Wildstar hands-on: have Carbine created the perfect second MMO?
Posted by d280668993 on April 28th, 2013
I’m standing at the edge of the Deradune hunting grounds with a million buy tera gold things to do. I’ve been playing MMOs like WildStar for more than a decade but, while I’m capable of parsing the approximate meaning of all of the buttons and objectives presented to me, I have no idea what I should do first. I have two options: the first is to lean on my experience of other games and progress by inches, ensuring that i don’t drop off the critical path – but I’ve been there, and done that. The other option is to start running for the horizon and see how well the game can keep pace. I start running.
Deradune is the starting area for the Draken, a race of horned beastmen who form the militaristic vanguard of WildStar’s imperious Dominion faction. The zone itself is modelled on the African savannah. Winding paths link scattered towns, with prey species wandering the open spaces and predators lurking in the treeline. WildStar sits square on the boundary between science fiction and fantasy – spaceships might populate the skyline of the game’s single planet, Nexus, but on the ground swords are just as common as lasers. You’re liable to find yourself battling a pack of ravening space panthers one moment and a circling enemy gunship the next.
The game has a bright, heavily stylised design, with action-figure characters and landscapes painted in broad, colourful strokes. Animations are exaggerated and impactful, from the lolloping run of the Draken to the full-body coil that telegraphs an incoming enemy attack.
I’m playing as a Mechari warrior, an eight-foot robot wielding a two-handed energy sword. In addition to my class, which determines how i go about killing things, I’ve also chosen a path – in this case, that of the soldier – that determines why. In WildStar, your path provides a set of extra objectives that are available exclusively to you and that shape the course you’ll take on the way to the level cap. Other paths include the scientist, who focuses on analysing monsters; and the settler, who is encouraged to play socially. There’s also the explorer, but I’ll get to that later.
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