A few weeks ago I saw a post on the Playstation blog about Wander, a new MMO coming to the PS4 and PC. It’s hook was that it had no combat, which sounded interesting. I decided to give it a try on the PS4 when it came out last Thursday.
TL;DR version of this post: Wander DOES NOT WORK. It is not glitchy or rough. It does not function. DO NOT BUY THIS GAME.
The first time I started Wander I stared at a loading screen for about a minute, then the game world appeared, I heard a voice-over start, and the game crashed. I’d estimate it ran for 8-10 seconds (past the loading screen) before crashing the first time.
I started it up again and found myself in a new location with no voice over and no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I later found out that when you crash and reload, the game apparently assigns you some other player’s game state! The voice-over I’d heard was a sort of introduction/tutorial telling me what I was supposed to be doing but due to the crash I skipped that. And since it was an MMO I couldn’t restart.
An MMO where there’s no way to communicate with other players or customize your avatar in any way, but that’s the least of its problems.
Over the next 40 minutes or so the game crashed 5 times.
When it wasn’t crashing I found these runestones that prompted me to draw a glyph and then speak a word. It seemed like I was supposed to draw the glyph on the PS4 controller’s touchpad, then do a 2-finger tap to ‘speak’ but I never got it to work. Or maybe I did once. One time I did something and then this random word was spoken over and over (with no input from me) until the next crash.
There were other runestones that played an audio clip and those, at least, worked.
And that was the grand totality of interactions in the game.
When the game wasn’t crashing, my character was running into invisible walls, or clipping through walls, or floating above the ground, or moonwalking, or any of a number of other wonky behaviors. Meanwhile there was crazy pop-in of textures and objects.
But here’s the thing with Wander. Say the devs put out a miracle patch and fix all these issues.
It’s still crap because there is no game here.
Imagine starting with an MMO like WoW. Then remove the combat, the crafting, the mobs, all ways of communicating with other players, and all character customization. Then homogenize the world so it all looks like Stranglethorn and remove any of the interesting set-pieces that you sometimes find in WoW. That’s Wander.
But the music in it is pretty good, so there’s that.
When they said it was a non-combat MMO I assumed, stupidly, that they would add something as an alternate to combat. But they didn’t. Well there are these non-functioning runestones that might do something but I don’t know what it could be. The purpose of Wander seems to be to, well, wander and look at terrain that quickly becomes repetitive.
Wander is a horribly broken game that, if fixed, will just be a horrible game. Avoid at all costs.
And SHAME on Sony for making this available in the Playstation Store. Talk about a loss of trust. From here on out I’ll have to assume that every game is horribly broken until I see confirmation from other players that it is not. Sony’s certification process is clearly pointless and useless.
If you think I’m just whining about Wander, here’re some links to show it isn’t just me:
Here’re a few clips I made. I didn’t get many because the game was always crashing on me. In these clips you’ll see my character run, slowdown, stop, walk, run… you have to understand that I am not doing that. I’m trying to run the whole time. I assume she walks because there’s a hidden stamina feature but I don’t know why she stops. When I’m staring at a rune stone it’s because I’m trying to interact with it. The 5 minute clip is boring because there is no game to show. What you see is that the game is. The shorter clips just show off some glitches. They were both captured after the one time I got a runestone to work and you’ll hear a voice saying something like “ahn-may” over and over again. I’m not doing anything to cause that… it happened until the game crashed again.
Fun fact: I have never quit Wander voluntarily. Every ‘session’ has ended with a crash.