WildStar is Sinking

With NCSoft quarterly and full year earnings reports out the news is really, really glum for fans of WildStar.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I posted a lot about WildStar. It has decent chops. There just isn’t value in it for me as a subscription platform (or many, so it seems).

More charts in the link above!

What shows on that chart is a not-so-bad take of 45M USD (roughly adjusted) for the year. What it doesn’t show (but does in the link) is that it did 25M the first Quarter it launched, dropped to 14M the second quarter, and 5M in the last quarter. That is a huge decline. The truth is that the only thing that pretty much gets me back there is B2P – which is problematic for them because letting me back in doesn’t drive revenue. The only way a cash shop works in that game would be for cosmetics (and they have AMAZING housing – so that could fit. They also could have good outfits there). I would also consider going back for a $5 a month sub fee, or something that gives me value for the time I could put in. Again, this is personal to me. I want to see the game, I want to enjoy the solo levelling MMO experience on Nexus, I just need value from it. You just can’t have a sub fee only in a sub free world, unless you are established and are either WoW, EVE, or FF.

Other note of interest is how well Aion does, all things considered. Also, the decline of GW2, which makes sense with the expansion announcement.

Could anything make you go back?

16 Comments

  1. Aywren

    WildStar never caught me in the first place. I felt like the game had a lot of color and character… it had a lot of promise. But playing through beta, the game didn’t entice me enough to pay a sub.

    I love the housing system I’ve read about, but that’s not enough to get me to pay to play. The combat was more annoying than fun, and I’m not part of that hardcore crowd that they seemed to want to aim for in the early release. So, I figured it just wasn’t a game that worked for me, and that’s fine.

    Would B2P encourage me to check it out? Possibly. But they better have some solid lore, story and character development to hold me there.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      I am a big fan of the “setting” of WildStar. It was colorful and over the top fun, with a decent narrative underneath it all. The grind of it got bad (fast) and as a 5 man dungeon hero in all my other games (since I stopped being a raider, 5 mans are my favourite!) they made those near impossible to do for fun. So the grind and the faux challenge turned me away from the sub.

      Soon as they change the business model I will go back and finish leveling and understand the story of the Nexus, there is a lot there to chew on!

      Reply
  2. bhagpuss

    I liked WildStar. I would play it B2P. However, I have a pretty strong record of playing B2P/F2P MMOs and spending next to no money so customers like me are no good to them.

    NCSoft’s hieraarchy of MMOs is utterly weird though. Look at Lineage! It’s older than EQ and it takes almost as much money as all their other MMOs put together! If Everquest was still that popular we’d never have heard of Daybreak Games. And as you point out, what’s with Aion? Utterly forgotten as far as this corner of the blogosphere goes but outperforming GW2 (which seems to be doing fine given the three years before the first Xpack).

    I must try Aion. It’s F2P after all. Never even downloaded it.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      B2P *would* help them – if you haven’t already bought it (sounds like you haven’t =)

      I did the Aion free trial all the way up to the point where I got my wings, and the art style was good and gameplay pretty smooth. It felt very much “typical” asian mmo in theme but I had fun levelling. Another one of those not worth a subscription to me.

      Problem now is there are so many F2P MMOs that all work the same. The ones I am most interested in are

      TSW (its different thematically than all MMOs) and I’ll get back into that once they address the TTK issue they mentioned they are fixing.

      SWTOR – I love bioware style discussion wheel games. Once they sort out how to play that game more like a single player game (the 12x XP on the Revan expansion so you could just play your story class missions is a good start) is when I’ll go back there.

      LOTRO – I just love the books and movies, and while I haven’t been hooked on the game I feel like there is a lot to explore there for me.

      WildStar – the 20 levels I got into WildStar showed a lot of interesting backstory and discovery (for at least one level up playthrough). Not sub-worthy though.

      So really, I am 0 for 4 right now but very interested if one of them would just slightly improve.

      Reply
  3. Joseph Skyrim

    I did try to see what Wildstar was all about, winning a key or something ages back. Apparently though this key wasn’t for my region and the email they sent back was along the lines of “there is no way we can change the region of the key, or even replace it.”

