Tag Archives: WildStar

On DPET

Now that I’m getting more into WildStar, I started seeking more information about it, and I’ve found an annoyance with some of the class guides I’m seeing. I found a few that completely dismiss a number of skills that “don’t do enough damage”. Specifically DoT skills, like Annihilation, Devastator Probes and Ignite. These spells get ignored in favor of spells that cause big numbers, like Gamma Rays and Charged Shot. There are some problems with this approach, and I’ll be specifically focusing on Medic here. Spellslinger math gets weird because of their innate.

When I was playing an Affliction Warlock in World of Warcraft (this is back when Soul shards were items in your bag, and Siphon life was a spell that you could actually cast), I was introduced to the concept of Damage Per Execute Time (DPET), a metric used to determine if an ability is worth casting, or in what order to prioritize things in cases where multiple abilities come up at once. The basic idea is that you want to spend the most time casting the things that do the most damage, so you can use this metric to make that decision.

When looking at raw numbers, the Medic’s best skills in terms of DPET are Devastator Probes, Annihilation, Gamma Rays, Nullifier, and Quantum Cascade, in that order. Gamma Rays and Quantum Cascade have the additional consideration of their actuator cost, forcing you to (usually) use the very low DPET skill Discharge in order to continue to cast them, so this must be taken into consideration.

It’s not completely cut and dry, since AMPs and ability points can change this significantly. Also, because you have to decide which abilities you want to take, the total amount of damage an ability can do over a fight is also worth considering. I don’t have any great advice on how to set up a level 50 bar (except that it probably needs Paralytic Surge on it), but I’m just trying to fix the perception that the DoT skills are a “waste of a GCD”, when most of them do more damage than the medic’s premier single-target ability.

Fiesta Time


I managed to finish my playthrough of FF5 for the draft group (I was second to finish, behind Tam), but I’ve been a bit lazy about uploading the videos for it. This is just in time for the actual Fiesta, where my party is Knight/Berserker/White Mage/Berserker. Hopefully this goes smoothly; I think I have enough experience in the game to carry even this physical-heavy party through the whole thing.

On Second Opinions

If you’re heard prior week’s Aggrochats, you may have heard my opinions on WildStar, which (prior to launch) ranged from dislike to indifference. As of last weekend, my opinions have reversed pretty significantly, and I have to say that the game is quite fun to play. it’s not perfect, but I could see myself playing this game for a while.

The Problem

The primary problem with WildStar is that the early levels are terrible to anyone somewhat familiar with MMOs. On the Arkship and moving into the starting zones, you have very few abilities. (In all cases this is a spammable ability, a resource consumer or cooldown ability, and an interrupt of some kind.) I’ve mentioned that the default control scheme doesn’t completely mesh with the nature of the combat. Initial quests and challenges are fairly boring, with most of them being “go kill these things” without much window dressing. Enemy abilities are relatively simplistic, with at worst a cone or point-blank AOE to get out of/interrupt. Until you hit the real zones, enemies have little enough health that there isn’t much of a challenge. This state of affairs is what led to me being bored and quitting every singe time I picked up the game throughout beta. A friend on the 7-day trial is having the same experience.

A Break in the Clouds

The narrative I kept hearing was that the game got better at level randint(12,20), and for the most part that’s true. Around 12-13 you get access to the first shiphand mission, which is a small instance that scales for groups anywhere from 1-5 people (soloing this is somewhat difficult as a beginner). Mobs start to have more interesting mechanics around level 10, forcing you to pay more attention in fights. “Prime” enemies start appearing that provide a significant challenge for an individual player once you get out of the starter zones. Challenges get more varied and sometimes more interesting. (Quests mostly still don’t.) Crafting unlocks at 10, which is a giant black hole if you’re into the different mechanics of each profession. Housing unlocks at 14, and I’ll let Bel and Penny Arcade say all that’s necessary to say about that.

This seems appropriate.
This seems appropriate.

