Can WildStar succeed when so many of its competitors are focused on moving away from the old models?
Mike Donatelli, design director for Carbine's upcoming MMORPG WildStar, isn't exactly your friendly neighborhood developer. The games community could probably use a bit more folks like him. Back during PAX Prime, he tells me, a casual raider complained about how WildStar seemed designed to keep him from getting top-tier gear without joining a 40-man raiding guild. "Then don't play," Donatelli said. "We try to make it open so you dip your toes in and see if you like the game, but sooner or later you're going to have to commit."

It was the kind of thing I'd expect to hear from an MMO developer in 2003; in this age of placating the dispersed and finicky playerbase, such frankness seems all but suicidal. And here's the thing--it wasn't just talk. Obvious displays of affection for the good ol' days of MMOs popped up again and again during a recent hands-on preview I attended in San Francisco, and I can't say I didn't feel a surge of nostalgia myself. But can WildStar succeed with such a design when so many of its competitors are focused on moving away from the old models?

Defeating non-playable characters alone just doesn't cut it for some people, and fortunately for them, WildStar is a game that takes its PvP seriously. Those who can't resist waging war against their fellow users can do so in the open world as well as several structured modes, and they can earn as much XP and as many rewards here as in PvE. Whether you're taking down a member of a rival faction who has randomly crossed your path, or competing in an objectives-based skirmish on a Battleground alongside a handful of comrades, it's combat once again that sets this mode apart.

From the sounds of things, the Riot in The Void instance is one of Wildstar‘s plainer adventures with Carbine’s community manager telling us about other missions such as ‘Malgrave Trail’ which involves players guiding a convoy of civvies and livestock from one side of the map to the other in a manner similar to Oregon Trail,  ’Siege of Tower Refuge’ which features players building automated defenses to stave off invading enemies channeling the tower defence genre at every turn, or most potentially brilliant of all an elaborate murder mystery tale dubbed ‘Crimelords of Whitevale’ in which adventurers need to determine which rival criminal gang has murdered their own merry law breaking troop.