There’s also the AMP system, which is still graphical and conceptual work in progress, as the UI even notes. But basically, it acts like the more “minor” skills in most MMO skill trees that boost certain stats you want to favor over others.
At least right now, these are not independent of different builds, and will remain constant across each skill build. Update: Jeremy Gaffney and Hugh Shelton have confirmed that AMP loadouts are indeed tied to a specific "build". From Hugh himself:
“AMP selections are indeed saved to each “Action Set” just like Abilities and Ability Tiers. Currently players can gain a maximum of 4 Action Sets, and they earn 2 of those for free (start with 1, gain another through leveling). The final two have to be earned through other means.”
You can pump points into support-specific stats, DPS stats, or even utility stats. Then as you spread the points out, you’ll open other tiers, and hybrid areas of the AMP system that blend different stats together. Hell, there are even categories to spec your stats specifically for PVP offense or defense individually. See the screen below for a quick look at early AMP layout.
Overall, I’m really enjoying the Medic more than I thought I would. A medium armor wearing mid-range healer is a bit of an MMO anomaly, and I like how you can easily heal and kill with the same skills in many cases. The resonator weapons are a bit strange to look at, as they’re comically oversized, but I got used to them. I think I still prefer the more “emphatic visuals of other classes as the Medic’s animations seem tame and sterile, but as a class it’s going to be both useful and fun to play.
OTHER THOUGHTS ON THE BETA
I also wanted to touch on a few other goods and bads about the beta. I’m really enjoying myself, but it’s clear that polish is still needed across the board. The game’s simply not optimized at all right now, and you’ll quickly learn to type /reloadUI every so often to flush the memory and get your FPS back up to speed. Additionally, while my desktop at home can run WildStar swimmingly, my gaming laptop with a mid-range Nvidia 660m really has issues. This is a card/system that has no problem running Skyrim, GW2, and others on high. But it definitely struggles with WildStar right now, which is to be expected as we are talking about a beta here folks.
There are also a number of assets that are still placeholder in the UI, most notably the tutorials are often missing graphics or text. But that’s the kind of stuff that can wait until the last minute. The same can be said of textures. While you can set them to high, they don’t seem to load as high resolution in-game. At the character select the textures look wonderful, but in-game they seem stuck on medium or less no matter what the settings say.
And my last gripe for now will be the Map and UI. It’s actually wonderfully detailed, and just recently added the ability to zoom in and leave it ghosted over the screen a la Diablo if you want. But it’s hex-based design and the thin yellow lines they use to show quest locations don’t really work. They’re very difficult to see unless you zoom in, and then the map pops back out when you close it. But these sorts of little details are nothing compared to the sheer amount of functionality behind the UI.
The social windows have a slew of features, including the ability to make free “Circles” which act like Linkshells in FFXIV: basically a chat channel that is independent of guilds for you and your close friends or like-minded groups of players. There’s a huge list of achievements to track, path missions, regular missions lore books, challenge quests, and tradeskill progress. There’s a working Group Finder that lets you choose whether you want to group with all worlds or just your own, and it’ll find PVP or Dungeons for you. I mean, WildStar has more quality of life stuff in its UI than most games have years after launch. Once it’s fully moddable and alterable, it’ll be a beast. Right now, it’s oversized on smaller monitors (like my laptop) and takes up way too much real estate. Once I can shrink it down, auto-sort my bags, and mass-sell junk, I’ll be happy.
Then there’s the whole path system, where the Settler has me tasked with going around and building up settlements and other amenities for myself and other players to use across the world. A Settler, if you’re the type of person who loves to help others and mill about towns, is a the perfect path. I found its missions a little tedious, but there’s something very rewarding about putting up vending bots, speed boosts, XP boosts, stat buffs, and the like in the wilderness for everyone to use. You really feel useful, even if you’re not grouping. I think I may wind up going with Explorer later on, but the Settler types are going to beloved in WildStar.
I can’t stress enough this early on how fun of a world Carbine’s created here. But if you’re waiting and hoping for Ultima Online levels of sandboxery, it may not be for you. If instead, you like things that are fun, chances are you really won’t be disappointed with WildStar. It’s lighthearted, perhaps almost too much at times, but so charismatic and joyous to play that I don’t care if it takes itself seriously or not. I think it’s more than time for a game to let loose and play with tropes. The level up animation alone, where heavy metal lettering, guitar riffs, and the vocal styling of Jim Cummings calling you a badass… it’s fitting. Jeremy Gaffney likes to call these quirks out as being “WildStarry”. I think I’ll be very happy if the whole game has the same level of Wildstarriness. It’s like Titan AE and Pixar got together and made an MMO baby… and who wouldn’t enjoy that?
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.