In-Depth Look at WildStar's Adventures: Dungeons Be Damned
by Jay Ricciardi exclusive
Announcement: We have the latest info on Carbine's special WildStar giveaway starting at 9 a.m. PST on Tuesday, February 18th.
This past Friday, I had the chance to sit down with WildStar devs and experience the MMO's newly announced feature: Adventures. So far, the devs have been pretty tight-lipped about the content but we've got your inside look.
WildStar Adventures are 5 man choice-driven instances with unique gameplay and flexible zones.
Players can unlock new Adventures as they level by completing quests for the Elden A.I., The Caretaker. Adventures will scale your character down to appropriate levels (my level 25 Stalker was scaled to level 15) and max level characters have access to a Elder game veteran mode. There will be 4 faction-less instances and two separate additional ones for Dominion and Exiles for a total of 6 Adventures at launch.
I wish more MMOs provided this type of experience.
Let me get this out of the way: I loved the experience of playing through the Hycrest Insurrection Adventure. It was a ton of fun and I wish more MMOs provided this type of experience. Despite some typical beta bugs, I happily admit that I am impressed. True to the DevSpeak: it was an open-world style instance (admittedly, that part is similar to WoW scenarios) but with more variety and a choose-your-own-adventure gameplay experience. In our hour-long playthrough of Hycrest, an Adventure that would probably take experienced players 30 minutes, the happy sounds of scrambling fingers on keyboards definitely gave away our enjoyment. This is a relatively simple spin on typical dungeoneering, but WildStar's Adventures are innovative enough to be fresh and exciting.
Choose Your Own Adventure
WildStar Adventures last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes and contain branching quest events that deliver a different experience almost every playthrough.
During your playthrough you and your party will periodically come to points where you must make a decision as a group on how to progress. Fortunately, it's a little more structured than just going down corridor A or corridor B.
First choice of the Hycrest Insurrection: each party member votes on one of three options.
A box (reminiscent of a ready-check box) will pop up with anywhere from 2 to 4 choices. Each party member has a short countdown during which to cast their vote. The votes are automatically tallied and the majority voted-on option will immediately begin. Options are varied and branching: certain choices will open or close paths to other options further down the line of the adventure. This creates an impressive amount of replayability for each adventure. Whereas a typical MMO dungeon will provide one singular experience - Each of the 6 initial WildStar Adventures will provide a significant number of potential experiences.
Each of the 6 initial WildStar Adventures will provide a significant number of potential experiences.
The brevity and variation of Adventures is incredibly smooth and fun.
I anticipate Adventures being an ideal and convenient way to break up questing, kill time before a raid, or otherwise get some productive PvE gameplay out of a short amount of time without committing to a dungeon. And if you don't have time to complete an adventure? Don't worry, at each branching checkpoint you have the option to stop and portal out - your party can fill your spot with the LFG system. And don't worry about reset timers or lockouts, you can play each variation again and again to your heart's content. So if you're the type to just grind instances, you can do that - and grind the same adventure over and over with a different experience each time.
Satisfying Difficulty and Suitable Payoff
the complexity of the battle made this mere mini-boss encounter surprisingly complex and much more fun than the typical static tank-and-spank
I found a satisfying amount of challenge in my time Adventuring; while the typical trash mobs were fairly easy, there was a nice amount of varied enemies and environmental hazards. One of the more difficult mini-boss encounters threw a large number of mobs at our group along with clusters of proximity mines and a large damage-dealing spotlight. The fight wasn't terribly difficult in the end, but the complexity of the battle made this mere mini-boss encounter surprisingly complex and much more fun than the typical static tank-and-spank fights that most other MMO mini-bosses provide.
One of the paths of the Hycrest Adventure I never even saw in my playthrough.
The fight was complex, fun, and really took advantage of WildStar's action combat system as well as netted us some achievements and even a new title for getting a Gold ranking.
The final boss of our Adventure in WildStar (one final encounter of the three possible Hycrest endings) provided another fun and challenging experience. The boss was agile and constantly moved and jumped around while throwing down enough telegraphs to occasionally fill the screen. Telegraphs consistently dealt damage and blinded party members as part of WildStar's coined breakout gameplay, so we all were frantically running around as we attempted to coordinate attacks and stuns. The fight was complex, fun, and really took advantage of WildStar's action combat system as well as netted us some achievements and even a new title for getting a Gold ranking.
Overall, the Hycrest Adventure provided a variety of interesting bosses and encounters that was pretty darn fun. It is amazing just how much creative gameplay was crammed into a 30 minute Adventure.
Have any specific questions about WildStar Adventures?
Let me know in the comments! Between actually playing and the devs answering my questions, I have more insight than I can possibly jam in one article, so ask away and I'll do my best to answer.
Get ready to meet the lovely people of Hycrest for yourself.
Originally Published Feb. 18th 2014