This morning Carbine Studios unleashed the next details on WildStar's upcoming Ultradrop, the monthly content drops that Carbine has planned out for the next sixteen months. Month one's Ultradrop is known to be The Strain, revealed last week and releasing the week of June 30 -- a month after launch, give or take a day or two. Today's new details revolve around the game's two new zones which will be added: the Strain-overgrown and aptly named Blighthaven, and the tundra from down unda (under the Northern Wilds, that is) the Norther Wastelands.
I was able to spend a bit of time with Carbine and saw quite a bit of Blighthaven in action, so I'll try and share my own thoughts on the zone in addition to conveying the new information. Keep in mind that much of Blighthaven is designed for group content, whether that be 5-man or even an open 20-man dungeon. We won't ignore the Northern Wastes either, because the big reveal of the day is that players will be able to acquire Epic loot (ORANGE!) through some means or another.
Today's not the end of Carbine's big info-drop for The Strain, either. Come back on Thursday, June 26, for the first information on new housing plugs that will be included with the Ultradrop, as well as a bunch of customization content including: costume, emote, mount, hoverboard and dye information. All of this new content and everyone's probably busy getting to 50 and attuning for raids still! You treat us too well, Carbine.
Players leveling past 35 will recognize that this isn't the first time the Strain has been encountered. I won't go into detail, but this plague-like foe is all-devouring and hungry. It crawls over Eldan structures, turning the beautiful into purple sludge and pustules. Blighthaven will take this idea to the extreme, however, offering areas that are both Strain dominated and evolved in ways we've yet to see, plus areas still pristine and glowing -- but heavily threatened, naturally. Plus, don't forget the Eldan structures themselves!
The Strain dominated areas will be filled with the purple ooze and seafloor-like fauna we're used to, but also some new features. Giant green tubules and huge purple bubbles will be found within. These big purple bubbles are quite notable, as players can swim through them, like ants crawling into drops of honey. Only with more disgusting purple goo. New, more specific details reveal one of the names of these Strain-infected areas, the Cantankerous Swamps, as well as an enemy that's Strain-resistant, but still vile to the core -- the Globellum. Those giant purple bubbles are actually meant to be the Globellum's organs. Let's just hope the only way to defeat it is to eat it one spoonful at a time.
As players progress out of the more obviously Strain-infected areas of Blighthaven they'll discover the eerie haven of Sanctuary of the Keepers. The Pell here have protected the area, but that won't stop the Strain from attempting a hostile takeover. This area turns into a huge, 20-man public event tower defense game. The better teams do, the more risk they're willing to take, the better the rewards. Really though, win or lose I'm just a fan of the glowing golden environments.
And of course, Blighthaven wouldn't be complete without its Eldan secrets. Hidden in Blighthaven is the Genesis Chamber, the point of origin for the mysterious Genesis Prime's creation. Yes, WildStar's World Story will continue in Blighthaven where players will discover more than they're likely expecting at the heart of the public dungeon. Spoilers: Oh dear, is that an Eldan?
Unlike Blighthaven, I wasn't shown much of the Northern Wastes. Perhaps that was because this new zone wasn't entirely finished, or perhaps it was because there are mysteries here that Carbine wants players to discover on their own. The challenges may be a mystery, but the reward aren't so fuzzy. Today Carbine revealed that players will be able to earn Epic-tier loot in the zone, a loot tier previously thought to be exclusive to 20-man and up raiding.
What dangers then await in the Northern Wastes that could lead not just to Legendary loot, but Epics? Carbine isn't telling. All that's revealed is a bevy of new enemies including cannibals, necromancers and cybernetic monstrosities. Part for the WildStar course, no? Then there will be hidden locations, new quests and missions. I mean, yeah. That's expected right? We'll forgive Carbine the mystery for now, considering how much of Blighthaven we've been shown instead.
What Carbine's done is provided exactly what their game needs at the moment. Blighthaven and the Northern Wastes will provide a diversity of PvE content at level 50, but without the restrictions of instanced raiding that many current 50s are aspiring to. Blighthaven's mix of group-focused difficulty and even raid-tier content, all in the open world, is a blessing. I can't wait to see what sort of fun is to be had in the zone (especially on a PvP server).
Those at 50 may share my thoughts that being stuck doing dailies in the Crimson Badlands is a bit suffocating. Doing veteran adventures and dungeons is fun too, mind, but I'd love to keep that mind-set of exploring up as well. Bring on the Northern Wastes. Odds are it's going to take quite a bit of time investment to get that Epic loot.
Stay tuned for more WildStar Ultradrop info on The Strain in the days to come, concluding with an all-new DevSpeak on June 30 which will hopefully be followed closely by the patch's full launch. Until then, look forward to our updates!