The news broke yesterday that NCSoft shut down Carbine Studios and soon WildStar will be closed forever. I have so many feelings about this announcement, yet I almost decided to avoid writing about it. Why? Guilt, I suppose. I still have the WildStar launcher on my machine, and still log in about once a month just to look around, but I haven’t been playing it in any substantial way in over a year.
The game remains my favorite MMO of all time, but I’ve had a strange relationship with it toward the end of its life. I stuck around through some of its rocky times, even when almost all of my friends had long gone. I found a few different guilds, and sometimes even just stuck it out completely on my own. The point at which I left was when the writing on the wall became too clear to ignore. Once the staff had been reduced, and the flow of updates essentially dried up, it became hard to stay invested. I was in some sense trying to save myself some heartbreak when the game shut down by stepping away, and I guess it partially worked. Unfortunately I still also feel like I contributed to this sad outcome by giving up instead of staying a stalwart cheerleader. I know that my love of the game and extremely modest influence on my friends and readers wouldn’t have made enough difference to keep the game going, but I still feel like a bit of a traitor anyway.
Now that I’m faced with the certainty of WildStar’s looming demise, I’m not sure what to do with myself. On the one hand I would like to visit again, take some screenshots, and explore all my old favorite places. On the other hand I kind of want to keep all the amazing memories of the game intact without being colored by the lens of “this is the end”.
I send my fondest well-wishes to all of the Carbine folks who are now looking for new work. The WildStar devs to me were always the gold standard of positive interaction with the community. I hope everyone lands on their feet.
Finally, WildStar is the reason I have this blog. It’s the first game I got excited enough about to start writing, even creating guides. Here are some of my WildStar posts that give a timeline of my experience with the game:
Why Housing? – The exact moment when I discovered the magic that was WildStar’s housing system.
Farewell to Beta – The last chaotic moments on the beta servers were a fantastic party.
Healing on Nexus – WildStar’s healing was pretty different from any MMO I had played before.
I Leveled Up, Cupcake – I got my first character to the level cap and the whole world was opened up before me.
Strain! – WildStar’s early content patches were very meaty and fun.
Nexus is My Home – A few months after launch, when all the hype was starting to settle down, I was happily settling in for the long haul.
So Long, Moonshine Laboratory – An archive of my first major housing project in the live game.
Mega Madness – The game was less than 6 months old and we were already preparing for server mergers.
Relaxing for a Change – By October the game had gotten quiet, and my amazing launch guild had become “a ghost town”. I started looking for a new guild.
New Life – The server merger successfully made the world feel populated again.
Patchmas Eve – WildStar had a major content drop at the same time as some other MMO was launching an expansion that I wasn’t thrilled with.
Comings and Goings – The first time I wrote about coming to terms with the guilt of playing WoW instead of WildStar.
Zero to Hero – Announcement of WildStar going F2P brought me back to the game for a bit.
Raiding! – After playing the game for a year I finally got attuned and had the chance to raid.
Farewell to Blaugust! – I participated in Blaugust 2015 so there were a ton of posts. I’m most proud of the Shiphand Buddy series of guides that I made. This also marked my brief stint writing for a bigger fansite, WildStar Core.
RELOADED – WildStar went F2P. It had some rocky moments but I was happy to be invested in the game again.
Shade’s Eve – Still one of my absolute favorite holiday events in any game.
Cash Shop Complaints – With F2P of course comes a cash shop. WildStar’s shop was definitely far from perfect.
Sense of Community – Thaydfest, a completely player-run in-game event, was one of my favorite experiences in WildStar.
Rune Woes – Gear and end-game progression is a tricky subject in pretty much every MMO. Updates to WildStar’s system didn’t seem to improve things.
Space Case Blues – WildStar suffers from poorly implemented random loot crates.
They’ll Have to Kick Me Out – A round of layoffs at Carbine did not spell good news for the game.
November 2016 Gaming Goals – I had to start making goals for myself to play WildStar because I wasn’t spending much time there otherwise.
Weekly gaming grab bag – I mention WildStar and their newly-implemented post-level cap progression system. It felt daunting to a casual player trying to get back into the game.
After that last post, in April 2017, there are few mentions of me actually playing WildStar on the blog. I still constantly bring it up when comparing other games to it, because it did so many things right with its customization, fashion, and housing.