When an MMO has a launch like WildStar has had, you better be able to top-load your max level game with content. While WildStar has a lot of options, it’s fair to say that not very much of what’s present at level 50 is terribly new. Yet even though this game’s idea of endgame is a retread of pretty much every other theme-park MMORPG, there are still a few things that are unique to the title. It won’t turn any heads, but it is also fair to say that those invested in the title who get to 50 are going to basically get more of what they came for in the first place.
WildStar Veteran Content
Hard mode, expert difficulty, epic retellings–call them what you will, but WildStar’s chief source of endgame content is done through Veteran-level engagements. WildStar has three different tiers of group-leaning content in Expeditions (small one-off instances that scale based on group size from solo to full party), Adventures (longer versions of Expeditions meant for a full group) and Dungeons (I don’t think I need to explain this one). I’ve not personally managed to play them all, but the ones that I have played have been great fun, especially the singular, story-driven Expeditions.
So at level 50, we have the Veteran level of all these forms of content to look forward to. There are a few instances where engagements are a little bit different, but ultimately Veteran-level content provides nothing new in terms of an experience. Enemies are ramped up in terms of health pools and damage done to provide a level 50 character with some challenge, which is about the only major change between a leveling version and Veteran version.
The selling point of Veteran-level content, of course, is the rewards, which offer Elder Gems, Renown and some pretty good gear if you get a Gold or Silver medal clear. Additionally, these are part of needed content to achieve attunement if you’re at all interested in the game’s raiding scene. More on that later, though.
Contracts are a new spin on the Dailies you see in many other MMOs. Each faction’s capitol city has a Contract Board that you can look up and take three of five offered contracts that rotate each day. These contracts glide upwards in both requirements and reward, with Tier 1 requiring little effort beyond killing a number of things all the way up to Tier 3 which aims you towards World Boss or 20+ player World Event content.
Contracts are further split between PvE and PvP flavors, giving you choices on where you’d like to focus your progression. In my personal opinion, Contracts are some of the best ways for a fresh level 50 to get themselves some solid gear. Each time you clear a contract, you get points to fill the bar on the right. At five different thresholds, you have some choices of rewards from equipment to runes or mounts. At the top tier, you’ll receive a piece of raid-quality equipment. If you’re anything like me, and intimidated by the game’s raiding scene, Contracts provide a great means of personal advancement for those who have the patience.
PCPs and World Story
Post-Cap Playspaces (PCPs), a name that the developers of WildStar gave Daily areas because they’re kind of silly, are instances where you run around and earn…stuff. The Daily regions are almost entirely barren, and for good reason–unless you need to earn gold or reputation, you’re not going to see much in terms of mind-blowing rewards here. Or you’re here because your contract told you to complete 5 level 50 quests.
Granted, there are a fair few PCPs in this game, from faction-specific PCP’s like Malgrave and the Northern Hinterlands to shared Dailies areas like Blighthaven and Star-Comm Basin. Ultimately they boil down to a short racetrack of doing the same things for the same people for almost no really tangible reward beyond the aforementioned gold or rep. Of the two, reputation is the most important as earning Beloved status allows you to begin your attunement for raids. However, it also is the most underwhelming and grindy part of WildStar’s endgame.
The World Story actually provides at least some impetus to unlocking some of these areas like Blighthaven. As you continue the story of Nexus, you’ll be led along the Strain-infected regions of the continent of Isigrol and doing quests as normal. The cherry on the top of the sundae is the unlocking of OmniCore-1, a dungeon that scales based on group size. It also ends up being probably one of the most satisfying pieces of endgame content. It challenges, it rewards, and the story made me want more. We haven’t seen any continuation of the World Story as of yet, but it is my fervent hope that more things like OmniCore-1 are put in the game.
This might cause some eyes to roll at the inclusion of Housing to an endgame article, but for many creating their own personal space is a goal, and level 50 allows you full reign to unlock all the things you could want on your floating parcel of land in the sky. While Housing in WildStar does provide a decent tangible bonus in improved rest XP, the freeform and robust tool set players have access to on their Skyplot is the stuff of legends. The feeling of being able to piece together your personal vision is a reward that can overshadow even the shiniest of shiny gear. From social spaces to spaceships to temples…even racetracks or skate parks for hoverboards. I would be remiss if Housing weren’t included as a form of endgame activity. Just look for yourself at an example of what people have done and tell me you can’t see that as a sort of endgame goal.
Raids and PvP
PvP is, as usual, a sort of separate play style and progression tier for those who want it. Having healed in a few Battlegrounds myself, I can say that WildStar’s PvP is the sort of madcap and high-energy fun that I always hoped it would be. However, queue times for PvP are through the roof. Considering that matches draw from multiple servers to pool players together, it definitely is a worrying sign. Then again, this was done on a Thursday night at around 5pm Eastern. Perhaps that’s hardly what one would consider prime time. Still, it is a point to bring up that PvP in WildStar seems to be on an ebb shift.
Finally, we come to the very tippy-top of the themepark MMO mountain in terms of endgame. WildStar’s Raids have been something of a legendary source of discussion. Its decision to create large-scale raid content that requires an attunement process as well as packing some intense difficulty has been either a feather in the cap or the kiss of death for the title. Having played some Veteran Dungeons myself, I can only imagine the sort of madness that raiders go through. That said, it is the current pinnacle of WildStar’s endgame, both in content and in rewards. The very best pieces go to the players who raid.
I can’t speak very plainly on the openness of the game’s raiding community. Considering how small the raiding pool was when Raids required 40 players to group up and it took forever to form those teams, I’m willing to assume that the door on raiding has been shut to many outside looking in.
In the end, WildStar’s endgame is a cross-section of everything the game has to offer to anyone who is just starting. The question is whether a player finds that “more of the same” concept to be engaging or not. Some parts of WildStar’s endgame keeps me logging back in, but others are either out of my sphere of skill or interest. If you’re making your way to level 50 and are hoping for a sense of dynamism, you’re going to be disappointed. If you enjoyed PvP or group content, or even just simply playing the game all the way through the entire surface of Nexus, you’re probably still going to be a bit disappointed but you’ll be at least satiated.
WildStar is a game that people either tend to love or loathe, and the end game of the title is likely not something that will change one’s mind. If you’re one of the people who is a fan, however, the game offers choices that meet practically any player’s preferences.Related: Carbine Studios, Column, F2P, Features, MMORPG, PvE, PvP, Wildstar