WildStar - PC

Game Description: WildStar is the new future fantasy MMORPG. It features an iconic visual style and a new way of making MMO content. Created by a richly layered world full of content that adapts to your playstyle and your actions.
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WildStar Hands-On Preview -- Far From Your Typical Fantasy MMO Starring Magical Bunny Women

WildStar Hands-On Preview -- Far From Your Typical Fantasy MMO Starring Magical Bunny Women

By Sinan Kubba - Posted Aug 17, 2011

In 2007, NCsoft assembled Carbine Studios, luring key figures from the likes of World of Warcraft, Fallout, and City of Heroes to create what the publisher at the time called a "dream dev team." Four years later and the dream is now starting to become a reality; not that it was ever in doubt in the mind of the studio's passionate executive producer Jeremy Gaffney.

"We've learned enough to make the next great MMO," says Gaffney of his team's experience as he gives a pre-play presentation. "Our goal is to create deeply layered content. We want to create a MMO with the deepest, richest content." These are the ambitions that lie behind WildStar.


Yet for all those ambitions, on first glance the game comes across as yet another fantasy sci-fi MMO. The desktop background on the PC I'm playing on depicts the three characters which feature in the trailer: a narrow-eyed steampunk cowboy who could've been whisked away from Borderlands, Rage or Fallout, a voluptuous woman in revealing armor, with thick purple hair and huge bunny ears -- yes, a bunny girl -- and the last dude who is basically The Thing with a paint job.

Rift proved earlier this year that, especially in the MMO space, being derivative is not such a bad thing as long as you can innovate upon what you iterate from others. Besides, with so many games in the RPG space, it's almost impossible to not be cosmetically derivative, and by throwing so many visual themes around in its characters, it's like WildStar is embracing that. While the designs are lush and colorful, Carbine appears more concerned with making the play stand out more than the characters.

Take the doe-eyed bunny girl, for example. She's actually an Aurin, one of the races that have fled to the game's planetary setting of Nexus in the wake of her home world being attacked. I play her as an Esper, a class that is described as a healer, buffer, and DPS dealer all in one. That does sounds interesting, but what's even more interesting is getting to choose her Player Path attribute.


This is an additional selection made for each character on rolling, along with race, gender, and class, and it plays a huge part in the layered and dynamic content that Gaffney is so passionately touting. The Player Paths include Soldiers, burly types who provoke big public quests and stir things up, Scientists who are fervently trying to discover more about the world and the creatures within it, and Settlers who like to bring people together by getting involved in social quests and social spaces.

The Player Path I choose for my Aurin Esper is Explorer. This means that as the game goes along she'll find quests that let her discover things high and hidden on mountains or right at the bottom of murky valleys and dark caves. This ties in to the setting of Nexus, a planet that was once home to Eldon, the galaxy's most powerful race who at some point mysteriously disappeared. Exploring the world means finding out more about the Eldon and the truth of the planet.  It may sound like a tiny but neat little feature for a character, but in practice it combines with the other layers within the game to keep the play dynamic.

That becomes apparent to me as I guide my Aurin through a newbie area, an icy plain sprinkled with the wreckage of a space ship. Immediately, I get a quest to place a beacon on top of a hill, but blocking my way to the hilltop are intermittent tides of an avalanche. But traversing the avalanche isn't just a game hindrance. If I do it quickly and skillfully enough, I can complete a Challenge. These Challenges pop up throughout the game, spawned by actions like investigating certain areas or killing creatures prolifically. They can be like the avalanche one or more combat-orientated, like having to kill a certain number of creatures in a certain amount of time or with only so much ammo. Completing the challenges brings rewards and further challenges, and even in my short play through, they prove a fun distraction away from the thrust of the main quest.


Before reaching the hilltop (and it's not a tall hill), I've completed a Challenge and another quest by helping to find a survivor on the way. When I do reach the top, I place a beacon there. Again, doing so provides me with rewards and XP, but it also serves to change the game world by clearing the sky and opening a new line of quests. Not too dramatic, but as the game goes on these Player Path quests and other quests too can have more palpable and obvious changes upon a landscape, like completely clearing an area of enemies or attracting a whole new kind of enemy to the area.

But they can go even deeper and cleverer than that, too. Gaffney describes this to us using the idea of a Scientist character studying and killing jungle cats in a grassy area, but how doing it in front of huntresses in the area impresses the ladies, so to speak. Impressing these huntresses improves the character's reputation, and as his reputation increases, so does his ability to study the enemies. Studying enemies helps the scientist to kill the jungle cats better, and as this dynamic continues and his ability to kill the cats improves, so the jungle cats become sparser in the area. It's these unusual dynamic relationships between a character's actions and the landscape of the world, and how deep and affecting those ramifications could be, that really make WildStar an interesting prospect.

Understandably, Carbine is keeping things close to its chest. We know of the four Player Paths, but in terms of races, classes, combat, weapons, etc. we've only been given a glimpse of the full roster. My playthrough felt like no more than a teasing glimpse in terms of the game's deeper design concepts, but there's been more than enough to suggest that WildStar isn't just another run-of-the-mill MMO, even if it does feature scantily-clad, buxom bunny girls.

Comments are Closed

  • Kensan_Oni

    ,,, Jeans, Duster, Blouse, crazy Shoulder guards, tiera....

    Scantly clad in your demented mind, maybe. The Merc is wearing less than our Bunny Girl.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 9:13 AM
  • QuickKick89

    The perfect game for furries.

    Posted: August 18, 2011 11:10 AM
  • cwbys21

    That trailer was worthy of Insomniac.

    Posted: August 18, 2011 8:26 AM
  • mildpooptastic

    That was such a high quality trailer, good work team whomever made it! BRAVO!

    Posted: August 18, 2011 3:02 AM
  • Keth

    So incredibly awesome. Looks like I'll have to upgrade the computer...

    Posted: August 17, 2011 8:49 PM
  • Aeogard

    Oh, hello there, Tara Strong. I didn't know you also liked to voice-over scantily clad, buxom bunny girls.

    Anyway, this seems pretty awesome. That trailer/cinematic gave me a kind of Disney-esque feeling, though, for some reason. It might just be the bunny girl. I have no idea. But this is certainly another MMO I'll have to keep tabs on for the future.

    Posted: August 17, 2011 8:26 PM
  • teefeez

    This game looks awesome, looks like I may be returning to the MMO genre.

    Posted: August 17, 2011 8:09 PM
  • Argetlam31

    This may have been the all-around best trailer, video game or movie, I have ever seen. Most assuredly keeping an eye and a half on this bunny, for sure!

    Posted: August 17, 2011 7:49 PM
  • DarkStalker2

    This is a game I intend to keep my eye on. I like a lot of the concepts and mechanics that they have planned for the game.
    Particularly the bit about how killing off a species is possible AND that it WILL have it's own set of consequences, something that has been lacking in many games... well actually I guess this is the first... but anyhoo... I think genocide IS something that should come with consequence. :)
    But most importantly, a wise man once said, "Let it be said that featuring scantily-clad buxom bunny girls will never ever be a negative, ever." I don't remember who... oh yeah it was Aaron82 (see above for the wisdom of the ages as far as I'm concerned!)

    Posted: August 17, 2011 9:41 AM
  • Aaron82

    Let it be said that featuring scantily-clad buxom bunny girls will never ever be a negative, ever.

    Posted: August 17, 2011 5:05 AM