alt="WildStar Hands-On" />

WildStar Week Episode Two
From Beak to Butt – Five Things to Know about WildStar

In the

title="WildStar Hands-On" target="_blank">first installment

of our

target="_blank">WildStar Week

extravaganza, I attempted to tackle
the heaviest question out there when it comes to the wacky world of
gaming: is it fun? While fun is often hard to properly quantify and is
based more on a combination of reaction and reflection than a bland list
of scientifically quantifiable criteria, I took a stab at doing so

For example, taking the garbage bins out to the curb each week isn’t
something I’d necessarily quantify as fun. Sadly, a lot of MMO questing
systems tend to devolve into the virtual equivalent of that type of
repeatable, boring task. The good news is that WildStar is indeed an
incredibly fun game to play. If you haven’t already taken the plunge, be
sure to check out my updated hands-on impressions to discover why that’s
the case.

Today I’ll be honing in on some of the key concepts that I briefly
touched on in that particular article. So if you want to learn more about
the Paths system, questing, elder game content, character progression, and
the playable Exile races, then this episode is for you. So grab a frosty
mug of the consumable liquid of your choice, sit back, and enjoy!

The Path System

There are currently four known Paths in WildStar: Soldier, Scientist,
Settler, and Explorer. You could almost think of Paths as a secondary
class you’ll be able to select from the outset, complete with its own
advancement system, quest lines, and specialized gameplay.

Of the four Paths, I had the opportunity to play as both a Soldier and
Explorer through a good portion of the newly revealed Deradune map. Basic
descriptions for these Paths along with some of my thoughts on the
experience of playing each can be found below.

The Soldier Path

This path is largely combat-focused and allows you to “find and fight the
toughest foes in the galaxy”. One of the ways this is achieved is by
triggering and completing a series of Soldier Holdouts. You could almost
think of these like public quests that only soldiers can trigger.
Even though it takes a soldier to kick start the waves of enemy spawns,
anyone in the immediate vicinity is able to participate. The more players
that show up to the party, the more challenging the holdouts become, but
they also become more rewarding as a result.

In Deradune, there were a total of 16 holdouts to be discovered. As you
scamper around the map, you’ll be alerted to any holdouts in the area, and
from there you can set your quest tracker to point you to their location.
So even though this path is largely combat-focused, you’ll still need to
do a bit of exploring to discover each of the holdouts on a given map.

The Explorer Path

The official description for the Explorer path notes that you will be
able to “travel to the darkest corners of this mysterious planet while
discovering the locations of ancient artifacts of immense power” and that
you will “climb higher, dig deeper, and go farther than anyone in order to
claim territory in the name of your faction.”

In a nutshell, if you’re the type of MMO gamer who hits a new map and
runs directly past the quest NPCs to see what that shiny thing is on a
distant hillside, or truly enjoys climbing around the terrain to see where
it might lead you, then the explorer path is for you. This Path suits my
playstyle perfectly, so it was my first choice for hitting Deradune on my

The official description here is pretty accurate. Of the explorer quests
I discovered and completed in Deradune, some were essentially elaborate
jumping puzzles that culminated in planting a flag for my faction, while
others allowed me to open up a massive underground tunnel system.

The latter I found particularly interesting because it not only opened up
a sizable chunk of new content in the zone, but the tunnels also served as
a means of fast travel across the map. I would discover a new entrance
which would trigger a short quest, ultimately allowing me to exit the
tunnels in a different location in another part of the zone. This was
somewhat reminiscent of the way sewers worked in Vampire the
Masquerade: Bloodlines
for those of you familiar with that game.


WildStar is an interesting specimen when it comes to questing. For those
MMO gamers who have come to expect that each new town or outpost will have
a number of NPCs milling around with an exclamation mark floating over
their head, that approach is certainly available. While most of these
quests I picked up were standard fare in terms of the activities involved,
you could almost think of these more obvious quests as a means of pointing
you in the direction of additional, less obvious content.

For example, as I wandered the arid savannah of Deradune killing
critters, huntress NPCs could be seen wandering the map. A UI indicator
informs you of their approximate distance, and the closer they are while
you defeat creatures, the better your experience will be.

Not only that but engaging creatures in combat could trigger additional
challenges. So say you’re beating the snot out of a group of malverines.
Above your normal quest tracker you could randomly have a challenge alert
pop up informing you of the number of malverines to defeat, with a
countdown timer indicating how long you have to complete the challenge.

So the idea here is that an NPC back at the outpost might have asked you
to thin the malverine population, and in doing so you could trigger
additional content that can lead to even more rewards if you do so in the
vicinity of a local huntress. There are plenty of other variants on this
type of branching content to discover while out and about, so for those of
you who don’t necessarily dig the whole outpost breadcrumb questing thing
will still have loads of things to do while out exploring.

alt="WildStar Preview" />

Elder Game Content

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

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.

Character Progression

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

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).

The Exile Races

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

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:

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

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Sardu 1
Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief and Director of Development for Ten Ton Hammer.


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