Waxing on WildStar
June 3rd saw the launch of one of the year’s most hotly anticipated MMORPG’s, Carbine’s science-fantasy tour de force, WildStar. It’s a highly polished game, and one of the most complete MMO’s I’ve had the pleasure to play at launch. I’ve had some free time this week to sample of WildStar’s delicious bounty. I’d like to share the top four features that make WildStar a game worth playing in my opinion.
Number one: story! WildStar’s world building is second to none. By the end of the first zone, it should be clear that the planet Nexus is much more than it seems. Ancient ruins and mysteries abound on the Eldan homeworld, and they are ripe for exploring. The quests build throughout each zone, creating multi-faceted stories that simultaneously reveal Nexus’ secrets and deepen the mystery of the what happened to the ancient Eldan race. Best of all, quests aren’t presented as walls of text (like Warcraft), but as small chunks of dialog. I actually read them!
Number two: game play! Say goodbye to the auto-lock, auto-target, auto-follow snoozefest trifecta and say hello to templates! WildStar’s combat system allows for full freedom of motion–which is essential, because WildStar’s combat relies on telegraphing templates that create dynamic, chaotic battlefields that must be negotiated with speed and skill. While I’m far from the raiding endgame (or “Elder game” as it’s called in WildStar), the leveling instances I’ve tried feel more like other games’ “heroic mode” dungeons, for the sheer skill required to survive the onslaught. Whether its moving out of harms way or coordinating multiple interupts to overcome a boss’ interrupt protection, WildStar brings the need for “situational awareness” to a whole new level.
Number 3: crafting! No longer just a boredom simulator, WildStar’s crafting balances randomness with customization by enabling players to specify what stats they want on a given piece and in what proportion. Crafting talents enable players to tailor their abilities within a given craft to suit their specific needs (e.g. a crafter might take a talent to make chest pieces they craft 10% more powerful, making them more valuable for trade purposes, etc.). Crafting is powerful, and costly–but not so costly as to make it impossible for a level character to pursue. Where some games use crafting as a gold sink, WildStar saves that for the much more entertaining…
Number 4: player housing! I am not a Sims kind of gamer. Whenever I fire up good old Sims 2, it’s to explore the latent sociopathy that resides in all of us by walling innocent digital people into closets like some cheeseball horror movie. That said, player housing in WildStar is awesome. Wildly customizable and filled with mini games, the housing system lets players express their creativity to a degree that I haven’t seen outside of games like Skyrim (or the aforementioned Sims titles). Instead of resting at an inn, Wild Star’s rest experience is tied to the home, so the more pimp your crib, the better the experience bonus you receive upon logging in. Just one more touch that makes WildStar a unique gem among MMO’s.
Those four aspects are just some top of mind things that have made Wild Star wildly enjoyable for me. You could do worse with a few bucks than giving it a try. If you know anyone already playing, as them for a trial key and give it a whirl!