Similar to my post about Wildstar classes, I wanted to introduce the other system that you will need to think about when rolling a character in Wildstar: paths. Loosely based on the Bartle test, paths are an alternate leveling path with its own level system and their own quest/mission structures. They don’t meet the Bartle criterias terribly well, and maybe aren’t as fun as they sound on paper, but they’re definitely a unique addition to Wildstar.
There are four different paths, and you will have to pick when creating your character. Each path comes with its different reward structures and abilities. I will try to list all mission types but in the beta did not encounter all the various missions yet. It is possible that some are only available in higher level zones. If there’s no explanation behind the mission types, I have no clue. 🙂
Do you enjoy climbing mountains, enjoying vistas and completing maps 100%? Then the Explorer might be for you. Of all the paths, I found that the Explorer has the most extra content per zone. If you choose this path, you will have a lot to do.
- Cartography: place beacons on specific places of the map
- Exploration: 100% map completion
- Expedition: vista points and jumping puzzles
- Scavenger Hunts: follow instructions for a treasure cache. Usually involves killing mobs for quest items as well.
- Surveillance: plant surveillance devices behind enemy lines
- Staking Claim
- Explorer’s Safe Fall – Activation: Damage taken from falling reduced by 15%. (1 minute CD, Instant cast) – You will fall a lot while exploring, or at least I did, and thus this could be a lifesaver. Though in truth, it often wasn’t enough damage reduction to save me from death.
- Air Brakes – Briefly stops the Explorer in mid-air. (30 sec CD, instant cast) – This one though, that’s definitely a life saver. Falling from huge heights? No worries. Just use your Air Brakes just before you hit the ground and then fall the rest of the way. Alternatively, do a double jump while in the air, use your Air Brakes and double-jump again. Wheeeee.
- Translocate Beacon – Saves your current position. Second Press: Returns you to your saved position. Greater teleport distances result in longer cooldown times. Cannot be used in PvP instances. (1 hour cd, instant cast) – I guess you can use it as an additional hearth, or rather transmat. I would have to test this, my Explorer wasn’t of a high enough level to receive this ability.
My opinion: Explorer can be overwhelming. Once you hit a new zone you get flooded with new missions. Also, the Explorer is very on-rails. Aside from the map completion, there is very little that you are not pointed at with the very handy guide arrows. Especially Scavenger Hunts could be quite interesting, because you basically get a little riddle and then have to solve it, but that’s nullified by a click on the guide arrow. I like always having some guidance but I think a lot of the people drawn to the Explorer would have loved a little less of it. Still, for the jumping alone, and the jumping is really enjoyable in Wildstar, it’s still in my top 2 of likely path choices for my future main. Path abilities and rewards are not as rewarding as for some of the other paths. If you are a min-maxer looking for utility in a path, Explorer is not going to make it. The Explorer costume rewards are outstanding though. More about the costumes below.
The path for lore addicts, the scientist and his trusty friend the scanbot are out to learn everything about the planet Nexus that they can.
- Analysis: spotted a new monster or an enemy database? Time for your trusty scanbot to scan them, and learn more about them.
- Botany: scientists also scan interesting flora and can often receive benefits from them, or use hazardous plants on their enemies, with the help of the scanbot
- Archaelogy: scan Eldan relics or machines
- Biology: scan creatures and critters on Nexus
- Catalog: collect datacubes in zones. They’re often hidden or tricky to get to.
- Chemistry: scan exotic materials and alien compounds
- Diagnostics: fix things, with science!
- Field Study
Most mission types work the same. Find a type of object that’s indicated for science scans, send your scanbot to scan it, complete missions. Did I mention you can rename scanbots? If I was a scientist, I would have a scanbot called Chuck who would turn me into the Intersect.
- Holographic Distraction – Dazzles the target with holographic imagery, reducing enemy awareness within a 5m radius of the hologram. (25 seconds CD/ 2 second cast) – I never used it, but I guess if you are not a stalker, it’s the closest you’ll come to not aggroing mobs while being all scientifical.
- Summon Group – Gives all members of your group the option to teleport to your current location. They must be on the same continent as you. Cannot be used in combat. (60 minuteCD/20 second cast (Cooldown is reduced if nobody uses the teleport.)) – Aaah, have group, will travel, you are alive. You live on in Wildstar.
- Create Portal – Capital City – Opens a portal to the Capital City for the next 120 seconds. (2 hour cd, 3 sec cast) – Warlock summoning and mage portals rolled into one scientist.
My opinion: the scientist is just about as much an explorer as the original path is. In some regards even more so. Above I mentioned that Explorers get a lot of hand holding. Scientists…don’t. In every zone, you have to find all the datacubes, and they’re not always easy to get to. There’s a datacube in Ellevar, the level 6+ zone for Cassians and Mechari, and I really have no frickin’ idea how you get to it. It’s on top of a water spout and there is no way to get up there. You do not get locator arrows pointing you at the next datacube, you have to find them on your own. Which is totally cool, I dig it, but that gives scientists more explorer-vibes than the explorer path. The path abilities are outstanding for people who want to group much. I didn’t find any of the hidden doors that scientists can discover, but you run into a lot of plants or crystals that provide benefits when scanned, to anyone in the area.