    With that attitude I basically gave Wildstar the middle finger and am glad to hear of their slow demise. Long ways to go yet though, they can switch payment models and do ye olde chopping of jobs before it will shut I think.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      In this day and age it should be a lot easier than that, although as Bhagpuss will attest to the UK and Oceania friends always have a challenge on either server selection or bad ping.

      They can’t shutter it, there is too much value to still glean from it in a different market and payment system. I called they would be F2P or B2P by Warlords of Draenor, but obviously they feel they will get some of those players back once they get WOD’ed out. =)

      Reply
  4. C. T. Murphy

    I doubt I’d bother with a F2P WildStar either. The game had a lot to like, but it didn’t really come together.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      The only thing I am afraid of if it goes F2P is that they make it worse, not better. It was already super grindy, so if they made XP hard and sold boosts it would just ruin it. B2P would be the way to preserve the good in the game, make it more casual friendly, and sell expansions.

      Reply
  5. Asmiroth

    I like a lot of the game. The leveling portion was a ton of fun. Group missions while leveling were good too. Combat was good, skill system and crafting were neat and it was different enough but familiar.

    That said, not a single decision made for level 50s made any sense. PvP was broken, the RNG on gear was atrocious (we’re talking 50% difference in power), runes had no balance, attributes were broken, group content was only for gold medals, so 1 wipe and you’d drop, over 60mins to get a gold was stupid, world bosses as a gate with daily spawn times, buggy encounters, a raid structure that demanded 100% from every player, 40 man raids, no flexible raids, daily quests to make your eyes bleed. I could write more but that’s a lot.

    Oh, the important one. They couldn’t fix any of it within a reasonable time frame. I subbed 3 months and it just got worse.

    I do hear drop4 helps some.

    The kicker is when you look at W* and ESO side by side, the latter has done tremendous work to fix their game. The former’s done little. So why would I give them money?

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      The solo instances I did were so much fun as was the Mystery of the Nexus. I never got there but heard the Drusera stories were incredible.

      I didn’t get close to 50 but I read a lot of the issues you mentioned. I have a post about it somewhere where the gist of it was that it was this:

      WildStar was a game designed by people from a specific era of MMOs and they thought that is what customers wanted (grind, challenge, etc.). The truth is customers only *think* they want that – they want the *Feeling* they had 10 years ago. You can’t fit that in a game now because the lives of gamers that were involved 10 years ago are so much different now.

      As much as I say I want EQ again, there is no way I could play that way again. I just miss the people and the experiences. I couldn’t sit up until 5am doing a corpse run and then get my kid up in time for school, and go to work and be a good boss. IT’s impossible.

      Still, that 4 hour corpse run story where the server banded around to help my dig out of LGUK is epic in my mind. Strangers dieing to help me. Everyone staying up way too late. It was awesome.

      I can’t ever do that again. Would love that feeling again though.

      Reply
      1. Asmiroth

        Your last paragraph. I think you could write more about that. I honestly get the same feeling from board games and RPGs with my kids. I just shifted the pleasure generating activity.

        It’s an interesting dichotomy, nostalgia + reality.

        Reply
        1. Isey (Post author)

          There is definitely a longer post there, and as I was responding to your comment I was reminded of this old post of mine from 2011 where I touched upon this. That was still 4 years ago and I think I will re-examine it. Please do the same if you are inspired to though =)

          Reply
  6. Jacob

    I enjoyed the combat model, and generally enjoyed the leveling. What I found was that I couldn’t justify the subscription, as I wanted to be able to do and play other things without feeling like I was wasting that money.

    If Wildstar came back in some other more flexible payment model I’d probably give it another go.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      I’m with you Jacob! I really want to experience it more but the value wasn’t there for a subscription for me.

      Reply
  7. bhagpuss

    The thing about 4am corpse run stories is this: you really only need one of them. It’s not an experience that just gets better and better the more times you do it, it’s a Life Event. Everyone who lived through one wouldn’t have missed it for anything but no-one in their right mind wants to make a habit of it.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      So true – great observation. I think the last “life event” I have had in any MMO were certain boss wins in WoW that really pushed and taxed the capabilities of our raid team (back when I could afford the time to be a raider). Everything else right now just feels like… filler from a better time? The MMO ‘motions. Gah, this is brewing up another post in my head…

      Reply

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