Wildstar Reloaded – Part 2: This time, It’s not lagging!

It’s safe to say that Wildstar has had a bit of a rough re-launch this week. Thankfully Carbine have been on the ball and have taken action to try to improve the situation for all players, with the addition of some extra hardware and more servers to spread the load, while they try to fix the back-end problems with their Megaserver technology.

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I’ve used the time on the new PVE EU server, Jabbit-2, to have a proper run at the game now, as well as to poke around the in-game cash shop a bit more.

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Gauntlet

I’m about to fire up Gauntlet, Arrowhead Game Studios’ 2014 version of the classic fantasy hack and slash of the same name!

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More Skyrim

After picking this up at the weekend, I’ve played almost nothing else.. though non-gaming things have arisen to keep me from playing as much as I’d have expected by now 😉

I’ve now tried out woodcutting and mining, and I’ve been learning the Smithing trade along with Alchemy.. nice ways to make money.  I also make money in less nice ways.. lockpicking, if I find something reasonably unattended.. and if I come across bandits, I make sure to take all their possessions too!

Looting dungeons actually feels far more dangerous than in the previous games, with traps and slightly smarter enemies.. in my first dungeon, I was scared by the Draugr who played dead till I got up close, and in another, I had a fierce battle with a Giant Frostbite Spider..

As planned, I have progressed to dual-wielding swords, although I still dabble in Destruction for a few enemies.. in the past I have concentrated on magic, only carrying an enchanted weapon just in case, so this makes a change.  I’m loving the power moves, and have my eye set on certain of the perks in the One Handed Weapons tree which will allow me to decapitate my enemies!

I even have a follower, named Golldir!

I met him in a tomb while taking cover from a dragon I just couldn’t defeat.  He had problems of his own: a Necromancer who was fiddling with his ancestors.  After I helped kill him, he joined me in my travels.. he now fights for me in battle, and of course, I make him carry the loot 😉

My only complaint so far has been about the menu system and inventory.. I like having an unobstructed view of the game world while playing, but to change weapon or equip a new piece of gear I’m forced to start clicking and scrolling.  All the lists start near the bottom of the screen as well, which virtually guarantees that hateful scrolling will be needed.

We have large monitors and high resolutions now.. why not just use more of the screen and let us see our inventory at a glance?  In the previous games, equipped items all moved to the front of the list, but in Skyrim they remain where they are.  As you can’t even see your character on this screen any more, any accidental unequipping can easily go unnoticed as you don’t get that quick visual clue that something’s wrong!

I guess you can’t have it all, though.. and the rest of the game is fantastic..

I didn’t like monster-levelling in Oblivion, as enemies levelled with the character.. after a while, the wildlife was all replaced by high-level creatures, so it didn’t even seem to fit in with the area any more.  I was also finding myself accosted by bandits wearing top-notch gear with expensive swords.. with that kind of gear and ability, they should have been wiping out the nearby village instead of trying to mug me for my cash!

As for the effect on the story.. I levelled up a way before entering my first Gate, so when I was sent in with a few companions, they were struck down immediately by the over-powered enemies inside, and again, it felt wrong.

In Skyrim, I’ve only really struggled with a few larger enemies, such as the Dragon, and the giant spider.. these felt like a decent challenge, while attacks by wild wolves started off difficult and are now easy, as I’d expect as I’m now a bit more of a seasoned warrior.  All 12 levels’ worth 😉

Rift

Rift is a new fantasy MMO from Trion Worlds, with all the usual PvE, PvP, quests and crafting, as well as some nice world events in the form of the rifts, which open to release elemental invaders into the world.  There are two playable factions: Guardians and Defiants, both trying to save the world, but opposed to each other as well.

There’s a brilliantly unique system in place in this game for character classes – rather than simply picking one of a few classes, you choose a calling: Warrior, Cleric, Rogue or Mage, and then specialise by attuning with a variety of Souls, the first of which you get for the first quest in the tutorial area.  This allows a vast array of customisation, and hopefully means a lot more variety amongst players than in WoW, where choice gives way to ‘optimal’ specs.

