Friday, February 21, 2014

A Wild Star is Born

My original plan hit a bit of a snag.

I started to really enjoy the Smuggler (Gunslinger) game play in SWTOR. He plays unlike anything I could play in WoW. My Smuggler hit 50 just before my subscription lapsed. I have a real life friend who is very active in SWTOR. He happened to have a level 50 alt and together we tackled Makeb. It was really great to be able to run with him again. We basically leveled up together in the early days of SWTOR.

Makeb was a nice planet, but I really missed the Class Stories. As I continued to level, I noticed that the more I played the Gunslinger, the more I enjoyed him. I decided to stay subbed, and I am now gearing him up for SWTOR raids.

But I'm not here to talk about SWTOR today. Lately, when we run our dailies or meet in the lunch room at work, my friend has been talking about this new game on the horizon.

It’s called Wildstar.

I hadn’t really considered Wildstar. Like RIFTS, Aion, LOTOR, Conan, Warhammer, EVE, and the dozens of other MMOs that have come out since I’ve been gaming, it didn’t hold much interest for me. I figured I’d play SWTOR for a while and eventually wind up back in WoW for Warlords.

About the same time, some of my old guild mates from WoW also started asking me about Wildstar. I never fully appreciated how much having a community, like the one I had in WoW, impacted how much I enjoyed the game.

With friends from every side asking me about it, I decided to give Wildstar a look. One night, while I was waiting for SWTOR's painfully slow patching process, I went on Wildstar’s site and started looking at videos. I started with what the obvious question “What is Wildstar?

I liked what I saw and fired up another video. And another. And another. I really liked the style and the humor. These guys aren't taking themselves too seriously. I really liked some of the ideas these guys were putting forth. They seem to ‘get it’. They seem to understand me. I don’t know if they have all the answers, but they seem to be asking the right questions. 

One example is their approach to Crowd Control.  They took crowd control, and looked at what made it work, what made it fun and what made it frustrating. I love the approach they ended up taking.

Disorient changes your keybinds. You can still move, you can still cast, but now forward is left and right is down. It is disorienting! But you don’t lose control of your character. When you get stunned, you spam the F key to break it. My favorite might be disarm. When you get disarmed, your weapons flies a small distance away. You are disarmed! Yet, you actively move over to your weapon and pick it up. You never lose control of your character. You never sit there and watch yourself helplessly get killed by that stupid Night Elf Rogue!

The game looks to be incredibly deep. I have no idea when it might release, but the combination of rejoining my old WoW buddies, my real life friend, and the design elements I've seen in the DevSpeak videos has put Wildstar firmly on my radar.

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