it is called Madame Fay’s Fortune; and, no, there are no cookies involved. Through this feature, players will be gambling a unique currency, known as Fortune Coins, for randomly generated rewards. So long as players possess at least one Fortune Coin, they will be able to place the glowing fortune orb into the fortune pedestal to be rewarded with three fortune cards. The cards appear in one of four varieties (green, blue, purple, orange), and can yield crafting materials, dyes, omnibits, and many more things, including the ever elusive Spider Rider Mount (that “Pappy” has yet to acquire). Players must purchase the Fortune Coins from the in-game (Wild)Store using NCoin, but the rewards that result from this feature don’t bind to the person who acquires them. So, if you already have something from Madame Fay’s Fortune (Cookies), you can place it on the auction house.

There is an additional facet to this system that is interesting. As you spend Fortune Coins, a meter on the right side of the screen will fill up little by little. Once this meter has reached maximum capacity, it will boost your chance of acquiring better rewards. The meter does not decay over time, and it reaches maximum capacity after spending 15 Fortune Coins. Once the meter has provided its bonus at max, it will reset to 0% capacity. Lastly, the character after whom this feature is named has some V.O. to encourage you to keep spending Fortune Coins. Beware ye gambling addicts.

Okay, guys. That’s the bulk of what was covered during Tuesday’s stream. There are a lot more features being released with the closed beta test that weren’t covered in great detail during the stream, but more information is likely to be released at a later date. I’m looking forward to a lot of what is coming in the big Free-to-Play update, but, mostly, I am looking forward to being able to play WildStar again. What are you guys looking forward to?

Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.

War Fist out.

WildStar Links

If you are interested in watching the stream, or just happened to miss it, you can watch it here.

For a detailed list of the features in this Closed Beta Test, you can hop on over here.

If you would like to sign up for the Beta, you can tap the link over here.

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