WildStar: Putting a bow on Galeras

My goal during this past weekend was to put a wrap on Galeras with my Engineer and move on.  Galeras isn’t a horrible zone… but it isn’t my favorite, either.  The “pretty” parts don’t really stir any feelings in my soul, and the war-torn battlefields and grey canyons are depressing.  All the more so that I know that gorgeous Whitevale lays ahead.  So I pressed on and finished up the last dozen or so quests.

All I had to do after that was to finish up my Scientist path missions.  I try to be vigilant in doing these as I go through the zone, but I had three unfinished, with one of those being 14/20 datacubes found.  Big sigh and then I hunkered down with an out-of-game map to track down everything, do a puzzle to open a door, ta da, I’m done.

It actually was pretty beneficial.  I got to level 15 with my Scientist and level 24 with my Engineer (hello bolt cutter!).  I’m feeling so much more confident with this class than I was in the first month after launch, not to mention that I’m settling in well with my house and guild.

I poked my head into Whitevale this morning before work and my daughter climbed on my lap and helped me spot pearls as we went on a diving mission.  She really likes to be my game “spotter”, so I’ll tell her to point out giant spiders and clickies and so on.  It’s a good wake-me-up when you have a four-year-old shrieking “THERE!  THERE IS ONE!” in your left ear.

It really will be nice when my Engine laps my Medic and forges on to a part of the game that I haven’t seen yet.  I’m not feeling incredibly anxious about it or anything, but I’ve rerolled enough as it is.  It’s time to see new frontiers.

WildStar: Home epic home

emoteJust a quick post to say that I had a really terrific night in WildStar yesterday:

  • I blasted through about a third of Galeras and an entire level, really getting into the groove of my Engineer and her eternally buggy pets
  • My boombox of the day (of which I only have 14 left) graced me with an epic mining fabkit for my house, which I definitely will use
  • I sold a ton of mats and made over two platinum on the exchange
  • Then I discovered that one of my most-wanted housing items — pocket dungeons — were on the auction house.  I bought two of them to use at level 30 and 40, which gives me something great to look forward to
  • And I’m really gelling with this new guild.  Good folks who keep piping up to do stuff together.  I asked for help with a 5+ group mission and had a level 50 quickly swoop to my aid.

I love nights like that.

What WildStar should be doing with paths

pathsOne of WildStar’s big talking points prior to launch was its path system.  This was supposed to be a “second class” that you could level up independantly by pursuing a specific type of content tailored to your playstyle (fighting, exploring, lore, building), and would add to the replayability/customization factor quite a bit.

From what I’ve heard, the original plans for paths got toned way down, although that’s hearsay on my part because I’m too tired to do actual research into that.  In any case, what we have in the game is a neat system that shows promise yet underdelivers.  I’ve enjoyed leveling up my settler and scientist paths, but as I’m doing so I keep making a mental list of how Carbine could improve these paths to be more like they were advertised in the first place.  After all, paths SHOULD be a major topic when players share thoughts on the game, but it seems as though most of the discussion has drifted into either housing or raiding.

So what should be done about paths?  Here are five ideas.

1. One of the coolest parts of paths is how it lets you interact with the game world in different and sometimes surprising ways.  Once in a while, I’ll get an option to activate a scientist object that can benefit me in ways other than adding to my path XP, such as opening up a locked door or exploding a barrel so that enemies take more damage.  Those make you feel as though your path has a purpose, and we need a LOT more of them.  WildStar isn’t very consistent with placing these, so they really are a rare occurence.

2. The devs should be adding new types of path missions into future updates.  Scientists need to be doing things other than endlessly scanning the environment (why not let us perform experiments?) and settlers should be able to creatively build things instead of merely activate buff stations.  I’m less familiar with soldier and explorer paths, although I’ll bet that soldiers are probably tired of the constant holdouts.

3. We need more and better path skills.  Paths are worth pursuing for the additional utility skills, such as creating portals or summoning vending machines.  But there are only four or so per path, and you get three of those relatively early on.  New path skills trump pretty much every other reward on the path reward track.  Some paths have better utility skills, period — soldiers get the short end of the stick here.

4. Scientists aren’t explorers, so help us find these things.  From what I hear, explorers get helpful arrows pointing them the way while scientists are often left wandering around hoping that they find all of the datacubes and scannables.  It’s so frustrating to finish up a zone and realize that there are two more datacubes you haven’t found, requiring a trip to a wiki to cross-check with your in-game list so that you can locate those remaining objects.  It’s not what this path is about and it needs to change.

5. There’s a pretty common refrain on the path forums: Let us be able to change and swap paths.  Maybe that would cut down on alts, but not everyone wants to alt anyway, and allowing players to pursue multiple paths would extend the available content for a character.  It would be neat to max out a path and then retain those benefits while starting over on a new path — which would also give me a good reason to revisit old zones.

WildStar: The magical floating buffalo of Galeras

buf1I don’t like to peg myself with labels, but I’m partial to taking off and just wandering during an average evening of adventure.  I like seeing what’s around the corner and taking trips to places that are devoid of meaty content (such as quests or important mobs).  If that makes me an explorer, fine, but it’s not a driving force behind my gaming.  I merely like being nosy and aimlessly meander from time to time.  It’s relaxing in the way that grinding on mobs can be.

