One 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.