WildStar’s Engineer Class Detailed, Plus Brief Thoughts

By Graham Smith on December 12th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Shame about the female character design.

Carbine Studios was founded in 2005 and the past eight years have been spent building the tech and content for their first game, WildStar. A cartoonish sci-fi MMO, WildStar’s main aim is to acknowledge the multitude of reasons why people play MMOs, and cater to each and every one of them.

Come watch the final class trailer, introducing the game’s robot-spewing Engineer, and I’ll explain what I mean.

One day someone will write about an MMO and not mentioned World of Warcraft, but that won’t be today. If you’re making something like WildStar now, you don’t need to compete with World of Warcraft as it was when it was released in 2004. You need to compete with with it is now, after 9 further years of continuous expansion and development.

Which, to credit its ambition, is what WildStar is doing. Its PvE questing is structured in such a way that as well as hitting up NPCs for new quests, you get phonecalls from people as you play with little tasks to keep you engaged. Whatever you’re doing, chances are you’re progressing towards completing three different things simultaneously.

When you get in a scrap with some bads, the combat is a little more tactical than I’m used to from the genre. You still trigger skills from a bar along the bottom of your screen, but each of your attacks paints the ground with its area of effect. Placing an enemy within the optimum area to efficiently deal the most damage in the least amount of time takes positioning and timing, and felt more tactical than other skillbar MMOs. The enemies attack the same way, so you’re also required to dodge around a little to avoid them.

There’s the path system, which aims to reward you for the way you prefer to play, whether it be by reading every piece of lore you can find or exploring the world to find the most impressive vistas.

And then there’s raiding, player housing, instanced war plots for PvP, a race of what are basically raccoons… I don’t know if that stuff is any good, but it’ll be there. That’s a lot of stuff.

I’ve now played a mid-level character and I’ve played the opening three levels. The latter takes place on a spaceship above the planet Nexus, where the rest of the game takes place. These early levels swiftly teach you about combat, send you on a couple of fetch quests, and serve to establish its frontier fiction of robots and cowboy hats.

I had fun in both areas, but I want to play more before I write more. Thus far, it feels like MMO+; a thoughtful step forward that’ll successfully appeal to those who obsess over games like these. Whether it hooks those of us who only dabble, I’m not sure. I’m downloading the beta as I type this and so hopefully I’ll be able to report back next week. In the meantime, watch this “WildStar flick”, which does a good job of selling the things that are fun about its world.

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41 Comments »

  1. aliksy says:

    More news about this theme parky, level and loot, subscription MMO? Be still, my heart.

    • Flopper says:

      They are lifting the NDA next week? How is the author going to report back on his experiences in the beta that has an NDA? Would be awesome if it was lifted. I think next week is when we get our friends keys too so I can invite a friend. =D

      P.S. Fuck that NDA. This game is the TRUTH. I’ve been playing since April and I am addicted to a game that has wiped my progress 3 times already. lol I just keep making another guy and pressing on!

      • Niko says:

        The fact that you are addicted to the game doesn’t mean that it’s really good, though.

      • Sakkura says:

        The press gets a different NDA to the one regular beta testers get. So they get to reveal some stuff while beta testers must remain quiet.

  2. zaphod42 says:

    I can’t help but feel like Wildstar is just waaaay too late to the party. Who cares anymore? What small audience still wants that kind of thing is still playing WoW, the rest of us have moved on and want things like Everquest Next or Elder Scrolls Online instead.

    • Seiniyta says:

      No, I think Wildstar comes at a great game for people who love WoW like mmo but are getting tired of WoW because of it’s age and changes to the game over the many years. Wildstar’s combat feels fresh (it’s imo better then GW2′s, Terra’s combat systme was great…for melee, but Terra didn’t really do it for me as the game’s quests were duller then dull and had no charm)

      It’s also quality wise simply better then most mmo’s I’ve played since err, well WoW. (I tried a lot of them).

