Wildstar, the new MMO from Carbine Studios, is here after a much anticipated wait. But is it more of the same, or does blast off into the list of MMO greats?
The new MMO from Carbine Studios is awesome. Boil it down, and it’s just plain fun. Here’s why.
To start off, you have to pick a race. Each race is unique in their own right, and each have their own reason for coming to Nexus, a newly discovered planet that the two factions are racing to colonize. The Dominion, a powerful empire that has ruled two thousand years, are the quintessential bad guys. Claiming Nexus as their rightful legacy. The races of The Dominion are the Cassian, Mechari, Draken, and the hard-to-pronounce Chua.
Then you have The Exiles, exiled (suprise) by The Dominon. This ragtag group of races hopes to settle Nexus as a new home. The races that populate The Exiles are the Human, Granok, Aurin, and the Mordesh.
Each race has their own history, back story and motives, all very interesting. For my play-through, I chose an Aurin. Something about a big-eared mouse punk in space connected with me.
Some Damn Good Meat and Potatoes
The classes of Wildstar are far from the generic MMO fodder you see so prevalent today. You have the Warrior, Spellslinger, Esper, Engineer, Stalker, and the Medic. The classes of Wildstar are equally as varied as the races that play them. For example, look at the Spellslinger. Sounds like a generic wizard archetype right? Nope. The Spellslinger utilizes pistols, lighting reflexes, and a quick trigger finger to dispatch foes. I chose to be said Spellslinger.
The roles of each class fall into the holy trinity; healer, dps, and tank. The aforementioned Spellslinger can be a damage dealer or a healer. The Engineer can specialize in damage or tanking, and so on. Not every class can do everything, but they all do what they can do very well.
The game also has four paths to choose from. The Explorer, the Soldier, the Settler, and the Scientist. The paths add on beefy chunks of content. Paths are to support specific play styles, such as the fighter, the explorer, ect. Paths are essentially how many play MMO games, only now they do specific quests for it. The settler will settle, the scientist will…science.
The combat in the game is top notch. Each ability must be aimed using what is called a telegraph. The telegraph projects the area that your attack will land. Enemies have these too, and it makes jumping out of the way and dodging attacks fun and exciting. It opens up PvP as more than just a spam fest of ‘I have more people than you so I win this round’.
Then, you have the Warplots. These are massive 40v40 battles that a player has access to at level 50, the level cap. Each team has a massive fortress they can customize and build up, all in the name of doing battle with the opposing fortress. Oh, but it gets better. You can summon massive bosses, destroy their fort, obliterate their generator, and just plain old kill them. It looks to make for some intense action. NOTE: I haven’t played this mode yet, these are just my initial thoughts and those of players I have spoken too.
So while the mechanic’s of Wildstar don’t flip everything around, it feels more like a calculated turn away from some of what’s expected from an MMO these days. Invested combat system, fun classes, and the path system make this some of the best meat and potatoes I’ve ever had.
The PvP in Wildstar is great. The combat system ties together with the unique classes to make for fights that really feel like just that; my unique class/build against your unique class/build. All the levels and gear stats are normalized too, so it comes down to skill and finesse to succeed. I did have some trepidation’s about going into PvP though, because I got a CC (Crowd Control, stun) ability at an early level. I went into my first battle ground worried this was going to be a stun fest. Yet again I was happily proven wrong. Of course there is CC in PvP, but in true blue innovation style, you can rapidly tap a key on your keyboard to break out before the stun wears off. The end result is a beautiful mix of twitch reactions and smart positioning, all done to the tune of a heart pounding in excitement.
A Work of Art
The graphics and look of Wildstar is fantastic. The graphics reminded me of Ratchet and Clank or Jak and Daxter. It translates amazingly well to an MMO setting, and is only complimented by the absolutely outstanding vistas. As an Explorer, I was treated to countless ‘wow’ moments. The kind that makes you take a minute and just appreciate what your looking at. Sprawling fields, snow capped mountains, lush green forests. It’s all here, and it all looks amazing.
The Little Things
This is where Wildstar shines the most. The little things that make you stop and admire, either the beauty of what you’re looking at, or the appreciation for a feature. Such as player housing. You can really throw the kitchen sink at your house, the customization options are staggering. It’s things like that, that make you really appreciate the amount of time Carbine Studios has spent on this game. Everything from the impressive and distinct world design, to the way you can turn in a quest remotely from anywhere. The game facilitates exploration over blindly trailing on some path, smart use of your skills over zerg fests, and most importantly (for me), going to an area of the map just because you can, and not because you have to.
Final Thoughts (so far)
The game is great. An MMO in every sense of the word. While it may stick to a familiar quest system, it still oozes creative (and smart) design. The Wildstar that launched two weeks ago is one devoid of the ‘after the fact’ patches that sneak their way into many MMOs after launch. No need here, this game launched with a starship full of content, enough to keep any gamer invested and having fun for months before any patch is needed to supplement a dry game.
These are my initial impressions of Wildstar. This review was written after playing the game since June 2nd. I have yet to reach end-game content, but these are my initial feelings. I will return to update this review as needed.