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WildStar Column: Merchants, Scallywags and Savages

By Gareth Harmer on April 10, 2014

Last week I talked about the intertwining history of WildStar’s two factions, and the events that led them to the mysterious planet Nexus. Even so, Carbine’s upcoming MMO is about much more than scrappy Exiles and proud Dominion. This newly discovered world is teeming with advanced Eldan technology, and there’s a galaxy full of rogues and misfits desperate to get a piece.

That’s not to say that each faction is a bland, tofu-like slab of power. Each one has a number of divisions catering to all manner of specialist subjects, like the Imperial Corps of Intelligence or Royal Collegium on the Dominion side, or Black Hoods or Exile Academy of Sciences for the Exiles. Chances are, there’s an outfit for whatever activity you’re interested in (and if not, you can always create a Circle and make one).

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Beyond these two behemoths, there are a number of smaller factions and races. Some are friendly traders, while others are viciously barbaric. In this week’s column, I’ll be giving an overview of the varied cultural tapestry that Carbine’s loremasters are weaving. From galactic traders to screeching cannibals, there’s a diverse crowd just waiting to be discovered.

The Visitors

If the Dominion achieved anything, it forced its enemies to get organized. After being hounded this way and that across the Fringe, a loose collection of pirates, smugglers and other menacing parties grouped together nearly a thousand years ago to form the Marauders. Bound by a code of honor named the Marauders’ Concord, they agree to lend each other aid when needed, although I’m sure that some of them see it as a set of guidelines rather than formal laws.

From what I’ve seen, Marauder groups are made up of three distinct races. The Oghra are lanky, green masters of technology, usually favoring pistols and other ranged weapons. On the stupid but brutal side are the Grund; picture a hammer-wielding seal that swallowed a Granok and you’re mostly there. Meanwhile, the cunning Eeklu are small, furry creatures that might resemble a tail-less Chua but are absolutely no genetic relation at all. Definitely.

Clashing up against the Marauders on a regular basis are the Ekose, a race of thin, blue-skinned humanoids that devote themselves to hauling freight around the galaxy. Of course, the cargo they carry isn’t always legal, or safe, or crated properly for space travel, but those are all part of a pioneering enterprise. Instead of getting their hands dirty, the Ekose also prefer to hire others to solve more stubborn problems, which is why you’ll often find them offering shiphand missions. After all, why rock the boat yourself when you can always blame a mercenary or subcontractor?

Transporting cargo is one thing but selling it is another, and Protostar Corporation is aiming to corner the market on Nexus. Staffed completely with male, nameless green clones of CEO Phineas T Rotostar, the form hopes to dominate through ruthless efficiency. Fortunately for their competitors, the corporation is overrun with management ineptitude and paralytic bureaucracy, often relying on a flexible but well-armed workforce to get the job done.

Protostar often rely on imported machinery in order to extract precious resources on Nexus, but the planet’s unique habitat can have surprising effects. One such example are Freebots – robots that have accidentally gained free will, throwing off their chains and liberating others. They share this self-awareness through the Freebot Code, part software, part set of morals. Surprisingly though, they don’t seem to have gone all killer-robot, instead preferring to live alongside organic creatures and establishing trade directly.

Competing against the corporate machine, the bunny-eared Lopp seem to conduct trade relations with an almost mystical reverence. Rather than bartering on every commodity, they reserve their interest for rare treasures and intriguing objects, which they term ‘shinies’. Since arriving on Nexus, the Lopp have established far-trader networks in several settlements, both on and off-planet. It creates an interesting dichotomy – while Protosar likely have something you need, the Lopp will almost certainly have something you want. Badly.

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