Choose My Adventure: Freeloading in WildStar

    
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Hello once again, friends, and welcome to a brand-new edition of Choose My Adventure. As you have probably already surmised, assuming that you read this post’s title, I’ve decided to do things a little bit differently this month by bypassing the game-selection process altogether. I know y’all like to have choices, and I like to provide them, but WildStar‘s much-discussed and long-awaited free-to-play transition seemed like a good enough reason to skip the formalities and just jump right in. I mean, let’s be real: The chances are pretty good that WildStar would have won the vote anyway.

On the plus side, however, since we’re not spending an entire post on choosing a game, that means that we get to spend a little more time with the game itself. As is tradition, however, this first post in the series is dedicated to choosing the character I’ll be playing for the duration of my time with WildStar. Unlike the previous two games we’ve visited in CMA, WildStar doesn’t provide any method of changing a character’s class after creation, so choose wisely! Now then, I think this introduction has reached the necessary state of being long enough to look substantial while not appearing overwhelmingly dense, so let’s cut to the chase.

We’ll start, as we always do, with the basics and work from the ground up. In addition to choosing my gender (which, it occurred to me, I have neglected to do in previous series), there is of course the matter of race. WildStar provides eight races from which to choose, and these races are evenly divided between two factions: the Exiles and the Dominion. While it might be easiest to summarize the the relationship between the Exiles and the Dominion by comparing it to the relationship between the Star Wars universe’s Republic and Empire, respectively, I feel like that runs the risk of oversimplifying the matter.

One thing that I particularly appreciated about WildStar during the time I spent with it way back when it first launched was that it generally seemed to avoid the all-too-common pitfall of “blue faction good; red faction evil” that seems to plague so many other games. At the outset, it may seem like the Exiles are the plucky, happy-go-lucky rebels who just want everyone to live in peace and harmony without the oppressive influence of the draconian Dominion, whose members probably kick puppies for fun. I don’t want to spoil anything, but suffice it to say that the events of the game’s storyline certainly cast a great deal of doubt on that perspective. But anyway, let’s get a little more information on the factions and the races that comprise them.

The Exiles faction, described on the official site as “a gutsy group of outcasts and mercenaries who have come to Nexus to find a new home,” is the result of an alliance between the Human, Granok, Aurin, and Mordesh races. Humans are, well, humans. I don’t think it would be entirely inaccurate to describe WildStar‘s Humans as the spacefaring equivalent of country bumpkins, and in my opinion, that tells you just about everything you need to know about them, but then again, I live in the South, so maybe it’s just a matter of experience.

Next up are the Granok, a race of hulking, stone-golem-esque humanoids who have found themselves exiled from their home planet in the wake of the war against the Dominion. The WildStar official site provides a tagline for the Granok: “Rock-skinned. Fearless. Hung over.” Again, that pretty much says it all.

The third race of the Exile faction is the Aurin. These rabbit-eared, bushy-tailed creatures are probably the scrappiest space-hippies you’ll ever meet, and after their homeworld was razed by the Dominion, they’re ready to fight for their new home.

Last up on the Exiles’ roster, we have the Mordesh, who are essentially your bog standard undead, but with a sci-fi twist: Rather than being literal reanimated corpses, the Mordesh have, by meddling with alchemical powers beyond their ken, been afflicted by a ravaging “degenerative disease,” which has brought them to Nexus in search of a cure. But really, they’re space zombies, and that’s awesome.

On the other side of the faction fence we have the Dominion. The Dominion is a galactic empire that traces its origin to an ancient and mysterious race called the Eldan, who disappeared from the face of the Earth — err, galaxy — centuries ago. The Dominion have claimed the planet Nexus as its own and wages war against the the band of would-be settlers known as the Exiles in order to defend its territorial rights. Fighting under the Dominion’s banner are the Cassian, Mechari, Draken, and Chua.

The Cassians are a race (or culture, I guess?) of Humans originally hailing from the planet Cassus. The naturally ingenious Cassians, after developing the means for interstellar travel, caught the eye of the Eldan. The Cassians eventually became the “chosen ones” of the Eldan, who charged them with establishing the empire and planting its banners across the galaxy. If the Exiles’ Humans are spacefaring country bumpkins, the Cassians are interstellar snobby aristocrats.

The second race of the Dominion is the Mechari, lumbering robots originally designed by the Eldan who now serve the Dominion as literal killing machines. The jury is still out on whether they feel pity, remorse, or fear, or if they absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

Next, we have the savage Draken. The Dominion — when it was comprised of only the Cassians and the Mechari — sought to enlist the reptilian Draken and put their talents as bloodthirsty hunters to good use. The only way to do so, however, was to defeat the Drakens’ leader in a duel. The reigning Dominion Emperor did just that, thus binding the Draken to the Dominion by an oath of eternal loyalty.

The final race to join the Dominion was the Chua. These diminutive rodent-folk were once a primitive, forest-dwelling race. The Dominion, seeking to draw the Chua into its ranks, decided to try to accelerate the Chuas’ technological advancement. The result: an entire race of tiny, fuzzy, sociopathic mad scientists with a penchant for blowing things (usually of the living variety) into oblivion.

