WildStar: A New Perspective

WildStar has loads of charm, but does it have enough to convince Dalmarus of its worth?

E3 is in full swing right now and everyone is pulling out all the stops. That includes Carbine Studios and their upcoming MMO title, WildStar. While I still haven’t gotten any hands-on time with the game (this crime should be nullified after tomorrow), I did have the pleasure of seeing a presentation hosted by Executive Producer, Jeremy Gaffney earlier this morning.

WildStar-Proto
You should probably never trust a mad scientist in WildStar...or a housing salesman.

There are two things that anyone watching a WildStar video or live demo will notice before anything else. The game is extremely colorful, and the humor matches that color. From the moment the lights were dimmed and the video began, it was clear we were in for a treat. Voiced-over by a hyperactive narrator straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon, the video gave a brief overview of the game, the world it resides in, and showed off the humor the game (and the development team themselves) are full of.

After watching the planet everyone is supposed to be playing on blow up in a big ball of space-flames (the developers got a little too excited during the creation of their video), Jeremy took everyone in the room through a number of different scenarios within the game. Some of the more interesting aspects discussed revolved around not combat, but the social aspects of the game instead.

As Jeremy mentioned during his presentation, every gamer has their own type of play style and everyone knows exactly what type of player they are. For example, I’m an explorer. Always have been, always will be. If a developer wants their game to have a snowball’s chance in hell with me, there has to be something for me to go out and explore, even if I’m not rewarded for it. I have to at least have the opportunity to go wander around if I feel like it.

WildStar-Paths
Four paths help support the playstyle of any player.

Instead of ignoring this aspect of a gamer’s psyche, the development team at Carbine has tapped into it directly by making it part of the game itself in the form of what they call paths. A lot of people are familiar with Bartles Taxonomy – a test that generates a breakdown of what type of gamer you are, based on four different categories. Similar to that study, WildStar has four paths that relate directly to those gaming styles. There’s the soldier, settler, scientist and explorer.

Each area of the game has a certain percentage of individual path content. Depending on which path a player chooses, they can find content in each zone that was created only for their gaming style. As an explorer for example, my character may have options to find secret doors, solve puzzles, discover hidden ruins, and more. These paths will make up an average of 20-30% of the content in each zone. Providing content that is intended to appeal to the subconscious part of your brain that determines your particular preferences for gameplay is incredibly cool and intriguing to me.

Will paths be enough to make everyone go gaga over WildStar? Of course not. Fortunately though, that’s a very small tip of the game’s proverbial iceberg. There were a number of cool things shown during the demo today. Active combat, solid mob telegraphing, player housing and how it affects rest XP, and more. I’ll have a better idea of just how the game actually plays when I get my grubby mitts on it tomorrow (hopefully), but until then, I will state this – I haven’t seen a game yet that has the amount of color, style, flash, flair, and humor as WildStar and that alone is enough to get me excited for tomorrow’s play session.

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