Wildstar Game Poster Image

Wildstar

(i)

 

Colorful, fun yet violent, sexualized sci-fi fantasy world.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn to practice decision making both on their feet while in combat and in building player-character skill development. The game is visually engaging and creative enough to keep teens engaged throughout their play sessions; if they get stuck, there are plenty of ways to get help thanks to the large number of forums and Wiki pages for the game. Most importantly, teens can learn teamwork when they play with others in a group or form guilds in order to defeat tougher content.

Positive messages

Players are always helping quest givers -- if not for the greater good of the outpost/empire, then for the quest giver's own personal needs. But the morality of the missions can get a bit murky; quests range from saving a life to interrogating prisoners by zapping them with a stun stick.
 

Positive role models

Nonplayable characters are the role models in this game. Although some are wise and benevolent, others demonstrate less desirable qualities.

Ease of play

Wildstar must assume that the players have some knowledge of games, because the tutorial is disjointed and nonintuitive. But there are pop-up tool tips, and the help database is extensive -- players just have to dig for the information.

Violence

Wildstar requires killing to advance. Characters can use projectile weapons such as guns, lasers, and cannons, as well as swords or hammers and elemental energy/magic. Combat includes over-the-top animations and explosions of sound and light. There are cries of pain when characters are struck. When stunned, characters lie down with cartoon stars swirling around their heads, but there also are scenes with alien corpses on the ground and mild splashes of blood.

Sex

Female characters all have overly exaggerated breasts, tiny waists, and bombastic rears -- even the robotic, cyborg, and rock races that don't have a reason for their models to have breasts. Some female characters also display deep cleavage and wear tiny shorts. Male characters also are overly sexualized, with exaggerated chests and arms, but they're more clothed. Some areas have building interiors that display posters of female characters in bikinis, posed pinup style. Female characters also have an exaggerated "tail-waggling" gait, which has been captured and posted in many online videos.

Language

Online games have their methods for letting users block or ignore text messages from other players, along with some form of language filtering. But the words "ass" and "bastard" also are seen in some nonplayable characters' text speech and in quest dialogue with players.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In the starting tutorial, the player is sent to a bar to talk to the bartender. Characters are frequently seen talking about and drinking alcohol.

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.

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

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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