It’s about a week after WildStar launched and – for me at least – it’s becoming serious business. My leveling buddy hadn’t ventured further than Deradune in beta, so Auroria was a completely new experience to her. As we moved from Dominion stronghold to Protostar outpost, I pointed out some of the zone highlights, like the challenge that had us inflating Chompacabra so they floated harmlessly away.
By the time we reached Whitevale, I was almost like a Chua tour guide: “To left, you see stupid Exiles trying to mine things. To right is partially exploded Exile town, which we finish exploding later. And below, is annoying Tundra Jabbit.”
BLAAAM. “CHALLENGE BEGINS!”
“Well, maybe not so annoying.”
Lightheartedness aside, one way I’m taking WildStar more seriously is by grabbing a few addons. Don’t get me wrong: I love the sleek look of UI 2.0, so I’ve focused mainly on those that give useful new features that aren’t available as standard. After doing a little research in the blogsphere, I grabbed the Curse Client and started leafing through their massive library. Over 250 addons have been submitted which, according to Jon Wiesman, WildStar’s Lead Client Engineer, have been downloaded more than 2.2 million times.
In the end, I settled on Group Radar to keep track of party members, IconLoot to let me know when I’s scored something shiny, and Whisper Alert so that I don’t miss incoming messages. I’ve also started using Jabbithole as my database of choice, as it’s clean and simple to follow. Even though it’s going to take a while to accumulate meaningful drop rate data, it’s already proven useful in helping to locate NPCs. Though, to be fair, the default quest UI already does an excellent job of pointing the way.
Continuing on the theme of Serious Business, it’s now also possible to buy and sell CREDD, as a way of obtaining in-game gold or paying for your gametime. WildStar’s business model of subscriptions with a twist is now in full gear, and I’m personally interested to see how it pans out. The CREDD announcement also had a few surprises, particularly about how we’ll be able to gift them to other account friends. A cap is also in place to stop us buying more than one every 22 hours, just in case you were thinking of flooding the market.
A couple of other account services have also appeared in WildStar’s shop. For those looking to join up with friends, paid realm transfers are now available although, if you’re battling queue demons, you might be able to snag a free one. Character renames round off the set of services, for those who chose poorly on launch day. Interestingly, both of these services are the same price as a CREDD, which makes me wonder if we’ll be able to swap Carbine’s gametime tokens for them in the future.
In what’s a sure sign of WildStar’s popularity, we’re already starting to see gold spam and accounts being compromised to send even more. In preparation, Carbine’s been offering a Google Authenticator-based solution since Early Access started, even going so far as to add a 2% XP buff and other in-game perks to sweeten the deal. If you don’t have a handy smartphone, tablet or similar, it’s even possible to run the authenticator in Windows. There’s literally no excuse for not protecting your account, as the former leader of a 200-strong guild recently found out.
Getting that protection in place is likely to become even more important in the months ahead, with Carbine adding even more shinies for us to collect. In last week’s column I touched on the new zone of Blighthaven, but it looks like the studio has been able to cram even more into the pipe. WildStar’s housing is already causing players to stall at level 14, but another moving truck full of furniture is on its way. Producer Stephan Frost also recorded a vine to tease an upcoming Ultra Drop, including another new zone, hoverboard mount, more customization, and a new emote. I think we’re possibly looking at /chestburst here.
Besides preparing new content for Drop One later this month, Carbine has also been chipping away at the stack of bugs that remain. One of the most recent patches includes further performance improvements for gamers with AMD processors, continuing the regular gains that we’ve been seeing since Open Beta. That said, it’s likely to remain a focus over the next few months as the studio continues to optimize its custom-made engine. There are also one or two bugs that I hope escape Carbine’s net.
For now though, my focus is on leveling. Even though some guilds have managed to blast small groups up to level cap, it seems as though the average is somewhere in the early 30s. For the first time in a very long time, it feels like most of us are taking our time to enjoy the world that’s been built.
Gareth Harmer / Gareth “Gazimoff” 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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