Adventure is about to get an ass-kickin'!
Legend tells of the mysterious planet Nexus, once inhabited by the hyper-advanced Eldan, who disappeared from the galaxy long ago. Where is this lost world? What mysteries and wonders will be found there? And does it conceal ancient technologies and forbidden magic of awesome, unimaginable power? WildStar
...Guess what: You're gonna find out, Cupcake!
Nexus has just been discovered, and things are about to get f[BLEEP]ing real... Welcome to WildStar!
is a Space Western Science Fantasy
MMORPG by Carbine Studios. It was released on June 3, 2014.
The story follows the war between two factions — the Dominion
, The Empire
spanning and controlling much of the known galaxy, and the Exiles
, a motley crew of criminals, mercenaries, and refugees
forced off their homeworlds — over the recent discovery of the mythical Nexus, the homeworld of the Eldan, the Benevolent Precursorsnote
of said empire who mysteriously disappeared long ago.
The Exiles want the lush, vibrant planet as their new homeworld. The Dominion see it as their "inheritance" from the Eldan. That the place is filled with untold amounts of ancient ruins and still-functioning machinery is just the icing on the cake.
The game seeks to differ itself from other MMO by having a whole host of innovative features, of which follow three general rules: Play How You Want, the Elder Game (level-cap content), and Have Fun.
The first is best exemplified by the Path system, a game mechanic that gives you unique missions and rewards based on four player archetypes:
- The Soldier, for the mass-murderer in you;
- The Explorer, for those of you who find themselves constantly Distracted By The Shiny on the horizon, and up that mountain;
- The Scientist, for all your 100% Completion and lore addictions, and
- The Settler, for those of you who want to build cities then hang out with your friends
The second is the dev's focus on restricting majority of the game till you reach level cap. There will be plenty of cool stuff to keep you occupied on the way there, yes, but the real meat of the game lies with the epic raids, instanced player-housing, and War Plots, a branch of guild/player owned housing which involves crafting your own PvP
battlefields, and maybe throw in a raid boss you caught earlier to sic on the "neighbours."
Lore-wise, there are plans for monthly Solo content, one-man dungeons that expand the game's storyline, for the 60% (or so they claim) of MMO players that don't like the "Multiplayer" part, and the "keys" to unlocking the mystery of the Eldan and any other conundrums your character discovered on the way to cap.
The third is through Carbine's dedication to getting and incorporating feedback from their testers; maintaining open and honest interaction with their player-base and the MMO community, be you Raider, PvP
-er, Lone Wolf, or Roleplayer; and, well, keeping things fun.
Combat is also unique in that almost every attack and skill is manually aimed, allowing truly skilled players the chance of multiple kills and truly awe-inspiring battles. With the aid of Combat Telegraphs (coloured areas on the ground, used to aim and tell you what's happening in that area), an active-dodging system, and "Momentum Mechanics" which gives stat bonuses for skilled fighting, Carbine aims for every battle, even the low-level fights, to be a real test of your reaction skills, quick thinking, and on-the-fly group coordination.
In line with the "Play How You Want" philosophy, players have a limited skill-set with a vast array of interchangeable abilities of various effects, Ability Tiering which allows you to power up your favourites, and Advanced Modification Protocols (AMPs) that can give passive bonuses and unique procs, ensuring that battle is always interesting and that there is no one "Right" way to play X.
The classes of Wildstar:
Armed to the teeth and reveling in the time honored pastimes of ass-whompin' and face-stomping, Warriors are the game's heavy front line brawlers. They come equipped with heavy armor, nuclear-powered BFS
's, multi-purpose arm cannons
, and good ol' fashioned brute force. Available races are:
- Exiles: Human, Granok, Mordesh
- Dominion: Cassian, Draken, Mechari
As if normal gunslingers
weren't bad enough, someone came up with the bright idea to give them magic, unlimited ammunition
, and reality-warping powers
. Enter: the Spellslinger; dual-wielding
, light armored, slippery sons-of-bitches who apply Nightcrawler-esque
abilities (plus a few other tricks) to keep out
of an opponent's reach, while using their magic pistols and sigils to blast away at enemies, or shoot their allies in the face (With heals)
. Races able to play as this class are:
- Exiles: Human, Aurin, Mordesh
- Dominion: Cassian, Draken, and Chua
It's said that the mind is the greatest weapon in the universe, and these guys are out to prove it. Wielding elegant "psyblades" and a dazzling array of mindbending
powers, Espers are the "wizards" of Wildstar. They can hammer a foe from afar using their telekinetic abilities, use their powers of illusion to bestow beneficial dreams on their allies (buffs/heals), or unleash terrifying nightmares (debuffs) on their enemies. There are only four races able to translate thought into murder:
- Exiles: Human and Aurin
- Dominion: Cassian and Chua
Thinking wimpy tech geek? THINK AGAIN, CUPCAKE! These Grease Monkeys are the game's other heavy class, capable of tanking and dishing out long-range destruction. Aside from their homemade BFGs
, they also have the ability to deploy bots to support them in battle, and even turn themselves into walking tanks by donning their Exo-Suits
. Races smart and strong enough to handle those arm-shattering guns and command those deadly bots include:
- Exiles: Human, Granok, Mordesh
- Dominion: Cassian, Mechari, Chua
Ever wanted to be Batman-Wolverine-Predator?
