It’s been over two weeks since I was dragged against my will, kicking and screaming, head first into the world of Wildstar, and if you were curious, yes – that was a pregnancy metaphor. It’s an appropriate image for my entrance to Nexus, only it was a lot less painful and just a little less bloody.
I had looked into the game before almost a year before its release, and even tried it before in its open beta several weeks prior to the date, but in that time it had never really managed to grab my attention. I have always thought well of the game (my Collectibles and Non-Combat Progression in TESO article may as well have been entitled Awesome Things Wildstar is Doing), but as my steady approach to becoming a raging sandboxer grew and grew, the likelihood of me getting into an unabashed and full-blown themepark diminished accordingly. Then, with stealth and surely pre-meditated guile, my friends attacked at my weakest moment, forcing guest keys upon me and thrusting me back once more unto the game. And honestly? I’ve had a hell of a time so far.
1. An Apology
This doesn’t really have anything to do with Wildstar, but you know how in my last post I made a joke about future content not resembling “Buzzfeed emulating dreck”? Well here I am with an arbitrarily numbered list of items. What can I say, I lied; they’re easy to write.
2. The Combat is Actually Fun
My first hands-on experience with Wildstar came shortly after my departure from the TESO community, and after a year of testing a full-blown action-combat control scheme, it was a little weird coming to a game emulating it without reticle locking. Suffice it to say, I hated the absolute shit out of it at the time. I complained that it felt clunky, I thought it took too many clicks, and just loathed the feel of it in general; in my experience, many players in a similar situation felt the same way. However, I am now coming from ArcheAge – a game with very traditional tab-targeted combat. With the memory of action-combat now fading into the distant past, I come to the game with a new perspective, and with it was better able to appreciate what it was that Carbine has put together. Would I still prefer an action-combat control scheme? Absolutely. Is Wildstar‘s combat system a detractor from the experience as I once thought? Definitely not, but if it were, well, there’s an add-on for that.
This is all focused on the control scheme itself – as this was all I really experienced in my play through of the game’s early levels in beta. This time, I’ve been able to see a whole lot more of what you can fight in Nexus.
As anyone who’s given the game even a cursory glance is aware, Wildstar‘s key innovation was to take the now established telegraph system, put telegraphs everywhere, and make some of them insane. Avoiding these bad boys has never been more challenging or more fun. Even with my character approaching level 50, I still manage to find mobs with new designs I haven’t seen before almost every day, and the extreme punishment for standing in them will definitely keep you on your toes; in Nexus, “don’t stand in the fire” is far from a friendly suggestion – and that’s just while you’re questing.
Dungeons are another story entirely.
3. Say No to PUGs
Questing in Wildstar definitely has its challenging moments, but in dungeons, that’s all there is. I can’t make too much of a comment on Wildstar‘s dungeons, because I’ve never actually finished one. I’ve heard it said a few times that dungeons in Wildstar are harder than heroic raiding in World of Warcraft, and while that may be an exaggeration, it doesn’t always feel like one. Keep in mind that these are just the standard leveling dungeons – not their heroic (known in Wildstar as veteran) counterparts.
I’m looking forward to hopping back into these at max level when I can do them with a guild group (though the game does have a mentoring system where they could down-level to help me, I haven’t felt it was worth the effort).
4. We’ve Gone Plaid
Your first experience in PvP is going to be a little confusing; the word “clusterfuck” has been a recurring theme from those initially entering a battleground. As you wade through a sea of green and red telegraphs, working hard to discern your targets, you ask yourself – is this fun? In my experience, this is mostly an issue of acclimation. It’ll take you a few games to get used to it, but when you do, the telegraph system begins to shine.
In small group PvP like arenas, the system is awesome. It feels skillful and it’s damn fun.
5. I Could Spend All of My Time in Housing
I love housing systems. When it comes to fluff systems developers can add to a game, this is the best. It gives me my own little chunk of the world to mold into a home, and I’ll be damned by how long I’ve already spent doing exactly that.
Wildstar‘s housing is unique (I believe) in that it brings with it a slew of practical benefits, from harvesting nodes, to minigames with rewards, to amenities like vendors, mailboxes, and storage.
The building capabilities alone are enough to keep me in the game’s housing area forever, but adding in rewarding challenges on a quick timer? I now have to make an effort to leave so I can get anything else done.
6. What’s Small, Furry, and Full of Awesome?
The most unexpected of Wildstar‘s revelations was that Aurin are awesome. I’m a boring person, and as such, I generally play humans. I don’t like small races, I don’t like furry races, and I certainly don’t like races that are half and half of each. Then, against my will, my girlfriend forced me into making one to play with her as an alt.
As it turns out, Aurin are awesome. They have great animations, and playing one just feels really good. Sure, I lose a little bit of my dignity every minute that I’m online, but is it worth it? Of course it’s worth it. If Carbine ever implements paid race changes for Wildstar (and I really hope they do), my main will be getting a tail and some anime hair.
7. The Game is Actually Beautiful – No Really, It Is
Long time critic of Wildstar‘s art style checking in. I don’t know how, and I’m not sure why, but I’ve been converted; this game looks great.
It’s not my usual style. I’ve always preferred a certain degree of realism, and happened to like TESO‘s pallet of grays and browns. Wildstar won me over with one thing and one thing alone – a beautiful, careful, handcrafted, and flawless execution. Every object is in its place, with every cliff and boulder fitting and belonging. Very little is static, and as you look out over the game’s rolling hills, everything dances together in a delicate motion, the undulation of the plants and trees creating the illusion of a terrestrial ocean filled with players, creatures, and adventure.
It’s not my usual style, but it’s hard to knock it when it’s been done so perfectly.
8. Leveling Up Has Never Been So Rewarding
This doesn’t even need commentary, but I’d say it’s equal parts “what the fuck” and “awesome”.
9. The Wrap-Up
Should this be numbered? Do these lists even come with a closing paragraph? I don’t care, I’m adding one anyway.
I’ve long described Wildstar as the game that I honestly thought could succeed, but had no interest in playing, and so far, only the second has changed. The game is loaded with content, and if the first two patches have been any indicator, more of it is coming – and fast. From the hardcore PvE experience -complete with an old-school attunement process-, to the PvP, to the collection systems and housing, the game really does have a lot to offer anyone. They aren’t flawless systems (arenas in particular are near mortally flawed this season), but that’s typically the case at launch. If Carbine can work to smooth out the edges quickly, they may have a real winner on their hands here.
#MMO #Wildstar #Gaming