WildStar’s update schedule continues to keep a punishing pace. Barely a week has passed since Sabotage – the previous update – was deployed onto live servers, and next month’s patch is already on the Public Test Realm. If you’re one of those players who love to get an early preview of upcoming content, Carbine has you covered.
Stepping away from all the rampant explosions, Drop 3 seems to be much more like the initial post-launch update, continuing the world story and opening up a new zone named ‘The Defile’. I’ll be digging into the zone story soon, with Drusera and the Entity making a return. There are also hints about the secrets of Exanite, a powerful material that seems to be the only thing holding the Strain at bay. This gleaming rock was used to form a barricade between Drusera’s Blighthaven sanctuary and this unexplored region, but comes crashing down to reveal further Eldan mysteries. Apparently there’s a Terraformer lurking in there somewhere.
As always, Drop 3 isn’t just about providing us with new content to chew through. On this week’s Nexus Report, producer Stephan Frost highlighted that much of the core team is still focused on responding to feedback, crushing bugs and improving the WildStar experience, although it can take time before we see the end result. A change or fix that the developers are finishing off now might not make it to the live servers for two or three months, depending on when it gets added to the mix.
If you’re interested in the detail, the PTR patch notes include tweaks to all paths and classes, but it’s the Engineer that’s attracting the most scrutiny. Most attacks have been tweaked so that snares and debuffs will always apply if the attack also dealt damage, rather than potentially being deflected. The Warrior also received a telegraph tweak that improves close melee combat, bringing the minimum range in from 1.5m to 1m and reducing that deadzone.
Among a number of UI tweaks, the Commodities Exchange is getting some welcome clarification. The auction house alternative for consumables and raw materials has been a bit muddled, with confusing terminology making it difficult to work out the best deal. That’s being changed in Drop 3, with terms like ‘Highest Offer’ and ‘Lowest Price’.
The big hitter, however, is that cross-realm parties can now be formed straight from the friends list. If you’re like me and have friends on a number of different servers, this change is going to change your social list into a grouping goldmine. It’s not clear if this will cover all forms of instancing, but I have my fingers crossed that dungeons, adventures and battlegrounds will all work. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to kiss solo queue goodbye.
Also, a collection of crafting schematics are sneaking their way into Genetic Archives, WildStar’s 20-player raid. Weaponsmiths, Armorers, Outfitters and Tailors can start planning their raid leader bribes now, although I currently have no idea what stats the manufactured items will end up with. If you’re not in a raid group, these will also probably end up on the Auction House, as Carbine’s previously been flexible about making these tradable. Still, at least you’ll be able to enjoy the revamped currency icons that are rolling out in the update.
However, it wouldn’t be an Ultra Drop without some housing updates for us to drool over. The Defile zone reputation vendors will be equipped with new housing items, and target dummies will be added to provide combat practice on your flying house-plot. Many seats have also been tweaked so that they can actually be sat on. But the biggest change to housing is the introduction of music – it will be possible to select the backing track to your architectural masterpiece. Some tunes will cost gold, while others will chew through your stack of Renown. Personally, I’m hoping that The Simplicity of Home – my favorite WildStar track – is added as an option.
As I wrap up this week’s column, there’s one more thing to mention. We’re now heavily into Convention Season, with gaming gatherings running globally in the upcoming months. Next week I’ll be at Gamescom, and so will Carbine – WildStar will be running at both Twitch and Alienware booths, plus the team will be bringing livestream shows every day. There might even be a little swag up for grabs.
Later this month is PAX Prime in Seattle, and Carbine will be hosting a community meetup near the event. Not only that, but the team will be running a cosplay competition with cold cash for the chosen champions. If you’ve ever wanted to try out being a Chua (definite winner), Mordesh or even blue-skinned Skeech, this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
So far, this update represents Carbine’s continuing commitment to provide us with regular updates. Longer term, I’m left wondering what lies beyond Drusera and the Entity – the desperate good and malevolent evil that tower over WildStar’s universe. Drop 3 will land at the end of this month, but part of me itches to discover what further mysteries lie beneath the surface of Nexus, and away from it. But until that time, I’m content to watch the titans clash- to watch the story unfold and be a part of it.
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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