WildStar: The Joy of Esping

Coming soon to theaters: Disney and Wildstar’s new movie, Occasional Hero 6

Ever pick up a class in an MMO and it instantly just feels right for you? That was how it was when I played the medic for the first time. Nice big AoEDOTs, responsive attacks, and good burst healing for when things get rough. Then there are other classes that you hate at first, but then you give them another chance and fall in love. That’s how the esper has been. Espers have a combo mechanic similar to the medic’s (except that the medic’s actuators reset to full while out of combat and not zero like the esper’s psi points), but the main combo point builder for esper is a smallish line attack that doesn’t do much damage and takes about half a second to cast, meaning you spend 2.5 seconds building a full combo before you can do one big numbers hit. That is, at least, until you unlock a few more skills. As I did, I realized that there are a few cooldowns that build combo points more quickly, and from there things started to fall into place. I’ve also come to find the cast time on the main combo builder to be a blessing, because, being a line AoE, position is everything if you want to hit more than one target, and it gives me a half a second of telegraph visibility to move into place. It also helps me make sure I’m lined up for a couple of instant cast skills (reap and mind burst) that have similar hitboxes. I’m pretty happy with my hotbar loadout as well, with a nice mix of cooldowns and sustained DPS abilities.

One of the things I’m always surprised about is just how much survivability healers have in WildStar. As someone who prefers playing healers, I’m used to being at best a glass cannon and at worst a cloth-clad squishy rooted to one spot that practically needs a tank just to level. In WildStar, however, I feel like, between the mobility of casters and accessibility of self-heals, healers can really hold their own in solo combat. On my esper, I have two HoTs slotted, one that’s just a simple cast-it-and-forget-it, and one that’s an AoE that I can put around a target that damages enemies and heals allies, which is a really neat ability, especially for a game with a limited hotbar.

Overall, my esper is shaping up to be a lot of fun. Leveling is going a lot faster this time around–as it usually does the second time around–and I’m over 30 after just a couple weeks. I’m hoping to cobble together a set of support gear and try healing some dungeons soon, so wish me luck!

While we’re on the subject of WildStar, I wanted to say that I’m deeply saddened by the news of massive layoffs at WildStar’s studio Carbine this weekend. I hope that these talented people can land somewhere else quickly. I usually try to be optimistic about this kind of thing, but I can’t imagine how this can realistically signal anything better than maintenance mode going forward. It really is a tragedy, for my fellow players who love this amazing game, yes, but even more so for all of the people involved in its production.