Nightcrawler In A Cowboy Hat: WildStar’s Spellslinger

By Nathan Grayson on November 21st, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

I just finished Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. This image just makes me want to go play more Call of Juarez: Gunslinger.

Hello, WildStar. It is good to see that you are still around and doing things. What have you been up to since last I praised your smart ability mechanics, targeting systems, and appealing candy coated gumdrop style while also lamenting that kill/collect MMOs bore me to tears these days? Oh, you’ve been showing off atypical classes, have you? And you say this “Spellslinger” is hyper-mobile and is meant to either DPS or heal? Urrrrrrghhh. I can’t open my poor, pancake-flat heart to another MMO. It’s already been crushed too many times. But maybe… maybe I’ll just give this video a quick watch. No harm in that, right?

OK, that video was a cringe-inducing mix of painfully stilted and trying way, way too hard to pretend that it wasn’t painfully stilted, but I digress. The Spellslinger actually looks like quite the thing. For one, you can shoot people to heal them, which is a) supremely silly and b) something I strongly recommend you never, ever try in real life. Also, that whole place-between-places hideaway dimension Spellslingers can just hit up whenever sounds both mechanically intriguing and like the space-time defying secret fortress I’ve dreamed of since I was eight.

So there’s your monthly-ish WildStar update. Still looking strong, still also looking like An MMO. It’ll be out early next year, and I want it, but I also don’t want it. “Ever the paradox, that Nathan Grayson,” they’ll say as they haul my body to its well-earned grave. Then they’ll unceremoniously dump me into the dirt, too preoccupied with living (and videogames!) to pay any heed to the dead.

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38 Comments »

  1. Merus says:

    From what I hear, this is still very much a kill/collect/kill MMORPG.

    • Sakkura says:

      I don’t get why people are so set against that. It’s only relevant while leveling, and you can level via PvP and/or instances instead.

      • aliksy says:

        Because it’s fucking boring and has been done to death?

        • Didden says:

          This.

          To be honest, even other games with missions in, really got to me. I feel like the willpower to do them was sapped out of me gloriously, and mostly enjoyably, by WoW all those years ago.

        • Sakkura says:

          It’s skippable.

        • Shooop says:

          Someone had to say it. And I’m glad someone did. Thank you.

        • mtomto says:

          *thumbs up*

        • derbefrier says:

          Fair enough but its still kinda like picking any random first person shooter and complaining there’s first person shooting in it. Or complaining the chocolate cake you bought has chocolate in it.

          • Aiun says:

            It’s kind of like complaining that platform games basically just have not much more than a bunch of jumping in them. When people use, “Oh, all you do is kill/collect things,” it’s VERY difficult to figure out what the hell they were actually expecting. Yes. It’s a MMO. That’s what you do. In a shooter, you shoot things. In a racing game, all you do is drive. Around a track. Often multiple laps, on the SAME TRACK. (I personally can’t think of anything more boring.)

            I suspect there’s a bit of http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TVTropesWillRuinYourLife involved, too, and people who complain are really just bothered that MMOs aren’t more effective at pulling the wool over their eyes.

          • Slaadfax says:

            That seems like a pretty bad comparison, to be honest.

            Though (arguably) shooting tends to be somewhat important for FPS games, there is nothing saying that an MMORPG needs to have the increasingly stale kill/collect/kill model for its gameplay. Heck, the term MMORPG only really implies genre tropes at all based upon the convention that it has established. Now, perhaps there isn’t any way to keep players engaged other than by kill/collect/kill, but it would sure be nice to see a few games actually try it.

          • Sakkura says:

            Kill/collect is only a small aspect of what most MMOs offer. It’s entirely optional in most of them, including Wildstar. So the criticism is ridiculous and misplaced.

    • Danarchist says:

      I could live with the redundant quest design but I am getting really tired of running across landscapes where mobs just stand around in static spots waiting for someone to wander up and shoot at them.
      I truly miss the days when admins took control of NPC’s and raised havock in the zones, or spawned events they controlled themselves. Hell they did this back in Everquest 1, why is it not possible now? Are you telling me they can’t find rabid gamers looking for a job where they literally game for a living? You could pay them in Rockstar and Doritos for crap sakes

      • Faxanadu says:

        This, this, this, this, oh please God THIS.

        The thought of giving some players “admin rights” over mobs and bosses and controlling them and maybe having them conquer places and that dynamically affecting what the player can do “You cannot access the Skyforge for blacksmithing because worg have taken over the town it resides in…” oooooh, I want it!

        If you were smart enough, you could make gamemastering the mobs a game in ITSELF so you wouldn’t even have to pay someone to do it!

        Maybe you could attain Godhood in a game somehow and then two players would be Gods and order mobs around to gain territory! Wooo!

      • Doganpc says:

        This is probably one of the best reasons I enjoyed GW2 when it was new and people were leveling throughout the zones… it would spawn all sorts of “dynamic” events, situationally relevant, spontaneous grouping short series quests. Now when I log on it seems like most of the areas that can be mob controlled are and the events are fewer as the leveling population has gone down.

        On the other hand, the reason we get static mobs is because people will find the best spot to intercept patrol routes and giving actual mob control to “players” is like opening the door to griefing and neurotic complaints.

        • Danarchist says:

          I wasn’t thinking so much player controlled as developer employee controlled. When EQ came out initially they had employees on every server whose all purpose was this sort of thing. I played on Tribunal and we had a lady….can’t remember her name… that you would often hear announce upcoming events in the region etc. Eventually they did give this role over to trusted (and vetted) specific players, but it was a great idea and worked well for a long time.
          It was actually pretty funny to log in and find yourself unexpectedly in the middle of a giant stomping on everyone around you as wave after wave of fearless noobies threw themselves against its shins, until the high levels showed up and downed it.

          I understand they don’t do it now because they want the games to run like automated cash machines eventually, but the character MMO’s used to have has suffered severely over the years. There is so much money in these games now no one is willing to step outside the box. Maybe a added “unique” feature or two, but never anything with character.

  2. newprince says:

    It’s too bad. I would have loved something like this 8 years ago. After DaoC, WoW, Guild Wars, Runes of Magic, WAR, Aion, TOR, and Guild Wars 2, I just haven’t seen anything that appeals to me anymore. I know the drill: play for 3 months, question life, unsubscribe and/or uninstall.

    • Asherie says:

      This. I found this bit particularly amusing: “question life”. So true.

  3. satan says:

    Isn’t that… the gunslinger from the SWTOR intro? Right down to the hat and moustache? And Collar? And thing sitting on the hat?

    http://static1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121119055436/starwars/images/3/34/NicoOkarr-Return.png

    • newprince says:

      Yup, except you’re shooting spells, not lazarz. I at least went with the Sniper, even though that was pretty dumb.

    • Voronwer says:

      Yup, I instantly had to think of the TOR gunslinger. They get cowboy hats in the game too, not just the trailer. And shooting people to heal is a TOR trooper thing, but then I suppose a lot of things are inevitably similar to other MMOs.

  4. Kollega says:

    What I don’t understand about Wildstar is why they made it a traditional “get twenty bear asses” MMO instead of something more EVE-like. You don’t have to have total freedom and player-run swarms of douchebags as the main force in the game to be like EVE; they could try for something like a clash of good and evil with devs and player councils at the top of each faction and regular players influencing the outcome of battles for territory. Now, I understand that it would be more techically dificult, but Everquest’s “theme park model” is just boring and outdated by now.

  5. aliksy says:

    Is that a treadmill at the end? I’m taking that as a subtle mockery of traditional MMOs.

  6. Cioomperkoi says:

    Nightcrawler! Beware the beast with hat! Nighcrawler, you know he’s coming back!

  7. Turkey says:

    This isn’t the spiritual successor to the Gunman Chronicles that I’d hoped for.

  8. Serenegoose says:

    Why is killing X dudes a problem in this game, but not a problem in any other action game of choice? Surely the activity isn’t the issue, but whether the context and engagement of the game sells the activity. Which doesn’t appear to be what anybody is criticising. Just that it’s another MMO where you pick stuff up and kill dudes.

    And yet everyone’s excited about the third witcher game – I wonder what most gameplay in that game will involve? Surely not any more of this ‘getting stuff’ or ‘killing people’ which is so done to death. I doubt it’ll involve any of that at all.

    Anyway, this does look a bit like ye average MMO, but only in that I worry that the surrounding world will feel like it only exists to facilitate fetch quests, rather than providing any more substantial illusion to the contrary. Still. I’m undecided.

    • Shooop says:

      That’s usually not the goal in most shooters. The goal in most shooters even where you’d think it would be is traveling from point A to point B, and there’s enemies in the way. Even in Doom you didn’t have to kill everything, you could in some cases run right past the enemies.

      MMOs lock you down in place and don’t let you progress until you’ve killed 10 rats and then collected 15 feathers.

      And the goal in the Witcher games is to find people and fill in the story. You do a lot less fighting in it than you do in most other RPGs.

  9. Commissar Choy says:

    They’ve drastically changed their questing mechanics by a) being similar to GW2 (with a little quest progression bar that fills up depending on what you do) and b) getting credit for mob kills that you don’t “tag.”

    I for one am excited for Wildstar. It looks silly and enjoyable.

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      Rizlar says:

      b) like in GW2, too!

      GW2 really did introduce a lot of elements that other MMOs are now copying and refining. Look at many of the little changes WoW is making, particularly with the ‘forgotten isle’ or whatever it is patch, which basically sounds like they are trying GW2 mechanics on for size in a special zone, in preparation for the next expansion. The combat in Wildstar also looks like a slightly less hectic take on GW2′s systems (positional, dodging, no need to stand still while casting etc). Spellslinger = Mesmer with more lasers and fewer pink feathers?

      Seriously though, there is nothing wrong with this, but props to GW2 for doing a lot of this stuff right before the rest of the competition caught up.

      • Commissar Choy says:

        I wanted to like GW2 so bad, but the lack of information it gave me (like how much an increase of a stat affected damage/resistance) and dull quests and zones (to me at any rate, so bored of fantasy) really killed it for me.

  10. Tamath says:

    I was initially pretty excited for this (and it even felt very smooth to play at Rezzed 2013) but I began to doubt if the game is really all that special. Especially in the face of a project like EverQuest Next, WildStar seems increasingly like a trumped up version of the same kind of MMO we’ve been playing for some 15 years. One friend took a look at it and immediately said “it’s WoW 2.0″ and I eventually came to understand what he meant.

    It’ll be fun and engaging for a while, but eventually I’ll likely come to see it as a prettier Skinner box. I think I’ll pass on the whole process this time.

    • Sakkura says:

      The combat is VERY different from WoW. Other than that, there are a lot of similarities (by design, I’m sure; besides, they have a number of devs who were involved in making WoW).

      It’s just that the combat is one of the most stale aspects of WoW.

      Everquest Next looks like it’s shooting for more innovation. But they have released much less detailed info, so whether their new ideas will be the next step in MMOs is questionable.

  11. The Random One says:

    I’ve been shooting people to heal them since forever on Killing Floor and TF2′s medieval mode. I have to admit I never looked that stylish doing it, though.

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