WildStar Grief, Stage 5.

Acceptance arrived quickly despite the soul-crushing blow dealt to my spirit today. I refer, of course, to the weekend beta code. Apparently the fine print was not read closely by yours truly, for upon the advent of the Auspicious Announcement, it turned out my NCSOFT login no longer allowed me to enter my WildStar account.

What fresh hell is this? WITCHCRAFT, I tell you!

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But fear not, dear reader, for I have consolation in spades. Well, maybe not spades, but in quantity enough to spare a bit for all. For there is yet more from LAST weekend I have not shared, and I shall do now here and now! Avaunt, ye melancholic humours!

Sorry. Lost myself a bit there. Back to it.

Tradeskills —

There’s tons of good video on W* tradeskills available. I horsed around with Technologist/Relic Hunter and could make some excellent medishots and buffs right away. Go Juice is awesome, by the way. Cheap to make, great for shortening travel time or escaping fights, and stacks vendor for upward of a gold, which will be very helpful come level 14 when you want to afford your house. Resources were extremely plentiful at least at the lower levels (and they should be: low-level unlocks should never have prohibitive usability barriers) and the crafting station became a go-to stop every time I returned to town. The variance system was a blast, although a bit painful to the checkbook.

(For those that don’t know, recipes frequently have variations that are created by paying game-cash to slot in other ingredients. Your one-hit medishot might be able to do its healing over time, or do a series of weaker heals and then one big blast at the end, for instance. It’s gonna cost ya, tho.)

An artificial economy needs sinks to balance currency value, however, and this could be a very effective method.

Lag —

I’ll admit my system isn’t cutting edge. Honestly, I’ve no idea what the average PC gamer’s rig looks like these days, but I’m probably on the low end if anything. I was not expecting flawless framerate with cranked graphics. Besides, it’s beta, for fuck’s sake. Things are going to be glitchy and psycho at times.

But good-god-almighty; people could not accept it. Every time I logged in I bailed out of the Advice channel ASAP just to ditch the tirades. Now, if you’ve got a crazy-ass system that usually eats benchmark software packages for lunch and spits out their skeletonized code fragments, sub-standard performance may not be a common experience for you. Understand one thing, however:

It does not mean a game is crap.

Yes, there were areas that I could barely operate in because my Mordesh was taking a single step every five seconds and then suddenly outrunning his own bullets, or firing assaults into phantom monsters that were not where they appeared to be. And I will ragequit for a good half-hour if I have to try and ride a waterspout up a cliff under severe lag problems again.

But I was still having fun. So suck it, lag — you can’t ruin MY day. Besides, server announcements proved that Carbine was well aware of the state of play and actively working to combat the problems. What more do you Advice channel douchenozzles want?

((Rant disclaimer — the majority of players seemed to be lovely folks who were overjoyed at seeing Nexus firsthand. My ire is directed only at the vocal turdmuffins who monopolized much of the chatbox space.))

Environment —

Love love love the interactive environment. Jumpy-platform ‘shrooms are beautiful things. And the achievement system. Wait, you get LOOT for achievements? Take my non-existent money! Hang on, if I use my scanbot to examine this totem I get a temporary flight form? Ye gods! And just across the river…

thisriverisactuallywashingmedownstreamandIhavetofightthecurrenttogetacrosswhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!

You’re still blowing me away, Nexus. Damn.

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WildStar Beta Weekend, Ep. 1

So what’s WildStar like?

It’s fresh. After several years of MMOs that seem to rehash the same mechanics, WildStar is the only one that seems to be willing to raise the bar. The game doesn’t treat you like a novice. The designers know they have a number of new systems and mechanics, and the game seems aware that much of the sequences of combat and exploration will be new to the players. They’ve put the effort into teaching new players how to work the systems and the environment, and while I was by no means an expert, I felt reasonably proficient fairly quickly.

If you’ve read anything about WildStar, you probably know about the highly mobile combat and the telegraph system. As I am more used to the stand-and-fire elements of World of Warcraft combat, I felt like the stereotypical redcoat faced with Native American hit-and-run warfare. ((Note: I am well aware of the historical inaccuracy of this metaphor.))

It’s at this point that one becomes fast friends with the Dash button.

Eventually you find your rhythm and begin to dodge most of the enemy telegraphs, and despite fights being a bit on the longer side, you have more health at the end of combat. Adds make life exponentially more complicated, but honestly, the frenetic pace is very enjoyable.

I’m a huge fan of the housing system as well — it unlocks at level 14, so I only got to play around with it briefly. Which brings me to my very first photo-journal!

This is Christoph R. Croake, Scientist, Spellslinger, Relic Hunter, and Technologist.

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Christoph just got an offer to visit the housing sales center by visiting the Protostar Sales Rep!

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One purchase later, and Christoph has his own sky-island.

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And starts building a house. Just a small one.

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This is where the mad science parties will happen. 

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After a few purchases, Croake has a viable living space…

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… and a tiny picnic area.

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Oooh, neighbors! Croake will invite them over for experimental chemistry dinner.

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Off to the auctioneer for some more property improvements. Where did he go?

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Whoops. Going to need a few more levels before Christoph can install his medical facilities.

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Will Christoph ever be able to have his own home research lab? How safe is it when you’re living several thousand feet in the air? Come back next beta weekend to find out!

Resurgence

Well, lasses and lads, it’s been almost a full year since my little game-blogging experiment went on hiatus. Life is a many-splendored thing (or are those the wrong lyrics?) and I’ve got my writing chops back. Besides, I just got in on the mother-effing WildStar beta, near as I can tell. So that’s hellaciously awesome.

Sad bit is, I don’t think I can play until after work tomorrow, assuming my semi-outdated system can even run the game. Fingers crossed.

So I’m going to tip my hand for you folks a bit and let you in on one of my favorite parts of game prep: Character Planning! Hopefully the names I want are available.

My first character is to be Christoph Croake, a Mordesh Spellslinger of dubious pedigree. I love the futuristic Victorian elements that Carbine’s applied to these Grismaran natives, and the tropes of Guns Akimbo and Omnidisciplinary Scientist blend together nicely. Since his planet was decimated by alchemy gone awry, a potentially-limiting class-based society has gone the way of the dodo (or whatever harmless alien bird species have been extinct-ified in a similar fashion), giving Christoph a fair option at making himself more than a working stiff. That’s a bit of a pun, for those who know their Mordesh lore.

Still not sure what he’ll look like, but there’s tons of options if you want to check them out.

So when/if I get WildStar up and running, expect a chunk of updates on what I like the bestest.

Ta!