WildStar: Early Beta Impressions - Prima Games

WildStar: Early Beta Impressions

by Bryan Dawson

WildStar is a fun and cartoon-style massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). It’s a refreshing change of pace from the more realistic looking MMOs such as The Elder Scrolls Online. The world of Nexus is bright and vibrant, which makes this feel more like an adventure game as opposed to an MMORPG. In the world, it’s the little things that set WildStar apart from other MMO titles. For instance, you actually have to fight against the current when you cross a stream.

Playing an MMO is as much about your personal character (in-game avatar) as it is about the world you’re traversing. In the past, character customization was fairly limited compared to many other gaming genres. However, with the advent of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn and a few other recent MMO releases, character customization improved significantly.

Unfortunately, when it comes to WildStar, most of the character customization is about choosing which template you want to use. You can go into great detail when it comes to your avatar’s facial details, but almost everything else is essentially just selecting from a series of templates. There are enough templates to make it stand out from older MMO games, but when compared to the new generation of MMO titles, we’re hoping the retail release offers more customization.

The combat feels very much like an action-RPG. If you’ve played Guild Wars 2, you should have a pretty good idea of how the combat feels in WildStar. There’s no auto-attacking in WildStar. All of your damage comes from using various skills and abilities. However, you can’t simply lock-on to a target and start blasting away. Much like a standard action game, you have to aim your abilities and skills or else you’ll just end up missing all of your attacks. You can change the options to auto-face an enemy when attacking, but for more strategic battles, this could actually be a detriment.

When it comes to the lore of WildStar, there are three story arcs linked together. At the base level, you have the storyline for the immediate region you’re in. The regional stories are then linked by the story arcs for the larger zone areas. Finally, you have the all-encompassing worldly story arcs that connect everything.

For the most part, the quests are about what you’d find in any other MMORPG. Talk to an NPC, then go find the item, person or place he’s looking for. There aren’t any FATE battles that you might see in Final Fantasy 14, or anything to really mix up the monotony of questing. The quests do start to get a bit more varied a your level reaches and exceeds 20, and it’s likely that endgame content will be much more appealing, but the grind to get there is fairly basic at the moment.

One issue that came up often during the congested beta weekend was locating the monsters or items required to complete certain quests. This is an issue that plagued Final Fantasy 11, but was easily corrected in Final Fantasy 14 by having quick respawn times for quest monsters. Unfortunately, given the congestion in WildStar, you had to wait around to find a specific enemy to kill for a quest. It’s somewhat alleviated by the fact that there isn’t really a claiming system for enemies. Instead, any player who lands an attack on an enemy will get credit for the kill.

At the moment, WildStar is most definitely fun. It’s an MMO that doesn’t force you to group up with other players, and the action-oriented combat makes it feel more like a straight action game with RPG elements rather than a more traditional MMORPG. The strategy employed while playing is far more akin to that of an action game and that’s not something you can say about most MMO titles. It’s hard to imagine how the endgame content will play out given how the combat system works, but rest assured we will have strategies available for instances and endgame runs!

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