According to the WildStar press release, its raids are nothing short of “hardcore.” Of course every game company wants to separate itself and Carbine is doing just that by attempting to appeal to the niche group of gamers that still actually want a challenge. While many players seem to want to steamroll through content and be able to raid via the Dungeon Finder (really?), there’s finally promise of a last bastion for competitive PvE content. The real question is does WildStar actually deliver what it promises? I intend to find out in this weeks’ The Nexus Times!
From the video above we can tell that, if nothing else, there are a lot of flashing lights and giant monstrosities in WildStar’s endgame content. However, it doesn’t really show us if the content’s difficultly is based on skill, requires an insane amount of gear grinding, or is just punishing for the sake of giving players a bad day. The first two major raids in WildStar are the Genetic Archives and Datascape. Genetic Archives is a 20-man raid featuring 6 bosses, 10 mini-bosses, and 5 events with the ultimate goal of taking down the Dreadphage Ohmna and stopping the spread of the Strain. In the Datascape, 40 players are tasked with stopping the corrupt form of The Caretaker, Avatus, along with a total of 7 bosses, 16 mini-bosses, and 2 room events.
A PUNISHING BEGINNING
While I’ve personally only been raiding in WildStar for a couple weeks, the attunement process still sucks, I do have quite a bit of MMORPG raiding under my belt. With that in mind, the beginning of the Genetic Archives is brutal for those freshly attuned and even more so for players who aren’t used to raiding in general. Experiment X-89 is the first major boss encounter and is basically a giant, mutated-strain frog of death. He hops around the room spewing corrosive vomit, crushing players, and dropping bombs on them. If that wasn’t enough, you have to fight him on floating platforms that collapse when bombs go off. There are also two types of bombs, big bombs and little bombs; the little bombs aren’t so bad and only destroy a single platform, but if the big bomb goes off on the surface it’s definitely a wipe.
My first attempt at Experiment X-89 was as a sub for a guild group that was a couple of players short that night. I knew right away that they weren’t a top tier guild, especially when I was top 3 in damage and had never fought the boss before. That being said, even a semi-organized group in World of Warcraft could take down a boss or two before giving up. Three hours later and we weren’t even close. Players were blowing up platforms in the middle of the room, dying to random AOE damage, or simply couldn’t keep the tanks alive. This would be understandable if the group was in fresh level 50 items, but attunement pretty much guarantees that most of your gear is at least decent. After we finally gave up on Experiment X-89, we moved onto the Genetic Monstrosity and Hideously Malformed Mutant mini-bosses, which are pretty much free gear as long as your tank can stay alive.
After having failed miserably at my first attempted in the Genetic Archives, I wasn’t entirely confident in my first guild run. We were having similar issues to my previous run, as we only had 18 guild players online, but our substitutes seemed a bit more competent. To my surprise things ended up running quite smoothly. When everyone knows their place, has solid gear, and can react to the unexpected, even daunting bosses go down with ease. We ended up taking down Experiment X-89 in a few attempts and quickly mopped up the Hideously Malformed Mutant, Genetic Monstrosity, and Fetid Miscreation. Moving onto the Gravitron Operator we had a couple of hiccups, but the fight is actually kind of fun. He’ll intermittently throw the entire raid into the air, reduce their hit points to 1 and everyone has to land on a predetermined point or they instantly die. There are a few other minor mechanics involved, but nothing too dramatic.
Bags full of loot, we decided to turn our attention onto Kuralak the Defiler. While Experiment X-89 was all about reaction, downing Kuralak required planning and strategy. The first phase of Kuralak requires six members of the raid to stand near the outside pillars and disable them throughout the fight. The rest of the raid members have to fight Kuralak in the middle while dodging laser walls and AOE; this part is similar to the Mordechai fight in Skullcano. During the next phase, Kuralak will turn members of the raid into eggs that need to be broken. When a player breaks the eggs they get a damage buff but also turn into an egg during the next egg phase.
Eventually about half the raid will turn into eggs while the other half has to break them, but if someone breaks more than one egg they die. In order to effectively do this, the order that eggs are broken in needs to be established before the fight starts and then marked accordingly as the fight progresses. She did give us quite a run for our money, but a few hours later and the loot was ours. The biggest issue with Kuralak is that essentially no one can die or it messes up the egg phase, and then more and more players go down, meaning the fight has to be played perfectly.
Taking down Kuralak meant the end of the first floor in the Genetic Archives, but there were much deadlier enemies waiting for us on the second level. Due to our time constraints, we ended up killing the pair of Phagetech Guardians then called it a night after finishing a quick event that landed a few members of our party some nice equipment upgrades. Next week we begin moving towards Phage Maw and the Phagetech Prototypes.
So has raiding in WildStar been everything Carbine promised? Maybe not quite as “hardcore” as they hyped it up in their video, but it is pretty extreme for an MMORPG. There’s a lot of personal responsibility because each player isn’t just responsible for themselves, but they’re also responsible for not killing everyone else in the group as well. Telegraphs have to be dodged, tanks need to be healed and bosses need to be slain all while trying not to put debuffs on your fellow party members and not walking into laser beams. That being said, nothing seems so difficult as to overly discourage anyone that actually enjoys raiding. And for the casual players… there’s plenty of content coming out for you in the next patch.Related: Column, MMORPG, Raids, Sci-Fi, The Nexus Times, Video, Walkthrough, Wildstar