Updated Wed, Mar 20, 2013 by Sardu
As the final countdown for PAX East 2013 continues ticking, we wanted to provide our readers with some previews of the biggest and best MMOs that will be hitting the event this year. Among them is WildStar which will be making one of its first major public event appearances since first being unveiled back in late 2010.
A lot has changed with the game during the time since, and based on our hands-on experiences with WildStar earlier this year, we’d certainly say the game is one heck of a fun experience. In fact, the build we played back in January featuring the low level Draken zone, Deradune, will be playable by fans this weekend.
While I’d encourage those of you who haven’t already done so to check out some of our recent hands-on coverage, there are no doubt some MMO gamers out there who are still trying to wrap their head around what WildStar is all about. To that end, the team at Carbine Studios has put together an all new official video that addresses perhaps an even bigger question than those focused on the game’s fun factor: What is WildStar?
You can check out the new video in its entirety below, lovingly embedded for your viewing enjoyment:
To coincide with the new video release, executive producer Jeremy Gaffney has put together a new blog post that goes over various aspects of raiding in WildStar. If you don’t happen to be the raiding type in MMOs, never fear; WildStar has plenty of other kickass elder game activities for you to while away the hours with. A few of these include:
There are plenty of other interesting things to do in the elder game of WildStar, but those are just a few examples of some of the non-raiding activities you’ll be able to pursue. In terms of the raid system, perhaps the biggest thing to know right off the bat is that raids in WildStar haven’t simply been tacked on for the sake of introducing a gear grind to keep people playing over longer periods.
I mean, sure that’s part and parcel of what raiding is intended to do in an MMO, but that doesn’t mean the system and processes involved can’t be fun. However, in most games, raiding reminds me an awful lot of my former life as a touring musician.
In other words, countless hours of preparation (leveling, grinding dungeons for gear) and hopes that everyone in the band knows their parts (don’t stand in the fire) once you step on stage. Each show (raid) is like this little slice of awesome (defeating the boss and getting loot) followed by sitting on your butt in some crappy van while you wait for your next gig (wait on raid cooldown timers to expire).
So even if the experience of raiding in and of itself is fun, outside of the event itself all most games have to offer is a whole lot of prep work, coin sinks (screw you repair bills!), and potentially even boredom if the game in question doesn’t have an otherwise robust enough endgame.
You’ll note I took a bit of a dig at repair bills here. In all honesty I find item decay to be one of the worst things since moldy bread, but that’s just me. I only mention it here because WildStar will unfortunately feature such a system – for better or worse – and I thought it pertinent to address any potential negatives associated with the system up front.
Now that we have that taken care of…
Raid sizes have dwindled down to the point of practical nonexistence over the years. Once upon a time, a raid meant huge numbers of players, and having to have actual skill and coordination against some truly badass bosses. WildStar attempts to recapture some of raiding’s glory days by reintroducing larger raid sizes (20 and 40 player teams), and scaling up the difficulty of raiding to suit.
Another thing Carbine is attempting to address is the fact that raiding guilds have become fiercely competitive over the years. However, once world or server first kills have been made, raid systems offer very little to those gamers until the next raid tier is patched into the game. This disparity of new things to achieve is what drives most raiding guilds to exit stage left and into the next new MMO to hit the market.
To give raiders more of an ongoing goal set, WildStar will feature competitive weekly challenges. So you won’t simply make a first kill and sit at the top of leaderboards indefinitely. No, in WildStar you’ll have to continue working to attain and retain the rank of champs on an ongoing basis. New raids will naturally be introduced over time, but in between these competitive challenges will give you something more interesting to tackle.
To help keep things fresh each week, you can expect certain dynamic elements to be introduced. In essence, though you may be able to achieve a certain level of mastery over a given encounter, your raid group will hopefully get to experience enough variance from week to week to keep things fresh. A few of the more dynamic elements might factor in things like encounter composition, random events, or even the path you take through a given dungeon.
If that stuff sounds like it will float your virtual boat, be sure to keep your fingers on the PAX East pulse this weekend. If you’re attending the event, be sure to swing by the NCSoft booth to check WildStar out in all its offbeat glory. If you aren’t able to attend, never fear; Team Hammer will be in the trenches this weekend to bring you our full report on WildStar at PAX East 2013 which you can follow on our handy event page.