The world of Nexus is crammed full of useful stuff. It might be stuff that you loot from the stomach of a panthera, or stuff that you buy from an entrepreneurial Protostar Corporation employee. And now, thanks to WildStar’s tradeskills, it can be stuff you create yourself. After all, nothing is quite as special as when it has your own name stamped on it. Right?
The MMORPG.com team have been rampaging through Carbine’s upcoming sci-fi MMO, bringing the latest on everything from those two new classes to developer interviews. If you want to consume the whole cosmic enchilada in one go then be my guest. Just remember to take your time and savor every mouthful.
As part of our early levels peek at WildStar, I took a quick look at Carbine’s introduction to crafting. It’s an interesting and diverse approach, with plenty of customization already apparent. Even at this early stage, WildStar’s crafting systems seem to be packed with depth, with tech trees and crafting talents tempting me to dig deeper.
On the face of it, WildStar’s crafting looks similar to other MMOs. There’s gathering tradeskills that include Mining and Survivalist, equipment tradeskills like Armorer and Weaponsmith, and hobbies such as Farming and Cooking. WildStar’s introduction to tradeskills does a good job of explaining which ones work well together, although it’s easy to chop and change without penalty if you’re craving a change.
It doesn’t take long though for Carbine’s tweaks to become apparent. Take mining for example: you might be happily digging away at an ore node, only for it to sprout legs and scamper off. Or maybe even erupt from the ground as a giant ore wyrm, all set on devouring your diminutive Chua. It’s partly a move to keep gathering interesting, but it also works as an anti-farming measure by giving those bots something unpredictable to deal with.
Gathering in the open world is just one option, as it’s possible for dedicated tradeskill fans to devote part of their housing plot to the cause. It’s possible to drop down a garden and pick up some extra ingredients for cooking, or dig out a mine for additional ores. And, if you’re really into housing, the Architect tradeskill will let you create all manner of kits ready to drop down on your home. Say the communal crafting workbench is getting a little busy, why not build your own and chill?
If you’d rather recycle your loot than send it off to a vendor, WildStar also provides a way for everyone to salvage their gear into component items. It’ll usually only provide base materials, but it provides a handy alternative to going out and gathering or visiting the commodities exchange. Myself, I’d rather go for the money unless it becomes desperate.
It’s at this point that other MMOs normally end. But not so with WildStar, as the game uses three interlocking systems to provide a diverse range of crafting options. We first heard about Circuit Board Crafting (CBC) back in April, but the latest iteration in the Winter Beta is even more interesting.
In order to avoid a huge list of schematics, a weaponsmith would simply choose the type and grade of weapon they want to make, such as a pair of steel pistols. They’d then drop in a power core, which regulates how powerful the overall item is. And, while it might have one base stat pre-selected, the crafter can also choose another primary stat, then decide how much power it should use in order to bump that stat level even higher. It’s even possible to overload circuits, should you have the materials.
Although it’s possible to find schematics out in the open world, WildStar’s tech trees provide a further way to unlock them and advance your profession. Complete the objectives of a particular branch in the tree, and earn schematics as a reward. It means you can focus on particular types of weapons or armor should you want to, or try and aim for particular parts of the tree in order to unlock a particular schematic that’s useful to you.
That said, it’s worth pursuing your way through the various parts of a tradeskill’s tech tree, in order to complete achievements and earn tradeskill talent points. These allow you to fine-tune your crafting skill even further, although it feels as though it can be a long process that requires both dedication and a bountiful supply of raw materials.
When I compare WildStar’s crafting systems to other recent MMOs, it feels much deeper. Admittedly I’ve only had the opportunity to scratch the surface but, from what I’ve already seen, focused industrialists will probably find the system very rewarding.
It also dovetails nicely with the two in-game marketplaces. The Commodities Exchange is where we’ll find all those raw materials that feed tradeskills, with only the lowest price shown instead of pages of listings. Conversely, the Auction House is where you’ll find finished items, desirable loot and so on. It’s the perfect combination to help crafters create and sell items.
As always though, beta is beta. Things can change, and what looks like a good idea at first glance might not work out once we climb to the higher levels. That said, it’s very clear that Carbine is eager to make crafting a strong component of WildStar. That, in itself, is something we can definitely cheer about.
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.