Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chugging along...

Writer's note: I apologize for the rambling nature of this post, but without having much time I haven't been able to sit down and hammer out a good topic. I promise I'll pick it up!

So I've managed to squeeze in a bit of WildStar time in between massive departmental shifts at work and my WoW raid team working to down Garrosh. I've successfully raised Laffable the affable Esper to level 15 and have begun to reap the rewards of WildStar's robust housing system.

Let me pause for a moment to say this: screw you, Carbine. How am I supposed to make time for leveling and interior decorating? It simply cannot be done!

Ahem, pardon me.

I've been enjoying the Esper still, though at times I do get the itch to be a bit more mobile. The trade-off is, of course, their hefty damage, but I haven't yet really tooled around with the class enough to discover how best to handle enemies. It also seems to me that WildStar falls into some predictable early patterns that are mimicked in many modern MMO's: early on, most classes aren't too distinguished in terms of their output/intake. Now, of course a Warrior will take a few more blows than my squishy little mind-bender, and I don't have the stealth mechanic of a Stalker, but by and large the damage seems to be pretty comparable. I believe that once I have access to more of the AMPs and a variety of heals/CC's, I'll start to feel a bit more of a special snowflake. I'm looking forward to seeing a bit more of what the Esper can do as I move forward into group content, as I definitely think that would put on display how each class handles themselves differently.

Speaking of group content, keep your eyes peeled this weekend when I give Adventures (and, depending on my leveling, dungeons) a shot. I've heard some mixed reviews, mostly due to the difficulty that exists. Sounds like people are still trying to get a feel for interrupts and telegraphs. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


WildStar has released! Huzzah!

After months (years, for some) of anxiously waiting, WildStar is now officially released and ready for mass consumption. Ignore the fact that you could play the past three days had you preordered, and let the excitement wash over you as it is undoubtedly washing over the devs at this moment.

Let's put that into perspective: Carbine has actively been working on developing this game for years and years. Stephan Frost tweeted that he was hired by Carbine in August of 2010 and has been working towards today since then. He, as well as all of his coworkers, has spent four years of his life pouring countless hours, miles, blood, sweat, and tears into this game, and it is finally in the hands of a swarming mob of individuals who are eager to devour everything that has been jammed into this space MMO. I'm sure it's a feeling of pure elation and excitement; I know if I was in their shoes, I would drink to excess and pass out pantsless, because damn it I've earned that right.

But then there's that tiny little stipulation that comes with putting out a major MMO: this isn't the end. Whereas a game such as Watch Dogs can release to huge fanfare and take time to relish its accomplishments, WildStar and Carbine do not have that luxury. As of two days ago, individuals were already approaching and hitting level cap. People are preparing to plow headfirst into the Elder Game (which blows my little level 12 Esper's mind), and are doing everything they can to max out their characters. MMO's grow. By their very nature, they require new content.

It is because of this that I truly applaud not just Carbine, but any company itching to make an MMO; their development cycle mimics the lifecycle of an MMO. You roll up a character, log in, and then there's immediate excitement. You've waited for this moment for so long, and you're ready to go. However, as you're leveling, you're working towards that next goal, and the next step in your character's journey. Devs are doing the same; they will thrive in this moment, then buckle back up and prepare for the journey ahead. It is, many times, a thankless and stressful job, for developers- their work can at times go unappreciated and overlooked, but they do it regardless.

That is why I want to thank Carbine for doing what they've done, and putting the time in to release this wonderful game that we all look forward to playing for some time to come. It wasn't easy and it's not going to be easy, but you did it anyway. In the immortal words of the Narrator, "Way to go, Cupcakes!"

 I initially intended for this post to examine some of the issues and varying opinions on how "smooth" this launch went, but this seemed more appropriate. There will be time for criticism, critiques, and retrospection later. For now, live it up!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Day ONE!

So my foray into the release version of WildStar got off to a decent, slightly rocky start. Unlike many others, I've had pretty decent queue times- don't get me wrong, they're still there (I'm actually sitting at 1087 right now), but overall it seems to be ticking along at a reasonable pace.

