|Dev: Carbine Studios|
|Release: June 3, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol|
Combat itself is part hotkey-based with cool-downs and resource management and part action-based with enemy telegraphs that must be dodged. There are a wide variety of enemy attack patterns that are projected on the ground before they go off, giving players plenty of new things to learn as they encounter different kinds of foes. Enemies usually come in groups, and while players are well-equipped to deal with groups of foes via plenty of area-of-effect attacks, combat is often dangerous and requires player attention. This keeps things frantic and fun most of the time, and the experience has improved vastly from early betas.
Still, this combat system hybridization gets a bit awkward at times, with many classes possessing primary attacks that root them in place while they're being executed. It has never been fun to have to abandon an attack with a long cast time in order to move out of danger, and the frequency with which characters need to dodge in WildStar makes it even less fun. Heavily armored characters like the engineer can get away with deciding to take some hits, but the esper and medic get the worst of both worlds, being both lightly armored and possessing a lot of attacks that root the character in place. Once end-game raiding and PvP get fully into swing, we're certain to see some class balancing, and I'm hoping that more classes will become more mobile as a result.
Several old-fashioned design decisions weigh WildStar down a bit. Quality loot is still doled out to groups via a need or greed system instead of allowing all participating players to grab a goodie. Fast travel around the world, though available, is severely limited by cool-downs and a less-than-optimal transit system. Some game elements like gathering resources and completing pop-up challenges suffer from unnecessary player competition for scarce resources. Gold sinks abound, and getting ahead monetarily will be a struggle for more casual players. I admit that I wish that Carbine had been a bit less traditional in some of these areas, but all these choices were purposeful and likely have their fans amongst the player populace.
Let's get down to the nitty gritty: should you buy WildStar? It's one of the best MMORPG releases in recent years, and it has a lot to offer veterans of the genre. The production values are great, bugs are few and being fixed rapidly at launch (forget the inevitable Internet whining--it's been one of the smoothest launches in which I've participated), and the humor is a breath of fresh air. It has all the bells and whistles meant to attract the MMO hardcore, along with numerous incentives like the housing system to lure in more casual players. It's friendly to the solo and small-group crowd, with all group activities being completely optional during the leveling experience.
If you enjoy MMOs, WildStar is an excellent choice that should have some good legs to it. If you hate everything about MMOs, WildStar is not going to change your mind. It was made for traditional MMO enthusiasts, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you're itchin' for some exploration, questing, player-killing, raiding, house-decorating, and monster-slaying, then saddle up, Cupcake. WildStar is a fun ride.
Date: June 10, 2014