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Massively's hands-on with WildStar's housing system and new classes

Gavin Townsley

Call me a pacifist, but housing and healing are two of my favorite aspects to any MMO. Maybe it stems from a deep rooted desire for safety and comfort, or perhaps I'm just a real-life Hittori Hanzo: no longer interested in making instruments of death. Either way, WildStar's latest reveals have me excited.

In the course of the most recent press beta, I scored some hands-on time with both new classes and glimpsed the newest changes to housing at a press event last week. The two new classes, Medic and Engineer, add variety to the healing and tanking game, while housing improvements turn homemaking into more than just a hobby. The upcoming MMO from Carbine Studios and NCsoft is turning out to be one rich frontier, ripe with potential for anyone looking for a new MMO home.

The Medic and Engineer in brief

Don't be deceived by the name; the Medic isn't your typical healer. Specializing in various fields, the dual-wielding Medic is one of, if not the, most mobile classes in the game. Granted, every class in WildStar is forced to move through the endless telegraphs of damage, but the Medic specializes in his/her own fields, and each requires equal parts planning with on-the-fly decision making.

Fields, as the developers call them, are temporary areas with beneficial buffs. Think of these as akin to telegraphs, only instead of being rewarded with a monster bite to the face, you receive a boost to your shields and/or health. The challenge comes when the Medic must lay down fields while dodging telegraphs, creating a unique meta game of various shapes, screams, and keyboard-spamming anxiety.

The heavy-gunned Engineer (think giant space shotty) is one of WildStar's pet classes, adopting the cute likes of quadrapedal robots that serve different support functions. This class is geared for long-range combat, and with the right set-up, it even has the ability to serve as a tank for other allies. My favorite aspect of the class came with its unique ability, which turned my Engineer into an angry, mechanized version of myself capable of dishing out a load of damage.

Want more on the two new classes? Massively's Eliot Lefebvre and Justin Olivetti just published deep-dives with the Medic and Engineer today.


Every good hero needs a home, and what a home we'll have in WildStar! Each new player, around level 14 at time of writing, attains his very own space plot to help get him get started on the planet Nexus. Each plot contains a space for a house along with several areas, or sockets, to insert various plugs.

Plugs define the flavor of your home. They are aesthetic add-ons to the land surrounding the home, but nearly every plug encourages interactivity with the owner and the owner's friends. For instance, a mining plug will allow you to cultivate several veins of ore that can be mined by you each day. Gone on vacation to some boring Earth place? Set your permissions and one of your friends can come mine the ore, giving each of you a percentage of the ore mined. And that's just one of many crafting plugs. Plugs can also contain triggers for events, crafting stations, mini-dungeons, minigames with prizes, and more. Most plugs also contain levels of difficulty that help scale up the rewards you earn by interacting with them.

Housing has also received a new feature known as a buff board: an interactive board that bestows three random buffs on the player when clicked. These buffs, which last the entire day, cater to different types of content in different ways to ensure that each player has something that both benefits and encourages the way she spends time in game. In fact, the buff board is in a way a great metaphor for how the devs are approaching housing in general -- it's a great addition to how people play an MMO, not a distraction from it.

The mechanics for decorating the outside of the house have improved, too. During my last WildStar demo, objects could be placed around the outside of the house to help distinguish the home from others, but only in specific locations on predetermined nodes. The system now is much more robust, allowing characters to freely place various decorations anywhere around the house. As the team showed off the new mechanics, we also witnessed the new controls for item placing and manipulation that seem to be pulled straight from modding programs or RIFT's dimensions system. Clicking on the item produced multi-axis controls around the object, which allowed for rotations, scaling, and free positioning.

Once you're inside your home, these same controls are used to position and shape everything into the crib of your dreams. The beta team says that during testing it's seen Gothic themes, haunted houses, pubs, and even what appeared to be a strip club for small stuffed animals. So, I guess you can even build a crib of nightmares, too. The dev team has also added item linking, allowing players to group items they've placed together and move them as one object rather than 30.

The most exciting features I saw this time around dealt with lighting and mood creation both inside and outside the house. Lighting within the house doesn't just range from dark to light, although these settings are available; instead, it allows players to create the dusty haze of an attic or the crisp feeling of a frozen cave. Each object placed within the house also takes into account the lighting system, reacting to each source of light and the general ambiance. Even better, lighting in every room is independent of lighting in all the others, allowing for players to theme their dive-bar lighting different from the, ahem, flashy lights of their stuffies strip club.

Back outside the house, players can choose how the sky and weather look. We saw the romantic vibe of slow falling snow, clear starry skies, and even fireworks that seemed perfect for the guild party after a good raid. While we saw only a handful of different options, the system for far more is in place, and given the breadth of indoor lighting options, I'd put my money on a solid selection come launch.

Don't miss the rest of today's WildStar coverage!
Massively's hands-on with WildStar's character creation
Massively's hands-on with WildStar's Engineer
Massively's hands-on with WildStar's Medic

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