The MMO market has always been pretty unforgiving for newer developers. Though many titles have managed to dig their heels in and retain a sizable playerbase, the unfortunate reality is that games like WoW and Guild Wars 2 still dominate the market, and have for quite some time.
As such, many MMOs have fallen by the wayside and been abandoned by players, usually due to a lack of end-game content for hardcore fans, excessive grinding, or some combination of the two.
The latest example of this trend is WildStar, a formerly pay-to-play MMO initially launched back in June of 2014.
At a time when most MMOs simply regurgitated the WoW formula with a few minor tweaks, WildStar tried its best to stand out. It boasted a highly-customizable player-owned housing system, active dodge-based combat, and intriguing profession mechanics.
For better or worse, though, the game was never able to capture the imaginations of fans – launching with an up-front fee and a monthly subscription probably didn’t help, and the game later went F2P. This staved off the grim reaper for a bit longer, but according to Kotaku, the game’s borrowed time is finally up.
Carbine Studios, the developer behind WildStar, is reportedly being shut down, resulting in the termination of 50 employees. Naturally, the game itself will also be closing its doors.
WildStar’s publisher, NCSoft, issued the following statement to Kotaku regarding the matter:
Today, we are closing Carbine Studios and will begin the process of winding WildStar down to ultimately shutter the game. WildStar players who have spent money within the game will be refunded purchases from July 1, 2018 until the payment system is shut off. We are also in the process of identifying the teams that will be doing the work to bring WildStar to a close. These decisions are very difficult to make and we are in the midst of shifting as many of our teammates as possible into other roles within the organization.
I tried WildStar myself for a few weeks some time ago, and I found it to be a pretty enjoyable experience overall. In the end, however, the game’s many F2P microtransactions turned me off, pushing me to abandon it once and for all.
It’s always a sad day when any semi-long-running online game gets the boot, but here’s hoping the team behind WildStar can move on to bigger and better things in the future.