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WildStar Column: The Pre-Launch Primer

By Gareth Harmer on May 22, 2014

Dominating the Environment

Nexus is a new world, and WildStar a new story, which is why both are packed to the brim with lore and secrets just waiting to be discovered. Part of that comes through questing, where zones like Auroria and Whitevale have their own tales to tell. Each region is also packed with datacubes, books and even comic pages that contain further information about what’s going on. There’re also a wide variety of merchants, scallywags and savages to encounter and learn about.

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WildStar makes an effort to keep the action going, and that means avoiding huge walls of text where possible. The content designers try to shave each quest down to under 140 characters where possible, allowing people to click accept and move on. For those of us who like a little context to our missions, a […] button will usually prompt the NPC to tell us more, or share a little conversation. It’s easy to blitz through the world if that’s what you want, but these little nuggets provide a ton of depth.

Group content has been packed heavily into WildStar. At level 20, both Stormtalon’s Lair and the Ruins of Kel Voreth open up to teams of 5 players, with two more unlocking at later levels and veteran modes becoming available at level 50. Alongside those are Adventures, dungeon-like experiences that offer an element of choice as you play through. A faction-specific adventure is available at level 15, with four more opening up during the climb to level cap, at which point veteran adventures unlock. And if that’s not enough, shiphand missions offer shorter experiences (roughly 20 minutes or so), for flexible groups of between 1 and 5 players, and scale the difficulty accordingly. A cross-server LFG tool will help you get into dungeons and adventures, although you can also use it to search for players only on your own server if you prefer.

For the most hardcore of hardcore, Wildstar’s raids are where you’ll want to head. The 20-player Genetic Archives will be your first stop, before marching onward to the challenges in the 40-player Datascape. But before you even set foot in a raid instance, you’ll need to gear up appropriately and complete an attunement questline that will require help to complete. Raid layouts will change from week to week, with every group globally facing the same set of challenges in the same configuration. It’s Carbine’s way of making sure that being best on the server is a constant battle rather than being first to clear. Raids will only have a single difficulty – hard – and will not have any LFG/LFR support. Raids will also offer some of the best gear in the game, including ‘pink’ Artifacts.

If there’s one thing you won’t find in WildStar’s raids, it’s world-changing lore. Raids will have a story, but lore fiends won’t have to raid to see the climactic end to a major tale. Instead, all those will be located in Drusera instances; optional single-player dungeons that explain what’s going on with Nexus and the Eldan, and what role you’ll have in the planet’s future. Drusera instances will start at level 35, with some already in for launch and a number planned for the future as part of a continuing epic arc.

Bringing the Battle

Some players just want to set the world on fire, delivering pain personally to as many as possible. For them, dedicated PvP servers will offer the opportunity to create carnage almost anywhere, from Chua ambush squads to Granok barricades. As for those who prefer a little more order, WildStar will include a mix of PvP options, both at launch and afterwards. And, if you want to go a little hardcore, rated options will use Elo ranking to help match you against suitable opponents.

Battlegrounds open up from level 6, with Walatiki Temple offering a fantastic alternative to the traditional capture-the-flag formula. Two teams of 10 players fight it out by trying to capture Moodie Masks or steal them from the opposition, all while trying to safeguard their own. It’s fast-paced and yet tactical, with recent map tweaks making it even more interesting. Level 15 unlocks the Halls of the Bloodsworn, a control point style map for larger teams of 15 players each. Participating in Battlegrounds earns Prestige, a currency that can be spent on PvP-specific gear with PvP offensive and defensive stats, which means that pesky raiders won’t be able to roflstomp seasoned gladiators.

WildStar’s current Slaughterdome arena resembles a fighting cage, and will hold 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5 matches. A number of obstacles, such as pillars and walls, act as line-of-sight blockers, although some can be bounced over with a well-timed double-jump. But the really neat feature is the respawn system; rather than characters getting a single life, each arena team starts with a specific number of respawn tokens. It softens the impact of blazing starts slightly, but it also means that resurrection becomes a tactical choice – you might decide to hold back and save a token for your team healer, for example. The telegraph system also makes arena PvP a great spectator experience on Twitch, and I’m hoping that Carbine adds a dedicated system after launch.

For PvP crème de la crème, however, you’ll want Warplots. Gather up 39 of your closest friends to set up a warparty, get a warplot, and then fill it with the most destructive devices you can find. Missile turrets, mines and orbital strikes are all up for grabs, but you might even be able to snare a dungeon or raid boss and throw it onto your death fortress. Once it’s ready, drop it down against another team and battle it out for supremacy. You can choose to either tear their plot to pieces, or dominate the midfield resources until their tinker town drains out. Either way, it’s carnage on a grand scale but with meaningful team play – almost like someone took raiding and PvP, put them in a blender, and fed the resulting concoction to a pro-wrestler with a penchant for explosives.

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