Watermelon Seeds : WildStar
I told you so.
I know that is very, very helpful. And to be fair, like many others, I am actually really sad it didn’t make it. I would often reinstall, play for a bit (I wanted to see/feel the story of Nexus), get wigged out by the colors and playstyle, uninstall. It was a slow slog, but I was getting there. And I hoped every time I logged in that it would grab me “this time”. Except it didn’t. Just long enough to see a cutscene with Drusera, run a quest hub, check out my awesome house, and leave for a long time.
I know it has been covered before – even here – but the core premise of why WildStar failed is more easily explained by watermelons. Most people like watermelons. Some like them with seeds, some like them seedless. No one likes them with extra seeds. There isn’t a watermelon company on the planet with a selling proposition saying “we have twice the seeds as the other watermelon company!”. In a MMO world that was focusing on convenience, simplicity and play-ability at the time they went the other way. It was something no one was asking for. In fact, if you had a focus group on Watermelon wants and desires I would punch the person in the face that said we need more seeds. It was that silly.
Look, the beta weekends were fun and it had a lot of good going for it. Here is my post history about WildStar and the synopsis around each:
- 2014 Content
- Post 1 – Suprised I hadn’t heard about it until March, 2014. Already called that they had to go F2P to be successful. Before the game even launched.
- Post 2 – Ratings after a beta weekend. It was a tongue in cheek rating system (yay, humour?) but did say there were good things. Even though I recommended not to buy.
- Post 3 – I rebooted EQ as a comparative to WildStar. Talked more about the good things EQ did that WildStar and WoW weren’t. Get off my lawn. This was more about EQ/WoW, but it was tagged WildStar, so it’s here.
- Post 4 – Writing was on the wall before launch. The pre-order game was discounted almost 25% off before launch. That is not a good sign.
- Post 5 – I give some credit where it is due!. Carbine shared class / race information from the beta. I think that companies should be far more open with this kind of information. I still knew it was in trouble, but at least they were good at sharing.
- Post 6 – Beta weekend two was fun. And since the game was heavily discounted, and I was bored, I did pre-order. The Medic class was a fun new take on healing, questing was whimsical, and there was a lot of things going on well to give it a shot. I also expected it to go F2P fast so it was worth a gamble.
- Post 7 – Worried that every class only having one weapon would end up sucking. You could also change “specs” between pulls, and I was worried min/maxers would spend more time changing their skills/abilities than playing. Interesting the Legion made single weapons work pretty well – but obviously not past a single expansion.
- Post 8 – Was the first time I was clear about Betas ruining launches for me. I hate building strength and power to just have it wiped out. I thought I was being clever in WildStar by sticking to only one side during Betas, but levelling to 40 in the Beta tests – well, let’s just say I never got that high again. I was basically playing the game at that point.
- Post 9 – I talked about Raids in general, and how Wildstar is better at math. They had 5, 10, 20, and 40 man content. This makes sense as smaller units can come together to tackle bigger content. Whereas WoW went 5, 10, 25. The scale was off.
- Post 10 – General housing post. WildStar was great here. I did miss shared, guild housing (DAOC) but this was something W* did right.
- Post 11 – On the eve of launch I tried to categorize what a successful launch would look like. I was optimistic. I was hopeful. Sadly, they didn’t hit a single one of the 4 points I had hoped for.
- Post 12 – I was sad I was paying $5 an hour to play I was travelling for work. I had committed to give W* 60 days. That’s an expensive per hour rate.
- Post 13 – No respecs is a dumb idea. WildStar had classes and paths. If you chose a path you ultimately didn’t like, you were denied that portion of the game (which a lot was built around). I knew already they were barely holding onto me.
- Post 14 – Documented the slow and undramatic decline of the game. So close after launch. Writing remained on the wall.
- Post 15 – I cancelled my subscription. No surprise here, but I did give it the old college try of 60 days. I did predict my return when things changed.
- Post 16 – A Rally Cap post – still wishing WildStar well, even after cancelling the sub. Wanted to be clear on that.
- Post 17 – Clarity of failure shared when the top brass at Carbine doubles down on wanting to attract the 1%. If you cater to 1% of the market,which is already a small market, and don’t get all of it, that’s a pretty small opportunity to be successful. Maths carbine, maths!
- Post 18 – The Slow and Undramatic decline became a Fast and Dramatic decline. Sadness and realism ensues.
- Post 19 – 10 ways W* screwed up. Not a slam dunk list but a good list, nonetheless. Albeit a controversial #1
- Post 20 – Oh, what could have been! Stories begin to surface about the design decisions. How it was originally tab targetting, then switched to action far too down the path. Changes too away dev time from polish. This made me sad because tab-targetting might have / would have made it a better game for the MMO crowd. Not the kiddie crowd, the old school, I will support the MMO of my choice thick and thin crowd, though.
- Post 21 – Still holding out on a failing sub model. I encourage them to figure out who they want to be, and then monetize it to be that.
- 2015 Content
- 2016 Content
- Post 24 – I unbury two WildStar posts I had stuck in Drafts. As part of a new mini-series I did to clean out my draft folder.
That’s a lot of content, hope, cynicism and realism all wrapped into a strong posting year about it in 2014. I wanted it to work badly. Most of us just knew it wouldn’t the way it was designed.
I am disappointed I won’t ever learn or experience what happened on Nexus, why the planet was such a big deal. Not sure who Drusera really was, or why the strain happened, or who wins the battle for the planet. There was so much cool about the WildStar and chalk another one up to a bad outcome of timing, decision making, and disappointing results.