Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

PAX Prime 2013: WildStar dungeon preview


WildStar's dungeons won't be for everyone. They're a bit tougher, a bit wilder, and a bit longer than the standard MMO crop today. If you're looking for a breezy PvE experience, you might not even want to consider running one. However, Carbine hopes that you'll look past the increased difficulty and run-time to be intrigued by some of the most unique encounters and locales in the game.

This was the word from WildStar Design Producer Stephan Frost at PAX Prime. Frost ran us quickly through a pair of dungeons -- The Ruins of Kel Voreth and Stormtalon's Lair -- to give us the lay of the land and an idea of what we'll be in for when we timidly step over these thresholds. These dungeons might not be everyone's cup of tea, but those who appreciate a challenge will find it and the rewards to match.

PAX Prime 2013 WildStar dungeon preview
The first dungeon we zipped through was the Ruins of Kel Voreth. This is a former city of the Eldan that was protected by created soldiers, the Osun. With the Eldan out of the way, the Osun have taken charge, and they're bringing a strong heavy metal vibe to the place.

The instance has several challenging boss fights, up to and including the Forge Master. One of the interesting mechanics that Frost shared was a tether that the boss will attach to a player to keep yanking him or her back to the boss. It's up to the team to break the tether before the player gets killed (and suffers a lot of whiplash, we imagine).

PAX Prime 2013 WildStar dungeon preview
Stormtalon's Lair is a level 17-22 area mostly populated by the Pell. Like so many others, the Pell are attempting to repurpose Eldan technology for their own uses, although they have to jury-rig the gadgets since they're not as advanced.

The first boss is a Pell High Priest who will require players to be light on their toes to avoid all manner of telegraphed attacks. One of these telegraphs is a circle that follows a player for a while and eventually stops to deliver a huge blow. A clever player can lure the circle to the boss or an add -- and duck out of the way so that the blow hits the enemy instead.

PAX Prime 2013 WildStar dungeon preview
The next boss in Stormtalon is Aethros, a winged air elemental boss. Aethros is fond of two things -- tornadoes and lightning -- and it likes using both against players. Perhaps one of the most chaotic points of the fight come when he ducks to the other end of the room and players have to navigate a moving gauntlet of wind and electricity to get to the big bad.

Frost said that while most MMOs don't generally allow you to use crowd control skills on bosses, that's not always the case in WildStar. The catch is that for bosses that are CC-susceptible, your team has to stack CC on it to reach a threshold; only after that threshold is reached will the CC work. It's worth the hassle, however, when you interrupt a big boss attack with a little teamwork and coordination.

PAX Prime 2013 WildStar dungeon preview
The final boss fight of Stormtalon first appears to be another Pell high priest. However, he soon transfers his life force into a nearby pulsating sack which births... this thing. Yeah, it's a cranky newborn dragon, and it comes out expecting a fight. We noticed that the environment was pretty massive and were told that this was because the telegraphs get nuts in this fight (as if they didn't before). The coolest part was when the dragon laid down a pain field that severely damaged everyone in the room -- everyone except a random player and a certain radius around him or her. Players needed to stack up on that player to survive.

Because fights in WildStar are so movement oriented, the devs expect that each encounter will feel unique instead of being a memorization song-and-dance. Even raids will lock certain wings on different weeks so that players will be forced to shake things up and encounter (gasp) variety.

PAX Prime 2013 WildStar dungeon preview
We got only this glimpse of a high-level five-person dungeon, Sanctuary of the Sword Maidens. Warrior Amazons in space, anyone?

PAX Prime 2013 WildStar dungeon preview
Here's a final image to whet your appetite for the game's raids. This is from Datascape, a Matrix-like instance where the structure comes together out of thin air to form right in front of your eyes.

As we wrapped up the session, Frost said that rewards for dungeon-delvers will be quite tempting. In addition to the usual gear drops, there will be a lot of housing items gained from dungeons, including the possibility of boss heads that can be mounted on a wall as a grotesque trophy. Because that's what both serial killers and MMO players do, dontcha know.

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 30th to September 2nd, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2013. Whether you're dying to know more about WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, EverQuest Next, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr