Wildstar, NCSoft’s new space fantasy MMORPG, was released this week. With the game’s cartoonish graphics and former Blizzard developers on board, Wildstar clearly hopes to make a play for World of Warcraft’s coveted player base. The game owes a good bit of its art style and gameplay to World of Warcraft.
Players can join either of two warring factions seeking to colonize the new world of Nexus. Nexus turns out to be the ancient home of the well-organized and financed imperial Dominion faction, but the rag-tag Exiles faction manages to land on the planet first. Exile players must help their people settle a new home, while the Dominion players work to evict the Exile squatters and learn about their own history on Nexus. Each of the factions are portrayed as good and just to the players within them but villainous to players in the opposing faction.
In my book, the Warcraft influence is mostly a net positive, but Wildstar seems to have brought along some of Warcraft’s baggage too. Despite making its debut a whole decade after World of Warcraft, Wildstar still struggles with the same sexism issues that its spiritual predecessor does.