You like being social by giving everyone buffs, including yourself? You enjoy utility? Settlers excel at that. I am pretty sure that every min-maxing person wanting to level as quickly as possible will take this path for the benefits. Settlers build stuff. They do so by picking up resources unique to every zone and then turning them in at specific depots. Every depot has a certain amount of buffs and perks, and you as settler decide which will be available for a limited time. This includes flat stat buffs, run speed buffs, shield boosters or taxi services back to the next bigger settlement. You can also participate in building projects that once completed provide a zone buff, like Draken shaman NPCs buffing people or friendly robots patrolling a quest area.
- Expansion: submit materials at all the depots in the zone
- Civil Defense: you complete those missions simply by questing in all indicated areas
- Supply Cache: explorers place beacons, you find supply caches. You can’t loot them, you just find them. They often involve climbing or searching in caves.
- Infrastructure: the bigger building projects with zone rewards
- Public Service: do the group quests that are listed on bounty boards
- Settler’s Campfire – Spawns a campfire for people to warm themselves by. Not useable inside instances. (1 hour CD, instant cast) – Settler’s Campfire would have made an even better warchief than Basic Campfire. Just saying. There’s nothing basic about this fire. It heals for 500 a tick, and provides a 1 hour stat buff to everyone using it. People love campfires in Wildstar.
- Summon: Mail Box – Summons a Mail Box. (10 min CD, Instant cast) – Yeah, so, if you ever need access to mail in the middle of nowhere, your settler buddy is the go-to person.
- Summon: Vendbot – Summons a Vendbot for the next 300.0/90.0/120.0 seconds. Cannot be used in PvP instances. (1 hour cd, Instant cast) – This ability is sooooooo useful. Btw, as long as there’s no junk selling button in Wildstar, JunkIt is mandatory for my gaming. Just saying.
- Summon: Crafting Station – Summons a Crafting Station.(1 hour cd, Instant cast) – In Wildstar, you need a crafting station to actually craft, which makes for very crowded places in towns. Have the freedom to craft anywhere! Though I guess you still want a craft vendbot somewhere nearby.
My opinion: Settler buffs are strong. XP buffs, run speed, my eyes light up whenever I run across a fully built depot. Also extremely handy if you are playing a settler yourself because you will run around fully buffed most of the time. The core gameplay of a settler is a bit on the dull side however. You will spend a lot of time picking up resources. They’re pretty much everywhere, so if you are a compulsive farmer, they might drive you up the wall. You also loot them off your enemies. The resources go into the tradeskill bag, which is good. I think my settler has about 300 crystals and such in her bags. There’s not a lot of variation of mission types. If you play like I do, questing covers half of it. The rest of the time you simply use all the depots you could possibly ever find. The supply caches scratch the explorer itch, but not much. I don’t know, it felt a bit tedious to me, with grand rewards at the end of it all.
Last but not least, the path for those of you who enjoy killing mobs. Many mobs. If you enjoy the combat system and want more of it, soldier is the way to go. Throughout the world, you will find beacons. These beacons can only be used by soldiers and start their different missions.
- Assassination: the beacon will provide you with a mark. You have to go find your mark and do the dirty work.
- Demolition: get targets. Rig them up with explosives. Make them go boom! Never got one of those, but I am assuming the rigging would be done with the T-quest button.
- Rescue Op: you’re being sent off to rescue friendly NPCs.
- SWAT: test a new weapon by firing it off at enemies
- Holdout – Conquer: the holdout events all spawn waves of enemies. Many many enemies.
- Holdout – Security: in this kind of holdout you have to defend resources and the enemy mobs will try to steal them. Killing them makes them drop the resources. Lose all resources and you fail the holdout.
- Holdout – First Strike: in this holdout you have to kill the waves before they call in reinforcements
- Holdout – Protect: in the last kind of holdout, you have to protect friendly NPCs from the waves of enemies
The only low-level soldier missions I got to experience were holdouts. I think I shall test this path some more.
- Back into the Fray – Restores you to full power! You must be out of combat and below 75% Health to use this ability. Cannot be used in Battlegrounds or Warplots. (15 minute CD, Instant cast) – This doesn’t seem useful at low levels as your health restores in a blink, but is very cool the higher you level.
- Bail Out! – Situation getting a little too hot to handle? Use this to take you and your group to a safe area. Cannot be used in Battlegrounds or Warplots. (30 minute CD, 2.5s in PvE, 30.s in PvP cast times) – I have no idea where this ability teleports you. Could be useful as wipe saver in a dungeon, but then how do you get back?
- Combat Supply Drop – Call down a Weapon Locker for you and friends. The locker contains one weapon. (1 hour CD, 2 sec cast) – Apparently these are single charge on use items with a combat benefit. Could be interesting, depends on the items.
My opinion: soldier is the path I dedicated the least time to so far. It’s pretty straightforward. If you enjoy the combat system, you will enjoy the soldier path. The benefits are less obvious, but I can see myself taking this on an alt. I will have to play with this some more in the beta.
Other benefits of paths
Paths have a separate XP bar, and every level rewards you with something. Early on it’s bags. Some levels you get one of your abilities. You also regularly get titles, like Pioneer, Bookwork, Trooper, etc. You also get costume pieces though for the full set you have to be fairly advanced in your path level. Costumes are the transmog-like system of Wildstar where you can create different looks and dye them as you want to. Dominion and Exile path costumes have different looks, and I think the style is very very cool, if you enjoy the Wildstar aesthetics.
If you want to read more about paths, I can recommend Chief Sarcan’s Guide to Paths. Also, Stop is playing the beta too, and shared some of his views about paths last week. Me, I still can’t decide. It’s currently an internal race between Explorer or Scientist for me. I’ll probably go Explorer though. But…dunno! Whatever will ultimately seem the most fun to me.