Thus far, there's not a whole lot to react to. We have a clearer picture of the Warrior, we have a peek at a new build from the livestream, and we've seen some hoverboard footage. It's not what I would call a coherent picture just yet. But we can suss out a few new bits here and there, as well as some things that might not be worth getting all that excited about just yet. Yes, I'm saying it might not be worth getting excited about something. You read that right.
Closer to the launch
There are many ways to read this newfound chunk of information, but the most obvious one is pretty simple. What we're seeing now is within spitting distance of the finished version of WildStar.
That's not to say there's no room to tweak anything, but Carbine Studios has made a longstanding goal of avoiding more information than absolutely necessary on, well, everything. So long as something could be hidden, it has been hidden. Not without good cause, seeing as how the less you show off from early testing the better. All you wind up with are people expecting that your first draft was your finished version, essentially.
Now, though, the game has undergone some pretty thorough revamps, and it's being shown off with a great deal of vigor. That's not to say that things won't change between now and launch; I'm sure there will be a lot of changes. It's just that most of those changes will be changes of degrees, tweaking numbers, slightly reworking some functions here and there. It's akin to the changes made through Final Fantasy XIV's testing: They're visible to testers, but at the end of the day, the changed version was still recognizable compared to the original.
The real question, to my mind, is what made some parts of the game not worth showing off before. There's a fair amount of speculation (or outright knowledge) about the game's last two classes, but at least one of them seems to have been in place as long as we've been seeing promotional videos for the game. I'd love to see some of the bits and pieces left on the cutting room floor for the game as a whole, even if the odds are good it consists mostly of half-formed ideas best forgotten.
What Warriors want
Our first big celebrity class is the Warrior, and boy, does WildStar ever have a tough road ahead here because in every game ever, Warriors are some shade of boring. It's a class dedicated to the most basic concept of hit it with a stick. Everything a Warrior can do is defined, in part, by what can be done by every other stick-wielding class.
This is not to say that Warriors are dumb but to point out that they're meant to be the default stick-hitters of a given game. So you have to make the class interesting on its own while still giving space to have other weird people hit things with different sticks in different ways. That's a tall order, and in the worst cases you wind up with Warriors whose abilities come down to "hit that guy with a stick real hard" and "block real good with your stick."
Also, an awful lot of them seem to fall into an all-consuming rage -- because nothing makes for effective soldiers like being angry enough to just smash anything within arm's reach. I know that the US military trains its soldiers on unthinking blind aggression as a very efficient tactic.
The WildStar incarnation, thankfully, abandons that particular premise. The Warrior is the usual weapon-based powerhouse that you'd expect, but with a very specific arsenal of weapons that allow for a unique sort of experience. You don't feel like the guy with a sword compared to several other guys with swords; other people don't have swords or arm cannons or the like.
Part of it comes down to the way that every class has its own weapon, but more than that, it's a difference of focus. The Warrior is almost kitted out like Star Wars: The Old Republic's Bounty Hunter, with a wide array of tools to correct for several possible situations. Your arm cannon does a lot of things, your sword provides you with great coverage, and when all else fails, you can rely upon raw physicality.
It also seems, at a glance, that there's space enough to make pretty much any mixture of Warrior you can imagine. Instead of carving out space for itself alongside the Paladins and Marauders and Knights and Berserkers and whatevers of other games, the Warrior is the combination of all those tricks. And a bit more besides.
All right, two things do really come to mind here. The first is that I think you might get to do tricks on these, although that may just be part of the jump animation. I really hope it's not, though, because while my days of playing games that include the name Tony Hawk are over, I would happily kickflip my way through WildStar to the exclusion of almost anything else.
The other thing, though, is that you are moving fast on that board. And boy, doesn't that make it seem like the world might be more expansive than you would expect? As if we would have plenty of room to roam about and seek out new adventures, and that little Settler outposts would be even more necessary than they initially seem?
Yeah. That's worth being excited about.
As always, feedback is welcome down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week it's time for a look at the Mordesh, and the week after that... oh, you know what, we'll just see when we get there.
Here's how it is: The world of Nexus can be a dangerous place for a tourist or a resident. If you're going to venture into WildStar, you want to be prepared. That's why Eliot Lefebvre brings you a shiny new installment of The Nexus Telegraph every week, giving you a good idea of what to expect from both the people and the environment. Keep your eyes peeled, and we'll get you where you need to go.