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Their Greatest Success

January 20, 2014

Dear Reader,

I mentioned last time that I’d had a surprise gift of a Wildstar beta key.  I played a lot more over the weekend, getting into the second “zone,” and I’ve formulated some early opinions on the game.  I’m happy to share those opinions, but please keep in mind that I have to withhold a lot of the specifics because the NDA’s still up.

My first character I made essentially in error.  I didn’t realize what all the options were, and what I created, while okay, wasn’t really that interesting for me.  As a result, my first play session was a bit disappointing and off-putting.  After that first play session, in fact, I’d almost decided not to bother giving it another try.  There was nothing inherently wrong with the gameplay, mind you; it just wasn’t doing much for me.  In fact, it reminded me a little of my Star Wars experience (though SWtoR had some specific issues that upset me); it was a solid game but didn’t add enough to keep my attention.

However, a couple days later, with my wife gone and having played quite a bit of my other games, I felt a little guilty that this gifted beta key was getting rusty, so I loaded up the client.  Lo and behold!  A patch.  Well, okay.  I’ll go look at some of the stuff on the main site in the meantime.

And that’s when I started getting interested.  You see, at this point, Wildstar’s greatest success is its media.  The video “flicks” that the media team have crafted seem perfectly suited to people of my sensibilities.  There’s a bit of gallow’s humor, some slap-stick, well designed characters, good writing, and excellent voice acting.  It’s the media that’s getting me interested in the game, which, of course, is their plan.  I ended up watching every video they released during the time the patch downloaded, and I’m not a huge Internet video watcher; hell, I didn’t know what Honey Badger was until I saw the pet in Neverwinter and did some research.

Not only are the “flicks” well crafted, but their dev diaries are professional cuts of media, as well.  They’ve found a good spokesperson to narrate them in an informative and entertaining manner, and they’ve designed a very well crafted slogan: “Remember, the devs are listening.”  That, of course makes the viewer feel like an integral part of the game design; my opinion matters.  People who feel like they’ve contributed to a project become more emotionally attached, it’s more theirs, so this sort of loyalty-building is undoubtedly going to help drive up sales.  I mean it quite honestly when I say that their PR team should be given a big, fat raise.

Now I in no way want to fault a company for doing a good job selling its product.  They’ve done a stellar job (pun intended); I went from being quite blasé about the game to being far more interested.  The videos also clued me in to the mistake I’d made in my first character creation, so when the patch completed, I started up a new character who was more my style and loaded in.  The new character has been a lot more fun, so I have hope for the game now.

Beyond that, I want to leave it to everyone to form their own opinions of the game.  Star Wars has a huge, loyal following, no matter how I may feel about it, and I wish the same for Wildstar.  Whether or not I end up playing at launch or after, I don’t know.  I’m sure I’ll keep hopping in every few days in the beta, but beyond that, I can’t be sure.  More on that as I get further in and, eventually, when the NDA lifts.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and not normally a mediavore)

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