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Previewing WildStar's Daggerstone Pass PvP battleground

Eliot Lefebvre
Before I talk about the upcoming PvP map for WildStar, I feel I should really defend myself for my usual performance in PvP. Here's the simple version: I am all right at PvP. I know enough about what I'm supposed to do to avoid completely shaming myself. I am not the best. But can I turn a ragtag group of other journalists into a fighting force capable of defeating preformed groups of people wearing PvP gear?

Definitely not.

Along with several other journalists, I took to the field with Carbine Studios staff members yesterday, boosted my fresh Exile character up to 50, and took on all comers in the rated version of the new Daggerstone Pass. We lost several times. On the bright side, we lost in such a way that I was able to get a better sense of the map and can talk about it with some confidence, so that's good. In my weak defense, I don't think we had a chance against a fully premade team in PvP gear anyway.

So what's Daggerstone Pass like? Go fire up Star Wars: The Old Republic and take a spin on the Alderaan Civil War battleground. That's the core of it, only there are fewer Sith.

In case you can't watch the video above, l'll summarize: The map is divided into two bases, one north and one south. There are three control points in the middle of the map -- the Mines, the Bunker, and No Man's Land. Capturing control points starts up a bombardment of the enemy fusion core; when it reaches 0% health, you lose.

The map is further complicated by the addition of bombs based on how many control points you have under your thumb. Bombs behave like, well, bombs. Picking one up starts the timer, and there are several different ways to use them. The obvious one is to rush it into the enemy base and drop it by the fusion core. You can also drop it by a control point to clear out opposition if you need to. And they're fully responsive to both sides, so if you can knock out an enemy bomb carrier, you can grab the bomb and run it back over to his side, possibly blowing yourself up in the process. Again, bombs. They don't really distinguish between targets.

An Exile shuttle actually being used by the Exiles.  Wonders never cease.The update also contains a pretty thorough reworking of PvP stats, with the end goal of making PvP gear more effective in PvP and PvE gear less effective. That was definitely working; our team was full of premades decked out in PvE gear, and my Rampage was less "withering storm of sword strikes" and more "a gentle breeze to cool off my opponent." That was slightly less than fun, although it does have the desired effect of keeping you focused on the appropriate gear.

Moving around the map is made a bit faster with the addition of mounts, which also add in a strategic element to movement since there are plenty of places where you can attack from high perches where no one else will see you, or in at least one case, skate past a lone defender and have him chase you whilst your friend captures the node. Size-wise, I'd kind of expected it to be bigger than the maps we've already had. It's not smaller; it's about the same size, which kind of seems odd in light of the fact that you can't mount elsewhere.

But these are minor quibbles. It's a fun map, and the bomb mechanic adds some extra variety as well. If you've been PvPing since launch and have lamented the lack of variety, you should be quite happy with it. I will be, too, although I'll probably avoid anyone looking too closely at me.