Friday, 23 May 2014

Wildstar Beta: Scampering with the Exiles

The Exiles are a gutsy group of refugees, rebels, and mercenaries that have come to Nexus to make a new home.
Ah, the video actually makes them compelling, fun, charming is probably the perfect word. While the Dominion is that crazy kind of fun, full of danger and adventure, Exiles are more of a cute variant of fun, where you go on an adventure to pick flowers and dance in the moonlight. Too peaceful, not enough initiative, lack of imagination. These are the flaws that in my opinion plague the Exiles and make me love the Dominion.

Just to be clear. Exiles were never meant for me. I hate the damned lot of those pirates, scoundrels and criminals of all sorts. It might be my Dominion favouritism talking out of me, but the Exiles consist of flat-out traitors, warmongering drunkards, accidental zombies, and incompetent furriers that do nothing but send you in action. I might be exaggerating just a little, but that is the general consensus for all I care. Still, I wanted to give you my thoughts on the initial experience if you decide to level as an Exile, and I will do it. But do not expect me to like the faction.

Now that I let all that out we can move on, actually focus on the experience of leveling as an Exile without all that additional baggage that makes Exiles for what they are, the ungrateful lot that just forces its way where they have no place. I will stop now. Truly. Really. Honestly. Just to be clear, this is the impression of Exiles I got from playing as an Exile. I certainly had a better opinion of them before.

As I wanted to try something else I made a Granok Engineer Explorer. I know I said I would make another Warrior, but in the end I settled with the Engineer because I wanted to try something else, beside the perfect Warrior. The Explorer part however, was changed an hour later when I deleted the character and made the Granok Engineer Settler. I sure do love exploring, but I hate timed jumping puzzles.

I settled with building things. It was fine I guess. Unlike the Dominion side, where your awakening from the deep-sleep is carefully calculated and planned event, where you are chosen, on the Exile side of things you are an accident. They only woke you up, because records got messed up and somebody important thought you were his wife. Smooth.

I bet that gun-for-hire was surprised when instead of his lovely wife he found a grumpy close to three meters tall Granok waiting for a cigar and some smoked meat. The disappointment was mutual. In any case, you help Brightland locate his pregnant wife, and then save her life because she got sick somehow. I wondered about that for a moment and then concluded it was my inflexible nature. Back to the story. Chua show their genius when they crash an asteroid into the Exile ship and board it with the rest of the Dominion soldiers.

After a quick struggle, you manage to suppress the Dominion and send them on their way. I guess to Nexus. It is as though the whole initial experience underlines again and again how the Exiles are all close to incompetent, and only thing that binds them together is that at some point they all messed up badly, and then ran away. The humans were rebels, the Aurin helped those rebels with provisions, thus drawing the rage of the Dominion on themselves. The Mordesh were highly evolved society that Dominion invited to join them, same with Granok, only that they were a tribal society, not highly evolved.

Mordesh rebelled after their greatest scientist managed to turn the whole race in the undead, and the Dominion established a quarantine around their planet in order to contain the threat. Yes, silly Dominion for showing precaution in a matter such as undeath. Granok on the other hand killed the Dominion Emissary. Even if that was all against their stoic way of peaceful way of life. I would not be surprised to learn, it was the hot-headed leader of the Granok that was later exiled together with his supporters, who instigated the war between the Dominion and Granok, when all the Dominion wanted was for Granok to join them and bolster their numbers, to share in their glory.

Back to the adventure. You are given choice between joining Aurin on something like an expedition, or trying to rescue the settlers in Northern Wilds that obviously never knew how to handle things. As I had no love for Aurin, and their constant moaning about how incapable they are of doing anything for themselves, thus I should, I went with the rest of Granok and tried to save the survivors of the crash. Of course there was more to it than that. For example, we saw how peaceful and good guys Exiles really are. How the first contact with (half)sentient species looks like when Exiles are involved.

It looks bloody, messy, with a lot of dead, and everything in ruins. But Exiles are the victims, and the Dominion is bad, even if Exiles burned the whole village down because the natives captured a couple of settlers that were encroaching on their hunting ground and tried to cook one of them. And then, a shot to the gut, to show us how bad the Dominion is, they shoot down a spaceship full of people that you just rescued. Yes, Dominion patiently waited to shoot down the civilians. They absolutely did not shoot at that spaceship because it was an Exile spaceship. They would shoot even before on the rescue party, and on the first ship if there was not the artificial blizzard preventing them from using their canons. by the way, you are the one who turned the blizzard down.

After that you go and destroy the Dominion outpost, steal their ship and move on to the new mining town in Algoroc that Exiles started. The whole adventure from here on reminds me of the wild west. That "old" final frontier where dangers loom, everyone is in search of their dream, and better tomorrow. You get to deal with pirates, cartels, wild bears and some Dominion scientists figuring out new ways of how to split the world in half (they are not actually thinking about that, but it is close enough of a description from an Exile point of view).

I am sad to say I ran out of time to cover the whole zone and all the quests. I got to level 11, and that was pretty far. Quests, are as in Deradune, the Dominion counterpart, cohesive, well connected and quite entertaining once you forget how bitter and miserable most of the Exiles really are. You see all the problems these Exiles have to deal with. How they are constantly under the attacks of criminals, pirates, and other scum that infests the universe. You get to see how ill-prepared are their defenders against such threats, how inefficient is their law. And when they do deal justice, and punish the criminals, the end result is not much different from what the Dominion does. Execution.

All in all, it was an enjoyable experience even though I preferred the Dominion side of things far far more. I still guess some will decide for Exiles, and that is fine. My personal choice is the Dominion, they might be occasionally crazy, and most of the time full of themselves, but they are always funny and in high spirits. I usually like underdogs, but I really have no sympathy for a group who made themselves into one of their own volition.

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