PAX East 2014: WildStar Arena battles are f*cking awesome

The first day of PAX East 2014 in the city that lives strong, Boston, was yesterday. The cosplayers were out in full force. There was a man with a mustache and a saxophone playing "I'm Never Gonna Dance Again" by George Michael, and my feet hurt because I wore Converse, which, in hindsight, wasn't a smart choice.

And you know what else was there? Carbine Studios, who were showing off their upcoming sci-fi MMORPG WildStar. Their booth grew in size since last year, and so did the mob of attendees that wanted in on the action. And that panel — boy was it fun! I've already covered a lot about the game from a recent press event — such as housing, Warplots, and Battlegrounds — but I never did get a chance to try my hand at the Arena PvP. That changed yesterday.

I've played plenty of Arena in World of Warcraft back in the day, so I figured that it'd be along the same lines. I was wrong. Not only are there some twists on the typical arena play you're probably accustom to, but the skill-based combat that require aiming and actively dodging telegraphs makes for wild, frantic and heart-pounding combat. The twist on the Arena gameplay — which was 3-on-3 on max level characters, is that you're not out of the game when you die. Each team of three shares a pool of five respawns. So after dying and a short death timer, you can get right back in the action and help your team out.


In the Arena match, I played as a Spellslinger since I have a basic understanding of the class' skills and how to play it. There's only one Arena map, but it's pretty cool. It's a circular, small map with multiple pillars to block line of sight, as well as other objects that break line of sight but are able to be double-jumped over. My teams was ahead with three respawns left compared to the other team's one, but realize that when one of their players respawn, they're just getting a full-health player back. Next thing I knew, we had zero respawns left and they had one. It ended up just being one on one at the end of the match — me versus the enemy Stalker. He had about 1/4 health left, and I had half.

The thing is, he stealthed and regenerated his health, constantly trying to get me from behind while I ran around shooting and trying to lure him out of stealth. He got me a few times, I got him a few times, and I escaped death by slipping into my short stealth or blinking away a few times. But in the end, his stun, high damage and stealth were too much for me. After a two-minute duel, he won. Still, it was exhilarating and intense.

Having now played each type of PvP match in WildStar, I'm super stoked about what the game offers to PvP players. Battlegrounds and Warplots are amazing, and Arenas fit right in, keeping the intensity, fun, and skill at a premium.

You can follow Senior Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. He likes talking sports, video games, movies, and the stupidity of celebrities. Email at [email protected]