There’s a Riftwatch video here, which shows the Guardian’s starting zone.. there’s also a detailed explanation of Callings, Souls and the use of spells 🙂

A friend and I started off as Guardians, since he was determined to be a Dwarf, and they are only available to the Guardian faction.  I also picked a Dwarf Warrior, then a Beastmaster soul, which gave me a pet to help me in combat 🙂

After a few more quests.. enough time to try out the initial abilities.. I was asked to pick my second soul.  One of the suggested pairings for the Beastmaster was the Champion, a specialist in charging into battle with two-handed weapons..

This was where the confusion came in.
The second soul gave me a second set of abilities, which seemed very similar..  I just didn’t know which I should be using at first.

The abilities are similar in terms of the amount of damage dealt and amount of power they use, but the Fierce Strike increases pet attack ability as well as causing damage.. so it made sense to use that rather than the equivalent Champion ability.  I also took the Bull Rush ability as my opener.. having seen my friend charging in at mobs I wanted to be able to do that too.

From my third and final soul, Riftblade, I took the Storm Blade ability – a buff which could be applied to increase melee attack, and which I could apply and then forget about as it lasts an hour.  Less mess; less stress 😉

The quests seemed very easy, especially with friends.  By the time there were four of us, it felt too easy in places.. enemies don’t stand up very well to a mob attack 🙂

The rift events were more chaotic and a lot more fun.  Spawning at random, the rifts throw out elemental type enemies until players have killed enough of them, at which point the rifts close again.  Once a rift is open, a button appears at the top of the page for you to join a public group, should you want to.  The really cool thing is that everyone can get involved.. there are no level restrictions, although if you are much lower level than the invader, you might find you miss rather a lot 😉

While talking about the game with a friend, he said that his character didn’t feel powerful.. or as powerful as he should.  It hadn’t been something I’d considered to that point, but thinking back, I realised that my character hadn’t felt all that powerful once our group had split up..

I had been fighting goblins which were a few levels lower than my character, and therefore should have been going down fast, yet it was taking a while to kill them even with Cuddles biting and clawing at them too.  In WoW, when I charge in with my Warrior and take something on, it goes down fast.. and it feels powerful, especially considering he’s doing it alone rather than having help from a pet.  When I think about that, Orola doesn’t feel powerful at all, despite being a warrior hero type character.

Maybe we shouldn’t be trying to compare games.. maybe it’s just that generally, mobs are tougher in this game and you’re not meant to feel powerful until you’re a much higher level..

I decided to take a look at the Defiant side, creating a new character: Zaaliah, the Eth Mage.
New characters on this faction start off on the last day of Telara, with the tutorial area having you prepare for a trip back in time to try and stop the destruction of the planet.

My first soul was the Pyromancer.. woop, fire!   I’m loving my fire mage in WoW at the moment, so wanted to see how this works in Rift.

While the fireball spell had a great animation.. swirling the staff with the fireball being created and then flung at the end, it had a really long cast-time.  As soon as I got some points they went straight into Ignition, which decreases the cast time of all fire spells.

My second soul was the Elementalist, which gave me the ability to summon a Lesser Earth Elemental who I named Lumpy.. he’s a rather grumpy-looking guy 😀

The other ability from this soul was Crystalline Missiles: this time round, I was able to see it as comparable to my Fireball ability straight away and rather than be frustrated by it, I simply ignored it.

My third soul was Warlock, taken mainly because I liked the idea of healing myself by draining health from the enemy.. although I had considered the Necromancer, you can only have one pet at a time and I wanted to stick with Lumpy 🙂

The early quests included the usual tasks of talking to a person, killing so many of an enemy type, or collecting things.. but I quite enjoyed one particular travel mission when I found I was to be escorted by a Wraith Battle Construct.. a huge thing!

I enjoyed watching him punt the enemy mobs out of the way! 🙂

As per the story, I was to travel back into the past to I can help stop the world from being destroyed..  which brought me to what I think is the same time period as the Guardians end up in after they complete their starting zone and go forward in time.  Nice idea 🙂