Phew, all right, you got all of that? Good. While y’all mull over the options, let’s move on to the next order of business.

CMA: Choose my (character's) gender:

  • Male (53%, 256 Votes)
  • Female (47%, 224 Votes)

Total Voters: 480

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CMA: And how about his/her race?

  • Human (8%, 41 Votes)
  • Granok (9%, 48 Votes)
  • Aurin (17%, 86 Votes)
  • Mordesh (12%, 62 Votes)
  • Cassian (11%, 56 Votes)
  • Mechari (11%, 56 Votes)
  • Draken (6%, 30 Votes)
  • Chua (27%, 138 Votes)

Total Voters: 517

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WildStar offers six different classes to choose from, each with its own distinct mechanics, playstyle, and aesthetic flavor. It’s worth noting that each class can be used only by certain races. I’ll make a note of which races can take on each class, in case that influences the votes for my race, but in the event that the winning class is not usable by the winning race, the class will take precedence and I will simply choose the first applicable race with the most votes. My logic, if you’re curious, is that while my character’s race is largely aesthetic, its class has a direct influence on the mechanical gameplay and therefore takes priority. Anyway, enough disclaimers. Here are your WildStar class candidates:

Engineers make use of a wide array of high-tech weapons and lethal gadgets to dispatch their enemies. The class’s weapon of choice is the launcher, which is a good ol’-fashioned BFG capable of obliterating enemies with a barrage of sizzling energy blasts. Engineers don’t fight alone, though; they have at their command a number of bots, mechanical minions who can assist their masters in a variety of ways. Thanks to their versatile exo-suits, Engineers can fill the ranged DPS and tanking roles with equal aplomb.

Available races: Human, Granok, Mordesh, Cassian, Mechari, Chua

Espers are firm believers in the principle of mind-over-matter, which is pretty reasonable when you consider the fact that they can focus their considerable mental energies into psychokinetic weapons, armor, and more. Whether you want to perforate your enemies with swords forged of pure psychic power or you prefer sustain and bolster your allies presumably by simply thinking happy thoughts, when you’re an Esper, there’s no problem that can’t be fixed by using your noggin. On top of their psychic abilities, Espers wield sinister bladed chakrams known as psy-blades, which are useful not only as foci for channeling their psychokinetic powers, but also for reducing their enemies to a fine puree. Espers are capable of filling both healing and ranged DPS roles.

Available races: Human, Aurin, Cassian, Chua

This will probably come as a surprise, so you may want to sit down: Medics heal people. Crazy, right? But to say that’s all that they do would be doing them a great disservice. The high-tech resonators they wield are capable of mending even critical wounds in an instant, sure, but they’re just as capable of defibrillating baddies until they die of shock (hey, you knew there had to be a bad pun eventually). Medics can also lay down a variety of fields, which are AoE effects that can heal and buff their allies or cripple their foes. And for those situations where they just don’t feel like doing the work themselves, Medics can employ the use of probes that attach themselves to their targets, healing the Medic’s teammates and damaging his foes, all while he sips tea in his bathrobe. I mean, hypothetically, anyway.

Availables races: Human, Granok, Mordesh, Cassian, Mechari, Chua
Spellslinger

Once upon a time, people had to make a choice: Do I want to kill this chump with fancy, devastating magic, or with reliable old bullets? Then someone said, “to hell with that,” and became a Spellslinger. These talented gunmen meld the comfortable familiarity of tried-and-true firearms with the arcane awesomeness of raw magical power to fell their enemies by way of their powerful mag pistols. The mag is short for magic, if you couldn’t guess. Their lightning reflexes help them stay out of harm’s way while they use sorcerous gunshots and arcane sigils to kill anything that moves. Perhaps even more impressive than that, however, is the fact that they’re also capable of charging their mag pistols with rejuvenating energy, thereby becoming probably the first people ever to shoot someone to health.

Available races: Human, Aurin, Mordesh, Cassian, Draken, Chua

Stalker

If your idea of a good time includes copious amounts of sneaking and stabbing, then the Stalker is right up your (poorly lit) alley. These lethal assassins utilize razor-sharp claws to assist them in opening up any and all of their enemies’ essential veins and arteries. And if a plain-and-simple shanking just won’t get the job done, don’t fret; Stalkers also come equipped with all manner of devious devices, such as explosive mines and life-siphoning darts, to add that special “je ne sais quoi” to their day-to-day massacres. And of course, no self-respecting assassin would be caught. Period. But he also wouldn’t be caught — alive or dead — without his versatile (and stylish) nano skin suit, which allows him to vanish from sight in addition to providing a number of useful augmentations such as increased evasion, enhanced health regeneration, and boosted damage. Stalkers are, of course, right at home in the role of melee DPS, but they’re capable tanks as well.

