All The Heals! Dubstep Lights! DANGERZONE.
After four weeks of talking about the previously known classes of WildStar, we finally dive into new territory with today’s Class Drop Wrap-up. As usual, I’ll be bringing you my take on the information we’ve had thrown at us by Carbine Studios, highlighting anything that’s caught my eye over the last seven days and giving you a rundown of what we can expect from this newly-unveiled class. I’ll also probably be teasing the massive barrage of WildStar coverage that will go live on Dealspwn later this week, because I’ve got a massive barrage of WildStar coverage that will go live on Dealspwn later this week, conveniently enough. So, you know, that’s cool.
Surely you’ve been keeping up to date with the rest of my wrap-ups? What’s that? You haven’t?! You absolute swine – use the helpful hub below to get up to speed and then make sure it never happens again.
Traditionally, the healers in MMOs have been the backline support troops, standing at the rear of the epic encounters and making sure their buddies don’t scuttle off the virtual coil too quickly. On the bright side, they get to see the battle unfold with the best view in the house, but adversely, for the most part, they have to stand at the back watching health bars for ten to fifteen minutes. In a way, up until now they’ve been like the sober person at a rocking party – just standing there watching everyone have fun, and then when the place gets trashed they get blamed because they were sober enough to do something about it. Well, dear healers, prepare to get drunk* because the Medic finally lets you get up close and personal with your healing. With this high-tech class, you’ll be able to dive into the action to keep your friends alive. In fact, you could say…
So, let’s get to know the Medic. Wearing medium armour which allows them to withstand a moderate level of punishment, and wielding a pair of Resonators capable of executing abilities at medium range, they may not have the range that Spellslingers and Espers do, but this is counter by the fact the Medic is the most mobile healer in the game, with all but one of their abilities usable while on the move. The thing is, they’re more than just a healer as they’re just as capable of dealing damage and controlling the battlefield with deployable ‘fields,’ making them a valuable asset in a group no matter their role. In the words of producer Stephan Frost, the Medic can do “face melting or face healing,” or even do both at the same time in a process I have decided will be known as “mealing.”
Tell your friends – it’s going to be a thing.
The resource Medics use are power cores – four orbs that are fully charged and ready to go at the start of a fight and are spent on using powerful abilities, each costing one or more cores to activate. Medics can recharge their cores by using their builder ability (a basic attack or heal) although once out of combat all four power cores will refill for the next encounter, making it a fairly straight forward affair at a basic level – as long as they have power cores, a Medic can get their dubstep on.
There’s a reason I bring up dubstep, because the visuals (and telegraphs) for the Medic will make the battlefield into a light show from a Skrillex gig thanks to lazer effects shooting off everywhere. The comparison to Tron made by Frost in the recent DevSpeak is fairly apt in terms of the visual effects, with data glyphs popping up and most of the telegraphs having a rather square appearance to provide a unique approach to combat compared to what we’ve seen from the classes so far. Another example of this is the cascading movements of certain Medic abilities. For example, Fissue causes two waves of damage to close in on a central point, meaning anything between these waves has mere moments to dodge forwards and backwards to avoid damage. In fact, that’s just one example of how the Medic can control the battlefield, funnelling foes into specific directions, although this is primarily achieved through the use of another Medic mechanic – Stations.
These placeable fields are the way Medics deliver their AoE abilities, creating huge squares with tiny bouncing squares within them that can cause damage, snare foes, or even provide a healing zone for friendlies to recover inside. During the livestream (archived here) we got see these in action, with class designer Marc Matzenbacher mentioning skilled Medics can create choke points if Stations are placed correctly, and the Reddit AMA (found here) confirmed that, should the need arise, Stations of different kinds can be placed upon each other to create a stacking effect. Need both damage and healing in the same spot? You can do that. Have more than one Medic and need to do a lot of healing to a group? Place down two healing Stations and watch the health fly back up.
The final surprises up the Medic’s sleeves are Probes, which are effectively fancy looking damage or healing over time (otherwise known as DoTs and HoTs.) Medics can activate these probes to orbit specific targets to provide gradual damage, healing, buffs or debuffs, but with an added twist – probes can be detonated to provide an explosive end to their use. This means DoT probes will explode for a quick burst of damage, while healing probe will top up a friendly’s health bar. It was confirmed in the recent Reddit AMA that these probes cannot be destroyed by enemy fire and that, while Medics can detonate them early, probes will eventually explode if left alone.
As the AMP system has shown us, players can turn their character into an effective multi-role hybrid capable of dishing out some soothing rays and sweeping those deeps in equal measure (while not to the same degree as a dedicated healer or DPS, of course) but out of all the classes available the Medic will have the easiest time of achieving the Hybrid dream. This is due to some of their abilities providing support and damage effects at the same time, such as Shield (which deals damage to enemies and restores Shields to allies) and Paddle Shock (which, after scoring a critical hit, deals damage to enemies and heals allies in front of the Medic.) Considering how the LAS will allow players to pick and choose abilities to create the ideal build, I reckon we’ll see some exciting combinations both in PvE and PvP.
The livestream once again showed the class of the week in various situations, with PvE questing demonstrated (along with an “OH SHIT” moment where the Medic managed to beat the odds), PvP encounters in both planned and ‘unplanned’ open world combat, and in a group dungeon run as we saw the conclusion of Stormtalon’s Lair. Let’s quickly sum up the PvP for a moment - the Medic is clearly able to hold their own in a one-on-one fight. Kiting enemies through Stations and applying probes makes it a formidable foe (at least against Stalkers) so in the hands of a skilled player the Medic could easily turn the tide in a fight. However, the livestream not only gave us another taste of open-world PvP, it debuted the Engineer in all their bot-accompanying glory.
Two things I took away from that demonstration – A) the local wildlife isn’t going to care much for your petty Exile Verses Dominion squabbles (Galehorn Roamer be angry, yo), and B) open world skirmishes in WildStar will probably be the scrappiest things ever. As the devs pointed out in the livestream, throwing a healer into the mix will (providing the players are any good) extend the fight beyond a few minutes, and when you throw that into the randomness that is open-world combat it makes me wonder if we’ll see conflicts as intense and as brutal as anything we saw in Tarren Mill / Southshore in vanilla WoW.
Ah, memories of the other side always taking out the flight master / quest giver. ARGH.
That said, for me it was the final part of the Stormtalon’s Lair dungeon that interested me the most, and will no doubt have educated those who plan to be dedicated healers in WildStar. Case in point, Marc Matzenbacher stressed that because healers won’t be playing the “UI health bar game” that they previous did in other MMOs, they will have to communicate more with their team and be far more aware of the action. Personally I suspect that, thanks to the moddable UI, players will be able to make player health bars more prominent during a dungeon run to make it easier to identify friendlies with low health, but even with that possibility I feel that, much like with the other classes in WildStar, MMO players will need to readjust the way they play. After all, this isn’t tab-targetting combat anymore – this is far more twitch-based, and reaction time will be far more key than it ever was previously.
Also, the final boss of Stormtalon looks absolutely awesome, yet ridiculously intense. Those telegraphs are going to be interesting to survive, and that’s just a level 20 boss. Imagine what’s in store at level 50…
Right, let’s quickly round-up the rest of the stuff from this week’s reveals. Sticking with the Medic topic for a moment, the AMA revealed that the due to the limited range of the Medic’s offensive capabilities, it will have a number of ways to escape from harm’s way or save their friends in times of trouble. Examples such as Urgency – where the Medic will blink to the nearest enemy or friendly target, and do damage or heals as needed – or Extricate – where two players in the same group will be pulled to the Medic to save them from a deadly telegraph. PvPers will most likely want Restraint Grid in their setup, as it teleports the Medic backwards and leaves a snaring Station behind – perfect for trapping enemies or for a quick getaway. Also, and this is quite important apparently (considering the number of times it was asked in the AMA), players will be able to be a Chua as a Medic despite the official page omitting them from the lineup. Basically, don’t fret – your techno space hamster dreams remain a reality.
In more general news, It was confimed that WildStar’s PvP will feature more maps and objectives when the game launches beyond the variation on Capture the Flag that has been mentioned previously. What this entails we don’t know, but I suspect Carbine has a few surprises up its sleeve if what we’ve already seen is anything to go by. Also, despite the continued calls for plush toys of the Rowsdowers (and the Evil Rowsdower from the recent DevSpeaks) the developers have no idea if they’ll get made, although they are aware of the demand for them.
And finally, in Pappy Vs Frost grudge match news, while the devs promise it will happen soon, word is that Chad Moore is trying to hold off the oncoming storm. One WildStar fan took it upon themselves to do a spot of photoshopping to put their view across on who would win. The end result is what I would describe as ‘ too punny.’
And on that bombshell, we’re done this this week. We’ll be back next Tuesday for the final instalment of our Class Drop Wrap-Ups, as the Engineer will finally have their moment to shine. In the meantime, you may want to stay tuned to Dealspwn.com on, I dunno, Thursday afternoon because I cannot confirm or deny that there will be a massive blowout of things relevant to this article. Also, I cannot confirm or deny that there will be much in-game video content. Furthermore, I cannot confirm or deny there will be an interview or some sorts, and I cannot confirm or deny this all has something to do with the event I attended last week.