On Sunday, just hours before recording our Tomodachi Life episode, I took the plunge and bought Wildstar. But before I spin yarns about Woodrow, my Granok warrior explorer styled after Tommy Lee Jones in Lonesome Dove, here’s some background.
My lady friend is vacationing for two whole weeks this July in hockey’s capital: Canada. This means I now have in my inventory 14 straight nights to play video games and eat pizza rolls (cheese only) lathered in A1 sauce and pretend I’m a teenager who has no interest in girls, chiseling my doughy body or the outdoors. There is no better time to get lost in an MMORPG than the aforementioned. Fortunately, I have had my eye on Wildstar for quite some time.
Upon hearing the news, Dan, bless his vigilant heart, pointed me in the direction of dexter_bl on Twitch whose channel offers a discount code for Wildstar at Green Man Gaming. This brought the grand total down to $45, a justifiable amount for a month long play session. Rarely will I pay a subscription fee for an MMO. Time will tell if Wildstar will get me to fork over the fee for an extra month of game time. MMOs are worse than arcade cabinets in that way; you don’t even have to lose to be charged to play more.
Now, back to the adventure at hand. When I say I’m a big fan of westerns it doesn’t mean I can list facts about every western movie ever made. It means I have an emotional attachment to the genre that isn’t based on knowledge. It’s an existential attachment to the lifestyle, moral code, politics and rugged righteousness of the old West. It’s amazing what happens to people when they’re more worried about dying in a multitude of ways than they are about their Starbucks order.
Enter Lonesome Dove, a western miniseries that premiered in 1989 starring Robert Duvall at his absolute best and Tommy Lee Jones who gives an understated performance while looking as smooth as Ryan Gosling at the prom (any prom) with just enough Indiana Jones ruggedness. It is on this character that I based my own, Woodrow the warrior explorer, in Wildstar.
The game begins with a fairly standard MMORPG character creation process. Choose your race, class, alignment (the Empire or the Rebellion as far as I can gather), what you look like and your "path." To me, this was the most exciting part of the character creation process (and ultimately the most fun part of my first gaming session) because it was different. I was not only picking a class for combat, but I was picking a life path, or a job. I didn't know exactly which And, just like Tommy Lee Jones in Lonesome Dove, I wanted to explore. So I chose the "Explorer."
Once dropped into the world, things got frantic rather quickly. I came out of the cryo chamber on a spaceship called the Gambler's Run and right away a rather spastic gentleman, known as Deadeye Brightland, asked for my help in locating his lost wife. Being the gentleman that I am, I obliged. When I found her, she needed to be relocated to the med bay--again I obliged and was happy to knock out some malfunctioning medbots along the way.
After making some friends over a well deserved drink, I was called upon yet again to help out. I assumed word of my achievements spread through the ship rather quickly. Turns out, this situation was more serious than medbots gone amok. The Dominion had attacked! The battle spread throughout the ship. I blitzed through some turrets, diffused some bombs, and ultimately repelled the invaders singlehandedly (can you believe NOBODY helped me?!).
All this hard work earned me a trip down to Nexus (the planet everyone is fighting over) where it turns out they could also use my help, but I'll save that for another day. Ah, the life of an exploring warrior.
All in all, my first session went rather smoothly. The game doesn't deviate too much from your standard MMORPG fare, at least at first glance. I picked up everything fairly quickly.
A couple things stood out, however. Combat is similar to Guild Wars 2 in that its very active. You're not just watching cooldown timers; you're actively moving around your enemies, dodging their attacks and placing yourself in the right spot to maximize the effects of your attacks. This removes the monotony and almost mathematical predictability of combat.
The exploration missions are by far my favorite part of the game so far. A couple times I was tasked with reaching a high point to plant a satellite as a quest objective. It made me feel like part of a club because only explorers are able to interact with the objects that open the paths to their destinations.
I absolutely look forward to playing more. MMORPG is one of my favorite genres, it's just a matter of finding the time to make a subscription worthwhile and having room to play other games too.
My future posts in this series will feature more screenshots and more of a "dear diary" feel with a brief discussion about the gameplay mechanics to wrap up. Stay tuned!
Have you tried Wildstar? What are your initial impressions? Is Woodrow bound for greatness? Let us know in the comments below!