A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wildstar is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that requires an initial purchase as well as a monthly subscription. Playing will involve some chatting with unknown players, which could raise privacy, safety, and language concerns. There's some questionable language to be found within game dialogue. Characters use violence to gain levels (and they drink a lot!). Character models are also hypersexualized, especially women. The game is creative, has beautiful graphics, and is really fun to play, but it likely will require some parental involvement to ensure a safe and positive environment for teens.
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What's it about?
In WILDSTAR, players choose either the Dominion or Exile side in a race to colonize the planet Nexus, where the mysterious and powerful Eldan race once lived. The Eldan have disappeared, leaving behind their technology and secrets to be discovered and exploited. The Dominion is the empire created by the Eldan before its disappearance, while the Exile were driven out of their homelands and have banded together to oppose their destruction. This conflict between factions sets up the game's PvP (player-versus-player) battlegrounds. Kids select from one of eight races (four for each faction) -- including human, animalistic, robot, and rock-like creatures -- and also choose from six classes and four paths (known as professions in other games). This breaks up progression into micro-games where characters obtain class- and path-specific quests as they advance through the overarching story line. Quest lines are different for each profession, which allows players to try different paths.
Is it any good?
Along with beautiful graphics and creative gameplay, Wildstar offers an amazing fictitious world in which players can explore, read, and learn. The little touches -- such as the voice-overs congratulating players when they gain a level -- are fun and amusing, and funny touches are present throughout the game. New players might take a while to get used to the camera and movement, but the sheer number of fun things to do will keep them coming back. In particular, the paths (professions) in the game allow players to pick the kind of gameplay they prefer. There's quite a bit of fighting action in the game, and the paths (Explorer, Soldier, Settler, Scientist) let players try other things that might suit them better. Plus, players can try different characters and different race-class-path combinations.
In Wildstar, players also get their own sky plots, where they can exercise their creativity and build and decorate their own homes. Finally, the added challenge of having real opponents can be explored in player-versus-player combat, from small teams (two against two) to a massive 40 against 40. Although the character models may be a bit oversexualized, there's plenty of content to keep players busy for a long time without drawing overt attention to it. With the game's large scope, teens may find it quite addictive, so parents may need to set game time limits.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about online privacy and safety in Wildstar. Parents can ask teens whom they're playing with and what they've been doing online. What makes the game fun for you?
Talk about positive body image. Why are the characters depicted the way they are? What do "heroic" body proportions mean? Is that body type attainable or even possible?
Talk about violence in video games. Should you need to resort to violence to advance your characters, or should you be able to use nonviolent means to succeed in an online game? Does violence solve anything in this title?
- Platforms: Windows
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Social Studies: exploration
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, strategy
- Price: $59.99 Reg / $79.99 Deluxe
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: NCsoft
- Release date: June 3, 2014
- Genre: Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Space and aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.