WildStar: Beta Impressions (Finally!)

Hiya Players! So I’ve finally gotten to play a weekend of beta on WildStar, and I was absolutely not disappointed. Before I get into what I thought of it, let me first throw out some facts about it since it’s not very well-known.
WildStar Logo

What is WildStar?

WildStar is a new MMO coming out on June 3rd from Carbine Studios and published by NCSoft (the same Publisher as Guild Wars 2, which was fantastic). There are a bunch of familiar features and aspects that I’ll go over in my review, but a bunch of new ones as well.

Why is this special?

I liked World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, as well as other MMOs. Unfortunately, a lot of them has stuff that I didn’t like. I’m not saying WildStar won’t have any negatives, but I see a lot of the good aspects in this. Also, it’s fairly ‘cartoony’, which is a plus in my books and leaves more room for making stuff fun.

If it’s so great, Why is this the first time I’m hearing about it?

Bad timing. Between WoW announcing its next expansion and Elder Scrolls Online coming out, it’s not getting much press. Oh well, it’ll get there.

On with the Impressions!

Keep in mind these are just my impressions of it after a weekend, and might not be completely right. Feel free to call me out on it!
Story
Basically both sides found the legendary planet Nexus and think it would be a good planet for them to own. War happens because neither faction gets along.

WildStar Faction Logos
Via WildStar-Central.com

Factions
First off, I had no idea which faction I want to choose, Dominion or Exiles.

  • Dominion: These guys are the ones who have their act together, go around the galaxy and offer to either let the planet join them, or die. I can’t say that I see them as the ‘bad guys’, but remind me more of The Alliance from Firefly.
  • Exiles: These are those that didn’t join the Dominion. Honestly, the atmosphere surrounding these guys makes them look like space cowboys, which again makes me completely think Firefly.

Each faction has 4 races: One human and 3 others. I think deciding what you look like will be the deciding factor in which side you play since good/bad isn’t really in the mix.

Classes
WildStar Random ScreenshotThere are a number of classes, not all of which I’ve played. Each class has its primary spec (a DPS of sorts) then either tank or healing as an off-spec. Given I only had the weekend, I didn’t get to play any off-specs so what you see is just what Sara and I experienced.

  • Warrior: Melee DPS with big swords, and a tank off-spec. Standard warrior.
  • Spellslinger: Ranged DPS with pistols, healing off-spec. I played this finding that it’s not very strong, but attacks quickly and has a good amount of mobility (run & gun). Similar to a mage in most MMO, or a scoundrel from SWTOR.
  • Esper: Ranged DPS, healing off-spec. Sara says that there is not as much mobility as Spellslinger, but does a bit more damage. Similar to a mage from WoW.
  • Engineer: Ranged DPS, tank off-spec. I like this class the most of the ones I played, uses a large gun and can make bots to follow/help out. Reminds me most of a Hunter from WoW, or the Engineer from Guild Wars 2 (minus gadgets, plus working skills).
  • Stalker: Melee DPS, off-spec tank. Works like a standard Rogue type character, Sara enjoyed it coming from playing a Rogue in WoW without too much of a learning curve.
  • Medic: Ranged DPS, off-spec healing. Only playing this a bit, found it similar in play style to a spellslinger but not as strong. To compare it to other games, perhaps putting it in the same group as a Holy Priest from WoW would be right: They can do damage, but it just takes longer. I’d imagine that playing the supporting role as healer would be much better or working in groups.

Each class seems to have an extensive ‘AMP’ system where you can put points and get tiers, most similar to that found in The Secret World. With this many options, it seems your character will be truly unique.

Paths
In addition to Race and Class, you get to pick a Path. Basically this says ‘this is what my character would be doing most of this planet, this is what I want to do with it’. Obviously this is a generalized thing, but depending on which one you pick you’ll get additional quests and bonuses along that path.

  • Soldier: You’ll get additional quests to kill stuff, destroy stuff, go rescue somebody, ect. Think ‘what would a soldier do?’ and there could be an extra quest for you to do that.
  • Settler: Picking this path is a social one, you’re going to build stuff to help out. Some things would be like a beer keg, or buff portal-things for other players to use. You collect resources, then use them in those locations. Apparently down the road you build town stuff like wars and turrets too, but I didn’t get that far.
  • Scientist: You use your bot to scan and learn about stuff. Honestly that’s all I got out of it. I’d hope I get to build something down the road too, but only had a weekend.
  • Explorer: You explore the map, you find hidden paths, put down towers on top of tall mountains, etc. This one seems kind of cool, and for those that are completionists will likely be just what you’re looking for.

Gameplay

Random WildStar Image
Via Gamezplay.org
I really like the gameplay of WildStar. At face-value, it reminds me of a combination of WoW (with the stats and gear and what-not), but the action style of battle from Guild Wars 2. It also takes the limited spells idea from Guild Wars 2 so that you’re not overwhelmed with what you can do, and instead can spend time on doing what you need to correctly. It just feels very fluent.

The interface is simple enough once you get used to it. There is a few graphical errors (given it is a beta) but once you realize “Oh, that’s supposed to go away after? That makes sense then” It feels reliable and looks pretty.

Questing is questing. There are the standard ‘go get this quest then do it’, as well as your Path quests which will vary. There are also challenges that happen in the area you can do. It feels fine, it’s not reinventing the wheel but they keep it fairly easy. You can turn in a good chunk of the quests via the communicator, which makes it a bit easier

Vibe
The way a game looks and acts is a big thing for me. If it looks too realistic or bland (like Elder Scrolls Online) I’m not going to want to play it. Personally, I like a game that knows I’m doing this to have fun. It’s why games like Saints Row 4 or Wakfu/Dofus held my attention for so long: They’re serious when they need to be but at the end of the day it’s there to have fun. This game does just that with a colorful palette and over-all playful tone. Heck, when you level up the first time the announcer goes “Oh shit, you just leveled up Cupcake!”. It’s things like that which will keep me playing it because I don’t feel obligated.

Things I didn’t get to try

  • Player housing: Seems you can get rocket houses that float! That’s pretty cool sounding, I want a house.
  • PVP: I like PVP, but figured it would be best to give it a go on a carebear server first to get the hang of what it is. Looks like there is large-scale raid-like PVP stuff to do, which sounds great.
  • Dungeons: Grouping up to kill stuff? Yes please.

Final Impressions

This game feels fun, even though seems quite buggy right now. I want to play MMOs, but given how work is I don’t want to feel obligated. WildStar looks to fill this void. The $15/month subscription may turn me off a bit, but I think if it’s a good game it will be worth it. I bought it from GreenManGaming using a 20% off coupon “FUSWJT-B1DU64-JBV8UY”. It includes the first month with the cost of the box, so won’t be a huge loss one way or another. Trick will be to get others to try it out.

So what do you think? Have you tried it yet, or is it something you may want to try? I believe I have some beta keys which should work for next weekend if so. Let me know folks!

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