So it was my unfortunate task to report that WildStar is such a non-factor in NCSoft’s eye that they’ve outright stopped including the IP in their quarterly reports as of Q4 2016. While they haven’t completely expunged the game from the record, relegating it instead to the “Other Sales” segment of their quarterly and yearly earnings, it still is a very worrying thing, especially as we all bear in mind the company we’re dealing with here.
In fact, it’s the behavior of that very company that prompted this post. NCSoft is very good at cutting the things away from them that they feel are hurting their bottom line, and the reshuffle of WildStar as an inconsequential IP has me reliving City of Heroes all over again. Recalling how I got through that closure, I decided to share an idea on how fans can possibly deal with the end of their favorite MMO.
When I learned that City of Heroes and City of Villains were getting the ax, I was stunned. I didn’t really have any delusions that the game was doing incredibly well, but there also weren’t any real warning signs that things were going wrong. Once the surprise ebbed away, I was left with a sense of sadness. I was going to be losing a connection to friends, a character I had built and a world I had come to love.
I’m kind of in the same boat with WildStar, but not quite so deeply this time around. That’s likely due to my own lack of playtime; I’ve gotten a couple of characters to level 50, but overall I’ve not cared too much about dailies and my own personal promise to try and learn dungeons has been pretty much shelved. So I don’t have as deep a connection to the people of the game, but I still feel connected to the game itself. WildStar is a genuinely fun, colorful and enjoyable MMO.
In both cases, I’ve begun doing what I normally do. I’ve begun to stock up feelings and memories into a sort of mental bomb shelter to sequester myself away when the game is nuked from orbit.
I recognize that this sort of behavior is self-preservation without considering the feelings of others, but when it comes to things we enjoy going away, I’ve found that compartmentalizing is probably the most healthy thing to do. Raging at NCSoft stopped nothing with regards to City of Heroes, and even the wonderful moves made by community members at large didn’t stop the wheels turning.
It’s a sad fact, but if a company wants to shutter an MMO, it’s gonna shutter it. Businesses exist to make money.
So with that said, I’m starting to load up on the experiences I’ve had with WildStar. I’m starting to bear in mind the fun I had with my very first guild before they dissolved. I’m recalling the PvP matches I dove into when I was hoping to face off against the devs. I’m remembering the “special event” the game held which ended up being a sort of zone-wide stress test and all of the random stuff it brought.
Another thing I’ve ended up doing when I face a loved game’s end is I’ve considered other titles that might get near the experience. That’s not to say that there are games out there precisely like City of Heroes or precisely like WildStar, but there are certainly games that can get near some of those same design ideas or gameplay notes. Even the developers of successor games for CoX are trying to design unique games instead of parroting CoX verbatim. With that in mind, if I can find titles that are as fun as WildStar, I call that a win.
More importantly, I’ve begun to collect the lovely people I’ve met through WildStar and keep in touch. This was something that I’ve pretty much failed at when City of Heroes closed, and it’s something I’m looking to fix here. When I played Paragon Chat, the program that let you run around in the zones of City of Heroes, I was crushed by how empty it all was. As much as I loved playing the game, it was the people I played with and around that made it worthwhile.
WildStar has brought me a couple of very fun folks and I plan on having them in my mental bomb shelter once things go off, because they’re more worthy of saving and holding on to than the game will ever be.
Do I want WildStar to go away? Of course not. I especially don’t want those who are far more invested in the game than me to be hurt or upset. That said, the writing has been on the wall for WildStar for a little while and I think that it’s about time for me to fill the shelves of that shelter with canned memories.
Better yet, I think it’s high time I try to make some new ones before things completely shut down. Ideally, I’ll end up making another player’s memories vivid and smile-inducing as well. Memories of gaming experiences can never be shut down no matter what a company decides, and that’s something I’m going to have with me when I emerge from my bomb shelter no matter what.