Posted Thu, Feb 07, 2013 by Sardu
As executive producer Jeremy Gaffney pointed out during a brief presentation proceeding my hands-on time with WildStar, the elder game / endgame experience in MMOs over the years has been lackluster at best. A lot of the time the process of trying to get to the end sucks, and actually getting to the end sucks too.
Carbine will be hitting this from a whole boatload of angles, and intends for the elder game to be just as rich with interesting content as the early game experiences. A few ways this is being addressed include:
Raiding – I hail from a time when raiding was an epic experience consisting of massive groups of players. While raids in WildStar won’t be quite as huge as old EQ raids, if you’re one of those MMO gamers who miss the 40 person raids from vanilla WoW, Carbine has you covered.
Competitive Raids – New raid challenges will open up each week, presenting you with more meaningful reasons to play through a given raid beyond the basic loot carrots.
Solo Dungeons – The Carbine team feels that story needs to advance on a monthly basis, so there will be a regular deployment of new solo dungeons for those of you who want meaningful elder game content, but don’t necessarily dig the whole raiding thing.
Warplots – This will extend elements of the housing system to allow players to create their own PvP areas to play in. While details on this system are still somewhat sparse, I’m keenly interested in seeing what kind of impact something like Warplots will have on the PvP aspects of the game.
If you’re like me, then the old concept of variety being the spice of life applies directly to what you hope to find in an MMO. While WildStar will no doubt have its fair share of players who equate hitting max level in the least amount of time as the pinnacle of character progression, I’m one of those gamers who enjoy a game most when there are numerous parallel progression paths to tackle over a longer period.
The Path system is one of the most obvious and direct progression systems beyond your base character class. While the build I had the chance to play has since seen a decent amount of iteration, the basic concept here is that you will gain experience for your Path independently from your combat class. Along the way you will unlock a number of things which may even include new combat skills. And since your Path is advanced separately, you always have the option to focus on class XP first, doubling back on Path progression if you prefer.
In terms of the mighty XP bar, many of the usual progression suspects apply here. Leveling up allows you to unlock new skills and Milestones, which is sort of a fancy term applied to builds based on various attribute thresholds.
For example, during my hands-on time I played two different spellslingers. On the first I decided to stick to more single-target combat, and had unlocked The Big Guns milestone based on meeting the requirements of having 20 Strength. By using this milestone, I increased the damage done by my weapons.
On my second spellslinger I opted to focus on multi-target combat. The key milestone here was Get Outta’ Dodge which was based on my current Dexterity attribute. The concept behind this milestone is that, should I take too much damage, it would grant me a burst of speed allowing me to gain some distance from my foes.
The milestone system shows a ton of potential, so it will be interesting to see how it has been tweaked through further iteration since my hands-on time (iteration being a key development philosophy at Carbine).
There are two main factions in WildStar: the Exiles, and a second faction which we’ll be revealing in detail next week. Did I mention you should be sure to check back next Wednesday for the epic conclusion of WildStar Week?
On the side of the Exiles, there have been three playable races revealed so far, with at least a fourth hinted at. While I could certainly babble out some random thoughts on the Exile races, I think this awesome video does a much better job than I ever could: