#Wildstar – Combat Comparison

First off.  Ding 30!  Or rather, shabow, kabam, wazow! Guitar shred solo.  I know people find that part grating but you only see it 50 times during all your hours.  I can’t think of another interface you see less often. /meh

I’ve finally unlocked all my LAS slots.  Most of my skills.  I have some T4 skills too, which unlock additional effects on some attacks.  While 25 is the numeric middle point, I will say that 30 is the spiritual mid-point.  You have access to all types of content (except war plots and raids), have a solid understanding of your class, plenty of housing options, a lot of the tradeskills figured out and lots of combat experience.  Is good.

Of note, level 30 achieved after completing nearly every piece of content available to me.  Path, adventure, dungeon, main quest, side quest, challenge… you name it.  It’s wildly fun.  Housing rested experience is extremely useful – not only for the base 5%/10% buff but a night logged off there gives me about 30% of a level of rested.  DO EEET!

Wildstar vs the rest

Comparison posts are the best.  Especially since I like to work with allegories (social tick as well).  Truly, this post is coming from Shintar’s post on my Stormtalon video.

That video reminds me a lot of the boss fights I’ve been seeing in Neverwinter. How would you say the styles of those two games compare?

Excellent question!  To which I attempted to answer and realized it’s a bit more complex.  Wildstar is a combination of Guild Wars2 and Neverwinter.  The first game I couldn’t really get into (but others did!) and the latter which I invested heavily.  I’ll focus mainly on combat for this post.

For quick comparison, here’s a post to a NW boss fight.

Active Combat

Both games use a limited action bar, where you can only slot X amount of abilities at any given time.  GW2 limits this mostly to weapon types and traits (ugh) while Neverwinter really allows dynamic allocation.  You can slot pretty much any ability at any time, which is what Wildstar is about.  The hiccup here is that Wildstar uses a tried and true themepark stats model, so if you want to swap between DPS and Tank/Healer, you need a 2nd set of gear.  My Esper has, something like 12 bag slots of healing gear.  I’ll find a mod to help with that.

The action in combat is based on heavy movement.  GW2’s hilarious “roll everywhere” is partially present here but with a tank, there’s a bit more stability.  NW’s don’t stand in the fire and dance around is all over the place but the core difference is that the red stuff is not often in the shape of a circle.  Squares, rectangles, moving circles, shapes that grow or morph into other shapes.  You need to be paying attention.  Let’s just say you can’t multibox.

Where WS differs wildly from the former two is that it is global cooldown (GCD) locked.  GW2 & NW both rely heavily on cooldowns for abilities; you can’t just spam the most powerful attack.  WS instead allows you to use most any skill at any time but with a builder/finisher model.  The limit on skill usage is a GCD between skills (~1.5s), like other themeparks.  WoW’s model is only recently moving this way (think rogues, monks, paladins).

Role Focus

In many, many other games, the DPS are just dumb guns.  They stand and pew-pew, rarely move out of the way for anything and just focus damage everything they see.  I truly dislike this in WoW. GW2 has no roles, so let’s skip that.  NW has a tank/healer model but the tank does have issues keeping everything but the big-bad-guy on them.  Plus, all boss battles seem to follow the same model of summoning friends every ~30seconds.  DPS are required to take those down through skill lockdowns, which is generally fairly simple – especially with a Control Wizard.  DPS need to avoid damage but the healers have fairly simple tools to keep everyone up.  Bosses can rarely be interrupted, so it’s more about avoidance and lockdowns rather than timed attacks.

WS really has a focus on the trinity.  Tanks need to keep everyone on them as much as possible and usually have the skills to do so.  Healers are often left alone (in terms of threat) and can focus on keeping the tank alive.  They can heal DPS, if they are in range but their focus is always tank/healer.  DPS is a bit different here and more akin to NW or old-school WoW.  Focus fire, interrupts, stuns are really important.  Some bosses will wipe you if you don’t interrupt (and the need for multi-interrupts is another factor).  Traditionally CC doesn’t exist.  DPS also need to avoid all the red fire crap too, while doing the above.  If you look at the Stormtalon video, you can see that this isn’t super-obvious.  Movement from a DPS also means you’re often out of range of healing.  There’s a fair amount of pressure on the DPS and a rather higher skill level than almost any other game in recent memory (FF14 the exception).

Summary

My gut feeling is that the skill wall in WS is just holding the line on the skill wall issue.  Content (solo and group) is hard, requires a fair amount of attention from players and rewards smart play.  And that’s only the leveling content.  When’s the last time people died on a dungeon run in another MMO – again, FF14 aside?  I think that WS’ main benefit with this model is that if you train people, over the levels, to expect difficulty, you get better players at the end.

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