Letting go of Healing

Don’t worry friends, I’ll be talking about Winterfest very very soon! First, though, I have something I need to get off my chest.

My flavor of healing in FFXIV.

My flavor of healing in FFXIV.

My mental image of myself as a gamer includes the idea that I am a healer. It is something that is deeply tied to my gaming identity, but it wasn’t always that way. In the olden times when I played Dungeons and Dragons I stayed pretty far away from cleric types. I loved being a wizard or a ranger or even a fighter. The closest I came to healing was when I played a druid, but even then I always focused on shapeshifting into fuzzy animals and hugging things to death. My few healing spells were just backups in case something happened to our real healer.

Fast forward to my early days in World of Warcraft. I initially leveled a paladin and really wanted to tank. Unfortunately for me this was during BC when “pally” and “tank” didn’t fit too well together in a sentence. I got frustrated by my guild’s requests that I go healing on that toon, and gave up on her. Ironically, I ended up leveling a priest, and eventually fell in love with healing with her.

As I wandered through other MMOs over the years I still gravitated toward classes that had a healing option. Even in the ones where I didn’t have a guild or friends playing with me, like TSW, I still unlocked healing options just in case. But I have noticed a trend over time, where I am less inclined to heal random group content. There was a time when I would cheerfully throw myself at healing random pugs in WoW. When I played RIFT I was excited about the group finder. In SWTOR I had a reputation for constantly pugging, against everyone’s better judgement. More recently I’ve become wary. I still pugged as a healer in FFXIV, but usually only after I had learned the dungeon. In WildStar I’ve only run vet and raid content as a DPS. During my recent return to WoW I’ve been doing LFR a bit…but only on my mage.

I wish I could pinpoint exactly when this change began, or exactly why. I do have some ideas though. Healing is definitely more stressful, which is part of the reason why I love it so much. It is more of a challenge to me than maintaining a DPS rotation. However, it feels like lately people just want to speed run though dungeons. This leads to giant pulls, tanks that can’t aggro everything, and groups that chain pull and don’t stop moving for the entire instance. Frankly I hate it. As a healer, especially one with “casual grade” gear, it is challenging enough for me to keep everyone topped off on a normal run. The “gogogo” mentality makes things a thousand times worse. Dungeons go from an entertaining diversion to more stress than I want to deal with.

I think the other key piece for me is that because healing is such a big part of my gamer identity, I take a lot of pride in my ability. This means that when people speed run and things go wrong I get double frustrated. Once by the horror of chain pulls etc., and once by my inability to cope with it. I’m a good healer! I should be able to handle it! When I can’t handle it I feel awful. Am I getting bad at games? Probably not. But I can tell you I took it super personally when I got kicked out of a random group for my “shitty heals” this weekend. Even though not one person had died that run.

Unchecking that button makes me sad.

Unchecking that button makes me sad.

Queuing as a DPS is a huge breath of fresh air, and not just because I have to spend more time outside in the world waiting for the queue to pop. It is no longer my problem if the tank chain pulls, as long as I do my best to kill everything. I know for a fact that my skills as a damage dealer are far below my healing reflexes, but I couldn’t care less. I can feel good when I out DPS the tank. I’ve never even been kicked as a DPS, even though I know I’m awful. Nobody seems to notice you if you keep your head down and don’t act like an ass. It’s so freeing! As you know I love expeditions in WildStar, and one of the great things about them is they can easily be done with no tank or healer at all. Just what I need right now.

I know I’ll probably never really let go of the healing mantle. Especially when I actually have a guild or group of friends to run with it will always be my preferred role. As a solo player, though, I’ll be pew pew pewing for the time being. My game time is too precious to spend it stressed out and unhappy.

Space Case Blues

The Space Chase event is now live! Even more excitingly, Entity and Entity-2 have finally been merged, so my poor medic can finally join my guild and reap the benefits of the full active auction house. These two things made me really excited to log in last night.

I had been anticipating this event since it was announced, since it hits the sweet spot of things I love: expeditions and housing. It was my secret wish that this event would be enough to drag me back from WoW. Yep, I grabbed a WoW token so I could hop back in for a month, and got dragged down the rabbit hole of sitting in my garrison for hours on end. It is interesting to me how WildStar’s housing zone is an amazing, vibrant social place, where WoW’s garrisons are pretty much the antithesis of social engagement.

