Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Wildstar the Harmony of Endless Space

My game time was a bit sporadic this week. I worked, spent my nights off with my girlfriend and suffered from food poisoning, but still managed to get in a few good bursts of play time.


I still don't know, I really don't. On the plus side, I still log into beta, but on the flip side, everytime I find myself having to power through something. In terms of class choice, I always prefer sustained damage over burst. But you're a rogue! Some of you may say, while true, that is because I enjoy stealth mechanics. In WoW, I play the combat spec, it has greater defenses and more sustained damage for the trade off of less burst. The stalker seemed all burst, all the time, so I tried Wildstar's warrior. I do like it better, and the unrestricted costume system + dyes means I have absolute faith I could create someone who looks awesome. There are however, still three major hurdles in this game for me.

1. Spam attack. 70% of what I do is spam my 1 button while I build Wildstar's equivalent of rage. I covered this in a previous post, but my dislike of it has gotten worse over time.

2. PVE wise, challenges. I can't seem to go anywhere or do anything without the big announcement of 'CHALLENGE BEGINS'. I didn't agree to any challenge! Nor do I want to hunt down 3 times the amount of enemies the quests call for, nor within a time limit, nor when I have enough trouble finding enemies for the quests when 14 other players are in the area also attempting the challenge. It's loud, obtrusive and everywhere. "Hey, these little blue dudes are innocent and we're intruding on their territory but kill 40 in 3 minutes and get a 6-slot bag!"

3. PVP wise, I can't tell what the hell is going on. In WoW, I know a fireball hit me, and I know where it hit me from. In Wildstar, all I know is I was standing in some sort of red overlapped with 5 other sources of red, 3 sources of green and my own blue template. I can use moves without having a target so half the time I don't even know if I'm hitting them. My kick/knockdown has an 8 second cooldown, but I don't know if they are in range. I don't know if they are immune to CC currently, or if I missed. All I know is that it's on cooldown and I don't remember them falling down. Even then, with the active tap to get out of CC, it could have worked, but they tapped out before I noticed. And when cc'd myself, these same buttons to tap to escape are the dodge buttons. Many times already I escaped CC just to dodge roll off a cliff. I've enjoyed every 1v1 fight I've had, but group fights are a mess.

These together, here is my overall feeling at the moment. Everything I can do in Wildstar, even when they do it better then WoW, has something about it that makes me want to log into WoW instead. Yes, as a rogue in WoW I still have a spam move, but I know what's going on. I can read the combat and know who is getting hit with what.

Endless Space: Disharmony

The second game I've been playing, since Wildstar got me in a sci-fi mood, is Endless Space. Think Civ 5, with solar systems as opposed to planets. I was predisposed to like this game from the get-go, as 80% of my time in Civ 4 was spent in the space mod. It's a lot of micromanaging, but most of it can be automated quite well unless you have a super specific strategy. I also enjoy how the different races play differently on a fundamental level. It's not just a few bonus with different art. I'll try to explain them in Civ terms.

The Cravers: Imagine all city locations are set in stone from the get go (solar systems). The Cravers are a hive mind that for one, cannot by any means declare peace with anyone. They are incompatible and by default are at war with everyone from the start. Your cities gain 'locust points', at a rate of one per turn. Below 20 locust points, your cities have 150% resources. As you consume the area and gain locust points, this drops to 100% at 20. After 60 points, your cities have 50% resources. You need to spread, you need to feed, the Cravers must invade and capture other systems to stay competitive. You cannot stand prolonged war, or risk starvation.

The Sowers: These are robots. Sowers only use 1/2 the food available on a planet. But, a % of all industry is provided as a bonus to their food as they work to replicate themselves. To the sowers, it's the arid, desert, tundra and arctic planets that are best to colonize. A jungle or temperate world is of little use as you require work, not food to populate.

The Harmony: Added in the expansion, they are the most divergent to the others. Imagine playing a game of Civ 5 where gold was BAD. Gold meant your people were sick, and you had to actively build things to ensure no gold entered your system. In Endless Space, 'Dust', a reality altering sand left by a precursor race, is the universal currency. The Harmony are allergic, it is a plague to them. While other races try to mine or dig up as much as they can, you are building things to remove it. Any dust in a solar system has a negative effect on food, industry and science. With no dust, you can not hire heroes, you can not pay to 'quick build', you can not trade dust to other players, you can not pay to repair ships, you can not retrofit ships. On the flip side, you have no approval/happiness worries for your population, you have no upkeep costs (so just keep building ships!), you do not worry about taxes, income, or bankruptcy. Obviously don't aim for the economic victory with this race.

I am still not very good at the game, and by far my biggest weakness is still trying to find the best way to design my ships. That's right, design your own ships! Choose a hull and load it with various weapon, defense, support and invasion modules up to your tonnage cap. While I've been enjoying kinetic weapons with the sniper perk, part of me would like to try beam weapons.

Did I mention you can also create your own race? First choose your 'affinity', who's fundamental game play are you using? Want to be anti-dust like the Harmony? Robots like the Sowers? Then choose what your race looks like, followed by compiling a list of positive and negative traits to tailor your play style. Traits add or subtract points, with the goal to end up at 65. Perhaps you take the sniper perk, with a 15% accuracy bonus on ships. At the same time, maybe your race also pays 'the price of beauty', which increases the industry cost of your ships by 30%. Go wild and experiment with these!

It's a game I've owned for a while, and one I love to revisit. I highly recommend looking it up on Steam.

No comments:

Post a Comment