‘WildStar’ Review in Progress – The Beginning

Class played: Stalker

Level reached in this article: 14

There is something about WildStar that grabs your attention more than Elder Scrolls Online or Guild Wars 2. I didn’t know what to expect when I first began WildStar. I had played years of World of Warcraft and only dabbled in the two previously-mentioned titles but they weren’t games I could see myself sinking hours into. Both of those titles tried different and unique things, but they were never enough to satisfy my MMORPG taste. Perhaps the best thing WildStar has going for it is its simplicity.

When you compare it to World of Warcraft, there are only relatively minor differences in terms of mechanics and various other things. This is not a ground-breaking game whatsoever; there is nothing crazily unique about that which makes it stand above other MMORPGs. Yet it has grabbed me more than Elder Scrolls or Guild Wars 2 ever did, and that’s enough to keep me playing.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much depth there was to the character customization. When you are first creating your class, it allows you to create exactly what you want. I chose a Mordesh Stalker called Higgins as my first character to play through, and designed him to look as badass as possible. I also tried a bit of the Granok race as a Spellslinger, which I’ve found to be quite enjoyable so far.

Now, at first, I was completely overwhelmed, which is arguably my own fault as I’ve always been prone to skip tutorial messages (although I think everyone does). I joined the Exiles over the Dominions, and was placed onto a spaceship. Due to my previous experience with MMOs, it wasn’t too hard to adjust to WildStar. It definitely took a little while to learn the game, considering there are different mechanics and features, so it definitely helps to pay attention if it’s your first time playing an MMORPG, as it is daunting at how many features there are. You’ll have screens popping up everywhere, everyone tells you to do this and do that, so it’s normal to not know it all by the time you get through the tutorial area.

Once you get past the tutorial stage, you are sent to Nexus, and your questing experiences begin. For my first character – Higgins – I have predominantly spent most of my time questing by myself, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how helpful the community is. Throughout each area, you will come across ‘Wanted’ quests, which require you to join up with other players and take down the enemy. I found myself in the area of one of the enemies I had to kill without even noticing, but there was only one person near my location. I asked if he had already done the quest, to which he said he did it already, but offered help without me even asking.

It was only a little thing, but it’s moments like that which really make me want to play an MMORPG. Not even a minute later, I found myself in the other guy’s boots, as I was doing a quest still near the enemy, and noticed a different player asking for help. I would have helped regardless of the previous incident, but it was still a pleasant chain of events to experience. It’s still early days for WildStar, but from what I have seen throughout my experience so far, there is a really pleasant and helping community.

One of the best things WildStar does is how easy it is to go from quest to quest, without even noticing. The best term to describe it is a streamlined experience. You start one quest, and on the way to the next one, you will encounter a new adventure, but with a very handy addition. The majority of quests allow you to remotely hand in the quest and get the next chapter of it, without trekking all the way back. You simply hit C, and the quest window will pop up, allowing you to hand it in. It’s such a simple feature to have, but one that really makes questing a breeze.

I’ll admit I haven’t been hugely entertained by the quests, but because of how streamlined it is, you rarely notice it. Unfortunately, it can almost seem like a grind jumping from quest to quest, but it gets the job done. There is just an abundance of content that can almost be overwhelming, as you hop from quest to quest, without even finishing some. There have been a few times where my log has just gotten so big, that I didn’t even know which quest I should do first. Thankfully, it is easy to navigate the quests, as you can click on the text box, and an arrow will point in the direction with how many metres away you are from it.

To aid you in your adventures, you can choose your own ‘Path,’ which comes in the forms of: Explorer, Scientist, Settler, and Soldier. I had no idea what other path I did at the start, but I have really grown to enjoy being a Settler. You can help repair and fortify towns, or build machines, which give yourself and everyone else the opportunity to obtain buffs. You can get more experience, an increase in run speed, or build a taxi or mailbox, depending on the location. It’s certainly warming having a constant stream of “thank you,” as you build a buff machine for a fellow adventurer and really adds to the community experience.

As mentioned before, the community is really strong at the moment. Since a lot of the systems aren’t fully introduced in the beginner levels, you will always get a helpful reply if you ask on the world chat. One player best summed it up by saying, “You learn 80% of it on the first day and the other 20% you learn as you play. It really is true, even more so when you have a constant stream of helpful advice.

Another addition I’m glad to see is that if you tag a monster by hitting it while another player is fighting, you get the experience too. It’s certainly a risky approach, but so far, it works. I’ve found myself time and time again arriving onto the scene of a player already halfway through a quest, which requires you to fight off X amount of enemies while protecting an NPC. A few times, I only arrived with no time to help, but still completed the quest. I can see some people having a different opinion, but I’m glad to see these types of co-operative elements. It beats forcing people to wait for the quest to end, or waiting for the monsters to respawn, because one person has killed them all, before you get to hit it. It adds itself to the streamlined and community experience that is so strong already.

Now, I have thoroughly enjoyed the combat so far, despite being a low-level player. You have eight keys to choose from; at this stage, I have only unlocked the 6. It allows for a Diablo-esque build, in that you have a huge amount of moves to choose from that best suit your playing style, and allows you to mix and match between classes. Say, if you are a Stalker Tank, and you require a move that allows to heal yourself or a high damage cleave move to attack multiple targets, you simply buy the move and you can add it to your bar. Usually, I prefer to be able to choose from all spells at once, but it’s definitely not something you need.

WildStar has focussed heavily on using a cone style of attack for everything. You will see what area the enemies’ attack will target, and you can dive out of the way, and, alternatively, you can see exactly what direction your move will hit. I can see this making it a very tactical dance when it comes to dungeons and raids later on, which I look forward to. My only issue is that some moves have quite a long range of attack, and if I’m not watching exactly where it goes, it can go straight onto an enemy on the other side of the room, and it adds another enemy to kill. But, it is part of the experience, and it means you always have to be aware of exactly what you are doing.

I have only touched the surface of WildStar so far, but I can already tell I will spend many hours in the world of Nexus.