Classes in WildStar are wildly different. This is an MMO where you can pick a class, and play it in a bunch of ways. Want to be a Warrior? Well do you want to generate Kinetic energy fast by sacrificing some damage, just so you can use your more powerful abilities more often? Or do you want your builder to be more powerful and thread your other abilities around that? Just one random example of many.
This is the case for all classes. You can change up your LAS (limited action set) and really play the way you feel comfortable. You could ‘min-max’ to an extent, but what works best for one fight may not be the best for the next encounter you find yourself in.
This adds a tonne of customization to your character past the funky hairstyles, costumes, housing, mounts, housing, I could really go on and on here. Being able to change your “rotation” though is something I’ve awaited for so long. Guild Wars 2 almost got there for me with the ability to use different abilities dependent on which weapon you used, but it was still missing that deep customization I was longing for.
In WildStar I could go into a battleground with 1 other person playing the same class, the chances of us using the same 8 abilities is around 1 in over 3,000,000. Three million. Each class has 30 abilities to choose from, 10 in each the Assault, Support and Utility trees respectively. That’s a huge amount of possibilities, and this is a game where your personal preference will mean a hell of a lot more than what some website somewhere tells you is optimal.
Take for instance one of the Engineer abilities, Target Acquisition. I hands down cannot use this ability in a PvP setting to save my life, it’s an extremely thin telegraph and people are generally dancing around too much for me to land it effectively. The only genuine use I found for it was when chasing down mask carriers in Walatiki. This didn’t feel to me like something I should be taking up one of my 8 ability slots with.
After all, I could shove something else there, something that yes may do less damage but is without a shadow of a doubt easier to hit my enemies with. If you think about it, that actually means it’s doing more damage than if I’d have picked Target Acquisition. Yet I’ve come across other Engineers who can orchestrate it near perfectly, I envied them to an extent until I realized that I could have something that they then couldn’t.
This is what WildStar is all about, maximum customization. No longer do I have to say “Well I can’t play this class so there’s no point.” Instead I now think to myself, “Well I can’t play THAT style of Engineer, but now I get to find out my own style.”
Every single class has these opportunities and assuming you can play the general archetype it covers you’ll be able to start mixing up abilities left, right and center to find what works best for you, the individual player.
Now it really gets interesting when you look at some of the diversities between the classes. For example, both the Warrior and the Stalker are melee classes.
The Stalker focuses more on attacking from stealth, combining high mobility with rapid strikes and ways to increase their damage output by bypassing the defenses of their foes. It keeps the Stalker in a position where they can keep the advantage, slipping in and out of the shadows and getting behind their target. As you’re in melee range you want to be trying to position yourself not just for extra damage but also to be able to catch as many mobs in your telegraphs as you can.
The Warrior however focuses more on having much heavier strikes, they can meander into a group of enemies and start dealing massive numbers. All whilst keeping themselves immune to a lot of the incoming damage they’d otherwise be receiving. Leaping and pulling enemies around gives the Warrior a fair bit of control over the battlefield and while some telegraphs can be quite large, most are cones and blocks centered around the player to allow maximum cleave potential.
The Medic also fills this melee-ish role, they’re not melee range, but you can’t call them a ranged class for sure. The best way to describe them would be to say medium range, but it’s all about the fields. It’s similar to a DoT class in some respects as there’s a fair bit of passive damage dealing you can do. Drop a zone, maybe two then keep your target in there and you can just fire science into the fray to devastate and annihilate. Medics are fast too, they can dart around you in circles dropping damage on you and channeling spells into your back, side and front all within seconds, then suddenly they’re behind you again finishing off the rest of your health pool. It’s a manic class and I’m sure it’ll become a new favorite for a lot of people.
Within the ranged side of the spectrum, you have your long ranged Spellslingers, masters of illusion known as Espers and the sturdy Engineers.
Spellslingers primarily use long thin telegraphs along with high mobility so they’re often seen skirting around their enemies dealing huge damage whilst staying out of damage themselves. It’s like an incredibly long range Stalker with some quick fire abilities to melt your opponents face. The key thing here is to get your angles right, why hit one guy if you could shimmy to the side and catch 4 of the suckers in your rapid fire? With the use of magic sigils and dual pistols the Spellslinger quickly became a community favorite, and if that wasn’t enough for you hows travelling to another dimension?
The Esper has much wider cones but with the sacrifice some of the range of the Spellslinger, they can therefore hit a lot of enemies at once, and as another trade-off are somewhat more stationary than the Spellslinger but the pros and cons of each class is what helps makes them feel unique. Esper’s use a lot of freeform targeting, conjuring damage at their opponents let them really think ahead in fights, they’re fantastic at aoe damage and have a lot of self preservation abilities to boot. Making phantasmal copies of their psyblades they can hurl damage at the enemy and control the battlefields masses with their telekinetic prowess.
The Engineer is by far the slowest of all the classes, whilst channeling or casting they move at a reduced speed, they haven’t quite got the range of the Spellslinger and come closer to the Esper, but once again the telegraphs are different enough to make it feel new. Rectangular telegraphs are more common for the Engineer, it’s about lining up your enemies in that sweet spot so that one cast can hit 5 targets. Engineers have some free form circles for a bit more AOE centric damage and combinations of both of these. Bots are utilized with this class, and it’s in fact the only true pet class in WildStar, whilst the Esper can summon illusionary beasties, Engineers get permanent pets, each of which have their own active and passive abilities.
During this post I’ve only touched on each of the classes DPS potential. Each and every one of them have both support and assault roles. The Warrior, Stalker and Engineer are able to tank, while the Spellslinger, Esper and Medic can heal. It’s a pretty solid foundation that helps alleviate the lack of tanks and healers in grouped content, everyone can fill two of the three roles and it helps nudge people out of their comfort zones simply by having it as an option. Pure DPS classes are something that games need to be looking away from in my opinion, it worked for a while. The variety of group content WildStar has to offer yet it’d be a shame to never have the support roles around you need to do it.
I won’t go too much into hybrids and the support roles in this post. That’s a whole separate entry on it’s way. Suffice to say however as a small teaser, hybrid builds are back, and they are AMAZING.