Someone on Reddit put out a call for people to join a guild for newbies (or returning vets) so I responded. We got together one evening and 5 of us decided to check out the Protogames Initiative and the level 10 instance added recently. I had never seen it and was excited to check out grouping and instances in WildStar. All of us were above level 10, but the instance downscaled us to level 10, something I noticed when I moused over everybody in the group UI.
TL;DR – this was super SUPER fun, even though we wiped a few times.
From what I’ve seen on YouTube videos of higher level instances and raids, this level 10 instance gives a fair preview of what instancing and boss fights in this game are like. That’s what the blurb on the website says
This level-10 dungeon will teach less experienced players the tricks of the trade, introducing them to complex group content mechanics
and that’s what was delivered.
It was so fun 4 of us did it again, including me. Even better was that I got to try healing the first time and dps the second time.
There were several fights, which got progressively harder. We started with a boss that needed multiple interrupt to stop his “wipe everybody” skill that slowly charged
and then got a similar mechanic but the boss leaped across the room and we had to run, dodging flamethrower damage.
The next boss added moving hotspots on the ground to avoid
and we switched venues to battle a boss with a large AoE
and then a boss with a bunch of swirling “tornado” damage adds
and then finally, the “final exam” of all these mechanics put together in a dinosaur boss, Wrathbone:
I mixed my healing and dps screenshots from the two runs, since it was hectic and I didn’t always get the screenshot I wanted. I probably left out a fight or two as well.
WildStar’s AoE skill system made for active, engaging, mobile battles, with dodging, jumping and aim required to keep the enemy in range for attacks and friendlies in range for heals. Even as a healer I had to fight in order to charge my class mechanic (actuators) in order to pop off my healing skills. And as DPS, my action set included an AoE healing skill (healing probes of some sort) so I did a reasonable amount of that too. The class felt more blended than other games, for example WoW, which separates the roles much more.
About the wipes… some bosses had a slowly charging skill that wipes the group if it finishes. This skill takes multiple interrupts to stop, perhaps even from multiple players depending on how fast a player’s skill recharges. We missed a few times, meaning not enough interrupts landed to stop the skill. This mechanic is reasonable and requires a little bit of coordination – mostly, bring an interrupt and use it; don’t depend on someone else handling the interrupt needs of the group.
Another wipe mechanic is what I’ll call the “giant AoE skill of doom”, whereby the boss would charge a skill that literally covered the entire field, with one safe spot under a bubble. I didn’t get a screenshot of it because I was too busy running to get there! People that didn’t notice fast enough, or were turned around and started running the wrong way, generally didn’t make it. 😉
I also noticed a few bosses had “infinite interrupt armor” – that’s what the floating text said if you try to interrupt/stun them. That mechanic is across many other games – the boss that is immune to player skill X – but WildStar is nice about telling you that straight up in the fight. When you see that text, go all out on attack and avoidance!
There were a few other twists – boss knockback that made you drop your weapon. Not that it disappeared out of your inventory, but the weapon was represented on the field and you had to run over it to pick it up and be able to use your skills again.
Along those same lines was the tether, a popup that kept you in range of it like an elastic band. It was simple to turn and destroy it in order to regain full motion.
Anyway, I am looking forward to higher level instances. I had a lot of fun as healer and dps, keeping mobile and juggling the need to dodge enemy attacks while staying in range to use my own skills.