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WildStar Column: Heading to Nexus

By Gareth Harmer on December 19, 2013

There are many reasons to head to Nexus next year. Maybe it’s for the entertaining PvP and gargantuan Warplots. Maybe it’s for the sweet, sweet combat system, or the pull of a class. Maybe you’re just looking for a new place to hang with friends and player housing intrigues you. If the heavy amount of features and videos over the last week is anything to go by, WildStar certainly has a lot to offer.

What about the lure of Lore? At first glance, WildStar’s storytelling is all about the factional conflict. But there’s another thread that we discover before even landing planetside – involving the Eldan, Nexus, and much more. While it initially feels like a sideshow, I have a feeling that it might grow to become the main tale.

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Before I begin, a word of caution. This is likely to contain a few very mild spoilers about the early leveling experience so, if you want to stay fresh for your first time in WildStar, you might want to stop reading.  If you’re still with me and have a tinfoil hat on standby, let me dissect the yarns that WildStar is spinning.

A Great Race

It’s already well known that there’s no love lost between the Exiles and the Dominion. After the War on Gnox and the Ravaging of Arboria, the Granok and Aurin are spoiling for a fight. The Rebellion of Brightland is still a sore point in Dominion history. And even though it could be seen as planet-wide quarantine, the blockade of Grismara made the Mordesh incredibly resentful.

With the Exiles looking for a new home, the sudden discovery of Nexus looks like an ideal candidate. Fabled in legend and virtually unsettled, it almost seems a little too perfect. The fact that the Dominion want it themselves doesn’t seem to bother them; after all, the Exiles have fought and beaten them before.

For the Dominion, their arrival is more of a homecoming. After worshipping the Eldan for over a thousand years, the Cassian believe that the planet and everything on it is theirs by birthright. It’s a similar for the Eldan-made Mechari; a chance to finally meet their makers. For the Draken it’s more out of loyalty, although the abundant prey creatures certainly make it appealing. And the Chua? Well, there’s abandoned technology, which can only mean one thing: SCIENCE.

While the faction backstories help to give them shape and definition, they also help to throw the Dominion and Exiles against each other. There’s conflict and animosity baked in, providing players on both sides with strong reasons to PvP. If you wanted a reason to fight beyond the fun battlegrounds and intense arenas, there are plenty to choose from.

However, beyond the individual faction politics, there’s something lurking beneath the surface. Why did the Eldan leave Nexus? What were they planning? And why did it remain hidden for so many years? It could be that, in answering those questions, we uncover something so vast that it dwarfs almost everything else.

The Nexus Project

On board each Arkship lies a Datacube – a relic of Eldan knowledge. They mention the Nexus Project – a secret mission being carried out on a carefully selected planet. It’s probably the reason why Dorian Walker started searching for it, or why the Dominion desperately search for it. Heck, mention secret projects to a Chua and it’s like intergalactic catnip.

So just what is ‘The Project’? While Datacubes are scattered on the surface of Nexus, I haven’t discovered a single one that will give me a straight answer. During the early levels, they describe how a particular experiment might prove useful, or how the Eldan empowered a creature to give it astounding abilities.

Those experiments usually occurred underground in Exo-Labs, where the Eldan created primitive lifeforms or toyed with the genetic code of existing ones, pursuing traits such as strength, brutality and power. They were naturally proud of their creations, even going so far as to hide them away rather than obey orders to destroy them. Since their departure, those creations have been running rampant on the surface of Nexus.

While this could simply be an explanation for all the exotic creatures I’ve found already, my own instinct tells me that there’s something much bigger going on. The small tidbits we’ve heard about the Datascape raid, with an AI gone mad, indicate that there was more purpose to the Nexus Project than simply producing cannon fodder.

It also feels like the Eldan almost invited the Dominion and Exiles to Nexus. By creating the Mechari and Dominus the Half-blood, they ensured a galactic empire full of followers. Does this make the players part of the Eldan experiment, with the world creators at Carbine looking on while we scurry around? Is Nexus a test, with only the most powerful in the Galaxy being able to rise to the challenge?

Nexus might be a maze of adventures and challenges, with different cheeses to suit our own individual tastes. But I can’t help but feel that there’s something larger on the horizon. Whether it’s the Eldan taking action to change the parameters of the experiment, or for us ourselves to break out, there’s the potential for some Inception-grade storytelling. Either way, I can’t wait to find out how deep the lore rabbit-hole goes.

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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