It is odd that it needs to be a cause for celebration when a brand new game in a popular genre looks joyful to be what it really is, and what WildStar is is a fantastic MMOG. But the MMOG’s recent history is a story of games caught between genres, brands and audiences. WildStar sets out deep within the land created by Blizzard a decade past and ignores all that. I suppoes that shouldn’t be so surprising. After all, 17 members of the first WoW team founded the game’s creator: Carbine.
WildStar is an all-inclusive retooling of what made this genre great, paired with a powerful awareness of pleasure and an eye for fashion.
The Game World
The game itself is set on Nexus, a mythical planet rediscovered by a group of refugees called the Exiles. Nexus used to house the Eldan, a race that dominated the galaxy but has now vanished, but not before covering the planet with technology. In Nexus, the Exiles see a chance to stake out a new place to live in addition to the weapons needed to fight off the forces placed against them (The Dominion). The Eldan founded the Dominion before they vanished, and thus they think they have a religious right to the planet. Each character created will be a part of either of these 2 sides, and each one has a completely distinct group of alien races with only humans being the common race among them.
The look and feel of WildStar borrows from a variety of other sci-fi worlds and games. Gameplay is no exception to this. Take loot, for instance. It does not wait to be gathered, and instead will explode into tons of collectibles that bounce around before they are sucked into your character.
The liveliness of WildStar plays an integral part in making the game accessible and appealing to beginners, but in addition, it belies its depth. While it is not impossible to advance alone – and there is plenty to do if you select to play in that manner – group encounters, raids and cases that challenge your character are introduced and are a large part of the game all the way to level 50 and beyond. This is the most demanding MMOG I have played in years, with its complexities compounded by a fight system that puts major emphasis on placement and motion alongside upgrade systems and amazing equipment.
In Game Combat
Fighting in the game is nearly solely based on area of effect attacks that spread out from you to enemies in cones, lines, and circles. The system is a bit different based on the type of character you’re playing: frontline Warriors can live through several strikes if it means remaining in melee range, although Spellslingers deal tremendous damage but urgently have to stay as far from the reach of the enemy as possible. Some of the more complex elements in combat involve chaining together well used runs of abilities and spells, and all while properly running around, dodging, and making efficient use of resources.
This focus on area of effect skills functions nicely in PvP fights. Against creatures, you will use it to escape from fights you can not win or to kite; against players, reaching a group when they are clumped together can set them up for crushing assaults from the remainder of your team.
The bosses in the game can force reactions from players while creating some crazy mazes to deal with through the use of their projectiles. While the healer-damage-tank system is intensely recognizable, WildStar is changing the way these common systems work, and certain raids that are most often played end up requiring a certain level of coordination that is considerably higher than what we’ve seen in past games within the space.
The biggest flaw of the game is the fact that it does not seem to try very much to introduce these notions to a new crowd. The worst difficulties can be alleviated by addons that players have created, but using them demands a level of technical knowledge of the game that beginners may not have. WildStar additionally demands a subscription fee, a model that may fly with those used to playing MMOGs, but that is being challenged by competition that are offering their games for free.
Having said that, this is the greatest new MMOG for your money since Guild Wars 2, and the most feature finished an MMOG has been on its release. PvP, Raids, dungeons, housing, and more may be recognizable game mechanics, but not many games have done them so completely and with so much skill on the first day.