Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Wildstar Journal - Day 3

On writing the title I realized that "day" is a bad unit of measure here: Day 1 and 2 were Saturday and Sunday, so I had a lot more hours available than on day 3, which was a work Monday. Anyway, I spent half of the evening leveling my first alt, a chua esper. Then my guild needed another level 15+ player to try the adventure again, and I decided to give it another shot, this time as dps.

The result was that I still don't like the "hardcore" Wildstar adventures and dungeons. They are simply too fast and twitchy for me to be enjoyable. There is even less tactical thinking involved than in a WoW dungeon. For example as dps warrior I had very little control over who I was hitting when the enemies were bunched together, and no way to check aggro. Warrior might be an ideal dps class for group content, I felt I was doing less good than in the previous attempt as tank. Ranged dps have a huge advantage of having a much easier time avoiding the area attacks of the enemies, as melee it was nearly impossible to fight a group of enemies without getting hit as there were telegraphs everywhere. So in the end the whole thing played like a long firework of flashing lights and button mashing with very little feeling of having control over the situation.

I like the Wildstar combat in the solo version, because it is less trivial than the WoW equivalent. But I find it scales up badly to 5 players fighting half a dozen mobs. And the absence of a "normal" dungeon mode for more casual players annoys me, I don't want to play heroic all the time. I always disliked the gap in difficulty between solo and group content, and I had hoped that Wildstar would close that gap somewhat by making solo content more challenging. But they just made all content more challenging and kept the gap. So I guess I will play Wildstar without the adventure / dungeon / raid content. Too bad for Carbine, because that means my subscription will be shorter.

P.S.: Just read this on Blessing of Kings: "Elder Scrolls Online: I gave up on ESO. I tried a dungeon and it was a terrible experience. Quasi-zerg, bad combat. No feeling of control or progress. I cancelled my subscription after that dungeon". Guess at least the problem is universal with action combat, and not a particular Wildstar problem.

So in the end the whole thing played like a long firework of flashing lights and button mashing with very little feeling of having control over the situation.

This is more or less the current trend with the "action combat" thing. It's probably the logical evolution of the way combat is handled, but I really fail to see in what it's more interesting than the previous incarnation. Especially because we have had the "don't stand in the fire" thing for quite some time already..... the only difference is that in WoW it's "stand in the red and take XXX damage/second" versus the action combat's "move out of the red in less than YYY seconds or be one-shot/take massive damage". Is this really a new mechanic?
Compared to WoW you have a lot less buttons to press, a lot less synergy among the various attack skills and more jumping. So you look at the floor more than you look at DoT timers and CDs. In short it exacerbates the problem that I'm starting to have with WoW, i.e. that the class-specific "DPS cycle" part is being phased out to be replaced by the class-independent "avoid boss techs" (which is the same for everyone sharing the same role).
Is this really a new mechanic?

What is new, and I don't mean that in a good sense, is that WoW bosses had "the red" in a predictable pattern, so raid groups could "learn the dance".

In Wildstar, if you fight a group of enemies, you have very little control over where they stand and which way they face, so "the red" they produce is a rather chaotic and unpredictable carpet on the floor that constantly changes.
Not to throw the tank under the bus, but with any new game and new skill set, the first few dungeons are always zerg fests. Once the tank learns to tank in that game, dungeons get progressively easier.

I'm pretty sure I read on the Wildstar forums that the pre-30 content is currently overturned, partly for that reason.

The reason that went through beta is largely due to the level cap and everyone running that dungeon a hundred times. People got used to it.
I wouldn't say that it is action combat at fault. TERA is action combat, and its group play is outstanding.

I think it's just a matter of pacing more than anything else.
So the premise is that you level up so you can spend endgame doing this with 39 others in multi-hour sessions?

Even solo, I greatly preferred tab-targetting over action combat. For me personally, if I wanted a FPS/console I would have played that.
I pre ordered the game, enjoyed playing the beta solo but haven't touched the game since it has been released.

I don't even have it installed as I formatted my HDD after the Beta and haven't put it back on!

I used to be a HC WoW raider and always play healers and love group play.

But I can't commit the time and patience that I did 4 years ago in WoW.

Everything I have heard from you about group play in Wildstar just makes me think of Cataclysm and the hell I experienced when pugging 5 man's. That experience pretty much changed me from being a WoW/MMO obsessive to someone that was burnt out and jaded with the whole thing. My interest has been in terminal decline ever since.

I will likely never play this game and yeah I wasted £35. I won't even use my free month. Maybe in a year when the game is F2P and if I am very bored I might pop on there and have a look. But you have helped me decide not to play it.

I will just save my energy for levelling up in the next WoW Expansion.
95% of your complaints so far can be summed up as "Wildstar is really difficult." That's the point. That's what makes this game different.

If you don't like difficult content, you're playing the wrong game. There are dozens of easy MMO's that have been released since vanilla WoW ... this is the first one that is difficult. That's on purpose.

I feel like constantly complaining about it is just a demonstration of missing the point.
95% of your complaints so far can be summed up as "Wildstar is really difficult." That's the point.

No. Fast is not the same thing as difficult. I would love to play a difficult game in which people would need to think. Wildstar is not that. Wildstar requires less thinking than World of Warcraft, it only requires faster reflexes.
Funny I remember the WoW forums being full of people around Xmas 2010 stating that "the game is not for you" or "you are paying the wrong game".

5 million players and counting took that advice, more than Wildstar we ever have.

It will be interesting to see if Wildstar is sustainable when it is just being played by a niche.

I am used to twitch games because I don't just play MMO's but most MMO players especially the hardcores don't really get much chance to play twitch dexterity games.

We could be talking about a niche within a niche.
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