Posted Wed, Feb 13, 2013 by Sardu
Today marks the shocking season finale of WildStar Week on the Ten Ton Hammer channel, as we take you on a virtual tour of the Dominion faction, its playable races, and the new Stalker class. For those of you just tuning in, be sure to consult our complete programming schedule to check out the rest of our WildStar Week episodes.
Before we dive into the action, I’m pleased to announce that members of the Team Hammer ground crew will be on-site for Arkship 2013 this weekend. As such, this series has been renewed for another season, so you can expect my full report on the event and a lot more heading into next week.
If you’re a current WildStar fan, simply curious as to what makes the game tick, or are just tuning in for the first time, be sure to leave any questions you like us to bring along to the event in the comments at the end of this episode.
I’ve had to bite my fingers throughout the past week of WildStar coverage, as they’ve been itching to write about the Dominion. If the Exiles in WildStar represent the loose collective of expirates who have been forced to flee their home worlds, then the Dominion is the seemingly evil empire that forced them to flee in the first place.
Mind you, I wouldn’t automatically lump the Dominion into the full-on black hat category. Rather, they simply covey a distinct sense of entitlement. As such, they see it as their right to deplete the resources of any world that they see fit, regardless of the negative impact it may have on the native inhabitants.
That brings us to the central conflict on the planet Nexus, where your adventures in WildStar take place. The Exiles found this world and decided to settle there, but it didn’t take long before Nexus was on the Dominion’s radar. Being a resource-rich world, Nexus is ripe for the picking in the eyes of the Dominion, and they aren’t about to let the Exiles stand in their way.
At present there are three known playable races for the Dominion: Cassian, Draken, and Mechari. The official video introduction for the Dominion races can be seen below.
Note that this video – much like the Exile races intro video – hints at a fourth playable race. Viewer speculation as to what it might be commences in 3, 2, 1…
One of the biggest things I had to dance around for my hands-on impressions last week is that I spent a good chunk of time playing as a cassian. Official lore for the Cassians stats that:
“Gifted with ambition and intelligence, the humans of planet Cassus experienced a period of rapid technological advancement more than two thousand years ago, leading to the development of space flight and interstellar exploration. Such achievements caught the attention of the Eldan's mechanical servants the Mechari, who brought news of these remarkable beings back to planet Nexus.”
I suspect that the cassians will appeal to gamers who prefer to stick to playing characters with the most recognizably humanoid appearance. That’s par for the course in most MMOs, so it helps that humans are represented in both factions to help prevent any factional imbalances that could otherwise skew player populations towards one faction or the other and have a negative impact on PvP as a result.
To give you an idea of the size and scope of a single playable zone in WildStar, I spent roughly 2 hours exploring Deradune on one of my characters which resulted in uncovering only about 1/5 of the overall map, shown below:
If I were going to use a single word to sum up the Draken playable race, it would have to be ‘badass’. In fact, that exact word is used in the official lore for the race:
“Forged in the heat and dust of their savage homeworld, the Draken have come to Nexus to prove they are the most badass warriors in the galaxy. Eviscerations, disembowelments, and decapitations will definitely be involved.”
The Draken were the latest arrivals to the Dominion party, having been actively recruited three centuries after the Dominion was originally founded. Well, at least that was the original idea. The Draken originally resisted the Dominion forces, and it wasn’t until after the High Clanlord Zhur was bested in gladiatorial combat that the Draken became faithful servants of the Dominion.
As the official lore explains, “For the Draken, the journey to Nexus represents the ultimate test. Not only is the fabled planet rumored to be the home of exotic, savage creatures that will test their skills in the hunt, but it is also the front lines of the intensifying war with the Exiles. The reigning emperor Myrcalus the Vindicator has claimed Nexus for the Dominion by right of the Eldan blood that runs in his veins, and the Draken have vowed to help him.”
If the Draken represent the bestial warrior race of the Dominion, then the Mechari are the mechanical killing machines engineered to kick ass and compute names.
“Engineered by the Eldan themselves, the Mechari are a race of highly-efficient killing machines that make it their business to eliminate traitors and spies on Nexus. Sense of humor? Not one of their strong points.”
Killer robots are somewhat of a rarity in MMOs, so I’m glad that Carbine has crafted a race that will allow me to explore the deeper aspects of what that really means. As with the other playable races, the animations and character models for the mechari are top notch, and help give me that true moment of pause when it comes down to trying to decide which race / class combo I’ll want to play first in the live game. To be honest that’s another major rarity – at least for me – in new MMOs. Most of the time I naturally gravitate down a very distinct and clear path, and only much later on do I begin to explore alt characters from different races or classes. Amazingly, that’s not the case with WildStar as I intend to explore each of the playable races in earnest.
As the official lore for the mechari continues, “The discovery of Nexus was a momentous occasion for the Mechari, and they hoped to finally be reunited with their creators. But the Eldan were no longer there, their fate one of the galaxy's darkest and most enduring mysteries. Despite this disappointment, the Mechari continue their eternal vigil over the empire, ensuring its continued dominance on planet Nexus.”
On the surface, the newly revealed stalker class is kind of like WildStar’s answer to a more traditional rogue class. If you’re the type of MMO gamer who enjoys being stealthy and dishing out massive melee damage, then the stalker will be right up your alley.
Some of the unique twists on the tried-and-true rogue formula for the stalker include the usage of technological abilities along with their more direct claw attacks, such as the use of proximity mines. Abilities such as Shadow Dash also help keep the stalker highly mobile – something that is traditionally one of the major tradeoffs for stealth and concealment. Likewise, the Partial Camouflage skill allows you enter a partially stealthed state and allows you to use stealth only abilities, but also doesn’t end on taking damage.
Itching to learn even more about the Dominion races and stalker class? We’ve got even more info, lore, artwork and more headed your way soon, along with our coverage from Arkship 2013!
In the meantime, enjoy this video for the song Dominion by Sisters of Mercy. It was stuck in my head throughout my hands-on time last month, so I figured it was only fitting that I spread the love. Enjoy!