In my current play through of Wildstar (now level 24), I’m finding combat more enjoyable than I expected although I’ve not done much in the way of more challenging content (so far only two shiphands and the two dungeons).
I think there are two factors that most explain this change of view from the beta. Firstly the game’s zones aren’t currently overcrowded with players. In beta the game was very, very busy and given the competitive nature of open world PVE content I tended to find so many players fighting so many creatures nearby that overlapping telegraphs could really confuse things. This time around the zones have been active but not overcrowded so I don’t feel rushed when choosing what monsters to attack or how to position myself before a fight. In beta so much was a mad zerg-rush to get a few hits in for mission credit.
Secondly and more importantly I’m playing engineer with a damage-crowd-control focused build although the class always has certain in-built ‘tank’ abilities and it wears heavy armour. This means I can easily survive a pull gone-bad as long as it’s not one of the more dangerous mini-bosses. Furthermore my pet tank ‘bruiser-bot’ can taunt monsters off me and stun them, coupled with my character’s own stun I have a growing set of options in combat beyond just “dodging enemy telegraphed attacks”. It allows me to “stand and fight” much more often than if I was playing a less-defensive character. So far, at least, that play style option suits me very well and avoids any feel of “active combat” fatigue.
I’m happily leveling away still and have been training the technologist crafting profession for a steady supply of medishots. The crafting can be a bit complex to get into but with the help of wikis and forums I’ve made good headway. The recipe discovery mini-game in particular is daunting at first but I’ve managed to unlock recipes without bankrupting my character. Doing some gathering and crafting also helps me to vary the pace of my gaming sessions by taking the odd break from combat-heavy missions.
I’m certainly having fun at the moment, whether I feel the same as I approach level 50 and the elder game remains to be seen. It’ll also be interesting to see how the free to play conversion, and the rush of new players that is likely to bring, will impact my experience of playing the game.