When we last saw WildStar a year ago, the game had just been announced, and it quickly intrigued us with its bright environments and innovative mechanics. Since then, developer Carbine Studios has added a slew of new features to the sci-fi MMO which we got to check out at Gamescom 2012.
The newest feature coming to WildStar is one that many MMO fans have wanted to see in their favorite games for a while now, and that's player housing. With WildStar's player housing feature, you'll be able to clear land, build the home of your dreams and customize it to your heart's content. If you don't want to live in a neighborhood near other players, you'll even be able to uproot your house into the sky.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to see player housing up close during our hands-off demo. Instead, we went on a short tour of Algoroc, one of WildStar's newest zones.
Algoroc is a bright level 6+ zone filled with rolling green hills and bright blue skies, complete with prospectors and other baddies trying to strike it rich. The first location we checked out in Algoroc was Tremor Ridge, a small mining camp inhabited by loftite prospectors. It was here that we got to check out WildStar's telegraph combat system.
Telegraphs are a new aspect of WildStar's combat that force players to be on their toes while fighting enemies. When enemies go to attack, red marks, or telegraphs, appear on the ground. If you can dodge the marks, you'll dodge the attack, and be able to counter with one of your own. The marks aren't as easy to dodge as they sound though, since some appear as multiple marks, crosses, or fast-moving lines.
When attacking enemies, player abilities are also displayed with marks, showing exactly where your abilities will land when you use them. For example, when a player goes to attack a monster, a blue line will pop up and anything in the path of that line will get hit by the ability. Not all abilities go off in a line of course, but with this marker system you will always have a better idea of where you're moves will hit and where you need to stand in order to set up the most strategic attacks possible.
With the addition of combat marks to the game, WildStar's combat feels much more dynamic than older MMOs where you're used to standing in one spot and using the same attack over and over again. I like to call that type of combat "being a turret," and while that definitely works for some gamers, Carbine wants its players to constantly be engaged in the action. To drive this home, players who can defeat a lot of enemies quickly will get bonus experience.
As our demo continued, we came across a gigantic blue crystal that made us lighter than air. In this area, we could jump super high and find areas that we wouldn't have been able to get to otherwise. These types of areas are hidden all throughout the world, and will be especially appealing to anyone who chooses the explorer path for their character.
Paths in WildStar are how the game tailors progression to your playstyle. When creating your character, you can choose one of four player paths to follow. The different paths include Soldier, Scientist, Settler, and Explorer.
The Soldier path is for those who love combat. When you're a soldier, your quests will focus more around fighting monsters, and sometimes giant monsters will come out of the ground to attack you. The Scientist path is for those who love lore. Scientists are always trying to discover more about the world of Nexus and everything within it. The Settler path is for those who love bringing people together. They'll be able to open shops, add to the taxi, and more.
Explorer is the final path, and my personal favorite. The Explorer path is for those who love finding bonus content via treasure maps, jumping puzzles, and time challenges. As you explore more of the world, like the giant blue crystal mentioned earlier, you'll come across new places to introduce to your friends.
Unfortunately, we only just began exploring our way through the blue crystal area when our demo came to a close. When we asked how far along the game was, Carbine's Jeremy Gaffney said that WildStar's almost "feature complete," but they're still working on end-game group and raid content, and PvP that's interesting, innovative, and fun. According to him, that basically means the game isn't too far off, so hopefully we'll see some beta announcements in the near future.