WildStar and the Art of Movement

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Sorry WildStar fans, I don’t have a huge return-to-WildStar post for you today. I’m still sort of in the process of reloading all of my stable of MMOs and chortling with glee that they actually run right on this computer. But I do have plans to explore Arcterra with my Engineer, so stay tuned on that front.

What I did want to comment on today that even spending a few minutes with my character here reminded me of one of my hands-down favorite aspects of WildStar: Its freedom of movement. Character just handle so great in this game, from the double-jumps to the tight controls while you’re making course corrections in mid-air. Even the running animations are spot-on. Little things, but when you go from game to game, you do notice how one MMO handles like a truck and another like a sports car.

WildStar, you be the sports car.

WildStar: Taking internal temperature

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Sir! Corporal Yeti Yesterday, reporting for duty, sir!

My gradual plan to create a wide body of MMOs to dip in and out of according to whim while concentrating on my two main ones is coming along, although it’s been slowed by my recent computer problems. Until that gets fixed, I’ve given up the comfort of my cushy computer chair for a hard kitchen bench — and a wonderfully wide, spacious table — as I use my laptop. Got to say, for a machine that’s pushing four years now, this laptop has held up admirably well not only as a work device, but as an occasional gaming platform. I think I spent $600 or less on it, and it came with an AMD card in it and enough specs to keep most MMOs operating rather smoothly.

Anyway, one of the games that won’t run well at all on this rig is The Secret World, so as I patched up FFXIV’s 3.2, I looked at what else I had installed here. WildStar came to attention, so I logged in and made a new character over on the Dominion side. Might as well see what life is like on the other side of the fence, eh?

I don’t think I was quite prepared for the deluge of stuff that was due my new character. Between the pre-order and deluxe edition stuff, all of the daily rewards that I had been faithfully getting for the last few months, the first anniversary rewards, the subscriber rewards, and now the $1 Humble Bundle package, it took me a full ten minutes just to get everything squared away.

I have to say, that Humble Bundle pack is awesome for the price. The extra money and bag space is great for right out the gate, the hoverboard is sweet (and has flair!), and I will never say no to housing decor. But perhaps the best part was getting teleportation to my housing plot right from the start instead of having to wait until level 14.

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Dance! Dance to the giant taco! Dance, I say!

While I spent time setting up my character and a basic house, I didn’t get too far in my adventures through Levian Bay. I think I was doing that thing where you’ve previously burned (or browned) out on a game and was taking some sort of internal temperature to see if enough time has gone by to renew my interest. Alas, it wasn’t quite. I think I’m going to leave WildStar alone for a bit — at least until the next urge strikes me.

After all, where else will I be able to make a house with giant tacos?

WildStar: The Mystery Shack and SkyMall

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My current big project on my WildStar housing plot is to pay homage to the great Gravity Falls by creating a replica of the iconic Mystery Shack. This is much, much easier thought of than done. I’m working off a few pictures of the house, and let me say that it’s not going to be the easiest structure to replicate. It has a sharply sloping roof, an L-shaped floor plan, two stories, and lots of lettering.

Actually, the lettering is the part I haven’t been able to crack yet. I need to figure out something I can use to spell out large letters on the sign. After all, it’s not as though WildStar hands you giant alphabet decor.

I’ve been making good progress, at least for me. I laid out the floor (which is raised, half on blocks and half with pillars), added the cellar doors, and constructed the front entranceway. Another issue is that the Mystery Shack in the show is a log cabin — and WildStar doesn’t have straight, clean logs to work with. So I’m fudging a bit by using 2x4s, but I have a plan to “enhance” them later on.

I was proud to get the A-frame done, complete with the triangle window at the top. WildStar doesn’t have triangle glass yet, so I had to make a frame with wood and turn a square pane a bit to fit.

The side is coming along too. The windows of the Mystery Shack have a diamond pattern to them, so I was able to replicate that with overlapping framed glass. I’ll have to hide the top of that glass somehow — hopefully the roof — and doing the same on the smaller side window might be out of the question.

The roof might be the hardest part. There’s nothing I could find to work as green shingles, so right now I’m going to shrink exile flooring, overlap it to give it an uneven look, and then plop some grass on top. We’ll see.

There’s a lot, lot more to be done before I can get to even decorating it, but I’m excited about the possibilities.

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Protostar’s Winterfest kicked off yesterday, so I made sure to check that out. The decorations, once again, are fantastic — I hardly recognized Thayd as I ran around it. Even for a heartless corporate approach to the holidays, it sure is cheery and Christmasy. There were dailies to do, including another bout of visiting neighbors’ plots (this time to sing into mics), and some rewards that are interesting but not quite as exciting as spooky Halloween ones.

