Everything You Need to Know About ‘Wander’

With a release date looming around the corner, Wander is an MMO looking to re-shape how gamers view online play and remind them just how incredible technology today is, allowing us to play and talk with people from every corner of the globe with whom we would otherwise never make contact. Wander is non-combative, instead focusing on exploration of an expansive landscape on land, underwater, and in the air. Across the 64 kilometers squared, there are secrets galore. Referred to as lore stones, these secrets will allow a little more insight into the background of the land, the civilizations which have inhabited it previously, and their religions and beliefs. Everything included in the following article stems from a combination of my interview with Loki Davison, creative director behind Wander, at PAX East this year as well as previously announced information.

The player begins Wander as a walking tree species known as the Oren. While staying true to how you would expect a lumbering tree to traverse the landscape, the Oren moves slowly, is not the most graceful, but will get you where you wish to go. It seems like a logical choice for the player’s first experience in Wander as it allows the player to truly absorb the environment they find themselves in. The amount of detail found in the environment is absolutely breathtaking and there is certainly no shortage of lore stones or interesting areas to locate, so traveling at a slower pace initially will help pique the sense of curiosity and adventure.

The player will be able to unlock several other forms they may take on, allowing them access to other areas of the game. Once a form has been unlocked, the player will be able to switch between them at will and use each unique ability to get exactly where they wish to be. The griffin allows for flight and may also carry other players through the air, Azertash are underwater creatures which almost seem to be a cross between dragons and fish and allow players to quickly swim, and Hira, the humanoid character with gills on her arms and legs allowing her to swim underwater as well as control herself as she plummets/glides through the sky. As player interaction is one of the biggest goals of Wander, characters may interact with one another in ways such as riding on a player-controlled griffin, and jumping from one onto another mid-flight.

As previously mentioned, there is a metric ton of lore stones hidden throughout the land in Wander. While working with other players to discover their location will certainly aid in finding them all, the development team has also taken this into consideration and implemented a hint system in a very unorthodox manner. Rather than having dots appear on a mini map or having arrows directing you, opera singing will become louder as you near a lore stone. Logically, the closer you get to a lore stone, the louder the singing will get. Some of these stones are relatively simple to find, but some are also significantly tougher to locate and will require exploring every inch of the game’s landscape to hunt down. Even while watching others play Wander, it became evident when someone could hear the singing, as they would come to a complete standstill and begin to determine where the singing was originating. Combine this hint system with a world full to the brim with other players all exploring and interacting, and you have a truly unique experience.

Undoubtedly there will be players who ignore Wander due to the lack of combat, especially when considering the traditional gameplay found in MMO’s, but it is definitely not a game to gloss over simply based on assumptions. Wander releases for the PC and PS4 on June 4, 2015. Analog Addiction will also be reviewing the title in the near future, so check back to see our final opinion on Wander.