Apr 15, 2013

WildStar Basic Combat Primer - What's Combat Like?

First, I want to welcome any new WildStar fans! We are thrilled to see the fan community grow so quickly.

For newer fans, or potential fans, one of the most popular questions about WildStar is: “What game is it similar to?” As fans, we try our best to describe WildStar combat by comparing it to other popular MMO’s. Many have compared it to a hybrid between Guild Wars 2 and WoW, and this is a fair comparison but doesn't tell the whole story.

I've created a list of WildStar basic combat elements. While not exhaustive, it paints an accurate picture of what one may expect to experience in WildStar.

I've divided my list into three categories. Action Elements, Familiar Elements and Unique Elements.

WildStar hasn’t aimed to re-invent how MMO combat works, but aims to take the best elements and incorporate them into the game to keep adventuring fun and interesting.


1. Free-Form Abilities. You can use some abilities regardless of selecting a “target” or not. For example, a melee sword-swing will often hit multiple targets. This will add an extra element of strategy since some skills will aggro extra monsters, even if it's not an 'aoe' spell.

2. Active Dodge. Your character will have the ability to use active dodge to escape damage from enemies, environments and other players. Using dodge will consume a resource that will automatically recharge, so you may want to save your dodge until you know you really need it to be sure that it's available.

3. Double-Jump. When you hit the space-bar to jump, you can hit it again to gain extra height and distance. This can add an interesting component of many types of combat. Low gravity zones (such as the Halon Ring) will make this very interesting to play with. Double-jumping could also add some interesting flavor to PvP as well.

4. Shift-to-Sprint. By holding down shift key, you can run faster for a period of time. Again, this consumes a resource and is not unlimited so use wisely!

1. Targeting. Some action MMO’s don’t actually allow the player to select a target, but simply will cause your player to attack in the direction of the camera. That’s not how WildStar works. You can select an enemy with your mouse and focus your attack. Once again, keep in mind, if you use a skill that has a free-form or AOE attack, other targets might get hit and this might mean extra enemies for you to fight off.

2. Free-Camera. Some action MMO’s use the camera to control targeting  WildStar does not do this. You are in control of your camera so you can watch the action at multiple angles. This is especially helpful on a PvP server when you might want to be watching your back!

Free camera = you can watch yourself do cool stuff
3. Action Bar. Like most MMORPG's, WildStar will have an action bar that you can bind to specific keys utilize your skills. WildStar will inspire players to use strategy in choosing which skills to use, since there is a 'limited action set' that a player can use at one time. Instead of having a screen filled with several action bars, there will be one with a limited set of options that the player decides. Not limited to weapon type, a player can select the skills they want to use, but this choice matters. This means that strategy and planning is required before entering battle. In PvP, this means that you never know what skills your opponent will have at their disposal. Again, choice matters in WildStar, and the way the Action Bar works is no exception.

The following combat elements weren't invented by Wildstar, but are important to understanding combat.
Red circles = ouch!
1. Telegraphing. Telegraphing in WildStar is the system that allows for creative strategy on the battlefield. If it's red, the telegraph area will hurt you - if it's blue, it's your attack. At low levels, these red shapes on the ground will be very simple and easy to avoid. At higher levels, they will be much more complicated and more strategy will need to be involved. In addition, there will also be 'healing' telegraphs to indicate where you can regain health. These will be very important to understand once players begin doing dungeons, raids and PvP.

2. Press-and-Hold Abilities. In WildStar, there are abilities that are triggered for the duration that a player holds a particular key. The Warrior ability "Whirlwind" is an example. The skill is triggered as for the duration that a particular key is held down. Typically skills of this nature (i.e., channeled) are triggered by pressing a key and continue until it's attack time is completed or until a character moves.

This primer is simply an introduction to how combat will work. It's not intended to be exhaustive, and I may add to this article as new information is released.