Ensuring That the Journey is Fun
Carbine Studio's WildStar is a name that many have considered necessary to memorized. Headed by a team comprised of some of the industry's best, the upcoming, NCSoft-published MMORPG is set on the planet Nexus and will feature one of the most unusual mechanics known to the genre:
Instead of simply commanding you to pick a class (you will have to do that as well, obviously), WildStar will require you to also select one of the four available Paths. What is a Path exactly? A Path is a reflection of your playing style. There is the Soldier (the bloodthirsty fighter who is constantly for the next thing to obliterate), the Scientist (the lore-hound who is invested in the collection of information), the Explorer (Is wall-jumping your game? Enjoy finding hidden easter eggs? you’re an Explorer) and the Settler (the social butterfly who helps everyone by improving public areas and so forth.)
Nifty, eh? Sadly, Carbine Studios didn't divulge much new information in regards to the Path system. Nonetheless, there are hints that the Settlers may well be the most interesting Path of them all. To put into perspective, a single Settler is generally able to build up a quest hub to Tier 1. As a result, there may be a new bank or tougher monsters. However, if there are more Settlers nearby (or just a lot of single-minded devotion), the town can possibly be leveled up to Tier 2. This, in turn, may bring about the advent of tougher monsters, a PvP arena and even a quest giver. With an even larger amount of Settlers in the area, the town may be built up even further.
It looks like it all may work out pretty well. Because areas populated by a high number of Settlers will have a more efficient environment which can, in turn, result in players spreading out much faster. More importantly, Settlers will have the opportunity to work in a way that is not reliant on a handy Wikipedia. For example, Settlers can put down a camp that will offer a strength buff to those who rest there. As is often the case with such things, the benefits the Settlers receive will grow depending on the number of people who uses the camp. Consequently, this means the players will have to figure out where best to put down the camps on the individual servers.)
(In case you're wondering, quest hubs and facilities will decay with the passage of time – Settlers will have to keep up with janitorial duties, so to speak.)
On an unrelated note, Carbine Studios showed off some other rather interesting things this Gamescom. First and foremost, it was made clear this Gamescom that the environment will play an important role within the game. For example, the strange blue 'Loftite' that we've seen in so many videos are more than decorative elements. As you might already know, these things are lighter than there and are capable of levitating random pieces of the terrain. In addition to being able to make your surroundings look rather bizarre, they offer an unusual twist to gameplay. When you're within their vicinity, you'll be able capable of huge super-jumps.
Depending on where you're located, you might even be able to make use of whirlwinds to launch yourself to super-secret areas! The sheer level of content we can expect is kind of staggering but what is really impressive is the fact that there will be more than a few people dedicated to the task of churning out single-player content to ensure the non-PvPer and the non-Raider have something to do.
There's more. During the brief presentation, we had the chance to see this enormous robot that was struggling to evade captivity. Now, before you get too excited, he's more of a Fel Reaver than Mega Man - the dude definitely wants you dead. Unfortunately for him, being incapable of full motion, he's only really capable of shooting laser beams at you if you venture too close. At first glance, this may seem annoying. However, crafty players will be able to make use of those hyper-destructive rays in combat - they will cause massive damage to both you and your foes. (You'll also be able to lob explosives back at the guy if you feel inclined towards destroying a crippled foe, you monster.)
If it all works as advertised, this is going to be a recurring theme in WildStar. Carbine Studios apparently is intent on ensuring that the experience of migrating from level one to level cap is a fun one, a goal that kinda makes me go weak at the knees. Raids-wise, it looks like we'll be able to expect things like cannons to use against the massive end-bosses.
Combat is a little different this time around as well. A little more TERA Online than World of Warcraft these days, WildStar will have you dodging attacks, weaving behind enemies, making use of your surroundings, and working to optimize the usage of your abilities. It looks like you may even be able to get certain damage bonuses if you're capable of being particularly efficient at dodging or doing clever things.
Before you start worrying about the sheer number of add-ons you'll have to download, WildStar has already thought of that as well. Whenever you want to make use of an ability, you'll be able to see its exact range thanks to a bunch of blue outlines. Similarly, you'll also be able to identify when an enemy is attempting to drop a meteor on your head because a big red circle will appear around you. Personally, I like it better when combat is a lot more unpredictable but this will definitely be a boon to those who do not.
Overall, it's all looking massively impressive. The only thing we need now is a closed beta that we can wrap our grubby little hands around.