      Don’t expect a revolution with Wildstar, but it takes what’s good about mmo’s and polishes it more or gives it’s own twist on it. (in a positive sense) The combat is actioney enough to be actually skillful (and not just staring at a hotbar…you’ll just die) but also still familar enough to most mmo players to pick it up easily.

      Also from the devs from the last few months (interviews and stuff) it really seems they know their shit and have a good deep understanding why mmo’s in the past failed, how dungeons should be designed for a news mmo i comparison to a mmo that’s been on the market for 8 years.

      It’s not a revolution but it’s (so far I played) the most solid mmo I’ve had the pleassure playing since um well, WoW. (GW2 is fine, but honestly, I sooo miss raiding and the leveling thing was sorta um meh)

    • aliksy says:

      From what I’ve seen, the reaction to elders scrolls online coverage has been mostly “lol wut” and “wtf no”. I don’t think a lot of people are all that excited for it. It certainly doesn’t appear to be doing very many new things.

    • chiablo says:

      Every time I play a F2P MMO, I almost immediately feel disgusted by the sheer amount of microtransactions. It feels less like I’m playing a game I want to invest my time into, and more like I’m playing an iOS game. Even well-established games that transitioned from a subscription model to F2P add a disgusting amount of nonsense just to get you to give them money instead of leaving the game alone for those of us who actually like the subscription model.

      WoW has been dying for a while now, and WildStar looks like the only MMO with any real talent and intelligent development behind it. So yes, it’s being released at the perfect time, and people who have been following news on the game are drooling.

    • geldonyetich says:

      I think Wildstar has two big points against it.

      1. It’s yet another game trying to make a run at World of Warcraft’s crown. Blizzard successfully captured the theme park MMORPG idea and drove it into the ground considering everybody and their dog has already burned out from the concept of grinding. Here’s the meat of being, “Way too late to the party,” as you put it.

      2. It’s being published by NCSoft. They’ve been embroiled in a great deal of controversy lately, not the least of bit being pulling the plug on everybody’s favorite super hero MMORPG. They have a nasty habit of getting hacked. Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa didn’t go over really well, and most of the games they’re currently running are masochistic grinds. Put all these issues and others on the table, and it’s clear why the brand has become very toxic in the mind of many gamers.

      So basically, to get me to play it, Wildstar not only has to establish for me that I somehow want to play a theme park MMORPG again, it also has to establish it’s so incredibly awesome that I’m willing to take anotehr chance on NCSoft.

      Honestly, I’m probably just not their audience; I wouldn’t even try against those odds. Hopefully there’s enough new blood out there that might actually want to play this game, because it’s certainly won’t work for burnouts.

    • SomeDuder says:

      No no no no NO. Just NO. And some NOPE. I want more WoW. But not today’s WoW. I want classic WoW. And although I’m sure that time has glossed over some of the grindier parts of classic WoW, it was still a great experience, running around a cartoony fantasy world with it’s immaculate design and gameplay.

      Wildstar, from what I’ve read at least, does the cartoony and playstyle of classic WoW justice. I’m not sure about how the actual multiplayer part will work out.

      Also, what’s the latest on this game? Although I’m looking forward to try it out, I’m not keeping up with news surrounding this. Is the beta going on already? Any mention of an approximate release date? Anyone playing this?

      • geldonyetich says:

        I betcha if you were given classic WoW, you’d play it for a few hours and realize that it wasn’t WoW’s changes that drove you from wanting to play it, it’s you.

        At least, that’s been my experience with games in the past and thinking if only they went back to the classics, things would be great again… only to have somebody do that and discover the hard way that I simply evolved past being interested in that game anymore.

      • Nevard says:

        If Wildstar was being faithful to classic WoW all of those classes would have one viable skillset and you’d do the fights by pressing one button from that skill set repeatedly while standing still

        • Premium User Badge

          Carra says:

          Ah yes, Molten Core as a mage: spec Frost and press frostbolt x 1000.

          Sure, it was a lot of fun at the time, being my first mmo, but actually playing the game got a lot more fun in the expansions.

      • Sakkura says:

        It’s in its final stretch of closed beta. There will be an open beta; the last I heard from devs was “about a month before release”. Release is in the first half of 2014 (with the usual “when it’s ready” disclaimer).

        People who are playing it now are under NDA, so they can’t say anything. The press are the only ones who get to talk about what they’re doing in the beta.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      The Elder Scrolls Online is another generic MMO that’s only getting coverage because of its name. It’s the next SWOTOR.

      • zerosociety says:

        Yeah, having played TES:O now, it is exactly what I was afraid of: An extraordinarily generic and dull MMO with a thin patina of Elder Scrolls lore over it.

        • DestroyYourEgo says:

          “Yeah, having played TES:O now, it is exactly what I was afraid of: An extraordinarily generic and dull MMO with a thin patina of Elder Scrolls lore over it.”

          That’s what I thought it was going to be when I first heard of it’s announcement. Don’t get me wrong, the character creator is very, very impressive. But beyond that, it looks so- meh. The 500 PVP battle (or whatever it is) that they had in the trailer where people were just standing there hitting their attack button right in front of each other. It just looked like a fancy version of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”- to me, at least. I am, by no means, speaking for everyone.

          Everything ain’t for everybody.

    • frightlever says:

      Keeping an eye on Wildstar but I have no interest in ESO, and I’m a fan of those games from Morrowind onwards.

      Meanwhile I keep LOTRO installed and am somewhat re-addicted to GW2 – it helps I don’t need to pay a subscription for either of them (original VIP sub from LOTRO).

      There are always going to be more people, children we calls them, coming up through the ranks for whom this is all fresh. I would acknowledge that it’s going to take something for a MMORPG to capture the attention of my niece, who has been cutting her MO teeth on LOL – I do not know what her brother was thinking…

    • DestroyYourEgo says:

      “I can’t help but feel like Wildstar is just waaaay too late to the party. Who cares anymore?”

      Uh… I care. I love how, at least by your perception, it’s either “Play WoW, or Everquest or Elder Scrolls Online”. I gotta tell you, all of those games seem pretty boring- to me, at least. I never got into WoW, don’t really want to be an Elf, and Elder Scrolls Online just looks too…. betwixt and between and bore bore bore to me.

      I’ve recently been playing The Secret World, but even that has gotten to a stopping point for me. I love the idea of the Venetian Agenda, and will go back once Tokyo goes live, but other than that, TSW just can’t hold my interest anymore.

      Now, WildStar, on the other hand, looks to be the MMO that has frankensteined itself with all the things from other MMO’s that I love. Instacast, dodging, playerhousing, pretty vistas…. I just think that only someone with a limited view from a limited perspective would think that this game isn’t going to get a big following. Only a person that would say, “Who cares, there’s WoW, Everquest, and Elder Scrolls” would think this game won’t do well. Just look at those three, and look at WildStar, and you can see why some people are actually EXCITED about WildStar.

  3. hungrycookpot says:

    Some day an MMORPG will be released without being compared to WoW, and on that day, I might find myself interested in playing an MMORPG again.

    • Nevard says:

      That’s only going to happen in another five to ten years when WoW is actually gone.
      You’re always going to get comparisons to the most successful beast in the market especially when people are under the illusion that there’s not room in the MMO space for more than one big winner at a time.
      It’s inevitable.

    • DestroyYourEgo says:

      Comparing a game to WoW, in my eyes, is starting to become a determent. I played WoW for, like, 20 minutes before I had to stop. It was just so… wrong to me. It wasn’t fun, I saw two other people that looked exactly like my character, and the UI was dated- to say the least. Maybe if WoW had been the first MMO I played, I’d feel differently about it. It wasn’t, and I don’t, and I will never look at WoW as even a semi-decently fun experience. Ms. ‘Splosion Man was a better multiplayer game than WoW was, in my eyes. I mean, c’mon, 2-Girls-1-Controller? It don’t get anymore multiplayer than that (if you can’t tell I’m joking here, please don’t respond)!

