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WildStar is about enter a new chapter in its life. Beginning tomorrow the game will transform into something that's as charming and action-packed as ever, but much more inviting. At no cost, players can download and play the game to see why it earned praise last year.
Below, we'll go over what you need to know about what's happening to WildStar this week.
Embarking On a Free-To-Play Adventure
When WildStar launched it was a full priced, subscription-based MMO. Since then, it has remained a game that you not only have to purchase up-front, but pay $14.99/month to play. That all changes with the arrival of WildStar Free-To-Play.
Moving forward, WildStar will be funded using an optional subscription model and vanity-oriented microtransactions. Those who opt out of paying the monthly fee will have several minor restrictions put in place, including the following:
- Three active buy & sell auction house posts
- Can join one Circle
- No queue priority
- No PTR access
- Slower rest XP
Restrictions can be undone by either purchasing the game or subscribing to what Carbine Studios is calling Signature, a fancy name for its optional subscription service. Either or both of these will improve the quality of the experience by not only dropping restrictions, but by giving the player perks such as increasing XP and reputation gains, bonus Loyalty Points, and priority access to CS Tickets.
If you love the game, then you'll get more out of your experience by paying for a Signature subscription. However, the full game can be enjoyed for months without ever paying a dime thanks to the consumer-friendly design of the free-to-play model.
See The Light
WildStar has seen dramatic improvements to its visual presentation with the introduction of enhanced lighting effects and adjustment to current assets. These have resulted in the game having a much more eye-pleasing look that adds complexity to the one-year old MMORPG.
The lighting in particular helps to bring out the detail in WildStar's massive zones, including indoor and outdoor areas. New light sources deliver visual diversity to environments that previously relied on single-point lighting. This was already a good-looking game, and now it's even prettier.
These improvements will eventually affect all zones and areas in the game, but for now are focused on the early leveling experience.
Although most MMO fans are talking about how WildStar is going free-to-play, the arrival of the Reloaded update is worth equal consideration. Carbine Studios is calling it the biggest content drop that the game has ever seen, which isn't to be taken lightly.
Among the changes that Reloaded will bring is a complete revamp of the level 1 to 15 experience. Carbine Studios has gone back and adjusted quest flow, objectives, and even environmental design. It all begins with an improved Character Creator and introduction sequence that kicks things off in a more exciting manner. The purpose is to make WildStar highly enjoyable right out of the gate in an effort to stray from the common belief that MMORPGs are only fun at level cap.
As part of the Reloaded update WildStar will be improved in ways that affect players across the board. This comes in a variety of forms, including rework of the stats system, streamlined dungeons, and class balance. There will also be new features and content that include The Alpha Sanctum, Madame Fay's Fortunes, and a Loyalty Program.
Preparing To Play
First thing you'll want to do is install the game and get all patches installed. WildStar's Reloaded update is already available for download, and weighs in at several gigabytes. If you happen to be new, take this opportunity to decide on what faction, class, and race to play.
Don't forget to secure your account with two-step authentication. With the surge of popularity that the game will experience this month, there are sure to be a flood of hackers trying to steal WildStar accounts.
Lastly, be patient. Very few MMO and expansion launches in history have been smooth. There's a chance that there will be lag, and there are certainly going to be long queues to get in. If you strongly dislike waiting to play, you're going to want to play on the lowest population server possible.