Blazing Space Saddles - Getting More in Depth with WildStar
Perhaps the biggest MMOG reveal for many at gamescom this year came
from Irvine, California-based developer Carbine Studios. They say their
is a fully featured MMOG and they mean it. Sure, it has everything one
would expect from a modern MMOG but it also has many things some might
Not the least of surprises is how Carbine decided to approach the game and offer 'paths' for players to follow. Players pick their class and race at the start, as standard, but paths offer an extra layer of gameplay to the experience. Choosing between an Explorer, Scientist, Soldier or Settler, these paths will allow the player to experience more of the game in the way they personally enjoy playing.
That's not to say an Explorer cannot enjoy the content with their friends. If they reveal a secret door their entire party can then walk through the door. Inside the revealed cave there may be some crystals which only a scientist would be able to interact with. All paths have fun things that cater to the style of gameplay they imply but they're also social enough that more layers of fun can be had with friends.
Paths are a flavor layer. All players will be able to play through the standard content anyway, but paths allow the player to spend more time doing the extra things they enjoy doing.
Combat in WildStar may appear to be standard-fare to the casual observer, and it does use a familiar hot bar system, however there are elements that add more to the immersion of combat. Fighting against enemies will reveal a threat indicator which will highlight the area in which the baddie is about to attack. Dodging these blows with a double-tap jump back will give combat bonuses. There are many bonuses one can accrue during combat, including momentum bonuses, interrupt bonuses, and much more. As the bonuses build up the player will receive beneficial temporary buffs to further increase their combat prowess.
In addition to evasive combat maneuvers, there are fun movement abilities to give the game almost a platformer feel. Double jumps, sprint, and gravity fields are just a few examples of how the player can move around the world. And yes, this does mean the game will offer some classic jumping and gravity-defying puzzles in specific areas. The goal behind these perks to gameplay was a simply philosophy adopted by Carbine: Fun First, Balance After. This philosophy applies to all levels of game play and one thing you can count on is the focus of fun. And what's more fun than killing blows? Yes, WildStar has various finishing combat moves that all players of all classes can enjoy routinely.
World of Warcraft with one major difference. Players can still see and interact with other players despite the phase they may be on personally. All it means is that while one player may see a calm, peaceful environment, the other player may be seeing the visuals of a gusting blizzard and avalanches in the distance.
The world is split into several areas with heavy instancing near the beginning of the game to get the player into the spirit of the game. As the player progresses the world eventually opens up to a persistent seamless world.
To me the game feels like Firefly meets Disney Animation's ‘Aladdin.’ The visuals are certainly colorful and appealing. The animations are smooth and detailed. These visuals are an integral part to the game's design, too. If you cast an armor buff on a friend you'll actually see the armor appear on them, all shiny and glowing. Magical spikes to hurl at enemies will display brilliant blue spears launching towards the bad guys. In short, the visual appeal of WildStar is strong, brilliant, and exceptional.
We'll be keeping our eyes on this game as it progresses through development. There is no announced time line for beta or launch, but it's safe to say it's still relatively early in development considering the game was just announced yesterday. We can't wait to see more.
Stay tuned to Ten Ton Hammer next week as we speak one-on-one with the game’s Executive Producer, Jeremy Gaffey.