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Choose my Adventure: Dipping my toes into WildStar

Shawn Schuster

The month of June is all about WIldStar as the game has officially launched this week and I'm playing the heck out of it for Choose my Adventure.

This last weekend saw the headstart, so I was able to jump in a little early and play around with some alts before making the character you've chosen for me. Speaking of which, let's get right to the introductions, shall we?

I present to you ZaneGrey, the newest character in the CMA family. This male Mordesh Spellslinger hails from the Exile faction and enjoys long walks on the beach. Actually, he enjoys really long walks on the beach because he follows the Explorer path.

The votes last week were frighteningly close, but I'd say that speaks well of the game. As I played through a few different character, race, and faction variations before making my CMA avatar, I noticed that there's not really much of a difference gameplay-wise in the first few levels. The Exile and Dominion sides have very similar quest types in the beginning, which disappointed me a bit.

But once I got this Spellslinger created and on his merry way, I forged ahead through a few levels on Tuesday's launch day enough to get some very early impressions.

I thoroughly enjoyed character creation. While I'm not really a tweak-sliders-until-it-hurts kinda guy, I appreciated the variety and ability to customize. And from what I hear of the game, the customization gets way, way more involved outside of character creation, so I can't wait for that.

Jumping into the tutorial and first missions seemed very familiar. And yes, I mean that familiarity that is a formula written in some kind of MMO developer handbook from 2004. Step 1: Talk to NPC with floating punctuation over his head. Step 2: Accept quest. Step 3: Kill 10 things that are 12 feet away and not really doing anything bad, unless you count walking in a circle as bad.

I know I sound like an old man at this point and I'm going to be told in the comments about how different WildStar is because OMG THE 10 RATS ARE SPACE RATS WITH SPACE COWBOY HATS AND IT'S LIKE FIREFLY AND I LOVE FIREFLY BECAUSE IT'S NOT ON TV ANYMORE, but it's all just a bit disappointing.

That said, there was still quite a bit I did like about the game at this early stage.

First off, the sense of humor is refreshing. I love a good sense of humor in a game, and WildStar's writing comes really close to making up for the gameplay. We all got the sense that this game was going to have some great writing when we saw those first dev speak videos, but I'm really happy to see that it carries through to everything from quest text to the leveling announcement.

I'm enjoying the combat, even though I realize that I've only barely touched on it. As a Spellslinger, I'm aiming my dual pistols at my enemies and not just auto-attacking if I'm pointed in their general direction. I have a cone of damage in front of me and those little buggers will dodge out of the way if I'm not paying attention. So I'll give them that, at least. While I'm not seeing a questing mechanic that differs from Generic MMO A or B, I do enjoy the combat so far.

The audio is quite refreshing and I'm happy to turn that music up instead of fade it into the background as I do with most other games.

The paths are an interesting addition to the game, and I'm enjoying what I've seen of the Explorer path so far. It's like if you took the Guild Wars 2 vistas and jumping puzzles and gave it some quest direction. It's right up my alley.

I'm not head-over-heels in love with the graphical style, but I think it's done very well for what it's out to achieve. It seems very Ratchet-and-Clank to me, and its graphical longevity will certainly persist as more "life-like" graphic styles will look dated in a year. I really enjoy the expressiveness of the characters as it all plays into the general feel of the game. It's all just so... bright and busy, though.

I can see WildStar being the logical progression for World of Warcraft players who might be getting bored of that behemoth. Many of the most recent MMOs have focused too much on being the anti-WoW, but not everyone wants to play the opposite of WoW. Many players want to play WoW 2.0, and from what I see, that might be the case with WildStar. No, I didn't say it's the WoW-killer, but considering the fact that the game's dev team consists of several former Blizzard employees, that might not be such a stretch.

I understand that I'm a picky gamer and am notoriously grumpy about the fact that a game should grab me right away in order to keep me interested, but I don't think that's an unreasonable request. I'm only five levels in right now and I'm not seeing that grab yet. We get excited about these triple-A games and ride the hype train to launch because we want to be wowed, but when it doesn't happen, we move on. Of course, I will be keeping an open mind throughout my time with the game this month and will look for those things to snag my attention.

So what am I looking forward to the most? Frankly, there's a lot that I haven't seen yet, and I'll be the first to admit that any one of these features could win me over. I'm excited about PvP with arenas and warplots. I'm excited about dungeoning with my friends. I'm excited about getting deep into that epic storyline. I'm excited about crafting, and housing, and mounts, and... well, you get the idea. I hear WildStar has a lot to offer, so I'm excited to see the possibilities.

But for the sake of this Choose my Adventure, I will be doing your bidding. What feature would you like me to focus on for this week? I'm not throwing out a poll because I want to stay open to all suggestions, so let me know in the comments. Guide my hand and show me what I'm missing as I head into the double-digit levels.

Shawn Schuster is now permanently at the helm of Massively's Choose My Adventure with you as the co-captain. It's going to be a rough ride, so put on your seat belt! Join him every Wednesday for a reader-guided deep-dive into a new MMO each month. Farcical puns about cars and farming sold separately.

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