The Scientist path is one of the four paths players can choose from at the beginning
of their Nexus adventure. Each path helps define what kind of side content you’ll
experience throughout the game. For example, the Soldier path emphasizes beating the
small and large inhabitants of Nexus into a fine, manageable paste.
The Scientist is much more refined, choosing to scan creatures and objects, solve
various puzzles, and catalogue data in order to piece together the lore-ridden puzzle
of the planet Nexus. Each of the scans gave me more info about the objects of the
world. Some scans unlocked audio clips that took me deeper into a side-quest, while
others unlocked new advantages for me after numerous scans of the same creature.
With each scan, my collection of Nexus history and game plot-lines thickened. Using
the Galactic Archive, the in-game compendium, I could review what I’d learned about a
plant, a race, or the zone I had been exploring. I couldn’t help but scan everything
as though each unlock was an achievement for the taking. Bonus: Scans also increased
the level of my Scientist path, rewarding me with new Scanbot powers, titles, and
even housing equipment in the form of what the game calls “FABkits.” I became
addicted to knowledge!
But the Scientist isn’t just about collecting lore. Carbine Studios has made sure
that members of each path help members of the others to find new areas to explore. In
Algoroc, a mountainous area covered in grassy hills and crystal-encrusted hillsides,
I unlocked the power of Loftite using a few science scans. Thanks to my achievement,
nearby players were suddenly given the ability to jump incredibly high in areas with
a large concentration of the crystals. We bounded up and down the cliff until we
reached a peak where we found the boss that had been throwing giant snowballs at us
during our ascent. This area had a few objectives for other paths, but they needed my
brain power to get there.
I also found a small puzzle that reminded me of RIFT’s zone puzzles. Solving it
opened a door that led to more areas to explore and a pathway for the Explorer path.
The great thing was the puzzle’s randomization. Jeremy Gaffney, WildStar’s executive
producer, told me that each of the puzzles is randomized so that the experience can
be different for each player. “We don’t like the optional way of puzzle solutions —
i.e., looking up the one solution online,” he explained.
What strikes a chord with me is how WildStar has managed to create specific paths for
individual playstyles without alienating players. If my friends like to rampage via
the Soldier path, they provide me as a Scientist with more opportunities to learn
about an enemy’s history. To top things off, the team even hinted that each path will
be a boon when players begin to run dungeons together.
WildStar is, simply put, the small plant I mentioned at the start. On the surface,
it’s humorous and beautiful in its allure, but buried deep beneath the surface is a
complex and exciting monster ready to devour all your free time.