‘Wildstar’ is Worthy
DEVELOPER: Carbine Studios
PUBLISHER: NC Soft
SYSTEM: Windows PC
PRICE: $59.99 plus monthly fee
ESRB RATING: Teen
REVIEW RATING: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Hi. My name is Jeb, and I’m an addict. Actually, I’m a recovering “World of Warcraft” addict, and I’ve been clean for five years now. I rode on wagons in the game, and I fell off of them in real life. Things were going fine, until I started playing the new Massively Multiplayer Online game “Wildstar.” Now it’s hard to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, and I’m scared. So scared!
Those who dare to follow in my footsteps will discover a world called Nexus, where two factions wage war for control. The Dominion is like an uber-powered conglomerate ready to swoop in and take what they want, while the Exiles are ragtag settlers ready to fight for their new home. This is the basic premise behind “Wildstar,” but there’s a deeper story to flesh out as players progress, which adds meaning to the conflict.
Four different races per faction are available at character creation, giving players a total of eight to choose from. After a race is selected, it’s time to decide which class to become. Fortunately, four roles are distributed amongst six classes (engineer, warrior, spellslinger, medic, esper, stalker), which means that each class can perform multiple roles. As a result, players aren’t forced to always perform the same duties when teamed up in groups.
One thing that helps set “Wildstar” apart from other MMOs is the ability to choose from four “paths” after the character is created. When players select a scientist, soldier, explorer or settler, a new group of quests and even entire questlines that are unique to that “path” become available. For example, settlers receive quests telling them to collect resources to craft gadgets, while explorers are tasked with discovering and claiming new locations.
In addition, scientists can open doors other paths cannot, and underground caves can be discovered by explorers. Both of these lead to hidden loot and buffs, so traveling with a group whose participants have different paths is very advantageous!
Fighting enemies is similar enough to other MMOs to be familiar, but I appreciate how foes don’t have to be targeted to receive damage. I can see each attack’s arc and range on screen just by hovering the cursor over the attack icon on the ability bar, and I can attack at any time. This means that most attacks can be performed while moving, which is definitely preferred over standing still.
Just like my character’s abilities, I can also see the enemy’s attacks on the ground just before they perform them. This is called telegraphing, and it becomes invaluable once players start taking on multiple enemies and/or powerful elite enemies. Dodging attacks in real time is not only challenging, but it also adds fun and variety to combat.
While the story quests are mostly unique, the majority of side quests are unimaginative and boring. I’ve grown so weary of fetching items and killing X amount of Y enemy just to grind up to the next level. It’s a good thing that there are other methods of gaining experience, or else this game would become boring rather quickly!
Advanced PvP battlegrounds and customizable player housing add welcome variety to completing quests. I also appreciate how there are already many things to do when I reach the “end game.” Sure, most of these activities are endless grinds to acquire better gear, but isn’t that the underlying goal of most Massively Multiplayer Online games?
By using attractive presentation and advanced misdirection, really good MMOs know how to keep players continuously traveling towards their virtual carrot-on-a-stick. Thankfully, “Wildstar” adds enjoyable combat to this mix to create an epic game that’s worth paying a monthly fee to play.
REVIEW SCORING SYSTEM
5 stars = Must Have
4 stars = Very Good
3 stars = Above Average
2 stars = Bargain Bin
1 star = Don’t Bother
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
E10+: (Everyone 10 and older)
T: Teen (13 and older)
M: Mature (17 and older)
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