      I just wish people’s minds could work a different way other than, “Well, it’s a video game, on the CPU, and it’s Massively Multiplayer- it must be like WoW”.

      Also, why is everyone hating on WildStar? They spent how long developing this beast? But you guys get all excited over “The Walking Dead Season 2″- which is, more or less, just a rehash of the first pretentious title. that hasn’t even had half of time in development as this game has. God, the human mind is a scary, scary place.

      Space isn’t the final frontier- humans actually thinking apart from the groupthink is. And boy does that scare A LOT of people.

    • j3w3l says:

      pathfinder..maybe. Seems to have far more in common with star wars galaxies

  4. BloatedGuppy says:

    Hard to pinpoint the exact moment it happened, but nerds have become the most *insufferable* hipsters.

    • dE says:

      Funny thing is, I used to think the same thing. Until someone sent me a music video to educate me on the differences. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Tvy_Pbe5NA

      Or it’s the whole pokémon gaming. After so many grindy fights trying to fit in, they evolved and can now use Social Media. It’s super effective.

    • Bulrathi says:

      Nerds are the original hipsters. Being nerdy entails an esoteric interest that is often defended against the unwashed masses. Nerd don’t want their tastes adopted by (and probably ruined) the world at large, just like hipsters. The best example I can think of this is the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. Original hipster.

    • DestroyYourEgo says:

      If I had to guess, nerds became “insufferable hipsters” the very minute they realized they could use the Internet to distribute their disgust throughout the world without fear of getting a wedgie, a swirlie, etc etc. I feel it’s this way because they can be who they really are- just genuinely disagreeable human beings that you’d hit dead in the eye if they said the crap to you in real life that they do in these forums. Aah, the Internet- a world that has virtually no repercussions to you in Real Life. I mean, you go around telling people how incorrect they are enough times on the Internet without ever having to hear the other side (choosing not to go back to the post), or hearing the other side of the argument but not willing to budge (further trolling), it’s gotta be some kind of an ego-boost to someone who, otherwise, couldn’t even get their parents to pay attention to them or validate them.

      This message is brought to you by an alien looking down at the state of Humanity. Have fun, humans.

  5. Moraven says:

    So seems like a Rift 2.0. Copy the WoW formula but do it well.

    End game content will determine if this has any legs. TOR was a great ride on release, but had a brick wall at the end.

    • aliksy says:

      Point of order: Fuck end game. Fuck having hours and hours of one game, then changing to another game at the “end”. Fuck long, drawn out tedium before you can play the challenging parts. Just fuck that whole concept and its whole family. /bitter

      • dE says:

        You’ll love Guildwars 2 then. Long, drawn out tedium without any endgame… THE FUTURE.

        • aliksy says:

          I did enjoy GW2, though the post-release grindy stuff they added is a turn-off. I liked being able to do dungeons before the level cap, and the idea of scaling areas so they’re all challenging. GW2 is the only MMO worth playing, which is sad because it’s also pretty flawed.

          The long time to hit level cap can fuck right off, though. I think that was just something put in to appease people who don’t enjoy games without the cheap high of “my numbers got bigger”.

          • Nevard says:

            I don’t understand… you want the game to be focused around the time before you hit the level cap but want a low level cap?

            With GW2′s scaling if what you enjoy most is the levelling zones then ultimately your level number doesn’t matter much anyway…

          • aliksy says:

            I don’t want to spend a lot of time leveling in order to get to the good parts. A low level cap is one way to do that without removing the ‘tutorial’ part of leveling.

            But really I want a skill game rather than a time game, and few MMOs really do that.

    • Sakkura says:

      The combat in Wildstar is VERY different from Rift – and WoW. Both those games are fairly stationary. Rift in particular has a heck of a lot of abilities. Wildstar pares it right down; you pick something like 10 abilities from a list of 30, and that’s about it. But that’s fine, because you’re moving around a lot more to dodge telegraphs, and trying to aim your own to hit as many bad guys as possible. Or good guys, if you’re healing.

