Blazing Space Saddles - Getting More in Depth with WildStar

Ten Ton Hammer takes a look at the first details of Carbine Studio's newly announced MMOG, WildStar. Paths, classes, and combat are all covered in this detailed look.

Perhaps the biggest MMOG reveal for many at gamescom this year came
from Irvine, California-based developer Carbine Studios. They say their
game, WildStar,
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 expect.

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.

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Every zone will have the standard quests one would expect in a MMOG but
the paths offer additional goals for the player to experience. For
instance, an explorer may be tasked to place a beacon at the top of
snowy mountain in order to help determine what's happening in the
environment. Then, the explorer may detect a strange looking rock in
the mountain cliffside. Upon examining the rock, he may opt to push it
over, revealing a hidden stairway that grows out of the mountain. The
explorer can then leap up the stairway discovering completely new areas
that a non-explorer may never see.

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.

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As the game is set in a sci-fi universe there are several options that
may not be available in some other games. For instance, the NPC that
directs the player to new things to uncover for their chosen path can
speak to the player through a communicator, and vice versa, thus
eliminating the need for the player to constantly seek out their path

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, style="font-style: italic;">WildStar
has various finishing combat moves that all players of all classes can
enjoy routinely.

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The planet of Nexus, where the player first lands to begin the game,
evolves as the player progression through the various story lines. As
they complete specific quests or discoveries the world literally
changes around them. This mechanic is similar to the phasing we see in
games like 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

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 style="font-style: italic;">Firefly
meets Disney Animation's ‘ style="font-style: italic;">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 style="font-style: italic;">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.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our WildStar Game Page.

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