Decision Tree

All of the above got me a bit more into the game, but the key experience for me so far is the Adventure that unlocks at level 15, Riot in the Void. For those who are unaware, Adventures are instances for a full group (5 people) that involve some decision points, and can play out different ways depending on what the party chooses. I got a chance to experience this one twice over the past two days. The first time I was DPS (as a medic), none of us knew what we were doing, our tank got press-ganged into service, and it was a very hectic experience. I tried to take as much in as possible, and I learned some things for the next run. The next run, I was the healer, the tank was someone with a bit more experience and gear (Ok, it was Bel) and I got to see how things changed. The impact of the choices made in the instance is non-trivial. The first time, Esper-type enemies appeared after the first stage of the instance and proceeded to cause a lot of annoyance with their shields, knockdowns, and healing. The second time, we shut down the espers in the first stage (which was harder than the first stage task we had on the first run) which caused them to thankfully not appear anywhere else in the instance. However, because we didn’t shut down the cannons, we had cannons shooting at us during the final boss.

Image shamelessly stolen once again.
Image shamelessly stolen once again.

I didn’t expect this sort of experience in a level 15 instance, in what’s supposed to be the “introduction” to group content. If the rest of the content can maintain this level of quality, I’ll enjoy group content in this game a lot. In a way this would be the opposite of Guild Wars 2, in which our playgroup hit the first piece of group content, found it unfulfilling, and stopped playing the game almost entirely. This one looks like it may hold me for a while on the strength of the group content. It even got me to play a healer again.

On Class Balance

Thanks to a few interesting experiences, I’m incredibly gun-shy about choosing classes in games now. Class balance is one of those things that will never make everyone happy, but still needs to be handled with utmost care to keep people from feeling useless. I’ve had a surprising amount of “feeling useless” in recent games, and I’m concerned that it’ll happen again when I pick classes in new games.

Use the force

My personal experience with this began in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I figured I’d play a Vanguard Trooper since I liked tanking, but I ended up being drawn to the Commando’s giant gun. I actually ended up as a healer in this game, because I enjoyed it, and it seemed rather effective in content up to the level cap. Unfortunately, the raid content demonstrated how wrong I was. The command lacked a good method of healing more than one target at a time, and this was its doom for “hard” content. There were several experiences where The healing team was Commando + Scoundrel or (heaven forbid) Commando + Commando where the run was going to become way more difficult just because we didn’t have a Sage. Sages had a ground-targeted dome of mass healing that trivialized certain encounters. Then, the first major balance patch came out and made commandos even worse in raiding, because they were “too good” in PVP. This heralded my exit from the game.

It was fun while it lasted.
It was fun while it lasted.

It’s a secret to everyone

A few months later, The Secret World caught my attention with its “unique” (read: ripped from Guild Wars) ability system. The Ability Wheel encouraged heavy investment into 2-3 weapon types, and I went with Fists (mostly claw and knuckle-type weapons) and Chaos (Green short-range magic), working my way into the Executioner deck. Again, this worked great up to the level cap, and even through elite instances, putting out more damage than any other options available to me. However, the Gatekeeper and Nightmare instances made it completely clear that the endgame was either go ranged or go home. While it’s technically possible to have all abilities at once, My character’s entire development up to that point was spent in things that turned out to not be viable in high-level content. Our group’s healer made similarly incorrect choices unknowingly, and that killed the game for us.

Hundreds of possibilities, 4 right answers.
Hundreds of possibilities, 4 right answers.

Written in the stars

I’m really hoping that my future endeavors turn out better than my past ones. I’m looking into WildStar, hoping that the class I pick doesn’t end up useless at whatever I decide to do with it. Finding this out at the level cap is absolutely crushing, and doubly so if it turns out nothing is being done about it. Final Fantasy 14 was almost like this, but they took steps to correct perceived and actual imbalances in their first major patch. WoW gets a lot of criticism for homogenizing classes, but they haven’t had any situations where a class or spec is completely non-viable (in PVE) since Burning Crusade. I’m really getting tired of making the wrong choice unknowingly, so I’d appreciate it if they would just mark them on the character creation screen next time.

