That’s right kiddos, Wildstar is finally here and it’s already taking the MMORPG world by storm, bullets, fireballs and whatever else it can throw at it. It would be incorrect to say that its headstart launch went without a hitch, but being able to get most of the population onto servers only a few hours after a DDOS attack is pretty impressive. There are a couple of other major companies that could definitely take note. When servers began to overfill, Carbine put up more servers (shocking I know). Now that things have settled down a bit, they’re now offering free transfers so no has to be stranded away from their friends. Be sure to checkout our official review of Wildstar here and give your own take on the game so far.
Now it’s definitely too early to declare the prophecy true and call Wildstar a WoW killer, but it’s definitely on the right track. Popular guilds and streamers have found their way onto Nexus while World of Warcraft subscriptions have slowly been declining over the last few years. So what is it exactly that sets Wildstar apart from the rest of the MMORPG or even makes the game any good? Let’s start off with a few things that it doesn’t have: monotonous tab-targeting combat, fruitless PvP, bland graphics, and grindy PvE questing.
WILDSTAR TAKES MMORPGS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Instead of trying to improve upon the original formula for the MMORPG, which World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn have near perfected, Wildstar has seemingly removed all of the boring, grindy content and replaced it with explosions and excitement. Carbine has developed a game that’s so diverse it can satisfy the needs of almost all types of players. Do you want to kill giant monsters in a raid with 20+ other players? How about players? What about exploring every inch of every zone and climbing giant trees? You can do all of that or none of it. The path system specializes players in killing, gathering, exploring or building, but it’s entirely possible to level up with only playing the battlegrounds.
So what is it that I chose to do with my first week in Wildstar? Since it’s my quest to gain all the knowledge in the universe I’ve decided to create both Exile and Dominion characters. My Exile is a Spellslinger focused on PvE and casual play with friends while my Dominion counterpart is the exact opposite as Stalker in a hardcore PvP guild. Both characters are still in their humble beginnings, around level 20, but it’s already become apparent that PvP and PvE are different but equal in this game.
Wildstar is probably the first MMORPG I’ve played where everything is beautiful, from the plants to the sky. Sometimes I just get lost in the environment and forget about my quest. Sure it might take some extra time to level, but for the first time I’m not in a hurry to hit max level. The luscious forests of Everstar Grove are one of two starting zones for the Exiles after stepping off The Gambler’s Ruin. It’s a sea of green that will leave nature lovers envious and then sad when they have to start killing off the wildlife.
Now for the unfortunate bit of news; you still have to kill 10 insert monster here. It’s a necessary evil and essentially impossible to avoid with any type of linear leveling system. The nice part is that Wildstar doesn’t make it feel that way. Some of the quests are actually pretty entertaining, like jumping on giant mushrooms to catch fireflies or testing the pain tolerance of captured enemies. There are also a lot of distractions. I’ll be minding my own business, killing some of Enemy X and out of nowhere an NPC will ask me to come save his ass. On my way to be a hero a random challenge will pop up and now I have to pick up liter or kill a set number of specific enemies in a given amount of time. It’s truly a nightmare and a blessing for anyone with A.D.D. When the lulls of killing A.I. Finally gets the better of me, I know it’s time to hop on my Stalker and get ready for some intense battlegrounds.
DON’T CALL ME A ROGUE
After playing a Rogue, and Feral Druid, on World of Warcraft for a number of years I can honestly say that playing a Stalker is nothing like that except for the fact that both can go invisible. It’s true that Stalkers do have a lot of crowd control, but it’s mostly utility in the form of snares, knockdowns and tethers. It’s not: cloak, stun, stun, stun, silence, stun, stun, game over.
Due to their innate ability to take a punishment, Stalkers are better suited to be in the middle of the fray as opposed to their Rogue counterpart. And that’s where I am. Capping the flag in Walatiki Temple or holding points in Halls of the Bloodsworn. There’s no sitting back and waiting cloaked until a caster comes by to instantly kill for me. For me it’s all about teamwork and not KDR, which is obviously something many players have forgotten over the years. Preventing an enemy from capping a Moodie Mask is far more important than getting a kill 1 vs 1 out in the middle of nowhere.
So even though the Crimson Isles were fun and all, as soon as I hit level 6 it’s been nothing been Walatiki Temple and a few Halls of the Bloodsworn after 15. Occasionally I stop by Illium and pick up the latest battleground gear or class amps. The rate of acquiring prestige, the PvP currency, it more than on par with leveling. I’ve already purchased every available amp and always have more than enough for my next piece of equipment. The nice thing about the gear is that it’s not overpowered enough to tell the difference with each piece purchased, but when going against someone without any PvP items it’s pretty much a slaughter.
While inside the battlegrounds everyone is bumped up the maximum level for their bracket; I’m currently in the level 29 bracket. This does emphasize the important of having PvP gear, which provides unique offense and defense stats, since all other stats are streamlined. That being said, I didn’t exactly feel weak when I entered my current bracket at level 15. Furthermore, it’s simply nice to be part of a game that takes PvP seriously and didn’t just tack it on to try and get a few more buyers.
Now that my night of killing and Moodie Mask stealing has been abruptly ended due to server maintenance, and this isn’t the first time, I’ll kindly retire to my house/spaceship/mine/crafting station. Tomorrow begins a new day and there’s always a fresh set of victims in the morning. Be sure to stop by next week when I tackle dungeons and the arena mode. Nothing like straight mono-a-mono combat to get the blood flowing.Related: Column, MMORPG, NCSoft, The Nexus Times, Wildstar