Many moons have passed since we first heard about Wildstar; at first we were sceptical that it would just be another MMORPG being developed in an already saturated market. Despite this, we kept one eye on its development, and with a team comprising of ex World of Warcraft developers, it created enough intrigue to follow its progress. Over time we were treated to gorgeous screenshots along with humorous videos, apparently made inside the game engine, making us realise that Wildstar potentially could live up to the hype.
Now here we are with the game finally released, many hours have been pumped into the game so we can tell you whether this is just another pretender to the throne or a threat to WoW’s market dominance.
Starting off with any MMORPG we’re greeted with the character creation screen. Here you tinker around in an attempt to craft your avatar, a perfect embodiment of your mind’s eye that will represent you within the game world; alternatively it’s whatever has tig ol’ bitties and a butt that’s smuggling zeppelins to appease the hormonally overcharged kiddies that have a predisposition to fap over their in-game concubines.
Wildstar has two factions both comprising of four races and six classes to choose from. The Dominion host Cassian, Draken, Chua and Mechari races while the Exiles are composed of Humans, Granok, Aurin and Mordesh. The classes on offer will be dependant on what race you choose but you have the following options; Warrior, Spellslinger, Esper, Stalker, Engineer and Medic.
To diversify things even more you also have a choice of four paths which affect what kind of optional quests you will encounter on Nexus. These are Soldier, Scientist, Explorer and Settler. Each path will have their own questlines and unique benefits, for example certain areas of Nexus will only be available to explorers, while soldiers will experience more combat than the other paths available.
Once you’ve sorted your character, given him/her a name and picked a server it’s off to the obligatory starting areas for each faction. These serve as simple tutorial areas, allowing you to learn the controls and quirks of Wildstar. The main things to grasp which will feel different to WoW veterans are the ability to double jump, the acrobatic rolling system and the combat telegraph zones. The first two will become invaluable tools when traversing the lands of Nexus. That extra little jump will help you get around the landscape, while the dodging will become one of your mainstay methods of avoiding damage.
The telegraph zones are how Wildstar visualises how damage is being dished out. You can hover your mouse cursor over an ability, or hold that button down and a blue zone will appear in-front of you. This may be a long rectangle, extending out a distance, an arc close up indicating where your sword will swing or a circle of potential AoE (Area of Effect) damage. This also holds true to your opponents abilities which will appear as red zones which you can avoid to not take any unnecessary damage.
The telegraph zone may also animate, serving as a timed warning before a huge damaging ability is about to strike, allowing you to make a decision between getting an extra attack on the mob, running the risk of potentially being hit or getting your ass out early enough to be safe.
This may seem simple enough but in the heat of combat, and especially in raiding or PvP, the telegraph zones are flying around more akin to some European laser show with trance music beating in the background. A colourful ballet of shapes and sounds while each faction battle it out for dominance on the world of Nexus.
When it comes to tradeskills, Wildstar has you covered. There is a huge variety of things to gather and create, each with their own talent trees to make the experience even more unique. As you would expect you need to source raw materials in order to craft items, in our case we decided to give mining and weaponsmithing a bash.
Mining nodes is a doddle, simply click them and your mining laser does the rest of the work, also if you come across someone already mining a node then feel free to hit it yourself. While you won’t get the contents, you can still earn XP towards levelling your profession. This makes mining less of a race between players when it comes to levelling up, unlike World of Warcraft where it was a cutthroat environment on gathering nodes in which Tauren Druids dominated herbalism; fuck you flight form and your 0.5 second herb gathering speed racial talent.
The actual crafting of items is also a little more complex than just gathering what is required to receive the item after a button press. In Wildstar you can select what attributes the item may have and adjust the rarity of components in order to increase the overall stats that it may have. Additionally you can overcharge to try and craft something even more special, though this runs the risk of having the craft completely fail, break in-front of your eyes and destroy all the materials you used in the attempt of crafting.
This method creates a unique opportunity for those entrepreneurial minded gamers who love to play the auction house as you’re able to create fairly diverse items rather than trying to battle over prices on the same regurgitated item. As you continue crafting items, you unlock further tiers of your talent tree, allowing you to specialise even further. This could mean you end up being the only weaponsmith to be able to forge a greatsword with a certain stat range or be the only person that can add +20 assault power to an item, making you the go to person for these possessions.
For a fresh MMORPG launch, Wildstar has a huge amount of content; from PvP which starts at level 6, to the dungeons, veteran dungeons, world bosses, player housing and raiding content, there is something to keep you occupied for a long time. The attunement process for raiding is hugely ridiculous and should serve well to weed out the shitters from those who are competent players which leads me to a potential downside to the game, which I shall capitalise for great emphasis. WILDSTAR IS NOT CASUAL FRIENDLY, if you’re the kind of player that likes to jump into WoW, join LFR and potter about, then this really isn’t the MMORPG for you.
This is definitely tailored for players looking for a more hardcore, time consuming experience. The levelling is a grind fest, veteran dungeons require precise teamwork and will gladly punish mistakes made, along with co-ordination in a group to be able to remove the interrupt armor on tough mobs.
Interrupt armor is essentially an immunity to abilities that interrupt the cast of an ability. Difficult mobs may have two or more charges of this immunity meaning everyone in the group must remove the armor before being able to prevent abilities. Raid bosses will have ten times as much requiring everyone in the raid to perform this at the same time in order to stop the next damaging attack.
This essentially means every single player in your group must be able to pull their own weight, there is no room for those players that sit at the back while the rest of the team carry them through a dungeon or raid.
That being said, if you’re prepared to pull your weight then Wildstar is a hugely rewarding game, you can lose countless hours in the dangerous wilds of Nexus and these locations are rather beautiful. In fact Wildstar is a very good looking game, the character models are diverse and cartoony, vibrant environment colours, monsters ranging from the cute to the downright frightening; it has everything you could hope for really.
WildStar (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
For the same subscription price as World of Warcraft, Wildstar has a huge amount of content to offer the player. While it is more tailored to those looking to put in the effort it has huge amounts of potential to claim the throne from WoW though in all honesty we can see these two MMORPG’s co-existing quite happily while dominating the rest of the market.