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Are Wildstar and Elder Scrolls Taking a Step Back in MMO development?

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Wildstar, an upcoming game from publisher NCSoft, had originally touted itself as a free-form action-rpg. Unfortunately as the game nears release we see that regardless of what path you take in this game, you'll be required to play one of the standard Tank, Healer or Damage roles seen in other games. In addition, the end-game consists of 20 and 40 player raid groups. To add more confusion to the mix is the EVE style subscription model that had players paying a monthly subscription fee, but have the opportunity to purchase and sell in-game CREDD, Wildstar's version of PLEX, an item that extends your accounts play time by 30 days.

Besides the 180 direction that this game does from previous NCSoft titles, such as GW2 which really pushed for change in the MMO genre, Wildstar is set to deliver a space opera cartoon style version of WoW in space, only without the 10 million subs. Based on previous games such as Tera, The Secret World and Star Wars the Old Republic all going freemium, I expect Wildstar to announce they'll be going F2P by the end of the first year.

While Elder Scrolls is bringing nothing new to the fantasy mmo genre table this year, the game has a loyal and large enough fan-base that the game could do well at launch...on the PC platform. I don't know why anyone would think that a subscription model would work well for console gamers, especially when they already have to pay a subscription for services such as Live on their Xbox systems.

While the initial influx of purchased copies may be high, my guess is that the Bethesda changes their model first on the console platforms and then on the PC, and will announce this around six month after launch when the company has had two quarters of earnings below their projected revenue goals.

Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

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