After a decade-plus in MMOs, I feel like I’ve seen and experienced it all (of course, The Secret World likes to stomp all over that notion). But for all of my adventures to date, I’ve never had a quest that provoked such a physical reaction that I (seriously) nearly threw up. But now thanks to WildStar, I’ve had my barf reflex tested… TO THE MAX.
Carbine Studios, you have my permission to use the above quote in any promotional efforts.
This stomach-churning moment was sparked by doing the shiphand mission Deep Space Exploration. I had just arrived in Wilderrun and noticed the shiphand in the very first quest hub. Might as well knock it out of the way, ya?
The quest was billed as a multi-year scientific venture into deep space, so why they wanted a trigger-happy engineer to tag along is anyone’s guess. I had a vision of the game refusing to let players who take this quest to go back to Nexus until three real life years had elapsed. It’d be like a prison sentence. I’d laugh so hard.
Of course, bad stuff had to go down almost immediately — in this case, a shipwide abduction by the fish aliens. From there it was a prison break, a mass rescue, and a showdown with the alien captain. A little tough, but no sweat.
But then the mission refused to end. Like Return of the King’s ending, just when you thought it was over it kept going on… and on… and on. I started to get a little nervous, an hour into this mission, that somehow I’d fail, or the server would go down, or something would happen to reset my progress. I did not want to have to run this mission again, even though it was interesting.
It was during one of those fake-out endings that I was told to take the controls of a drone to navigate our life support-lacking ship and reboot everything. Now first, props to the idea and the floating debris/corpses. It looked hecka cool and I was all for flying around.
The problem — and the nausea — kicked in the second I started moving. Every time I moved the drone or the camera, the visuals would wildly careen left and right. There is no way during this portion to stabilize the camera, which was definitely intended to up the difficulty. But the effect is somewhat akin to being in the old Batman TV series where everything is at such extreme angles that vertigo is shoved right into your eyeballs.
By the time I was moving down the hallway, watching the camera shift back and forth, up and down, I felt my gorge rising. I had to stop, repeatedly, to let my innards settle before moving again.
Different? Sure. But different good? No. No it was not. And I’m not alone in getting a major motion sickness attack from this. Call me old fashioned, but MMO quests should not want to make the player bazooka-barf all over his or her keyboard.