So I spent the last few weeks somewhat addicted to this fascinating title, WildStar. It reminds me initially of the launch of many of World of Warcraft’s own expansion launches. I say this, because the launch was relatively smooth and issue free. Sure, if I had moved off the server Pergo right away, I’d of been level 50 probably a week ago. Still, Rowsdower and the leveling experience after the queue debacle has been a very enjoyable trip.
Most of what I enjoyed about the game was how the difficulty wasn’t arbitrarily adjusted like in Guild Wars 2. Guild Wars 2 had this nasty habit of increasing mob density as a way of artificially increasing the difficulty of certain zones. They had no mechanic in place, beyond the elite mob status, of requiring a 5-man (or 2-man, or anywhere else for that matter) team to kill a monster. As a result the difficulty went from zero to hero very quickly.
In WildStar difficulty comes in numerous ways, but the primary means of increasing difficulty is the frequency and scope of telegraphs. I died numerous times throughout the leveling curve to 50 because I got caught blinded and obliterated by a death telegraph (a move some monsters can do that basically one shot you if you fail to avoid them). I wouldn’t say it was frustrating, merely one of those acknowledged moments where you got beat. It reminded me of the raid-grind in WoW where death was inevitably a part of learning encounters.
My trip through Nexus also provided a fascinating insight into the grouping process that was absent from the Elder Scrolls Online. Groups ARE needed in WildStar, which is clearly the polar opposite of ESO. I hopped into a group for a few zone 5+ man group quests and swapped over to my medics healing build. Despite not being geared for healing, I felt effective at keeping the group up through the quests. It was fun, interesting, and challenging. I got the distinct feeling that if more quests had been around of the 5-man variety that my group would have likely tried to tackle them all.
Instead, we finished the 3-4 quests that were provided and we all moved on. Simple, Quick, Efficient. No need for group finders… just provide a constant stream of group quests and the players will figure it out themselves. We did.
My only complaints thus far were some of the buggier quest lines with Drusera (spelling?). Basically its a main-quest line series that introduces you to the Genesis Prime being. While I typically ignore quest dialogues, I found myself actually reading this one. Its an interesting introduction into why players don’t want the Strain to succeed at destroying the universe (duh? :P). The problem is the quest line feels incomplete; players are told to build things with her magical powers, yet almost all of the interface for doing so is horrifically broken. Additionally, completing these “portal” quests in Thayd send you to a secret ops office buried under ground. Yet no introduction or quest lines prior to this introduce this room or its purpose. I ended this series wondering what the hell the secret ops room was for. It felt like the developers wanted to put more into here but ran out of time.
Beyond the minor nitpicking, my trip to 50 was slower than most, but altogether 2 weeks to 50 is rather short in my opinion. I found the experience enjoyable, made much more so by the combat system than any of the quests themselves. The mix of kill this and gather that were fairly equally spread. Near the end, the level 48-50 quests felt particularly grindy, but altogether the questing was interesting and varied. If you are trying to choose a way to level up in WildStar you can’t go wrong with the quest route (or PVP for that matter!).
Next up on my list of things to do; Read up on what to do post-50. The list is extensive and I’m sure like in WoW the game is just about to start for me. I can’t wait to start the Genetic Archives 20 man attunement series (and all of the challenging 5 man Dungeons!).
On a side note; I’ve been playing with streaming and all that jazz. I’ll be putting up nightly streams when I do play so if you are bored and wanna see me healing you’ll know where to find me!