  6. Commissar Choy says:

    Even if this just turns out to be Sci-Fi WoW 2.0, I’ll be happy because I liked WoW for quite a while! Also I actually think the “class drop” videos are funny and entertaining.

    [E]: In hindsight, I think that’s what I’ve liked most about WildStar’s marketing and media: it’s fun. It looks like fun in a genre steeped in SRS BSNZ.

  7. killmachine says:

    i’m afraid that this game is going nowhere. the visual style and the combat just is way too similar to world of warcraft. don’t get me wrong, i really like the visual style and i think wildstar may be a good game on it’s own but… you know, world of warcraft has been out there for ten years or so and, like, everyone played it… so, why would i want to play wildstar when world of warcraft offers just a hell of a lot more than any of the wow clones can ever offer? “oh, this new wow clone has some slightly different mechanics, you should totally check it out…” yea. i may do this for two hours to find out that i’d rather keep playing world of warcraft, even though i played it for several years and actually am sick of it.

    • Sakkura says:

      What the heck are you on about. The combat is VERY different from WoW. It’s more related to GW2, but improved to keep combat a little more organized. Organized chaos instead of just random chaos.

    • DestroyYourEgo says:

      “you know, world of warcraft has been out there for ten years or so and, like, everyone played it… ”
      -Yes, I agree. Probably everyone and their mother has played WoW. Does not, BY ANY MEANS, mean that everyone has enjoyed it for as long as some others have. I played it for 20 minutes and had to quit. I hated it from the get go, and wasn’t about to sit around and trudge through the poo in hopes of it getting better.

      “so, why would i want to play wildstar when world of warcraft offers just a hell of a lot more than any of the wow clones can ever offer?”
      -Because they are two different games set in two different Universes. WildStar involves Space Travel, and WoW involves dragons and mages- this might be hard to understand, but some people find that kind of game utterly, insanely boring. The only real things they have in common is that you play them on PC, both are an MMO, and the graphics look alike (although, to me, WoW is a bit more Playstationy while WildStar is more Xbox- triangles/smooth edges).

      And let’s be honest, if I KickStarted a game called “Mists of Panderia” without it ever being attached to WoW, it would fail. Why? Because it’s freaking lame concept that I thought would only appeal to children (I was wrong, I will admit that- apparently it doesn’t only appeal to kids. My bad). They only made it because the community went crazy over it being a joke. It was, if you will, the first “Diretide” event in MMo history. And it would only come from the WoW community.

      Everything ain’t for everybody. If you like WoW, you like WoW. But I think it’s completely asinine to think some of the things you thought. Now it’s okay to think it, but you might wanna keep it to yourself to avoid looking like “that guy”, you know? No one should EVER want to be “that guy”.

      Why play video games at all? Why did we make more video games after Super Mario? Everyone loved Mario, it was co-op, and it was fun. Why feel the need to make more games then, if Mario was already fun?

      I’m just saying, you don’t need to think outside the box, but you DO need to think outside the box OUTSIDE the box that you’re currently thinking in. It doesn’t do anything positive to the human being you are.

  8. nrvsNRG says:

    Ive been playing the Engineer for the last week or so and its ok I suppose, but not my favorite. Gonna try Medic next! On the whole tho the game looks fantastic, plays well, and is really good fun, definately subbing after it launches.

  9. Arglebargle says:

    At least they have a good sense of humor. Too bad it’s an NCSoft (We Kill Worlds!) game…..

  10. Kits says:

    Honestly I’m in two minds about the game. On one hand, it feels lovely. It’s smooth, gameplay’s interesting, and is clearly a step up from many other mmo’s. On the other…there’s just something that puts me off. Maybe I’m just not a fan of the aesthetic. Everything feels too…cluttered, maybe, to me. And I really dislike the Exile city.