On Current Events #2

It’s time for another post on multiple, short topics. Let’s get it going.

Amplitude Kickstarter

amplitude tracks
This is in its final day, and looks like it might make it if it gets enough attention. They did a live stream yesterday to boost support, and it seems to have done the job, but it still needs more. The Remix Mode in the original Amplitude was a very “modern” idea in a game that’s now 11 years old, and I’d love to see what awesome things come out of the new one should they get a chance to make it.

Final Fantasy 5 Draft

my party
As Bel mentioned, I may have organized a bit of fun before the Job Fiesta starts for real. I’m gradually working my way through the first segment of the game (I’m behind Bel a bit and Kodra a lot). I’m chronicling my progress on YouTube here. Blue Mage is probably my favorite class in the game, because you can do some pretty degenerate things with it (none of which I’ve done yet). I’ve recorded everything so far, but I think I’m going to start cutting out travel and grinding.

WildStar Ops Week

chua-creatorIf you really want to get a WildStar fix in, the servers will be up at random times between now and head start. I recommend checking their Twitter for information on when this is happening. If you’re more like myself and don’t care much about getting an hour or two of play in, this can still be useful. WildStar lets you save your character appearance in base-64. Keeping this saved in a document somewhere can help you get the appearance you want without spending a lot of time in the character creator on launch day, so take advantage of the opportunity while it’s open. This goes double if name reservation didn’t work out for you, or you want an early name that isn’t the one you reserved.

On WildStar

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so conflicted about a new MMO as I have about WildStar. My general feeling about it is that it’s a game I want to like more than I do.

On one hand, there are a lot of things about it that I like. I’ve mentioned it in a comment on Tales of the Aggronaut, but the Chua are the best small race since the Gibberlings in Allods Online. The animations for them are awesome, and their “mad scientist” aesthetic appeals to me. I tend to play big races in games (most of my WoW characters are Draenei or Tauren), so this is a bit of a departure from the norm for me.chua

Animations for just about everything are¬†awesome. Emotes are cool, and most of the abilities are well-done (medic abilities are a bit lacking in “impact”). The fact that it has double jump is great (every game should have double jump) and the animations for it are nice across multiple races. The paths are the concept that originally drew me to the game, and their execution ranges from “passable” to “excellent”.

In general, I like the “telegraph” system, because it makes combat more interesting than “stand here and hit buttons until someone is dead”. The entire genre seems to be moving in this direction, and it’s a change I’m in favor of. FF14 had similar red marks on the ground, and even WoW gets into it with some of the enemies on Timeless Isle. This requirement for additional movement and aimed attacks exposes a bit of a problem with WildStar, however.

When in combat, you have to hold right-click at almost all times in order to ensure your attacks are properly aimed, and you remain mobile. Two addons aimed at fixing this exist, and do a decent job at it, but it’s still an odd state of affairs. The precursor to these (called Deadlock) was actually developed by one of the game’s UI designers, and I can’t help but feel like some sort of mouse-look mode (like Neverwinter or ESO) should have been built-in.

My big issue with the game it that it bores me to tears in the early levels. I keep hearing that it gets better, and that if you just wait for level randint(12,20) it gets a lot better, but I haven’t had the dedication to make it that far in any beta event I’ve been in. Other recent games (FF14, ESO) provide some sort of motive for moving forward in the story quest, and I just feel it’s lacking in WildStar.

There are some other minor problems. Going to a WoW-like faction and server split makes playing with people you know more difficult than it should be. I like the Chua a lot, but some of my friends don’t like the mustache-twirling evil Dominion faction they’re in. Agreeing on a server is also one of those launch-day headaches, and it’s extremely difficult to get multiple different groups to roll on the same server.

I did pre-order the game, so I’ll give it its initial month, but I don’t know if I’ll play it long-term. I’m still playing ESO, and I haven’t personally seen the promise of the later levels of WildStar, so it’ll have to be fantastic to grab me. So far, it just hasn’t been.