I actually haven’t had my hands on WildStar since it was announced at PAX years ago. I’ve seen press demos, watched my colleagues here play at shows, but I’ve not played the thing since I first tried an alpha build with a Granok Warrior what seems a lifetime past. That’s all changed over the past week or so, because I’ve been absolutely hooked on Carbine’s Sci-Fantasy epic since they let me in the beta. Make no bones about it: WildStar is a themepark, and shares many of the same ups and downs of that subgenre within the MMORPG industry. But above and beyond that label, WildStar is the most fun I’ve had with an MMO all year.
I knew the servers were down on Monday, and coming up Tuesday… but that didn’t stop me from checking every five minutes just in case they pulled a fast one and spun them back up. For my part of our huge series of coverage today, I’m going to talk about the Mordesh (Exile) Medic I played as a Settler, along with some general thoughts and impressions. I will be playing a Chua Engineer come launch, so as to not spoil that content, I decided to go with the “good guys”. Luckily, the Exiles aren’t as “holier than thou” as the Alliance or Qeynos dwellers of other games.
THOUGHTS ON THE MEDIC
I played my Medic through level twelve before writing this. That allowed me to open up several different build possibilities, the AMP system, crafting, and get pretty far in the Settler PATH as well. The Medic uses a combo point system that you have to build up to unleash other stronger attacks and heals with. Your basic attack (Discharge) uses your resonators (think high tech defibrillators that heal and injure both) to channel damage over a couple seconds onto any enemy in a small cone in front of you (up to five enemies at a time). You’ll spam this sucker to build up combo points, but don’t let that fool you: there’s no auto-attack, and Discharge won’t be the only skill you use.
WildStar’s combat designers are smart cookies. Your Discharge skills and the skills that use its combo points like Gamma Rays and Shield Surge don’t have cooldowns. Instead the other skills do. Gamma Rays is a high damage attack in a straight line in front of you, while Shield Surge both damages any enemies in front of you, while boosting the shield of allies in the blast. A lot of the Medic’s skills have this type of synergy. Meanwhile non-combo dependent skills like Fissure (a high damage heatwave that does damage over time as well), Paralytic Surge (a multi-target stun that really comes in handy) and Paddle Shock (a high damage attack that’s only usable after a crit) all have their own cooldowns. So it’s in between these major skills that you’ll use the builders like Discharge and its healing cousin Emission.
I started to get in a groove with combat, on most enemies, knowing what to open with and what to use, all while toying with different lineups. The Medic also has Probes early on: one circles you and allies placing a HoT that can be exploded for higher heals, while another does the opposite and applies probes to enemies that do DoTs and can explode for high damage at the end of the timer if you’re aware enough to trigger it then.
It’s this kind of duality of class build that really intrigues me about WildStar. You can do the same thing with tanks like the Warrior, Stalker, and Engineer or with other healers like the Spellslinger. You can simply save different builds via the UI, and swap between them when out of combat to meet your needs. You only will ever have eight core class skills on your hotbar at any one time, but from a list of 30-something skills per class, something tells me the theory-crafting will go through the roof when the public gets a hold of this one. Every class also has several utility skills that are directly for crowd control, group support, and other uses. You could really play a “support” class without being a healer and hopefully Carbine will design its dungeons to take advantage of this.