My first order of business, as with any other game, was to make the "all important" decision about which race to play. Let's get this out of the way first: I'm playing Exile. Dominion have an interesting dynamic, what with being religious zealots in a sense, but how do you NOT choose to be a space cowboy when the choice is available? You don't.

In a perfect world, I think I would have preferred Mordesh- there's something very appealing about their sort of tragic hero story- but alas, it would seem that they don't have the mental capacity to be an Esper (it would probably help to have a fully functional brain). I wasn't about to play a class with big ears, so instead I chose my only other option: Exile Human.

Of course I had to give him a bald head- it's really the only way to ensure that my wiggly blue brainwaves cause maximum damage.

For those of you who have been skipping over the little cut scenes that WildStar offers: shame on you. One of the biggest draws for me when it comes to WildStar is how expressive the faces of their characters are. They have the perfect mixture of cartoony exuberance and badassness that really make them entertaining to watch. Seeing Deadeye Brightland admit that he was glad he didn't shoot me with a coy little smirk on his face was really a sight to behold. Not to mention skipping over these beginning quests takes a lot of some of the emotional impact of what happens once you get off Gambler's Run (that's all I'll say...)

My only real complaints up to this point have to do with the cost of skills (they're effectively wiping out my money with every level), and the fact that I can't quite run the game as well as I would like to. I hear optimization is coming, and the game is certainly playable, but I would definitely like to do more with what I have.

As I sit in queue now (I hopped off for a little to get a bite to eat), I'm already excited to get back to it. I sit at level  7ish and I'm pretty pumped to experience some of the lower-level group content with guildies. I promise to tell you all about it when the time comes!

Back in the Saddle Again (A Reintroduction of Sorts)

As promised, Blue Blades Blog has returned with renewed vigor! Before I get into the meat of this post, however, I should do a bit of explaining as to why I've gone nearly 6 months without so much as a word.

I was fortunate enough to take part in WildStar's Fall beta test weekends. At first, the game really captured me (after all, it's why I decided to start this blog). I played on the designated weekends when I could, and it seemed the game was living up to everything that I had hoped. After the beta ended, I was told that I would more than likely be receiving a spot in the full-on Winter Beta; I was excited, and I waited patiently until that email arrived telling me I was good to go.

I won't lie: upon having more time to sit down and digest the game, it was capturing me in the way I had hoped. Things seemed clunky, slow, and difficult. The game didn't run quite well on my machine, even though I have a fairly new system, and my Esper felt week. I was disenchanted, and stopped playing for quite some time.

Eventually, I decided that I should give the game another go (mind you, this was with only about a month of beta'ing left, and so I didn't have a ton of time to invest). For whatever reason, this time through made the game far more desirable and enjoyable. I had reevaluated what I personally was looking for from the game, and with some research on how to actually play the Esper, I found myself able to mow through enemies in a much more capable manner. I decided at that point to purchase the game, and dive in head-first.

So here we are, back in the saddle again and ready to deliver to you my adventures, thoughts, and stories from the planet Nexus. I think it would be appropriate to take the time and reestablish what this blog is and what it is not:

- For me to document my adventures in WildStar with friends
- For me to share my personal thoughts on the Esper class in mildly educated manner
- For me to try and generate discussion amongst the Esper community about the class and its capabilities

- An official source of any info from Carbine or its developers
- A theorycrafting site (seriously, I suck at that)

Everything I post here may not always be completely optimized or match your experience with the class- then again, if that were the case, why bother typing it out? My hope is that while reading this blog, you get to have a couple laughs and join in the conversation as we explore this brand new world.

Check back a bit later tonight when I delve deeper into what sort of Esper I made, what I hope to accomplish with him, and maybe even a screenshot or two!

Now back to the queue line with you!

Stay tuned...

With the release of WildStar, I'm pleased to announce that my blog will once again become an active contributor to the community! Tune in later today to hear about my first (post-release) steps onto Nexus!

Feels good to be back!