Welcome to my review in progress for WildStar: Carbine’s space themed “hardcore” MMO. For the next two weeks I’ll be exploring the planet Nexus, writing down my adventures and impressions on a daily basis. Be sure to check back regularly for my latest thoughts, and don’t be afraid to ask any questions in the comments section below.
Levels 6-11 / Hour 8: Questing and Ellevar
Questing in WildStar doesn’t differ too much from the norm: you talk to an NPC, get handed a task, complete it and turn it in. So far it’s been a lot of collect X and kill Y; but WildStar’s combat is such a joy to experience I’ve never felt frustrated when an arbitrary number is flung my way. Every enemy has some sort of telegraphed unique attack, which can take you by surprise if you’re not paying attention.
Lets talk quickly about the telegraph system. On paper it’s relatively simple to grasp: enemies broadcast their special abilities with huge red areas on the ground. Step or remain inside the telegraphed attack when it triggers and you’re going to be in for a world of hurt. What this allows Carbine to do is turn the difficulty of fights up a notch, while not being unfair or cruel on the player. If you get hit by an attack, it’s because you didn’t react quickly enough. It’s down to you this time, not just raw numbers and stats.
Carbine have finely tuned quests to be as an efficient experience as possible. Most quests can be turned in remotely via your comms unit – and new ones picked up too – preventing the need to go to and from a quest hub like a yo-yo and waste time. Your objectives can also be easily tracked – unless the quest deems it inappropriate – with a GPS like arrow. It’s rare to ever find yourself lost on the planet Nexus.
The actual quest content itself is another prime example of how streamlined it feels. Outside of the main and regional storylines, the majority of quests you pick up will be enclosed with their own little arcs, usually of a silly demeanor. The side quests that litter the zones are for the most part silent affairs; with only the main ones completely voice acted.
But this shouldn’t be seen as a negative. I was allowed to quickly scan through and gleam the important bits from floating quest text, which ultimately led to a high tempo between multiple quests:
You want me to go lure a huge bull with a rocket launcher that fires vegetables? Sounds fab.
This unsavoury character has been caught committing treason against the glorious Dominion and needs to be dealt with? I can handle that.
I have to go and gain the trust of the local indigenous species by throwing a ball in their elders face? If you say so.
The pace in which I pick up a quest, understand the objective and then complete it is entirely dictated byme. I’m not waiting around for rambling dialogues to finish, or drawn out scripted events to run their course. I’m in control, and it feelsgreat.
Tomorrow I’ll be taking PVP for a spin with the Walatiki Temple battleground, and also talking about the ability & amp system. If you’re playing WildStar yourself, you can find me on the Eko server (EU) on the Dominion side. Add “Dweia” and let me know you’ve come from the site!
Levels 1-6 /Hour 4: Character creation, tutorial and Levian Bay
Creating your character in WildStar is a simple and easy, yet I was left wanting more options to play with. The majority of your selections are presets, and there’s not that many. In the picture above you can see there’s only seven hair colours, all of which are very similar to each other. Your facial features are actually malleable with custom sliders, so you can go nuts on that, but I don’t know why this couldn’t of been extended to everything else.
Players who like to spend hours creating their perfect persona are going to feel limited, but the rest will probably be satisfied with what’s available. There’s also nothing to stop Carbine from introducing more options in the future via a cosmetic NPC in-game.
Luckily I had my characters looks all planned out during the beta: using a handy save/load function to load up my custom choices instantly. Here’s my Cassian Esper: Dweia. She’s a human psionic ninja who wields giant illusionary shurikens. Espers are range spell casters who can double up as damage dealers and/or much welcome healers. I’ve gone with the Dominion – the rather moralless loyalist faction – over the Exiles, mainly because I had played a decent amount of Exile content in the beta and I wanted a fresh experience.
The tutorial takes place on your factions respective flagship, before taking the trip down to the planet Nexus. It’s short, easy to follow getting you familiar with movement, combat and your chosen Path.
Paths are a sort of side class which augment your experience with extra stuff to do. Soldiers handle horde-like holdouts; test experimental weapons and take down big baddies. Scientists explore Nexus while scanning “all of things” with their trusty ScanBot companion. Settlers find and tame the wildlife around Nexus, and help construct buff stations for other players. Explorers – which is the Path I chose – climb the tallest of mountains and delve into deep caves for untold secrets.
My first foray into Nexus was in Levian Bay on the northern coast of Olyssia. It was teeming with deadly wildlife and ancient Eldan robots, all of which were obsessed with ripping my face off. My task was to find and retrieve a vital datacron containing the very secrets of the Eldan race and their technology. Along the way I helped out the Dominion setup a foothold on the beach, which is where I first encountered challenges.
Challenges are awesome: they’re random objectives which trigger when you unknowingly complete its criteria. You don’t really know when you’ll receive one, so you’ve got to be on your toes. I was minding my own business killing giant man-eating snails, and then all of a sudden I heard “CHALLENGE BEGINS” boomed from the iconic in-game narrator. The challenge will always have something to do with what you’re already doing: in this case I had three minutes to kill as many of those snails as I could.
Once completed, you’ll be presented with multiple rewards. You can choose one to have an increased odds of receiving it, but it’s still random which one you’ll get. If you’re not happy with your prize, you’re free to repeat the challenge again. They’re not only associated with killing enemies either; they can be collecting certain items, races, timed jumping puzzles and more.
The key success with these random challenges is that they feel organic and fresh.
So far I’m impressed with the launch. There’s been a few long queues here and there, but Carbine have beenopening up new servers every day. Tomorrow I’ll be diving head-first deeper into Nexus for the Dominion, where I expect to unlock PVP and player housing.