Raiding in WildStar is all-out, taking the game’s splashy look and large scale into consideration all the way. Big is a theme for the game, and those who love to raid and constantly improving their gear will find much to dive into when the game launches. We were treated to a presentation about the game’s raids, which will fall into both the 20-man and 40-man varieties. These raids are engineered with the game’s telegraph system in mind but also with variety intended to keep players on their toes in being able to repeat the content while still having fun.
A typical raid might see seven bosses along with 16 mini-bosses, and even a couple of rooms that also become corrupted and work like bosses in themselves. We saw two videos of a guild going through the same 20-man raid on its first attempt and a subsequent one. Fresh meat was almost never quite so amusing. In the hex-floored room, the boss in question cast a very large, spreading telegraph directly onto one of the players, who then ran away with no idea what to do or how to shake it off. Suddenly, BOOM! That poor player goes down with the explosion, taking out most of the floor with him. Now, his guildies don’t have any room to maneuver, which leads to nothing good when it comes to the future of this attempt. With a player latched onto as a bomb, what can be done? Solving the puzzle of this room involves the discovery that the otherwise doomed player can run toward the edge and jump off the hex floor at the moment of explosion, avoid harming most of the floor, and bouncing upward back into the fight. A second attempt by the same guild utilizes this knowledge in order to keep most of the hex floor unblemished and have room to take the boss down.
Every room, we’re promised, holds some kind of puzzle or challenge to solve, and to keep things fresh, some of those challenges will be rotated or shifted. Different bosses will sometimes live in certain rooms from one week to the next, meaning that different strategies will apply. This is semi-randomized and will be consistent across all servers. WildStar’s raids will extend these challenges even to so-called trash mob rooms, which the game refers to as “base population”. You’ll be able to obtain bind on equip epics in these base population rooms so they’re worth your attention with your group. Another example video we watched showed a mini boss called Kuralak the Defiler in a room where players were trying to locate her after she blinds a group and disappears. A series of lasers around the room provide a challenge to avoid when trying to chase down and track her. It almost feels like everything is like a larger than life Indiana Jones meets Legend of Zelda setpiece. And that’s no bad thing at all.
As far as compositions go, when putting together your teams, knowing that the game’s classes have access to secondary roles is a good thing to have in your back pocket. This should allow most team comps to work in raids. Kitting out your character via both the ability sets and AMP system should help you with some flexibility in terms of how you want to play. Naturally, over time, guilds and groups will figure out some of what works best in which raids.
In our experience of a 40-man raid, we got to peek at Datascape, one of the centerpieces featuring the mysteriously glitchy AI Caretaker and his not so friendly side, Avatus. Alternately trying to help you repair him and turn you into gloriously flattened space debris, the setup here consists of two wings with a series of rooms in them, culminating in a datacore. These goal rooms will house two elementals that are rotated each week. These elementals will pair up and each pair will have some way to work them together. In the example we had, the Air elemental’s cast tornadoes were quite useful for hitching a ride up high enough to land on the head of its compatriot, the Earth elemental, causing damage. There are several elementals available and the pairings may be completely different from one another but always have some shared element. Air might not be with Earth next time, but with something else.
The boss of the encounter, Maelstrom Authority, has two powers each week from a list that includes ice, lightning, and wind, so players will have to be flexible. Preparing for the fight (or hye, looking it up beforehand) will let players know how to build themselves and how to gear up.
Oh and that gear? 20-man raids will provide epic level gear and 40-man raids will bestow orange/Legendary. There’s a clear distinction in gear levels to encourage players to come back for more. And come back for more they want us to, in promises for more post-launch and a desire to keep giving players more to do once they hit cap. When it comes to WildStar raiding, snagging and keeping the action combat and MMO players, the appeal will naturally be in the gameplay as well as the gear. Eventually, all of the possible pairings and iterations of the bosses will be widely available on the internet, which is something any modern game will face, but Carbine seems to believe WildStar is agile enough to keep offering fun content in the raid systems. If you’re the type who loves looking everything up ahead of time later, you might spoil some of the fun, but if you love learning to progress with your group, there seems to be plenty to decipher in the launch content.
Christina Gonzalez / Christina is a freelancer and contributor to MMORPG.com, where she writes the community-focused Social Hub column. You will also find her contributions at RTSGuru. Follow her on Twitter: @c_gonzalez