In any case, I was looking forward to getting my WildStar groove back with the Space Chase event. Unfortunately so far it hasn’t quite worked out like I hoped.

Space Chase? More like Space Case Chase amirite?

Space Chase? More like Space Case Chase amirite?

Part of the problem stems from the random crates. I am certainly not the first blogger to bemoan random cash shop loot boxes but I’ll add my voice anyway. Companies add them to their cash shops because they work, obviously, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them. And of course the most coveted items (housing music tracks! /droooool) are only available from the crates. I am glad that you can at least purchase these with omnibits, but after buying 2 and getting only items that can be bought from the eko particle vendor I am done. I’ll have to just stalk the auction house and hope I can get the items I actually want that way.

I think the part that makes me more annoyed than the crates themselves is how fast my enthusiasm for the event died after opening 2 disappointing crates. I was hyped to run lots of expeditions and play a lot more with my friends, and in a few short minutes I got frustrated with RNG and the cash shop and logged off for the night.

Tonight there’s a cool event where the Devs are going to be running expeditions and hanging out with the players. I will definitely be logging in and trying to score a few runs with the Devs because I think this is a great idea. I love how much the WildStar Devs interact with the fans compared to other games I’ve played. I’m hoping if I can have some fun and just pretend those crates don’t exist I still have a chance of rekindling my WildStar flame.

Marketing Bullseye

You may have noticed it has been a bit quiet here for the past few weeks. Between a lot of RL events and a general sense of wanderlust (mostly being dealt with int Fallout 4), I’ve been slacking on my WildStar time. Fortunately, they’ve managed to grab my attention back in a huge way.

What more could you ask for?

WildStar has just announced a new upcoming event: Space Chase! This one seems like it was custom made just for me. The short version is that it is an event where you can run shiphands expeditions to earn currency to buy cool housing rewards. Have I ever mentioned how much I love shiphands expeditions? Because I really really love them, even if I can’t stop calling them shiphands. Old habits. The best part is that the currency for the event can be earned by completing any level-appropriate expedition. That means everyone above level 6 (or 14, I guess, if you actually want to use the housing decor) can get in on the fun.

The rewards look pretty darn sweet, and include parts for building your own custom spaceships, NPC space cadet decor, and even housing music unlocks. Some of the coolest items appear to be from random in-game store boxes, which I’m not the biggest fan of. However it looks like they are sticking to their plan of having all store items be trade-able, so I’ll be stalking those music tracks on the auction house.

The Space Chase event runs from December 9 – December 18. The perfect timing to keep everyone busy until the Protostar winter holiday event begins. Who’s ready to chain-run expeditions with me?

How to Gear Up at 50 (when you’re feeling asocial)

MMOs are usually at their best when you have good friends to hang out with. Some of my fondest gaming memories are of learning new dungeon and raid encounters with close groups of friends and teammates. But what if you’re still new to the game, or just prefer to keep to yourself for a while?

In WildStar, like most other MMOs, the very best gear is to be had within end-game group content. If you don’t want to raid, there are still a ton of activities you can do solo or with small groups of friends, and higher ilevel gear can help those activities go a lot more smoothly. Getting gear when you’re solo is a slow and steady process. Here’s some things you can do to gear up without stressing out about other people:


Spellslinger starter PvP gear.

Spellslinger starter PvP gear.

PvP: Ok, I know it seems weird to put this first considering if you don’t want to play with others then you probably REALLY don’t want to PvP, but hear me out. First and most importantly, the Season 2 PvP vendor in your faction’s spaceport carries entry level PvP gear that is ilevel 65 and can be purchased with gold. If you’re a fresh 50 this is an amazing way to get yourself started. The stats aren’t optimal for PvE but they darn sure will be better than the random leveling gear you may still be wearing, and way cheaper than buying from the auction house. If you’re brave enough to queue for PvP for a while you can also buy the ilevel 70 gear with prestige. Both the gold and the prestige sets look amazing, by the way, so that’s some more incentive to check them out!

