I have so much I want to say about this most excellent game, but I’m under a non-disclosure agreement to keep my lips (mostly) sealed. I’m unable to provide any screenshots or talk in-depth about gameplay that has not already been demonstrated to the public. That being said, there are some generic things I want to gush about, as well as some details that have already been plastered all over teh interwebz by the devs already. Keep in mind that for many, many years I played World of Warcraft, and that is my largest frame of reference for successful MMOs. I can’t help but view WildStar through that lens and make certain comparisons. So, let’s get started…
Factions & Races
Like in WoW, WildStar has two factions – the Dominion and the Exiles. From studying their website, I assumed the Dominion=Alliance and Exiles=Horde. I’m now changing my tune. I thought I’d want to play an Exile, but – like my revelation in SWTOR – Dominion is just way more fun. If they’re the good guys, they’re a twisted and sadistic version thereof. I’m calling it, Unpossible is going to be Dominion.
Each faction has four races, which are also covered thoroughly on the WildStar site. The Exiles have human rebels, crazy hippy bunny folk named Aurin, bigass rock people known as Granok, and fucking space zombies called the Mordesh. The Aurin boys are super damned adorable, but I think many guys and stereotypical girl gamers are going to want to play Aurin girls; they’re the sexpots of the faction, with their big boobs and round butts and perfect hair. I adore how the Mordesh look, and they have a super cool backstory, so if we were Exile that’s probably what I’d play.
But let’s face it, we’re going to be Dominion so I can continue my life as a maniacal, murderous chipmunk. I’m a chua.
These little bastards are sheer awesome. They’re like some weird rodent mix of WoW’s goblins and gnomes. They’re incredibly scientific-minded and perform experiments and build shit constantly, and if that shit is destructive… that’s all the better. It is worth noting that the Dominion released these guys on Nexus as a weapon against the Exiles because they destroy everything in their path. They have super adorable animations and I love their little voices and <3 chua forever <3.
Also rounding out the Dominion are Cassians (humans), demonic-looking Draken, and the robotic Mechari. I’ve also been tooling around on a Draken, and I’ve gotten rather fond of their character design also. I generally have a rule to never play humans (since I am one), so I’m not sure how much playtime I’ll bank on a Cassian – I guess we’ll see if I wind up wanting to play a class only offered on that race.
Classes & Paths
Each class is unique in its own ways, and I’ve yet to discover the intricacies of them all because… like I’ve said… I’ve mostly focused on my chua, and my chua is a spellslinger. I hope to be able to play around more before the beta ends, but since I just got my key and am also working full time, I’ve been kind of limited on what I can do. My Draken is a stalker, and I’ve really enjoyed it too. There are a total of 6 classes in WildStar: the aforementioned spellslinger (rdps/heals) and stalker (mdps/tank), as well as the warrior (mdps/tank), medic (rdps/heals), esper (rdps/heals), and engineer (rdps/tank).
I’m going to make it my goal to try all the classes in beta so that I know what I want my main to be on launch… but I’m pretty biased towards my spellslinger at the moment. It uses two guns, and is very highly mobile – the complete other end of the spectrum from my WoW death knight. It’s also a healer… and it heals by shooting things. How awesome is that? I haven’t yet played with that aspect of the class, since I’ve just been leveling, but I’m looking forward to testing it out also.
Something unique to WildStar is that when you create your toon, you choose a path. You should choose your path based on what you tend to like about MMOs. Soldiers like to destroy things and enjoy the grind of killing many mobs. Explorers love trying to figure out how to get into obscure places: weird nooks and crannies all over the map. Scientists enjoy lore, and settlers like building things and social comraderie. For me, explorers sound like hell because I hate trying to maneuver into strange places. Canadian Bacon was playing one, and we were questing together and basically it was torture following him on those quests. So far I’ve tried out both the settler and the scientist, and I’m preferring the settler. Settlers are going to be pretty important because they create things that give buffs. They’re excellent for leveling.
All I can really say here is that the combat is what makes WildStar so unique amongst other MMOs. You can watch the devs livestream on Twitch and see how it works, but basically it’s a system called telegraphing, and it makes the combat experience far more immersive. You don’t actually target anything – you aim and fire. My spellslinger abilities vary in effect; some are frontal cones, some are straight lines, some are AOE, some are single target, etc. It’s a lot of fun to pull a bunch of mobs whilst leveling and then line them up and take them out with a variety of skills. Conversely, the mobs that attack you also telegraph their attacks, and you have to decide whether you want to move to avoid damage and possibly lose dps (because some spells channel and don’t allow movement, whereas some are highly mobile) or if you want to sit there and take the hit.
It’s HIGHLY engaging and basically just a ton of fun. With my chua spellslinger, I just run around like a chipmunk on crack. IT IS THE ABSOLUTE BEST and it really adds a different dimension to the game. You have to be a much more perceptive player; there’s no more standing in one spot spamming skills. I can’t even imagine what this will be like in raiding, and I hear the pvp is a blast.
Questing & Feel
So far, all of the quests I’ve done have been really engaging. The quest text itself is hilarious, and the types of quests are varied. I can’t really go into detail here, but I really feel like a lot of effort was put into the writing. WildStar has a distinct “feel” to it. It’s pretty much a science fiction western, so there are highly scientific and technical aspects of the game mixed in with pure western grit. The whole thing is fairly reminiscent of Firefly, to be perfectly honest, and you all know that it’s my #1 favorite show of all time forever and ever.
I’ve been raving so far, so I want to take a moment to point out the one thing I really DON’T like about WildStar: its sexual dimorphism. I find the character design very aggravating in its distinction between male and female toons. The female characters have their feminine aspects grossly exaggerated: huge asses and tits, tiny hourglass waists, and they bounce when they wak. The male characters, on the other hand, are all amazingly ripped with giant muscles. It’s like a world of Playboy bunnies and beefcakes. I wish they would tone that down, but I think it’s probably part of that feel that they’re going for. This is also probably a major contributing factor to why I adore the chua so much.
Other than the body differences, I find the art to be amazing. It’s quirky and fun without being too cartoony, and the colors are beautiful. They did such a wonderful job of blending high technology with rough-and-tumble wilderness. It’s one of the things that drew me into the game at first; it’s gorgeous.
I can’t wait for launch. I’m excited about the business model; you buy the game, and it’s a monthly subscription. However, players can buy “CREDD” from the cash shop and sell it in game for gold – CREDD is game time. So basically, I’ll be able to do legally what I did in WoW (buy time with gold). I’m really excited that it’s not a free-to-play game with a cash shop, because in my experience those games are never as good. I don’t want to have to spend real money to make my toon the best; my gameplay should be what makes it the best. However, those people with disposable income will be able to line their pockets in game… that doesn’t bother me because I’ve always been pretty decent at making and maintaining gold. Hell, I still have 250k sitting over on my WoW account, ready to be sold to fund some sort of WildStar endeavor.
I’m also super stoked that so many of my WoW friends are into the game. I want to rebuild our guild in WildStar, and I can’t wait to explore in game content and raid again. However, I want to take it slow at first – I’m not in a rush to level cap and dive into end game content. I want to enjoy the leveling process and learn as I go. There will be more expansions to power level through; I want my first experience to be fun and sweet.
I think WildStar is really going to be able to give WoW a run for its money. The content that I’ve explored so far is solid. I can’t imagine that the end game would be shitty in comparison. It’s far more engaging than SWTOR; hell, I haven’t even opened SWTOR since WildStar came into my life.
I am just so excited about this game. Launch cannot come soon enough!