Editorial: Hands-on with Wildstar

Stop, drop, and roll.

Combat in Wildstar is fairly skill based, with most attacks being dodgeable.

I was originally intending to write a review of Wildstar for Lusipurr.com, but how can one review an MMO without devoting enough hours to get into the end game content? Without an appreciation of what will ultimately be the day-to-day experience of the average level capped character, I though it best to run through what new players will experience right out of the gate. As many regulars to the site will know, I am a veteran MMO player, but I entered into Wildstar with very little prior knowledge of the game. Why? Because it was supposed to be the game my Warcraft guild distracted ourselves with until Warlords of Draenor is released sometime this year. Unfortunately, I was the only guildie who actually ordered the final game. Despite this, I vowed to make the most of the month that came with the game.

I picked the class that sounded the most appealing to me, Engineer. Wields big guns? Check. Uses fancy gadgets in combat? Check. Summons robot minions? Double check! I then chose a job for my character. Jobs are different from classes in that any race or class can perform any job, but they are stuck with that job for the life of the character. There are four to choose from, but I chose Settler. As a Settler, I get to build projects in each zone that increases the quality of life for players. There are many outposts dotted around the map that may offer a quest or two, but Settlers can add experience boosters or perhaps sleeping bags so that anyone else visiting the outpost can pick up some buffs to aid them in their adventure. The addons only last for a limited time, but can be built again and again.

So, my character began his journey on board a Dominion space base. The usual tutorial quests are here to teach players how to move and use the camera. I skipped a few cut scenes hoping to get into some action, but the beginning of the game is mostly running around. However, the game did take the opportunity to teach me how my job worked. Completing my job tasks in the starting area entitled me to a goody bag of crafting materials. Early enemies are VR simulations of people that the dominion wants the player to harass, but they are all easy to dispatch. In fact, I managed to gain a few levels before being sent down to the planet and the first real zone.

99% chance to fail? Let's do it!

Wildstar’s crafting system rewards players for taking risks.

Leveling up in Wildstar is very rewarding. A handy interface pop up explains everything the player gains upon dinging. For the few levels, skills come fairly quickly. Skill must be purchased from the skill interface before they can be used, and there are only a limited number of slots to place skills in, therefore limiting how many abilities a player has access to. After hitting level ten, a player also gains a tier point each level that can be spent to make an ability more powerful. An AMP point is also gained that can be spent on improving a character in whatever way a player wishes to build them.

While the starting area exists to teach a player, the first zone offers and introduction to the world and the questing experience. This is where the player first meets challenges, objectives that are otherwise hidden until a player discovers them. A quest may direct a player to collect items from an enemy, but upon killing the first enemy of that type a challenge could appear telling the player to kill a number of that opponent in a limited time for a nice reward. Obviously, in the early game rush the server was filled with players and the enemies were being killed quickly, but any number of players can tag the same enemy and get credit for killing it without having to form a party.

Upon completion of the story of the first zone, I was then flown to the next. This time, the zone had features that will be familiar to any veteran MMO player. Recall stations give the player a fixed point that they can return to, similar to Warcraft‘s hearthstones. There are also mailboxes and taxis that are helpfully explained by an NPC for those who might not understand what they are for. The taxi will also take a player to their factions capital city. Once there, they can perform a quest to unlock a direct teleport there that is on a very long cooldown.

Kill enemies, hang trophies, get more XP.

Each player gets an instanced plot of land to call their own.

Upon hitting level ten, the player unlocks the ability to craft and salvage items, and is given a tutorial on both. Crafting items in Wildstar is almost a minigame itself. As well as the materials required to craft an item, the player also needs a core to power it. Better cores confer a greater amount of charge to the item being crafted. The player then chooses what stats they would like on the weapon (some items have a fixed stat that is randomly chosen when crafting begins). Increasing the values of the stats on the weapon uses more charge, and if the player goes over the total charge, there is a chance the craft will fail. This lets players push their luck to create awesome items at the risk of losing potentially valuable materials. I chose weaponsmithing as one of my two professions (the other being mining to support it), but other crafting professions work in a similar manner. Salvaging returns some crafting materials from items, even those looted or gained from quests.

Clearing the whole zone out, I managed to reach the level to unlock my player housing. This requires another quest to be completed in the capital city, but from then the player can access their house from anywhere using a third teleport option. I was limited in what I could do with this space for now, having spent most of my money playing with the crafting system, but the potential for my space was amazing. I could add resource nodes that only I could harvest, which was quite handy given that players were stripping the land as soon as they respawned out in the wild. Adding decor items actually has a benefit, offering rested XP while a player is logged out. Rare decor items have a larger bonus than common ones, making the profession that can craft them fairly useful for now.

Altogether, getting to level fourteen took me almost an entire day of play. I probably could have gone further, but I spent a fair amount of time gathering crafting materials and completing all my job tasks for each zone. I intend to hit the level cap of fifty as soon as I can, so if you would like to hear about the Wildstar end game content, let me know in the comments. Want to know about any other jobs or classes, or maybe about my continuing adventures in Nexus? Let me know in the comments as well!

2 comments on “Editorial: Hands-on with Wildstar”

  1. Is there anything in the game that would suggest to you that it might be something you track on a more long term basis or do you still essentially see it as a stopgap between WOW releases? I was marginally curious when I had read about this, but not so much that it compelled me to purchase it.

  2. I could see myself keeping a hand in this game after WoD releases. Subscriptions can be paid for with in-game currency by buying an item on the market, similar how EVE works.

    The endgame possibilities of the crafting system are what is keeping me playing right now, but if the dungeons and raids don’t hold up their end, I could take some convincing for me to go back.

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