Wildstar Beta Weekend: A Preview Of NCSOFT’s Upcoming MMORPG

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Wildstar has two factions, the Exiles and the Dominion. The two factions are battling it out on planet Nexus, a magical place crawling with crazy creatures and covered in massive beautiful and brutal landscapes. The story is presented to us with a series of well animated cut-scenes, which are bursting with humour and brilliant voice acting.

I decided to opt for the Exiles. Each faction has four races to choose from – I made an Aurin to begin with and picked the “Stalker” class, which is basically a techno-rogue with retractable blades. Character customisation options were plentiful, so I created an incarnation of the Cinelinx mascot, Linxy!

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Each character must select a “Path”. Paths are something which you level up as you progress through the game by completing Path specific quests and tasks. I chose the Explorer path, which from very early on lead me on a series of exciting missions, such as scaling a massive meteor and climbing a giant tree. Paths also unlock spells, abilities and titles, as well as providing benefits for the community. Paths are a brilliant way to tailor your levelling experience to the way that you want to play. (Other Paths include: Soldier, Settler, Scientist)

The first few sets of quests serve to familiarise players with the basics of the game, which were very easy to understand and adapt to. Perhaps my experience with MMORPGs lended me a hand here, but I can’t imagine it being too daunting for a newcomer either. I noticed the character animation was fluid and expressive which added a high level of charm to the experience throughout.

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The game REALLY begins when you arrive on planet Nexus (if you are playing with a friend, make sure you use the same terminal to leave the starting zone, as you get a choice of two). I mean, one minute I was battling a huge robot in a spaceship, the next I am on a vivid green field wrestling with overgrown chickens.

The questing system is easy to follow, although the map can become cluttered and it can be hard to work out where it is you are meant to be going. Wildstar also has a thing called “Challenges.” I activated one by jumping into the air to touch a golden butterfly, which then triggered a countdown timer which told me to collect as many butterflies as possible. Depending on how well you do, depends on how yummy your loot will be at the end of the Challenge. Challenges seem to be scattered around everywhere, where you would least expect them to be.

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Already I was kind of taken aback by the amount of content that had been thrown at me, and couldn’t believe how much fun I was having. The combat somewhat contributed to this, as instead of targeting players,you aim spells/shots/weapon swings at them. It probably sounds harder than it is, but it’s such a refreshing and interesting change from the usual “target and press button” formula that many other MMORPGs use and is easy to adapt to.

After having a good play with my Stalker, I decided to try another class, the Medic (well, I actually accidentally made an Engineer but played all the way to level 5 without noticing because I was too blinded by fun).

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I fell for the Medic, much harder than I did for the Stalker, and ended up levelling all the way to 15, 17 being the max for Beta weekend characters. During this time I did quite a lot of PvP in a battleground called Watiki temple.

The PVP can seem wild, as a lot of the time people are zerging around in groups, but as with any PVP situation it’s about putting yourself in the right place, at the right time (and avoiding Spellslingers, they HURT). Being a healer I was normally involved in group fights and making sure our “flag carriers” returned to our base safely. I had a great time and from what I observed, so did everyone else.

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When I reached level 15 I was very excited to be given my own plot of land. Actual player housing. My eyes watered a bit.

I completed a small pre-quest and was given a few items to place inside my house, then followed a basic tutorial on house building to create my very own in-game dream home. You can opt to become neighbours with other players, meaning you can visit each other’s land.

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With only the gold I had acquired through levelling, I still had enough to buy a good few items for my home, as well as giving it new flooring, wallpaper and lighting. It is clear that if I had zillions of gold, I could build something Queen worthy. I actually suspect that when I play retail, this is where most of my gold will go.

In Conclusion

The Wildstar Beta is single-handedly the best Beta experience I have ever had. The game is enriched with so much depth, imagination, humour and originality that it stands out from the crowd in it’s own right. Wildstar is incredibly immersive, I found myself constantly wanting to explore, and being rewarded when I did.

At this point, I would recommend trying out Wildstar to anyone looking for a new MMORPG to sink their teeth into. I regret that I didn’t get to try out any dungeon content, but the other areas of the game seemed polished and promising.

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I have a definite thirst for more, I cannot wait to experience more content and see what the future holds for this seemingly incredible game.

Wildstar will launch on June 3rd 2014 and is available for pre-order now!