So yesterday I finished up a set of quests and was ready to teleport back when I decided to hold off on that while running around the bend and up a mountain shard… thing to get some plant seeds.  Hopping from scavenging node to scavenging node is another good way to get exploring without even realizing it.  That led me to encounter this buffalo (WildStar probably has some sort of fancy name for it, but c’mon, it’s a buffalo) serenely floating in mid-air as if this is a typical thing for buffalo to be doing.

It’s proooooobably a glitch, but since Nexus is a weird place, I can’t always put weird possibilities past the creators.  Especially when I went further up and found a whole herd of airborne bovine:

buf2I envy their lifestyle.  They don’t let a lack of wings or the demands of gravity boss them around.  They are free and we are the beasts of burden, chained to this terrestrial ball.

I really didn’t get as much time as I would’ve liked to have played WildStar over the weekend, but at least an hour or so saw me propel my Engineer further through Galeras.  I’m still fiddling with skill rotations a bit, although I’m generally pleased with both my survivability and killing power.  I’d like to actually run a dungeon sooner or later — I still haven’t done any, not including adventures — but questing and leveling feels more important to me.

I did net a few more housing items during challenges and mob drops, including a nifty Chua desk that I hadn’t seen before.  Give me housing drops and I am a happy, happy man.

WildStar: The challenge challenge

s1Last weekend I temporarily (?) retired my medic to pick back up my newbie Engineer in WildStar.  Now that I know the game better and feel more comfortable in it, playing this class has become easier, especially in regard to skill choices and battle rotation.

Since I’m so far behind the bulk of the day one rat pack, I’m actually free to do pretty much whatever I want at my own pace.  So instead of leveling like crazy, screaming “Wait up guys!” I’m choosing to be more completionist than usual.  This means doing all of the Scientist path quests and also every single challenge in each of the zones.

This last one represents a switch in my original estimation of WildStar’s challenges.  I wasn’t that wild about them (no pun intended) at the start, since they’re timed and often asked  you to accomplish a task while fighting over the same resources that everyone else was.  Now that the population is not so much in my hair, I can do these and at least get bronze on them without worrying too much.  There was only one challenge in Algaroc that gave me problems, the one that asked me to kill the super-intelligent apes in the Eldar area, mostly because I couldn’t find enough of a concentration of apes before running out of time.  It took me about seven tries to figure out a good loop between all of the nests (because apes nest in holes in the ground, don’tcha know) before squeaking through with a bronze award.  I scoff at gold on that.

Past the mindless “kill 10 rats” challenges, there is a surprising variety of fun activities going on with these.  They’re kind of like a mix between quests and achievements with an on-the-spot randomized reward.  I do think they should let you flat-out pick the reward instead of rolling on it, since if you don’t get your desired choice you have to wait a while before the cooldown is up.

Probably my favorite in Algaroc is the one where you have to jump to the top of a hill around all of those loftite crystals that give you the super-jump ability.  It’s a little difficult controlling your direction in mid-air, but once you get the hang of it it’s a blast.

s2As I moved on from Algaroc, so I did from my guild to a new one.  I had nothing really against my old guild, but they weren’t the most social people and that’s something I prize in a guild.  So I’m still looking for a good fit and am trying out this group for the time being to see how it goes.

I do wish I could just pack up and move over all of my housing items and even structures from my other characters, however.  So much toast that is now going to waste.  Oh well, we shall rebuild!

WildStar: Starship design

t1In my WildStar adventures, I’ve been sorely neglecting my house.  I’m constantly using it, true, but I’ve mostly been amassing a stockpile of decor items and crafting mats with the good intention of sitting down at some point and really working on it.

The other day I worked on fleshing out my apprentice tech tree for architecture before moving on to the next tier.  I like how crafting is set up in theory, although in execution it has the very real potential to be tedious.  It’s certainly cool to unlock schematics by working your way through a tech tree, trying to make uncommon items with the bizarre bull’s eye minigame — but it’s less cool when you can’t queue up multiple orders or when you fail several times to hit that much-needed mark.

I also got tired of running back and forth between the commodities exchange dude and the crafting station.  While I have an overabundance of survivalist mats — leather, tree parts — I a desperate for ore and gems from mining.  I can tell already that this has the potential to be a huge gold sink, since I’m spending money to buy mats and set up each schematic.  In talking with my guild, it was suggested that either I get an alt with a mining plot (good idea, although there’s a level barrier if I don’t keep moving the alt on up) or to talk in housing zone chat and see if I can’t join a crafting/mats circle.  The latter is a better idea, since I could hop from house to house, splitting mats 50/50 with the owners.  We’ll see.

e1Anyway, once I got a little broke with that, I took all of my new housing items and went up to my plot to see what I could see.  While I did spend a lot of time creating a multi-level, multi-room house in my spaceship, I was ultimately disatisfied with how cluttered and unfocused it was.  Plus, Syl is clearly winning the war of decoration here.  Thus, I gutted it, took out everything, and started over.

It might not be hugely original, but what I’m going to do is to turn this spaceship back into a spaceship.  As in, the interior should actually look like a ship, not a cottage-on-the-lake wearing a spaceship shell.  I made the above… thingie (engine? reactor?) by jumbling different items together and putting a few spotlights above it.  In motion, it actually looks neat.

I have the cockpit half-made, but I’m not quite ready to show it off just yet.  Part of the joy of housing is to take items and use them in non-conventional ways to make something even better or more unique.

With all of my other housing items, I’m going to go outside and make a proper tree fort.  My spaceship lands, I build a home here — that makes sense to me.  Also, I’m going to use giant toast for building materials.  BECAUSE I CAN.