Welcome, everyone, to another installment of Choose My Adventure: WildStar edition. Last week, Bonongo Jazz, Chua Spellslinger-slash-Explorer-slash-Architect extraordinaire, arrived at the Dominion outpost of Lightreach Mission in the (relatively) untamed wilds of Ellevar. Here, a new world of opportunities opened up to me as I entered what is arguably the first “real” — that is to say, non-starter — zone of the game so far, and I asked you folks, as always, to choose which of those opportunities I should pursue.
The vote on Bonongo’s tradeskill choice went overwhelmingly in favor of Architect, the profession responsible for crafting furnishings, decorations, and other assorted accoutrements for player-housing customization. Accordingly, I picked up survivalist as my gathering profession in order to supply myself with the ecosystem-destroyingly huge quantities of lumber needed to make sweet couches and beds and stuff. Meanwhile, in regard to which role I would build Bonongo to fill, DPS managed to creep ahead of healing for the win. I guess there really isn’t much point in having guns that shoot freaking magic unless you’re going to use them to viciously kill everything in sight.
Over the course of the weekend, I decided to get my hands dirty and dived into WildStar‘s crafting system. I also did some other things, but honestly, I have some pretty strong opinions on the crafting, so we’ll see how much of that I actually have space to talk about.
One of the first things I did upon logging in this weekend was head straight for the tradeskill trainer and choose my professions, which, as I mentioned, are Architect and Survivalist. I picked up the introductory Architect quest, which required me to create a basic fence, and booted up the crafting station. Much to my disappointment, it seems that crafting (at least at low levels) has not been changed much (if at all) since the last time I played.
In order to craft an item, you have to complete a sort of crafting minigame. Now, ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you that I love crafting minigames. Seriously, I do. Nothing pleases me more than a game that puts forth the effort to make crafting an engaging activity rather than the usual “press a button and wait until the bar fills up” drudgery that most games use. That being said, the crafting minigame for Architects — which is shared by Technologists and Cooks — is known as “coordinate crafting,” and I pretty thoroughly hate it. Why? Well, when you go to craft an item, you’re presented with what looks like an archery target, like this:
As you can see from the screenshot, there are two areas within the “target” that are highlighted with little crosshairs with icons in them; these are “variant recipes,” which are essentially items that are, surprise, slight variants on the original recipe, and generally they’re a little fancier (or at least more unique) than the base recipe. For instance, in the above screenshot, the base recipe is for sienna-colored bullrush grass, while the variants are yellow-green bullrush grass and green, “grass-only” bullrush grass. You may have also noticed that, on each edge of the panel, there’s a symbol that corresponds with the symbols at the top of each of the first four “additive” categories on the right-hand side.
Now, if you want to craft standard, sienna-colored bullrush grass, you don’t really have to do anything; just click “craft” and it’s done. But if you want to craft one of the variants, I have to use additives, each of which costs a certain amount of money to use. When an additive is used, it places a little marker on the field, starting from the center of the target’s “bullseye.” In the screenshot above, you can see how, if I were to use the heartwood peg additive, it would place a marker on the field somewhere in the vicinity of the little orange crosshair. So to craft a variant item, you have to use additives to get your marker to land inside the green circle of the variant you want to craft, and you have to do so within the allotted number of moves (shown at the top-left corner of the panel).
Don’t get me wrong: I understand where Carbine is coming from on this one. There needs to be some element of randomness. If there weren’t, then WildStar‘s otherwise fairly engaging crafting system would quickly become formulaic and tedious. After all, if you know the combination of additives needed to craft a given variant, then all you end up doing is mindlessly clicking the right buttons and wishing for the old press-button-and-wait system.
But I think the devs have gone about it in entirely the wrong way. Rather than having the markers be placed at semi-random spots within the additive’s preview crosshair’s range, I think it would be considerably more gratifying — or, at the very least, considerably less frustrating — if it were the variant target zones that moved around. Done that way, the system would prevent the problem of players simply memorizing (or looking up) the right additive combinations for each one while also preventing the sheer rage of knowing that the only reason you were unable to craft that item was pure bad luck. Of course, they’d probably have to rework (or remove) the preview crosshairs, otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a challenge in reaching the target area, but I still think that would be better than the current coordinate crafting mechanic.
Anyway, that being said, I was ultimately unable to do too much crafting this weekend because, despite the fact that most Architect recipes do rely heavily on wood (which, as I said, I was able to gather myself as a Survivalist), most of the initial recipes also require a great deal of iron, and since I’m not a miner (and didn’t have access to the auction house at that point), I had no reliable way of acquiring it. I did manage to get some by salvaging the occasional heavy armor drop, but ultimately I didn’t come across for enough iron to make more than three or four items. But hey, at least now I have an incredibly small fence for my currently hypothetical house.
Phew, that was a way longer diatribe than I had anticipated. I’ll keep the rest brief so we can get on to the good stuff, like, you know, the voting and whatnot. As you probably recall, the other matter y’all voted on last week was Bonongo’s build. It was decided that I should build him as a DPS, and so I have. I have to say that I really like the way that WildStar handles build customization. On top of the usual talent points, which WildStar refers to as AMPs, characters also gain ability tier points, which can be used to “level up” individual abilities.
As shown in the screenshot below, each ability is divided into eight tiers (the boxes to the right of each ability icon). Advancing the tier of an ability generally just gives it a small boost to its efficacy, such as an increase in damage, but reaching a “milestone” tier (the longer rectangular sections of the tier bars) provides a major power-up to — and sometimes also alters the basic functionality of — the ability in question.
Take Charged Shot, one of my core high-damage abilities, for example: The minor tier upgrades just boost its damage, but the first major milestone tier — tier four — causes it to pierce targets’ shields, and its second — tier eight — adds a damage-over-time effect in addition to the basic damage. Of course, as you can tell, I don’t currently have enough ability tier points to actually unlock any of those milestone tiers, but still, deciding which abilities to tier up is one of the more interesting character-building choices that WildStar provides.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, I did some other stuff over the weekend — specifically, I dabbled in some PvP battlegrounds and ran the first introductory dungeon — but I didn’t participate in either activity enough to have anything particularly interesting worth writing about this week. In today’s vote, however, you’ll get the chance to change that. As far as my combat-centric endeavors are concerned, this week I’d like y’all to vote on where I should put my focus during this weekend’s playtime. The options include, of course, the aforementioned dungeons and battlegrounds, for those of you who are interested in getting a closer look at the game’s PvE or PvP group content — but wait, there’s more!
At the conclusion of my time on Nexus this weekend, I arrived in the Dominion capital of Illium, and with my arrival came a delightful real estate offer from a Protostar representative, which means that player housing is now available to me. So, if you’d like me to hang up my weapons for a weekend and put on my interior-decorator hat instead, that’s certainly on the table! Just scroll on down to the poll below and cast your vote, but make sure to do so by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 23rd, and I’ll be seeing y’all next week. Until then, friends!
CMA: Dungeons, battlegrounds, or interior design?
- Dungeons (44%, 66 Votes)
- Battlegrounds (9%, 13 Votes)
- Player Housing (47%, 70 Votes)
Total Voters: 149