Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer

WildStar Weflections: New Races, New Videos, and More!

WildStarThe last thing anyone could accuse WildStar of being is boring.

Since the game’s announcement at Gamescom 2011, developer Carbine Studios has trickled a steady stream of tantalizing details about their upcoming MMO to their eager fans. This has included a comprehensive AMA session on Reddit by WildStar‘s executive producer Jeremy Gaffney as well as a charming trailer describing the game’s unique player housing system. These efforts have been rewarded with a ballooning presence on social media and MMORPG.com, a development that makes WildStar seem less like a dark horse in the MMO genre and more like a title contender each day.

True to form, Carbine Studios has brought their A-game to the new year. A pair of cinematic trailers have been released showcasing the playable races of the game’s two major factions: the Dominion and the Exiles. Although many of these details were released or hinted at prior, the trailers serve as a great introduction to the lore of the game for new fans.

The Exiles

The Exiles trailer is narrated by tenacious freedom fighter Kit Brinny. Kit skirts the line between cute and irritating as a character, but she manages to effectively convey the rowdy and unrefined flavour of the Exiles.

That being said, there isn’t a lot of new information here. The video delves into the background of the Humans, Aurin, and Granok – the three races familiar to fans from the WildStar announcement trailer. It’s a strong core lineup, but we already know the basics: the Exiles are plain ol’ humans mixed with a dash of intergalactic hillbilly, the Aurin are your token nature-loving animal race, and the Granok are big dumb bruisers.

The hint at what the fourth Exile race might be proves to be the selling point of the trailer. Kit stammers to a halt halfway through her monologue as she approaches a glowing coffin-like contraption. She peers at it uncomfortably and evades our curiousity by stating “it might be best if we just don’t talk about them.”

The coffin-like contraption, as well as the subtle inclusion of an emaciated skeletal arm earlier in the trailer, seems to indicate a visually unsavoury zombie-like race. It’s a strong hook for a race (especially in a science fiction setting), and makes the viewer eager for a full reveal.

The Dominion

The Dominion trailer is narrated by Malvolio Portius, a Cassian aristocrat whose aloofness is matched only by his penchant for expensive wine. The trailer is sold by Malvolio’s pitch-perfect Long Island Lockjaw accent, a vocal flourish that postures the Dominion as a powerful and condescending empire from the second he opens his mouth.

The Cassians (evil humans) and Mechari (even more evil robots) appear to be the flagship races of the Dominion. They perfectly embody the militarist, cold, and calculating nature of their alliance. The Draken, a warrior race of demonic aliens, offer a pleasing counterpoint. Their uncultivated tribal nature contrasts the bureaucratic modus operandi of the latter two races.

However, I feel the Dominion would benefit from the inclusion of a lighter, more humourous race. At the moment, the faction comes off as excessively stern and dire, a trait that risks polarizing players (much like the Horde in World of Warcraft prior to the addition of Blood Elves and Goblins). Thankfully it has been hinted that the unannounced fourth race will be a goofy “mad scientist” type – an excellent foil.

These trailers have been released to coincide with the launch of WildStar‘s new website. If you like what you see, I suggest giving it a visit. WildStar may not have a behemoth studio or mammoth license behind it, but it’s brimming with potential.

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By Mathew
Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer