I like WildStar. I've made no secret of that fact for some time now, but it's hard to deny that, after a launch period that was filled with hope for a long and enjoyable lifespan, the enthusiasm has waned for many players who invested their time and money. There are many reasons for this - RNG nightmares for gear stats, PVP balance becoming a hot mess, and top level characters not having much to do unless they were working towards raid content. Population issues also hampered the fun, and then in-game Christmas was cancelled. Oh, and there were redundancies. Basically, there was good reason to be worried.
However, the troops are re-mobilising over at Carbine, and with the megaserver merge now live and (kind of) fixed the population situation, the long awaited third content drop is almost ready to roll. With a stronger focus on the narrative this time around, The Mystery of the Genesis Prime will tie up many of the stories that have been going on since launch, while setting up the next chapter for WildStar. Of course, that's on top of the additional group content that will be found throughout the new zone of the Defile, and I was invited by Carbine Studios to get hands-on with The Black Focus - an area that will deliver 5-player group content. It's all in our latest video preview, as I give my impressions on what I was shown, what I'm looking forward to, and if this content drop will do enough to entice disillusioned players to return to WildStar.
Long-time readers will know I have a soft spot for the Warcraft franchise, especially World of Warcraft. As a day-one player who has experienced everything the game has offered, including the Mists of Pandaria expansion, I’ve seen it go through a fair few changes. New races being added, enhanced weather and lighting systems being introduced, a new class thrown into the mix, talent points being redesigned, and a constant stream of rebalancing for everything involved, That said, some things have stayed the same in the face of change. New abilities would continue to crowd up toolbars, the rise of damage and health numbers for players and NPCs alike spiralling up exponentially, and the models for the playable races becoming more and more dated as the years went by. With the upcoming expansion Warlords of Draenor approaching, Blizzard saw it as an opportunity to fix these things, and so with patch 6.0.2 being unleashed last week I returned to the MMO behemoth for the first time in nine months. It was time to see if the game that sent the genre mainstream still had the ability to pull in new punters and veterans alike.
I’ll tell you one thing though – WildStar’s combat and traversal systems have spoiled me rotten compared to WoW's seemingly archaic mechanics, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
The inclusion of the Worgen, Goblin and Pandaren made it quite clear that the original race models needed an update. The blocky, expressionless and (in the case of humans) hairlipped choices on offer just didn’t blend with the rest of the updated visuals of the game. Thankfully, after years of waiting the update has arrived – except for Blood Elves, who will have to wait a little while longer to be made more beautiful. If I’m honest, I really shouldn’t be impressed by the new visuals and animations considering what the competition has produced elsewhere in the genre, but I really am.
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If you're a fan of that WildStar game that I wouldn't shut up about for 3 years, you may have seen many opportunities for get hold of some exclusive in-game goodies that were handed out at this year's Gamescom. They were quite the dapper pieces of swag, providing a top hat and monocle costume piece, a rather executive looking table for your house, and a unique dye to give your avatar a special look. You may have thought that your last chance to grab one has past... but I think you'll find that's not true. You see, I managed to procure 10 EU codes to give away, and we're going to have a little fun in the process.
So, how do you go about getting one of these codes? Simple - amuse me!Click this link to find out how to win >>
Last episode, we found ourselves desperately searching for a nobleman's daughter -- Lydia Horacos. Now, with Tideborn on our tails, and dangerous foes on all sides, Mechdusa and Bob clear out the Research Centre, and infiltrate the Eldan Tower where Lydia is being held. Will Corrigan Doon make himself useful? Can our heroes defeat Cortex Prime? What's the meaning of life?
All this and more in today's episode of WildStar: The Evil Noob.
After chasing down some illicit fraternising in the last episode, today's jaunt down to Nexus is all about a search and rescue. And killing giant birds.
Some rich noble's daughter has gone missing, and the adventurer sent to find her has gone missing too, presumed drunk. And the henchmen sent to give the drunkard a kick up the backside have also gone missing too. So it's up to us to venture into the local pub, siober up the sozzled mercenary, and try and find the daughter ourselves.
Developer: Carbine Studios
Here we are – finally at end of the review that just wouldn’t stop coming (blame Carbine accordingly for their gigantic game, I say.) There’s still a lot to get through before the verdict, but here’s a helpful hub if you’ve missed my previous instalments or want a refresher on my previous musings on WildStar.
We begin this instalment by taking a look at the Limited Action Sets and the AMP system, which acts as the skills and talent tree for WildStar respectively. As long as players are out of combat, the flexibility and user friendly nature of the LAS is one of my favourite aspects of Carbine’s efforts. Being able to swap out abilities at a moment’s notice ensures players can try new tactics and combos, along with the option of powering up equipped abilities with Tier Points to unlock bonus effects. On top of this, being able to buy new abilities from the menu without having to travel to a trainer is a godsend, as it means players no longer have to make their way back to the nearest one upon levelling up (something a lot of MMOs still do, annoyingly.)
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Developer: Carbine Studios
Our in-depth and ever-growing review continues for WildStar - because if you're going to do something, you may as well drag it out for several weeks. Or do it properly considering the size of the game. Yes - let's go with that one. If you're a latecomer to the party that is my review, or if you're a swine who has been all like "MMOs? Nah," then I suggest you SHUT THE HELL UP and check out the convenient hub I've provided below for you to click on.
One of the biggest complaints about MMOs in general is the crafting and economy elements. Cries of “it’s too complicated!” or “it’s too boring!” can be heard from across the interwebs, as a large percentage of those that try it will simply go “nah, it’s not for me” before becoming a hoarder of all the crafting materials they can find, vendoring away at the earliest opportunity. Thankfully, Carbine have created mechanics that are not only varied in nature, but far more hands-on than first glance, providing a multiple levels of depth depending on the comfort zone of the player.
I won’t go all FAQ here with the details (if you want that you can find my rather in-depth article on it here) so I’ll give a quick overview - It’s the usual affair of selecting two professions out of the bunch that are available, some of which are better paired than others, while everyone has the ability to cook (labelled as a ‘hobby’ activity.) The strong theme with these crafting elements is that of player choice, providing players with the ability to customise items with stats needed for specific roles (or, if things are being made to order, with a specific balance of stats for maximum class build efficiency.)Click here to read more...
We're still in the process of our on-going review for WildStar, but Carbine Studios are still busy at work and yesterday let us have a look at the content that will be making its way onto Nexus in the very near future. The Strain Ultra Drop will bring new zones, new enemies, new mechanics, and plenty of disgusting things to swim through if what we got to see is any indication. Carl provides commentary in this sneek-peek video that gives you a taster of what is to come when the content patch hits.
Developer: Carbine Studios
We’re back with the second part of our in-depth review of WildStar, having covered our initial impressions of the gameplay and the launch in our first instalment which you read here if you had the gall to miss it. Go on, catch up if you must. I’ll wait here, judging you, until you get back.
I’m just kidding. I’ve judged you already.
Plenty has happened over the last seven days on Nexus, with hitting the level cap of 50 probably being the most significant thing. What that means is that I have now experienced every zone in the game and finally delved into the world story, but it also means that I’ve had chance to sample every aspect of the PvE content, which is handy considering today I’ll be talking about the array of activities players can get up to in WildStar. And there’s a lot. Most of it fun, too.
Let’s begin with the bread of button of the experience – levelling. Wandering through the various zones is a familiar affair, with hubs acting as temporary resting points that deliver various types of quest chains – tasks (random quest), regional stories (which guide you through that particular hub), and world stories (which tie everything up together in a “OHMYGODWEBETTERSAVENEXUS” bow.) The objectives for these quests are tried and tested – kill X of Y, pick up X of Y, attach a rocket to a Cubig, etc) although Carbine’s inclusion of a few aspects of Guild Wars 2’s public events system makes questing a more agreeable affair, and the combat system along with increasingly more elaborate telegraphs certainly mix things up as well.Click here to read more...
Developer: Carbine Studios
Well, here we are. After nearly three years of following the project it’s a little weird to be saying that the game is finally live, but myself and many others have taken to Nexus like a swarm of Chompacabras, ready to eat up whatever Carbine have been cooking. Before we kick this off, some housekeeping – because of the size and scope of MMOs, and the wide range of content available in this one specifically, WildStar will be reviewed in instalments that cover different aspects of the game, with a finale in a few weeks’ time that will deliver my overall verdict. I’ll be providing a “summary so far” at the end of each part, but be aware this is a huge effort, because it’s a huge game.
Or, alternatively, just throw all blame at Matt. Because.
Anyway, enough of that – let’s summarise what Carbine’s MMO is all about for the three of you that have ignored my coverage of it up until now (you swines.) WildStar is a sci-fi MMORPG where two factions – the oppressive empire of the Dominion, and the ragtag group of rebels that are the Exiles – vie for control of a newly found planet called Nexus. Both groups are there because it is believed to be the home planet of the Eldan, a hyper-advanced race that hasn’t been seen in a millennia, and it’s up to the players to tame the wilds of Nexus to forge a new home, fight for the honour of their chosen faction, and discover the reason why the Eldan aren’t around anymore (spoiler alert – bad things happened, and you’ll eventually go head-to-head with that badness.)Click here to read more...
Dealspwn's resident MMO guru, the honey-voiced Mr. Carl Phillips, and I sit down for a little natter about The Elder Scrolls Online now that our review is live. Here's a TL:DR version for you to get the gist of things:
The Elder Scrolls Online is a brave attempt at combining two seemingly polar opposites, but it ultimately fails to build a continuously compelling world, compromising too much on either side. It's an MMO that can't hold a candle to likes of Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World, and an Elder Scrolls game that can't hope to be as deep and rich in content and solo experience as Morrowind and Skyrim. The allure of an online Tamriel is strong, and when the game's disparate parts align, it really is a bit special, but those moments are too few and far between to recommend for a game with this much of an inflated price point.
If you haven't read the whole thing yet, save the remorseful flagellation for later, pour yourself a nice cuppa and have a read whilst listening to the dulcet tones of our voices discussing the nature of ZeniMax Online's ambitious MMO... and where it all went wrong.
The middle of the road has never been a good place to be -- you just end up getting run over by traffic from either side. And trust me -- as someone who once went sailing through the air and landed squarely either side of a sturdy, roadside, wooden perimeter -- there's little solace to be found in sitting on the fence. I wrote an article a little while back about identity and the importance of knowing, as a developer, what your game is, what you want to achieve, and who your target audience is. Unfortunately, The Elder Scrolls Online finds itself in a bit of a dither.
Is it just Skyrim with multiplayer? Is it a WOW-ish MMO with pretensions towards being an Elder Scrolls game? The Elder Scrolls Online demands to be judged by two completely conflicting groups of fans. On the one hand, the Elder Scrolls series has long served up several of the most expansive, enriched, singleplayer experiences to be had in this industry -- games that place you as an empowered individual, the only one who can save Tamriel from whatever mischief has befallen it this time around. On the other, you have this massive world, filled with warring factions and steeped in millennia of lore, just ripe with possibilities for a Massively Multiplayer Online experience.
So how do you consolidate the two into one game successfully? That is the question that lies at the heart of The Elder Scrolls Online.
And the answer is... you don't.
Tamriel itself is a bit of an empty husk. It's a showroom more than a showstopper, a simulacrum of the worlds we've previously explored in detail. But whereas before, we could be anyone we wanted and do anything we liked, here there are invisible forces at work compelling us to follow certain paths. There's no crime in this version of Tamriel, little opportunity for the fleet-footed and light-fingered, and NPCs are fairly few and far between. TESO is set a couple of millennia before the events of Skyrim, so having a more empty world might be just about justified, but the lack of interaction is troubling. If you saw a sword on the ground in previous games you could pick it up. Now, however, it's most likely just painted decoration.
For a series that has always been synonymous with immersion, that's not a good thing.Click here to read more...
Over the last few months Carbine Studios have been slowly pulling the curtain back on a number of features for WildStar that, up until now, we had barely seen anything about. Customisation options were one such thing, Adventures were another, and we recently got a look at some of the Raids players will be (almost certainly) punished by during the developer panel at PAX East. However, one topic has been left until the very last second to discuss and it’s a pretty big one – Warplots. This PvP-centric mode aims to kick team-based combat up a notch with something that is part base raiding, part tower defence, and all-out warfare as two teams of 40 max-level players duke it out for supremacy.
It’s basically as if the original incarnation of World of Warcraft’s Alterec Valley and indie title Orcs Must Die! had a baby, and then many Chua were rained upon it for kicks – that’s pretty much Warplots in a nutshell.
You can get a general overview by watching the latest in-game engine-powered Flick embedded above, but you’re probably after some more details or something, and thankfully I have many to throw at you. Earlier this week, select members of the press were invited to watch a demonstration of Warplots in action, with a rather ill Lead PvP Designer Jen Gordy (who was suffering from PAX Flu at the time) providing commentary on what we were watching whilst giving us more detail into what options would be available for potential Warparties (yep, that means no hands-on experience just yet, but stay tuned – I assure you we’ll have something in the near future.)
With our previous WildStar coverage, we’ve focused rather heavily on the PvE side of things up until now. Considering how much of it there is it’s understandable, but questing in the various zones and taking on raids alongside your fellow players isn’t the only way to kill time on Nexus. Oh no – if you want to put your skills to the test you can always dabble (or dive in completely) into the PvP offerings. I previously looked at one of the options available in an episode of Dealspwn Playthrough – with my Stalker coming up all kinds of victorious in Walatiki Temple – but last week I was invited by Carbine Studios to take part in a press event to sample the Battleground once more, and much has changed since I last ran around stealing Tiki masks. We’ll get to those details later on, though.
For now, let’s discuss how PvP fits into the delicious sandwich that is WildStar (and before you ask, yes – I’m writing this around lunchtime and I’m hungry, OKAY?) Like other MMOs that have emerged before it, WildStar has the usual modes to conduct righteous slaughter in, with open world and competative matches available, but in true Carbine style the developers have put their own spin on proceedings (thanks largely in part to the telegraph system, allowing for more action based content compared to tab-targeting mechanics.) As it stands, there are two ways to rack up the virtual kills before and after hitting the level cap – Battlegrounds and Arenas – and the best part of this is that taking part in does not distract from the levelling process. Players will earn XP based on their performance, along with loot to improve their gear, and specific crafting materials and recipes. The idea is that once a player hits level 6, it is up to them to decide if a career in hunting down the opposite faction is the right choice for them.
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This morning’s leak certainly spoiled the surprise for the folks at NCSOFT and Carbine Studios, but we can now bring you all the details for the release of the upcoming MMORPG WildStar. We already knew that it will be out on June 3rd, and we were already aware of a few pre-order goodies thrown in with each copy, but we can now tell you about the other stuff that wasn’t leaked this morning, such as the RRP and the Deluxe Edition.
Well into its second year of life now, Guild Wars 2 continues to keep the virtual populace of Tyria busy thanks to its Living Story. Through the initiative, players have fought off underground invaders, taken part in an election, and dealt with some sky pirates, but a lot of events have been building up to the latest update which goes live today. In the newest instalment of the Living Story, supervillan Scarlet Briar takes his forces and attacks one of the most iconic locations in the Guild Wars series – Lion’s Arch – and developers at ArenaNet are saying that the events of this invasion are going to have a lasting effect on Tyria.
In anticipation of the update we invited member of the community to submit some questions to Mike Zadorojny, the design lead on Guild Wars 2, so we’ve got his responses, along with a quick overview of Escape from Lion’s Arch, after the jump.Click here to read more...
So, that WildStar, eh? When it comes to PvE content, it had many, many layers, with groups of players having several ways to keep themselves busy, but besides the way Paths unlock the open world, and how instances provide a more traditional dungeon run, there is another way groups of players can band together. Carbine call them Adventures, and because of the way they are presented in-game it means that they have the potential to provide the most varied experience to those playing WildStar. To learn more about them, I was invited to take part in a Press run of one of these Adventures with two members of the EU Community Team at Carbine, Mark Hulmes and Jan Sterl.
Before we get into what sort of content you can expect from them, let’s explain how these Adventures fit into the world and lore of WildStar. The Eldan (a hyper-advanced race who lived on the planet Nexus long, long ago) left a lot of their stuff on Nexus before disappearing, and one such thing was The Caretaker – an AI construct responsible for overseeing the experiments that took place. With the arrival of the Dominion and Exiles to the planet, it now has new organics with which to perform tests in Simulation suites dotted around Nexus, and has graciously let those who discover these Sim Cores in to help with the experiments. The thing is, in the thousands of years that have gone by since the Eldan left, The Caretaker has developed some glitches that have made it, well, a little bit schizophrenic (ie. completely nuts) and so these simulations end up being a little more dangerous and random that expected.Click here to read more...
I'm classifying this one under "I can't believe this qualifies as a deal." Should you wish to pre-order TESO, this is the cheapest price around by a fiver, which will come in handy considering the subscription per month is £8.99. Included in this pre-order is a three-day headstart, an explorers pack, and a vanity pet to take on your virtual travels around Cyridil.
Now, I personally can't tell you if TESO is any good (NDAs and all that) but I can say that the mixed reception from the recent press previews are, well, justified. Hopefully we'll get some proper hands-on time with it in the near future and find some redeeming qualities, but if you really, really want to get involved at the game's launch, consider this deal your best bet. Thanks to EmperorRosko @ HUKD!
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We've explored a lot of the PvE side for upcoming MMO WildStar, but for today's episode of Dealspwn Playthrough, after several requests from our viewers, we finally get involved with the hectic PvP that will be available. Carl provides commentary as he takes Reinhold the Aurin Stalker into the battleground of Walatiki Temple. See how he fairs in his bid to snab some tiki masks by hitting the jump.
Just when we thought we wouldn’t have any WildStar to Wrap-up, we’re back with more details for the upcoming MMORPG. While we’ve been hammering the site with video content up the wazoo thanks to our access to the game’s first 15 levels, Carbine haven’t been resting on the laurels. For instance, they finally got round to doing that Stalker livestream, showing off the super-stealthy bastard in all its glory. Not only that, but the long awaited Pappy Vs Frost developer PvP showdown actually happened, and although Stephan Frost was (perhaps not surprisingly) victorious, Chad Moore definitely gave him a run for his money, so kudos Mr Lore-man!
That said, the highlight of the stream was clearly Hugh Shelton’s glorious beard, something I made quite clear to him on Twitter.
— Carl Phillips (@CarlPhillipsUK) January 19, 2014
Seriously though, it's as if he and my virtual alter ego McGarnagle were actually separated at birth. Evidence is below.
Anyway, let's get down to business.
Carbine and NCSOFT decided it would be fun to include me in a conference call for the next big information blowout on customization (which, yes, I know is spelt the American way, but I can’t stay mad at those scamps at Carbine. Basically, what I’m trying to say is – please send all your grammar correction feedback in the direction of Jeremy Gaffney.) You see, customisation (take that, letter ‘Z’!) is always fun in MMOs when players are given the opportunity to utilize it, and because Carbine recognised this early on in development they decided to incorporate it into the heart of the experience. To talk about this, head of PR for North American Michael Shelling headed up the call with several members of the Carbine team - social feature team lead Joseph Piepiora, creative director Matt Mocarski, systems designer Nick Roth, and class designer Hugh Shelton.
It’s worth pointing out that what you’re about to read is one of the biggest articles I’ve put together, and while all the information will be key to newcomers, there are definitely some new tidbits for those that live, eat and sleep WildStar. So, hold onto your butts - it's time to talk about customisation in housing, player characters, combat, and mounts.
Those of you who have already seen our episode of Dealspwn Playthrough dedicated to housing will already know a fair bit about this, but before we got to the new bits of info, social features team lead Joseph Piepiora gave us a rundown of the basics, so here's a recap. Players first get their own house at level 14 when they go to their respective faction’s capital – Thayd for Exiles and Illium for the Dominion – and are given a quest from intergalactic corporation Protostar to visit their “housing of the future” booth. After players have toured around the exhibit (and basked in the glorious muzak-esque tones that play while doing so) they are finally given a plot of floating land on which to call their own.