I also ran the skymall dungeon. It’s a fantastic setpiece with a lot of inventive encounters, from dousing flaming gifts to avoiding malfunctioning robots to blowing up gifts just because. On the downside, it’s pretty long (WildStar’s instance design skews this way, unfortunately), not very strong on combat, and ultimately wasn’t that lucrative for me. For 50 or so minutes of effort, I got two head bows (one-shot consumables) and some cash to spend in the holiday store. WildStar really needs to be more free with the loot with holiday dungeons. This is kind of pathetic.

I’ll give it a go for a few more days and see what I want to buy, but most of my interest right now is in building my shack. I would love to have a structure on my plot that is truly visit-worthy.

WildStar: Ding 50 (again)!

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Well lookit that: A second level 50 in WildStar. It didn’t take more than an hour of questing in Malgrave before I tipped my Medic over the finish line, enjoying a shower of fireworks and self-satisfaction in the process.

She’s still got a long way to go before settling into the endgame routine, and that’s fine with me. At least now I can work on getting more AMP and ability points while fattening my coffers.

WildStar: The best-laid plans of mice and gamers

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You’d think that getting four days off work, more or less, would equal lots and lots of gaming time. You would think that, at least. But the past holiday weekend almost had the opposite effect on getting in some MMOs. For starters, I had a really nasty bout of the norovirus for most of the week, and about the time I started to get better, my kids and wife got sick from it.

That, coupled with general baby exhaustion and having to wrassle the other kids, meant that most of my waking hours was spent shuttling around the house doing odds and ends. I also wanted to get Christmas decorations up, so that was more time chewed up.

This was all distressing in relation to the fact that WildStar was having its first double XP weekend from Friday through Sunday. I didn’t get to log in once on Friday at all, and that made for a bummed Syp.

Fortunately, I did get a couple sessions in on Saturday and Sunday, and boy howdy did that XP boost really kick in. I made a last-minute decision to not focus on my fledgling Esper, but instead to see how far I could get my level 35 Medic. I dug out some of her bonus XP and rested XP flasks and then started speeding through quests as fast as I could.

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By Saturday night, I was level 45 and feeling really juiced from the whole experience. Sunday wasn’t terrible — I got to level 49 over the afternoon — but my general exhaustion caught up with me hard. When everyone went to bed at 8, I followed suit even though it mean that I’d have to earn that last level the normal way. Oh well… priorities.

It’s a great feeling to have a near-50. The weekend revitalized my interest in the Medic, and I was able to spend all of those ability and AMP points on shoring up my build. I even got a spare ability point drop, which was probably my jackpot of the sessions.

The best part is that I was able to do all of this leveling in just two zones: Farside and Wilderrun. That means that I have a few zones left ahead of me, and once I hit 50 I’ll be earning extra gold and elder gems while going through those areas.

It was also great just to level through zones again. That’s something I’ve been missing on my Engineer. Carbine needs to get more areas out, chop-chop!

My 6 favorite WildStar pets

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Without trying very hard at all I’ve been amassing quite the stable of companion pets in WildStar. And if you know anything about me, you’ll know that a pet-laden Syp is a blissfully happy Syp.

Today I wanted to share my six favorite little buddies out of my collection!

(1) Anniverserowsdower

Even though everyone who was subscribed back in May got this pet, he’s so awesome that I can’t resist fawning all over him. C’mon, he’s got a giant lollipop on his nose! And a little hat! And he doesn’t really care about parties but the party came to him anyway.

(2) Deputy Lopp

I got this guy back when he was a reward for a specific challenge in Malgrave. As a big fan of the Lopp, it’s ten kinds of great to have one bounding alongside of me. Plus, he’s not just any old Lopp — he’s a cowboy Lopp! Well, vaguely Mexican-cowboyish Lopp. I love him dearly.

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(3) L’il Beast

Sometimes you just want a dog, and L’il Beast fills that role perfectly. I got him from the cosmic reward track, I think, and I really dig his superhero mask and puppyish animations.

(4) Pell Probebot

This sucker dropped in Stormtalon last week and I gleefully won the roll for him. As an engineer, I look great having one extra (tiny) bot wandering around with me. Look at that big eye and tell me that you don’t have a soft spot in your heart for this pile of metal!

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(5) Disco Snoglug

This guy was a thank-you gift from Carbine for having been subbed, and my only regret with him is that I can’t have him and the Anniverserowsdower out at the same time for the ultimate party group. He’s chock full of animations — and c’mon, who wouldn’t want a traveling disco ball with them?

(6) Shadeling

One of my main goals with the recent Shade’s Eve was to save up and buy this pet, which was done sooner rather than later. I love the shadelings that the devs cooked up for Quiet Downs and I’m glad I can take a piece of that around with me. He has a cool summoning animation with little spirits and I’m guessing he’s big into snuggling on crisp autumn evenings.