Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A Week in Gaming: Wildstar - Day 4

Greetings friends!

One week after the Wildstar launch I am now ready to give you the fourth and final post complete with conclusion.

For previous posts please see:

Wildstar: A Review in Progress
A Week in Gaming: Wildstar - Day 1
A Week in Gaming: Wildstar - Day 2
A Week in Gaming: Wildstar - Day 3

Day 4: Monday
So after seeking to help out the Aurin Queen assign an impotent leader I met my contact. He was a Mordesh scientist who had received information about an Eldan site not too far from our town, so gathering a team of researchers we set off.

The site was huge with areas flooded by water and lots of service mechs keeping random bits in working order.

The Mordesh scientist believed that this site was the home for an Eldan AI construct and if we could befriend it we might be able to learn secrets about this mysterious race.

Located on both north and south sides of the complex were large green teleport gates and stepping inside the north portal I was whizzed away to deep within the Eldan complex. Within this site strange organic creatures floated overhead and I tried my best to avoid them.

The news came in from the scientist; the consoles located around the chamber I was in were locks to the AI chamber and after unlocking each of them by playing a quick game of Simon (you know, matching the colour sequence? Blue, Blue Green, Blue Green Red, Blue Green Red Red) the main AI chamber opened up.

By now it had become apparent that the AI was not only hostile, it was flat out crazy! And as I entered his chamber he spoke to me softly at first followed by a maniacal laugh proclaiming that while he was not programmed to kill me, that doesn't mean he wouldn't take pleasure in it.

Utilising a hack code provides by the Mordesh scientist I was able to shut down the AI's access to the structure and it's avatar shifted for a deep red to a vibrant green as control was shifted from this AI; the AI of Augmentation, to another more friendly AI; the AI of Security.

Leaving the chamber I made my way to the South portal, here was another chamber that was controlled by the Augmentation AI and was protected by more security bots, complete with bright green lasers. I didn't know if they were insta-death but I wasn't going to take the chance and danced a merry jig around them to the control nodes hidden behind which allowed me to replace this AI avatar with that of our friend the Security AI.

Following on from this there was one last thing to do, I needed to scale the complex and deal with the third and final avatar of the Augmentation AI.

The journey was pretty straightforward, just a run and a jump here, a platform there and before I knew it I was at the top of the complex with a giant battered war-mech laying dormant opposite me.

Now I've played enough games to know where this was going, and anticipating a boss fight I destroyed the power batteries that gave the AI control of the facility.

With my guns charged I waited for the war-mech to awaken, but to my surprise this did not happen. Instead the Security AI materialised and drained the Augmentation AI of it's remaining energy before leaving to maintain full control of the facility.

Something about this encounter didn't sit well with me. I had taken a super charged facility out of the hands of it's designated AI and handed it to another, one that I suspect I will see at a later point when he will be less than friendly.

Returning to the Mordesh scientist I have him my info including a data cube that contained an encrypted message.

Utilising all my skill and talent in button clicking I was able to decrypt this message which revealed a number of things, including the arrival of the Dominion in a nearby canyon and their intention to use the Eldan tech located there to destroy the Exile's Ark ship.

The Mordesh at the camp agreed to help me out including a sniper who kept watch over the following fray.

Bullets flew and the Dominion bots fell like flies before me. I planted bombs, added spybots to their tech and killed everyone who stood in my way.

In little time at all I had made it to the Command & Control room of the Dominion base and was downloading the coordinates of the ship that commanded this base of Dominion soldiers; my new mission? To destroy the ship with the very weapon they intended to use against us!

The Eldan gun was pretty straight forward to operate, type in the coordinates and press go!

I would have liked it a little more if the coordinates hadn't been handed to me, if they were perhaps written down on a wall somewhere and I had to find them, but all the same, I was given the coordinates and greeted by a short cutscene of the turret gun powering up and firing out into space followed by debris raining from the skies.

This was a pretty epic mission chain and returning back to camp in pretty much felt like the awesome hero! I had stopped a rampaging AI opening Eldan secrets to my faction and at the same time stopped the Dominion from massacring the people on my ark ship. Yes this was done by doing the same to them, but still; their ship is full of soldiers and an army, ours is full of settlers and civilians.

This brought my first week of gameplay to a close and it is a shame really as I know there is a lot to come that I experienced before in beta; included in this list is our awesome looking capital city, player housing and the customisation of said plots, mounts, dungeons and many more.

But on that note allow me to summarise the points of note so far:

Fast gameplay with responsive controls, a strong cartoony visual style, lots of highly animated characters and a bucket load of content!

Repetitive gameplay, a strong cartoony visual style with a need for further optimisation, an on rails feeling to questing.

The gameplay is good, if you like questing and "Kill X of Y" requirements. Yes it is a % based objective with tougher enemies offering a higher % than weaker enemies, but it's still the same mechanic.
The graphics are very striking which ultimately means it will polarise the MMO player base much like Marmite. I love it, but that doesn't mean everyone will. Plus the game as if last night still suffers from a need for further optimisation, better driver support and all the usual jiggery and pokery.
There is a bucket load of things to do, my personal favourite being the customisation of your housing and the fact that others can visit it; I know for a fact that two people on my server have made their housing available as Exile bars for random Role Play encounters. I can see myself spending a lot of downtime there.
Sadly this does not detract from the fact that it feels you are being dragged along from area to area almost never revisiting a hub you were at before. When I compare that to my current favourite game TSW it furthers the feeling that TSW is designed more as a living world and less a theme park. But saying that, it does theme park very well and I would honestly rather spend a day on Nexus than I would Alton Towers (not a roller coaster fan).

So as you see there's a lot of pros and cons to all sides. I hope this has given you some food for thought and that I'll be able to see you ingame:

Yaroslav: Mordesh Spellslinger
Lightspire EU (PVE-RP)

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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