Hello everyone. I haven’t been on here as much because well, life is hectic and very random. However I did want to make this post firstly because I don’t think I have seen an actual, unbiased opinion of both these games. I have seen quite a few fans try writing a few words down but they always come off as a bit skewed. Also, I enjoy writing. I haven’t done it much as of late, but I do love it. And maybe by doing this it will help me in other ways as well. Be forewarned, this will be a long, in-depth post.
I would like to throw in the odd man out into this, ArcheAge, but that would not be fair as the release date is not known as of yet. So, let us just talk about ESO and Wildstar. Both games going live within a few months of each other, both with unique combat for the MMO market. I want to break the games down a bit, then go into feature vs feature and finally debunk a lot of information falsely being put out there on the internet. Keep in mind I am a big PvPer, so this will be from a PvP perspective for the most part though I will dabble in talking about other features.
Elder Scrolls Online, or ESO for short, is an MMO about story, lore, freeform combat and really killer castle wars. Seriously this game does castle wars right. I have a heavy background in MMO castle wars. Just to name a few, DAoC, War, iRO, and Lineage II. ESO does it right with gigantic maps, strongholds, NPCs, resource nodes and so much more. To put it point-blank, Cyrodiil is huge and you need to check it out even if you are not a PvPer, there is just so much there. On top of that there are tons of quests all over the map, some for the main story and others you will just stumble on. Some other features are of course the main stays of Elder Scrolls like taking anything and everything off the shelves. You can find rares but also gain skill ups from certain random books. They also include chests strewn across the world that you can try to open with thief tools.
Wildstar is also an MMO about story, different combat (though far from revolutionary), and jokes thrown around the world. The biggest wow moment here? Housing! And not some boring, sloppy, thrown together housing, real housing! Housing fans rejoice because they have not even come close to giving enough credit to all the options they allow. Just what I have experienced is huge. You can move anything, anywhere inside your house. Want to change the lighting? Do me a personal favor and test out Noir, looks like a black and white noir movie. You also have plots outside your house which can be used for things you make or loot. To top it off just by having a housing lot you get a daily xp boost of your choosing. Of course, there are also other features like multi-layered PvP, PvE and Path systems.
So far, a lot of information right? Well I only touched on a small bit of what each game has to offer. Let us get onto the actual feature vs feature though as I am sure there will be a ton of new info you might, or might not, have heard.
I want to save PvP for last as that is the most important to me, and hopefully you!
PvE: Questing and dungeons, that is what we can talk about and feel free to post a comment if you should disagree or want to add anything, I love talking with other gamers. ESO of course has a robust story with a main quest line along with a multitude of side quests. Along with those, they have solo and end game dungeons, plus sky shards thrown around as to increase the amount of skill points you can get, which also encourages you to explore their world. Wildstar has most of that, minus the sky shards and solo dungeons (which I like because I don’t quite get having a solo dungeon in an MMO) and adds in the Path system. Paths are kind of like a job skill which allows you to have extra quests, unique to the path you choose. You will also get extra skills, some cool ones are summoning vendors, exploring different areas of the map which other people cannot see and teleports to a location of your choosing. Wildstar is much better in this area and I will explain further why later on, but basically the Path system won it for me.
Crafting: Though I am not much into crafting, both offer it. In ESO there is no choosing, you can be every single profession, however people who choose one will find it easy as you will only be spending skill points on one line. You harvest whatever you see, buy a crafting vendor item, then if you choose to, use a special upgrade item and you are done. You can craft items with special abilities if you have the research. Researching usually takes 6 hours per ability. I was actually a bit disappointed because I was expecting a bit more. Wildstar has a one profession limit, each promises to be able to craft close to end game item which is a nice change, though ESO said the same thing. We will see how true that is months from now. Wildstar takes a different approach, in you interact with your crafting process in hopes that you make it better, think EQII. Neither matters much to me because I am not a crafting guy. Both ESO and Wildstar just offer different methods so I would say it is a tie.
PvP: Here is the big selling point for me and many other gamers. As I said, ESO has the gigantic Cyrodiil. I mean it is gigantic. And honestly, that is a huge drawback. How you might ask? Simple, what has not been mentioned is the locking of campaigns. That’s right, if a campaign gets too full it gets locked. And let me tell you the locking limit is not high enough. I was in a campaign recently that was locked shortly after I entered, and there was not enough people to fill even half the map. Now, when you are actually in a siege, wow… I have no words to how amazing it is but you can find videos out right now of how exciting the actual siege warfare can be. I had an absolutely BLAST as a Nightblade bowmen picking people off while standing on a castle wall. Unfortunately, that is it. There is no PvP server, no battlegrounds/warzones. How does Wildstar fare? Quite well actually. There are battlegrounds, arenas, world PvP (with objectives) and the very interesting Warplots feature. Warplots are things you and your friends or guildmates can join, however it can also be queued for solo. These are big, 40v40 content that you build yourself. That is right, you create your own battlefield for people to fight in and conquer. First one is no charge. In the end, victor gets the spoils and if your plot is destroyed you have to rebuild all over again. Again, more info below as to why I chose this, but Wildstar wins. Warplots really put it over.
