Many friends and acquaintances have been checking out WildStar now that it is free. Some are returning after a long break, others are here for the first time. All of them have questions, because WildStar is an established, complex MMO and not everything is presented clearly in-game. Many of the guides that I rely on are more focused on end-game, or are adapted from a time when Moxie was a stat (nostalgic sigh). So I figure I’ll take a stab at a super simple introduction here. The goal is adding guidance to supplement what the game tells you, rather than explaining everything from scratch. If I’ve left out something important or if you have more questions let me know in the comments and I’ll try to clear things up!
This installment will cover the basics you might want to know in your first play session, like: What is a path? How do telegraphs work? and How do I claim my login rewards?
Not all races can be every class. Make sure to look at each to see what your options are. Your choices are displayed under the race name. The tiny symbols can be confusing, so click on the different races if you want to see your options more clearly. Race doesn’t give any in-game advantages, just flavor. Every class has both a damage-dealing and support role. No class can both tank and heal. Check out the class descriptions if it is important that you have the option to play a specific support role.
Paths are a secondary means of advancement, pick one that appeals to the kinds of things you enjoy in-game. None of their abilities will directly affect combat, but they can impact your general play experience. Scientist and settler have abilities that are particularly useful for group content (summons and repair bots), but all of the paths are fun and have cosmetic rewards. I prefer explorer myself!
If you experience a long login queue, consider transferring to or creating a character on Entity-2 or Jabbit-2. These new servers have short or no queue times and seem less laggy as well. Keep in mind you will still be able to communicate with your account-level friends on other servers, but will not be able to group with them. These servers will eventually be merged back with their originals and you’ll be able to keep your name and all your progress.
I recommend choosing the “Novice” option at character creation, even if you’re not new to MMOs. It will only add a few extra minutes of play time but should help you get acquainted with the controls and combat. You will also get to experience everything from the other two options by choosing this route.
WildStar has a fast-paced action combat system that may take some adjustment if you’re coming from other MMOs. Most abilities are telegraphed rather than targeted. If you mouseover an ability on your action bar you can see an outline of its telegraph. “Melee” classes like stalker have more small, boxy telegraphs, while ranged classes like spellslinger have more long, narrow ones. Almost all abilities in WildStar can be used while moving, but jumping will usually interrupt your cast. The low level zones are a great place to practice aiming your telegraphs while also moving to avoid enemies’ red ones.
Some keybinds are slightly different from other MMOs. Your character screen is accessed by “P”, and inventory is “I”. The “C” key will answer calls from your datachron. You can re-bind these (and many others) from the keybinds menu if they feel unintuitive enough to bother you.
Your quest tracker is on the right side of the screen, and is set to prioritize quests close to you by default. It splits quests by category, and you can hide any category you like if you want to minimize clutter. I try to prioritize world and zone story quests because I enjoy the overall lore of the game! Clicking on the name of any quest on the tracker will display an arrow on the screen pointing you toward the nearest objective and displaying a distance. Right-clicking on a quest in your tracker will give you more options, like viewing the full quest text in your log, or hiding it from the tracker.
The “F” key will allow you to interact with most items in the world, while the “V” key will vacuum up your loot from the surrounding area. Some quests require you to use a special item or ability. For normal quests, the default key for this is “T”, while for path quests it is usually “G”. Some of this definitely got lost in the streamlined introduction zone, but when in doubt look at your quest tracker. Quests that use this will have a small box showing the ability and a tiny letter to tell you which key to press.
Challenges also appear in your quest tracker once you’ve discovered them. These are like optional, timed quests that are usually tied to a specific location. Starting one will give a “Challenge Begins!” voiceover and a meter at the top of your screen will track your progress. Completing a challenge at any rank will earn you some challenge points, going the extra mile for gold or silver will net you extra points. Successful completion will result in a green button at the top of your screen which displays how many points you earned. Clicking this, or opening the challenge tab on the quest log (default “L”) will show a bar with large rewards at the end and smaller rewards at intervals along the way. You can choose your rewards or see your options by clicking on any of the little treasure chests, or clicking the green arrow next to the gold chest to show an extra reward window. Make sure to check your challenge log often since the points will reset and you can start filling the bar again once you earn the highest rewards! Challenges can be repeated once every 30 minutes. Clicking the gear next to the challenge name on your quest tracker will let you restart one you’ve done before.
A great quality of life addition that came with F2P is perma-sprint. Out of combat you will always move at your fastest possible speed. In combat, pressing “SHIFT” will give you a shorter burst of speed, measured by a small vertical bar that will appear to the left of your character. The other important movement ability in combat is dash. Double tap any movement key (WASD or the arrow keys) to dash in that direction. You get 2 dash charges that slowly refill over a few seconds. You can use dash to quickly move out of a large enemy telegraph, and it will also let you recover more quickly from a knockdown.
Returning players may have some mounts or hoverboards waiting in their account inventory. You can start using these right away. If you don’t have these options you can buy provisional mount licenses, which allow you to summon a temporary mount to get around the early zones faster. As you level, there are vendors in the capital cities that will let you upgrade your ride speed or purchase new mounts. You can also purchase the fastest speed via the in-game shop. Speaking of which…
In-game Shop and Account Inventory
The shop is full of everything you’d expect from a F2P cash shop. There are costumes, mounts, dyes and pets galore. What you might not know is that every single item except for Madam Fay’s gambling tokens can be bought without real money. Omnibits are earned randomly through in-game activities and can be used as alternate store currency. There is a soft cap of 120 omnibits per week, after which their drop rate decreases from about 1 every 10 minutes or so to ~1 every hour or two of play time. These are those bright pink flashy loot drops you get once in a while. Omnibits are shared across your account and you can see your total at the top of the store interface. For a detailed look at all your in-game currency you can click on the gear icon in the upper right of your inventory. Clicking on a currency here will display it on your main inventory screen right above your gold total.
When and if you make a purchase in the store, pay attention to whether it is applicable to your whole account or just a single character. You can get more bang for your buck if you stick to account-wide unlocks. Note that costumes often can only be claimed by one character, but once you add them to your holo-wardrobe all of your characters will have access!
Your account inventory can be reached either through a tiny button on the lower left portion of your screen, or through the “claim items” button at the top of the store menu. This is also where you claim your daily login rewards. Some in-game store purchases can be gifted to your friends. When you open your account inventory they will be displayed on the left side and you can choose to gift them or bind them to your account. Items on the right side are yours and can be claimed by any character. The small symbols to the right of the items tell you whether they can be claimed on all your characters (3-person icon) or only once (1-person icon). Make sure you’re on the right character before claiming any single-use items! Once you claim something from your account inventory, it will show up in your normal inventory and you can use it as you see fit!
More to come!
Phew there’s a lot to talk about! The next installment will look more closely at combat, and class abilities. Stay tuned!