Hey Nexians! It’s Datix and I’m back to cover the further adventures of my Spellslinger/Explorer as he takes on his first missions on the surface of Nexus. If you’ll recall, last time I left off right as I emerged on the Crimson Isle. Crimson Isle is the second zone you’ll encounter if you play a Chua (although you always have the option to choose a different starting zone on the Arkship if you want), and it takes us through storming a beachhead and encountering some of the local wildlife and eventually some of the Eldan constructs left behind on the planet. If you recall our very first episode of the podcast, we were given a preview of Crimson Isle as that week’s WildStar Wednesday. Fun fact: it was also the birth of our Space Bacon in-joke. Finally getting a chance to personally set foot in that zone and discover everything it has in store was a great experience! So without further ado, let’s get down to my thoughts on the zone.
You’ll start off with some pretty basic MMO quest fare: kill some scrabs and disable landmines on the beach, getting your first pair of gloves as a reward for the effort. From there, you’ll continue on to disable shield generators, free some of your fellow Dominion soldiers who have gotten themselves caught up in stasis fields, and encounter the first of your path missions. As an Explorer, I was given a Surveillance mission called “Spelunking” in which I was tasked with checking out a cave full of particularly nasty falling rocks, complete with large red telegraphs telling me where I probably shouldn’t be standing.
I’ll refrain from telling you every detail of every quest, but questing throughout the zone weaves a nice story around the arrival and establishment of Dominion forces on Nexus. There are even some short in-game cinematics for the more epic moments of the story. There are a handful of Explorer missions of varying difficulty and types to be found, and are easily unlocked/discovered throughout the quest flow. Besides the initial cave exploration I mentioned above, there is also a jumping puzzle that helps position a couple of snipers at a strategic vantage point before the final invasion of an established Exile camp which I felt gave my choice of Path some bonus to the overall zone story. It’s these nice touches that I hope to see more of throughout my leveling experience to make my Path choice more than just some side activities. It really helps establish how my character is personally contributing to the war effort.
As soon as you hit level four, you are tasked with seeking out the Ability Vendor to buy your new abilities. You’ll recall that as you level up on the Arkship in the tutorial/starter zone, ability slots and abilities are granted automatically to your action set. Here, you’ll need to buy future abilities from the Ability Vendor. Ability Vendors are literally vending machines which sell you new abilities to help build out your action set and flesh out your array of ways to kill. I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to the way World of Warcraft revised their system to automatically grant new abilities and ranks as you leveled up, so I find myself often forgetting to traverse back to a vendor to learn new abilities as I ding in WildStar. I have to say, I don’t mind this return to requiring the buying of ability training, but I did personally dig the change WoW made to the system from a convenience standpoint. That said, at max level when all abilities are learned and you’re in the Elder Game, this design choice doesn’t really affect the players. Plus, I’m sure once I have a hoverboard/bind point set up, that brief time to travel back and buy abilities won’t seem as troublesome and give me some satisfaction to unlocking that mount.
Speaking of abilities, as I quested through Crimson Isle, I was able to reach level seven. At that level, I have now unlocked five of the slots on my action bar. Since I intend to be a DPS killing machine, here are the abilities I currently have at my disposal for wasting Exile scum…and the occasional rampant Eldan robots.
Mobile Fire – We’ve talked about this one already, but it’s the bread-and-butter attack for Spellslingers. A free, one second channeled attack that hits enemies three times in a 25 meter cone to up to five enemies in front of you. If you have used the Spellslinger’s Innate Ability, Spellsurge, you boost the damage done by this attack.
Charged Shot – A four-tiered charged ability, this attack has a whopping 35 meter range that deals damage to up to five enemies directly ahead of you in a rectangular telegraph. Depending on when you fire this ability, it does more damage. A full four charge shot does a killer 545 damage (albeit after a lengthy 2.4 second charge) that I found regularly one-shotting my foes as I went. There’s a seven second cooldown on this one, so it’s best to use it as an opening attack, then weaving it in when the opportunity presents itself. If your Spellsurge is active, you cut the time in half for a full charge, reaching four charges in a mere 1.2 seconds. This is definitely a heavy-hitter for the Spellslinger at these low levels.
Ignite – The first damage-over-time ability the Spellslinger gets is a nice bit of up front damage with an eight second DoT that once again can affect up to five enemies within it’s 35 meter telegraph. In fact, the telegraph for this ability is the exact same as that of Charged Shot. This sharing of telegraphs/range between abilities makes it nice to easily know what type of abilities are at your disposal at quick notice during battle, as well as know the best tool for the job. Another noticeable part of this spell on the tooltip (see below) is that the periodic damage increases over time and applies more frequently, making this something you’ll not want to spam or “clip” to ensure you maximize your DPS. Like Mobile Fire, an Ignite cast during Spellsurge will be more damaging.
Gate – Gate is an instant blink that takes the Spellslinger 20 meters directly ahead and stuns up to five (that magic number) foes within their path for three seconds. Gate is the first crowd control available for Spellslingers, and it allows some nice combinations to be set up for those difficult or larger pulls. For instance, open up on a pack of mobs with Ignite, Gate through them to buy enough time for a full Charged Shot and you’ve taken a nice chunk of damage off of them before they even have a chance to react. Unlike other abilities, Gate has no benefit if cast during Spellsurge.
Wild Barrage – The final ability I have right now is Wild Barrage. It shares a telegraph and range with Mobile Fire (25 meter cone) and is channeled the same way as Mobile Fire, although it hits 12 times over a two and a half second channel. Think of this as a stronger Mobile Fire on a long (12 second) cooldown. Definitely worth using in place of your standard Mobile Fire every time it’s up. Spellsurge this one in order to get in 16 hits over that cast time.
Having wrapped up Crimson Isle in true action hero fashion, my Spellslinger has taken off for Deradune. I’ll be sure to cover it in an upcoming article or stream, but feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. I’ll be happy to share all I can about the experience on Crimson Isle, and any other information regarding the Spellslinger or Explorer. Of course, a lot of you may have seen the size of this page and wanted a TL;DR version (admit it, you know who you are), so check out this video for some highlights of my time questing on Crimson Isle!