The other really important thing you can buy with prestige is AMP and Ability Points. In fact, as a fresh 50 this is the fastest way to get those first few upgrades (other than the auction house) if you can stomach dying in PvP for a while. All of the other methods are gated behind reputations, questing, or weekly currency caps.


Quests in Northern Wastes

Quests in Northern Wastes

Questing: There are level 50 daily quests available in Star Comm Basin, Defile, Blighthaven, Northern Wastes, and Crimson Badlands. There’s also the R-12 event in Malgrave. This is not a glamorous way to get gear, but it can yield upgrades in several ways. Firstly, it gets you out in the world, killing things. Those things you kill often drop loot, and as a fresh 50 some of that loot might just be an upgrade. Secondly, all of the level 50 daily quest zones have associated reputations. Raising your rep with a given faction will unlock new items from their vendor, including gear and AMP and Ability Points. It can take a few weeks of questing to raise a reputation all the way to the maximum, so take a look at all the vendors and prioritize one or two to focus on at a time. Finally, all that questing will be earning you elder gems, and you can also pick up the elder gem weekly quest for even more. There’s no gear available from the elder gem vendor, but there are AMP and Ability Points. Once you’ve hit your weekly elder gem cap, you’ll also start earning extra cash from questing.


So many people engaged in poultricide

Another excuse to post one of my many Scorchwing pics.

World Bosses: Yes, this is another activity that technically requires other people, but it is usually fairly quick and painless. In fact with the way that world bosses currently work, you don’t even have to be in a group to get credit for the boss kill. It is preferable to group up though, since you’ll have a chance at more loot if your group is the one that tags the boss, and also you can get some healing if you need it during the fight. World bosses will reward you with a goody bag that can contain gear, decor, costumes, or even pets.


Ooooooh! Shiny new intro cinematics!

My favorite way to pass the time is sadly not the best way to gear up.

Expeditions: If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that these are one of my favorite activities in the game! You can queue for vet expeditions solo and you should be able to complete them even as a fresh 50, especially with a little bit of gear from one of the above sources. Expeditions reward renown which may buy you some upgrades, and the daily quest will give you a little extra renown plus some cash. Sadly with the changes to the difficulty and the ease of getting gear in other ways this method is better for getting cosmetic rewards and decor than for gearing up as a fresh 50.


Contract Board, Contract Rewards.

Contract Board, Contract Rewards.

Contracts: The contract board can make all of the above methods extra rewarding without any extra effort. Just make sure to load up on appropriate contracts for the day, whether you plan to do PvP or PvE activities. You can skip the dungeon and adventure ones, but the rest fall into the categories above. I try to base my daily questing on whatever contracts are available. Reaching each milestone will allow you to select a piece of either assault or support gear of ilevel 80. The casques that are available when you completely fill up your contract meter can reward ilevel 100 gear. That’s as high as raid gear!

Look for this symbol to trade in your promissory notes for reputation.

Look for this symbol to trade in your promissory notes for reputation.

An added bonus of doing contracts is they frequently reward Protostar Promissory Notes. These can be traded in to reputation exchange NPCs for any of the daily zone factions to help speed up your reputation gains and unlock those rewards even faster. This is especially helpful for the Malgrave faction, since it is very slow to get reputation from the R-12 event alone.


A sample of the raid-quality (ilvl 85+) gear available on the auction house

A sample of the raid-quality (ilvl 85+) gear available on the auction house

Money: So hopefully doing all the activities here, plus whatever else keeps you happy in game, has left you with a little extra plat. The last place you can get some great gear is the auction house. If you save your pennies you should be able to buy some really fancy stuff for yourself. I’ve purchased a couple pieces myself, including the bind-on-equip Datascape weapons. If you can afford it, and can stand being patient until you see a good deal, you can get great raid-quality gear without ever even getting attuned.


Now you’ve got a ton of ways to gear yourself up at your own pace, on your own terms. WildStar’s group content is awesome but dungeons and raids aren’t for everyone. But fancy gear is important no matter what kind of player you are!


*This content was originally posted at WildStar-Core. I’ve reposted it here for safekeeping since that site is no longer operating.