So at this point you can kind of see where this is all going. I cancelled my ESO pre-order. It was actually due to a lot of things but the straw that really broke it was they recently nerfed the quest which allowed for you to level through PvP. It was a kill 20 players quest, which though slow allowed for avid PvPers to well, just PvP. The quest didn’t even give that much xp. And to me, PvP is almost impossible to level through now. Sure, if you go solo and just kill solo players you get very slowly level, but good luck doing small party roaming anywhere. And when you do, the travel time negates the extra xp you get from killing players now.
It wasn’t just about that quest, although as a PvPer I did take that as a slap to the face. Fanboys are going to get super angry at me for saying this but, there is no immersion in ESO that Wildstar does not have. You see everyone talking about how immersed they feel? It is a lie. In fact, I actually feel turned off by quite a few things in the game. ESO is an RPG with some aspects of an MMO, period. It reminds me quite a bit of DDO. Most world items are instanced to you, the only things that really aren’t are chests, which are very few and far between.
Even more problems, the quests are actually quite boring if they are not part of your main story, and really are spaced out quite badly in the Daggerfall Covenant. Which would not be a problem if you had a horse. However, if you do not have the Imperial Edition you are out of luck because the cheapest horse is over 17,000 gold. Does that sound like a lot to you? Good because it is. I won’t talk about my beta character which was of course much higher, my live character right now is 10. Take a guess how much gold I have right now, go ahead guess I will wait… I have a little over 2,000 gold. And the amount of gold really depends on how much you die especially in a solo quest because guess what, in some solo dungeons you cannot get out. No that is not a joke you cannot leave certain solo instances you either beat it or you die until you beat it. I have paid over 200 gold on repairs at my level. Even if you had a horse, you would have to make enough gold to feed it daily. Before this spiral into a how much I hate the implementation of mounts in this game, let us get to brass tacks. The game is set up like it is a solo game. Vendor prices are way too high, death can be extremely unforgiving and there is way too much instance-ing. Just like I was, you have been lied to by people who are just fans of Elder Scrolls, not MMO gamers.
To top it off, this has been a terrible game launch. You see how all the fanboys are saying, “Well WoW had a terrible launch I was there.” Well that was many years ago when that was acceptable. You know what else WoW did? They extended game time. I cannot even count the amount of free time Blizzard has given me over the years. I don’t want to come off as a WoW guy though, because that game isn’t even on my computer, but I do not like blind bashing of a game by people who probably did not even play the game when they claimed to. Games do not have bad launches anymore. Name the newer MMOs and tell me which has had a bad launch. Just one, FFXIV. And it was buried for how bad it was! I want to let you in on a secret that people haven’t spoken about, ESO just had a downtime of over 10 hours because their server broke. What happened when the server came back online? People were missing hundreds of items. I got off pretty decent, I actually gained gold. Other people lost a lot. Some people in my guild cannot even log in yet. Which speaks to more server issues, the game is lagging terribly. I have travelled across a map, lagged out then logged back in only to be back where I started. Basically 4 or 5 minutes lost. And this is not just me, the last Cyrodiil group I was in, had to keep inviting new people because the party was being wiped out by disconnects. Quests are still broken. Their quests are so broken that in the beta they actually allowed Daggerfall Covenant to skip a quest island because they could not fix it. And those broken triggers are still in the game! This is a bad launch, not FFXIV, but it is bad. Just because it is Elder Scrolls does not mean it gets a free pass.
So this might make me sound like a bit of a Wildstar fanboy, but I am honestly not. I am a fan of Elder Scrolls. Skyrim is actually one of my favorite games of all time, but I am first and foremost an MMO gamer. And ESO is a bad MMO. One PvP instance well done does not make up for how much it is lacking, and how little it feels like an MMO.
Wildstar has downsides as well. The combat, is actually much better in ESO. ESO has this cool FPS kind of targeting but with a generous hit box you can see if close enough. Wildstar just seems to have a generic action MMO combat system with “telegraphs” you can see. It isn’t innovative, just different. The cartoonish graphics, are definitely a draw back as well. A friend of mine refuses to even consider playing it because of the graphics. The game doesn’t help itself when you sit down to eat and your character says Nom Nom Nom in a comic text above its head. No, I am not making that up. And though there is a progressive story, it isn’t very good.
All of that being said, you should choose which will make you happy and that really depends on your playstyle. For me, as a PvPer and a housing fan, there really is no choice and that was due to ESO’s stupidity, because I could have overlooked all of their mistakes had they not broken Cyrodiil’s leveling capabilities; that is how good Cyrodiil is. I will be playing Wildstar.
If you are a PvE fan, I would actually suggest you check out FFXIV. Yes, they had a terrible launch (I was in the beta, believe me it was even worse testing it) but the game is really polished. It has a great community and fantastic dungeons.
I honestly cannot recommend ESO to anyone. I do not understand the blind praise it has gotten because between things breaking, the lack of MMO feel, and better PvE games out on the market I am not sure who would actually play the game.
So there you have it, an honest review of the two up and coming MMOs. Is Wildstar perfect? Far from it, but without question it will be my next MMO… Didn’t I mention that ArcheAge is coming out this year??? Well that will have to be for a later post. Hope you all enjoyed, happy gaming!