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Carbine | Play Now
MMORPG | Genre:Sci-Fi | Status:Final  (rel 06/03/14)  | Pub:NCSoft
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WildStar Column: Class War!

By Gareth Harmer on December 05, 2013

This week, Carbine took the lid off their remaining two classes. The Medic and Engineer join the existing four classes, with further livestreams and videos planned to show us just what these newcomers are capable of. But out of the six choices available, which one is best? There’s only one way to find out: FIGHT!

And fight they shall. If Nexus is a planet filled with psychopathic murderers, then they’ll need somewhere to carry out their carnage. Luckily, Carbine’s had long-held plans to provide players with places to PvP, from the great outdoors to fortress-sized warplots. If you prefer improving your arena rating instead of completing a quest chain, WildStar has you covered.

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Starting Small

For those itching to spill blood, PvP action starts at level 3 with Walatiki Temple. This capture-the-flag style 10v10 battleground has an interesting twist – even once you’ve seized a tiki mask and rushed it to your base, it’s still vulnerable. The enemy team can sneak in and steal one of yours, or keep you distracted while they grab a freshly-spawned one from the center of the map. You can literally snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, with the first team to five masks winning the game.

The Halls of the Bloodsworn unlock a little later, and provide a different experience based around attacking and defending control points. Like a football match, the game is played out over two rounds, with the winner being the team that captures the most points in the fastest time. You’ll need to charge like the Zerg in one round then be a stalwart wall of defense in the next. Think you can handle it?

For each battleground, you’ll be automatically bumped up to the level cap of the bracket you’re playing in due to the Rallying system, which will also boost the stats on your gear. Don’t worry though, you’ll still accrue XP by butchering your enemies and gain those precious levels. You’ll also be able to earn PvP-focused gear upgrades, with stats focused on making other players weep.

If PvP is really your thing, it’s possible to devote even more of your character to it. WildStar’s Advanced Modification Protocol (AMP) system lets you enhance skills and abilities in ways that underline how you want to play. If you want to become a whirlwind of pain or impenetrable rock in PvP, this is where you’ll want to start.

Taking It Outside

Whisper the phrase ‘Open-world PvP’ to some veteran gladiators, and it’s enough to make them go misty eyed with fond memories. For some of us, the chaotic carnage speaks of an earlier, primal time in MMO gaming. It’s no surprise that one of the most common questions is if WildStar will include it.

The answer? Yes and no. WildStar will include zones which are shared by both factions, Whitevale being one example. On a PvP server, if you wander into one, you’ll be flagged for PvP automatically. There might be a few ‘sanctuaries’, but for the most part you’ll be free to go hunting (or be hunted). Excluding XP rewards for a successful kill, there won’t be any objective-based rewards, at least at launch. The reason is simple – Carbine wants to find out where the massacres happen once the game goes live, They want to find out where the battles are happening and where players are flooding to, much like the old Tarren Mill-Southshore battles from early WoW. Only then will they consider adding objectives to make the experience even sweeter.

One of the biggest challenges with mass combat is getting players organized, especially with something as amorphous and organic as open-world PvP. For those up to the challenge, level cap offers the ultimate in galactic grudge matches: Warplots. These customizable combat zones allow you and 39 of your closes friends to do battle against other like-minded individuals. Boost it up with all manner of defenses, including captured raid bosses. I’m expecting bitter rivalries at the top of this top-end in PvP.

Going Pro

If you’re looking for something a little smaller, WildStar will contain 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5 arenas at level cap as well. Although it’s easy to write this off with a shrug of the shoulders, Carbine’s combat system makes the concept feel fresh and interesting. After having a go myself at Arkship a few month back, I’ll certainly be looking to form my own team once the game launches nest year.

Why? Firstly, having to aim your abilities raises that skill threshold beyond tabbing and mashing. Being able to dodge and dash gives an extra layer of control that I find myself missing in older MMOs. And executing a perfect double-jump over blockades and walls is just perfect, especially if you can spin round and fire a few shots at your pursuer. Besides, Stephan Frost makes an excellent tournament shoutcaster.

In order to keep players evenly matched, WildStar will use an elo rating system. Characters will have an individual elo rating for each type of ranked PvP (Warplots, Arenas and Battlegrounds), plus each Arena team and Warparty will have a rating as well. Carbine is also planning on having elo ratings decay over time, so you’ll have to stay in the game to keep those top rankings.

As for eSports, the developer is in no rush. Carbine feels that WildStar needs to ‘earn’ its credentials as PvP game that players enjoy before anything else. Don’t expect the tournament rallying cries early on. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from proving your mettle – the adoration of countless fans awaits.

See you in the Arena.

Gareth Harmer / Gareth Harmer has been blasting and fireballing his way through MMOs for over ten years. When he's not exploring an online world, he can usually be found enthusiastically dissecting and debating them. Follow him on Twitter at @Gazimoff.

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