During gamescom I had the good fortune of attending a preview session for the upcoming PC MMOG WildStar hosted by the game’s lead combat designer, Chris Lynch. WildStar’s developer Carbine Studios was founded by over a dozen of World of Warcraft’s core development team so I’m sure that there’s a lot of expectation weighing on the team’s shoulders ahead of the game’s release during the first half of 2014.
Chris kicked the preview session into gear by giving us a bit of background knowledge about WildStar. The game takes place in a fictional universe on the planet Nexus which was once inhabited by a technologically advanced race known as the Eldan. Their buried secrets are now being fought over by two factions called The Dominion and The Exiles who are each comprised of four playable races.
As you would expect player versus player (PvP) combat forms a large part of the WildStar experience, but users who don’t want to engage in PvP combat can always play on the game’s non-PvP servers.
Chris then showed us a new WildStar ‘DevSpeak’ video demonstrating the game’s novel take on crowd control. WildStar employs a system called ‘Breakout Gameplay’ which ensures that players always have a way out when afflicted with status ailments such as Stun, Disorient and Blind. For example, if an enemy uses Disarm on you your weapon goes flying out of your hand and lands nearby, allowing you to run and collect it so you can rejoin the battle. You and your party members can also stun bosses using a crowd control mechanic called ‘interrupt armour’.
Chris concluded the session by showing us a video featuring some of the game’s higher level dungeons where making good use of WildStar’s ‘telegraph zones’ system becomes increasingly important. Telegraph zones basically offer a visual representation of where your enemies or your own attacks will land on the ground. Higher level enemies will not only be stronger but will also serve up more complex and challenging telegraph zones via their attacks. This system imparts a very strategic layer to combat as knowing where to position your DPS, tank or healer during enemy attacks will ultimately determine how well your party performs in battle.