Available races: Human, Aurin, Mordesh, Cassian, Mechari, Draken

Warrior

No roster of MMORPG classes would be complete without a guy whose sole purpose in life is to crush his enemies, see them driven before him, and hear the lamentations of their women. The Warrior is that guy. With fearsome power sword in hand, the Warrior rushes his enemies head-on in hopes of cutting their heads off. A gargantuan sword infused with what may or may not be nuclear energy, elegant though it may be, sometimes isn’t the most practical weapon of choice. That’s where the arm cannon comes in. Despite what the name may imply, the Warrior’s arm cannon does more than just make things violently explode; it’s actually more like a Swiss Army knife, only with fewer can openers and more riot shields, buzzsaws, harpoons, and a variety of other tools suitable for any number of situations. Their raw, brute strength makes them equally capable in melee DPS and tanking roles.

Available races: Human, Granok, Mordesh, Cassian, Mechari, Draken

CMA: Class me up, baby

  • Engineer (23%, 117 Votes)
  • Esper (15%, 73 Votes)
  • Medic (18%, 90 Votes)
  • Spellslinger (28%, 140 Votes)
  • Stalker (8%, 41 Votes)
  • Warrior (8%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 501

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And the last of your choices, though certainly not the least of them, is my character’s path. For the uninitiated, paths can be thought of as something akin to a subclass, or perhaps more appropriately, a “side-class.” There are four paths available — each of which is loosely based on one of the four types of MMORPG players as described by the Bartle Test, for those who are familiar with it — and each one emphasizes a different facet of WildStar‘s gameplay.

The Explorer focuses on exactly what you would expect it to. The missions and gameplay elements unique to the Explorer path tend to include objectives that send players into the farthest corners of the world. Explorers will find themselves climbing mountain summits, diving into the uncharted depths of the sea, and everything in-between, all in the name of mapping the land and exploring the great unknown. As a result, they are granted a number of abilities to aid them in their expeditions, including an ability that allows them to slow their fall in mid-air and another that allows them to place a translocation beacon in any location, allowing them to teleport back to it at any time.

The Scientist path specializes in learning everything there is to know about everything that’s worth knowing. Lore junkies will find themselves right at home in the Scientist’s shoes, as it focuses on objectives that reveal new, intriguing information about the the planet Nexus, its history, and the flora and fauna that inhabit it. The accomplished Scientist is capable of utilizing a hologram to distract his enemies, summoning his party members to his location, and opening portals to his faction’s capital city.

Settlers are all about working together to build something magnificent. Or, if not magnificent, at least useful. Those who undertake the path of the Settler spend their time gathering up building materials which are used to erect and improve a number of helpful structures for their fellow players to utilize and enjoy. An experienced Settler will gain a number of skills largely focused on personal convenience, including the ability to summon a mailbox, a vendor bot, and even an entire crafting station.

The Soldier is the path for players who like their combat to come with a side order of even more combat. Soldiers will find themselves carrying out assassination contracts, rescuing hostages from enemy territory, and defending valuable assets against waves of attackers. In short, Soldiers kill lots of things. Conveniently enough, they also unlock a variety of abilities that make them even better at killing lots of things. Are you surprised? I thought not.

CMA: Last question! Which path should my character take?

  • Explorer (38%, 181 Votes)
  • Scientist (27%, 129 Votes)
  • Settler (22%, 104 Votes)
  • Soldier (14%, 67 Votes)

Total Voters: 481

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All right, we’re finally done. Were those enough choices for you? If not, I’m concerned for your well-being. This column is already approaching “TL;DR” length, so I’ll wrap this up succinctly in the usual manner: Cast your votes by Friday, October 2nd, at 11:59 p.m. EDT, and be sure to join me next week as I unveil the results and take my first steps on this new adventure. Until then, friends!

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Matt each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures — and you get to decide his fate. Be gentle (or not)!
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Obzedat
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Obzedat

PVP is basically World of SpellSlingerSpamCraft.

thickenergy
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thickenergy

ColdinT thickenergy So I discovered. Was trying to make a character really quick before I got disconnected and got the server message about the hotfix. Was stable without any disconnects afterwards.

Now I just have to get used to the art style. I’m having a hard time seeing anything because the aesthetic for the game is so everything all the time. It’s very busy.

Radfist
Guest
Radfist

flatline4400 Apparently they are looking into making multiple paths available.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the cash shop at some point.

Radfist
Guest
Radfist

thickenergy Yeah apparently the queue shows up as super long for F2P players but if you jump out and back in you can get in instantly? Its odd. As a subscriber I haven’t had a queue yet.

ColdinT
Guest
ColdinT

thickenergy What happened was there was a person (maybe multiple people), that whenever they logged in would also crash the servers. They had to implement a hotfix to address the problem, but now the servers are pretty stable.

jonny_sage
Guest
jonny_sage

Dont worry, you have two days to cast your vote while Matt waits in the queue.

DasBenty
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DasBenty

thickenergy I had a massive queue last night, logged off, then 2 hours later logged in with no wait. But then I was disconnected due to server lag…

thickenergy
Guest
thickenergy

…but I can’t stay connected for more than 10 minutes at a time apparently. Guess I’ll wait a week and see if things stabilize.

thickenergy
Guest
thickenergy

…and apparently that was a lie? Tried again and it let me right on. Is there a bug with the login queue?

thickenergy
Guest
thickenergy

Not sure how much going ftp is going to help with only one PvE server and a 6-hour login queue to get on it.