Now you can, with the Stalker! Wielding deadly claws for slicing your foes to ribbons, dangerous gadgetry to make your opponents' lives very
unpleasant, with the added bonus of a cloaking field (usable in combat!), you'll be leaving a trail of surprised corpses, dead before they even knew what got them! You'll be able to sneak around as high-tech ninja of the following races:
- Exiles: Human, Aurin, Mordesh
- Dominion: Cassian, Mechari, Draken
The Hippocratic Oath is lost on this new breed of doctors. Ever since advances in technology rendered the classic doctor's office obsolete, medical practitioners have found a new home on the field with Resonators, devices capable of dealing both harmful, face-melting and helpful, face-unmelting radiation. With medium armour and unparalleled mobility, it's time to prescribe some hurting and healing! Your future Deadly Doctor
will be one of the following races:
- Exiles: Human, Granok, Mordesh
- Dominion: Cassian, Mechari, and Chua
Also has a characters
The game provides examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
- Vending machines may occasionally drop from orbit in the Halon Ring. They dispense delicious energy drinks and doom.
- Mechari are a borderline case. Their programming specifically states that they only live to keep the Cassians — and not their allies, the other races — safe and healthy.
- The Eldan AI, however, fit the trope perfectly. As of this time, there is no Eldan machine on Nexus that will not try to murder you on sight. The Caretaker is the only exception to this, but due to the fragmented nature of his personality cores, he can be comically and lethally murderous in a heartbeat. Even in his green "friendly" state, he's helpful but infuriatingly vague, along with a healthy dose of snark.
- The Alcoholic: The Granok live for two things: violence and beer. Only the Free Companies have a third: seeing the Dominion fall.
- Possibly Malvolio Portius, who so far has never been seen without a glass of "something expensive" in hand and appears mildly drunk in the 'Dirty Little Secrets' short. (On the other hand, he probably feels he has to get drunk to be able to talk about the Chua...)
- The Alliance: It's very, very clear from how the different races interact with each other, and their conflicting philosophies, that the Exiles are only together because the Dominion would eradicate them divided.
- And I Must Scream: Metal Maw's tortured existence drives him to kill. The more he kills, the worse the pain is. The worse the pain is, the more he kills...
- This also applies to those who have been Augmented unwillingly; unlike the Ascended, they will occasionally thank you upon death. That, or warn you of your death, or gasp out that they couldn't ignore the voices in their head...
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Seems to be the vibe used with the Cassians, especially in the Introduction to the Dominion video. Just how "evil" they are is yet to be seen.
- Arm Cannon: The Warrior has the "XL45 Hell Mitten," which fires plasma shots. It also has a variety of other features such as a deployable riot shield, a chainsaw, and GPS.
- Army of Thieves and Whores: The Exiles. Let's face it: there is a marked shortage of honest work out in the Fringe.
- Artificial Limbs:
- Dorian Walker, discoverer of Nexus, has had more than his fair share of scrapes and mishaps.
- Mordesh have numerous cybernetic implants or parts replacing entire sections of their bodies. This is mostly because they are slowly rotting away, and that they need a system to deliver their Vitalus Serum, the one thing keeping them from degenerating into mindless, cannibalistic corpses.
- Judge Kain has a robotic right arm.
- Art-Style Dissonance: Nexus is a bright, colourful world, filled with bright, colourful organisms that would love nothing more than to kill and eat you, not necessarily in that order. If you DO manage to survive the fauna and flora, then there is the small matter of the war between Exiles and the Dominion, plus the numerous bandits and criminal organizations staking their claim on the planet...
- Bad Boss: Chua in general. Any Chua that sends you on an errand knows that it is a dangerous and lethal job, and assigns you to it specifically because you'll probably get killed doing it. They always express genuine surprise and disappointment when you survive.
Mondo Zax: You survived?! Unexpected...
- Benevolent A.I.: In a pleasant twist of things, the Freebots, sentient robots, are incredibly nice, helpful, and actually wish to safeguard and respect all sentient life, as it is mutually beneficial to both their goals.
- Benevolent Precursors: Played with. The Eldan were responsible for the rise and continued existence of the Dominion. Their exact motivations for doing so remain a mystery.
- Berserk Button: Do not tell the Chua they resemble rodents or hamsters. They will reply by inflicting Body Horror on you.
- BFG: Engineers carry massive Launchers as their weapons. They can function as shotguns, mortars, and beam weapons, depending on what the wielder wants it to do.
- BFS: The Warrior class fights using massive Power Swords that are often nearly as tall as the wielder. Bonus points in that they are nuclear powered with a searing hot liquid edge.
- Black Comedy: Rife with it. The game is dark, but it's awfully chipper about it. Emphasis on "awful."
- Blood Knight: The Chua and the Draken get along fairly well, since they both prefer to dwell on the thrill of killing as opposed to the necessity.
- Bloody Hilarious: Don't let the cartoony graphics fool you. This game is gory—and comically so.
- Hilariously lampshaded in War Nurse #377: the unfortunate male War Medic's head randomly explodes in a graphic, overly detailed shower of "gore and blood and gore."
- Body Horror:
- Metal Maw. Who knows what other horrifying experiments the Eldan have left behind?
- Augmentation. Aside from turning you into a mindless slave for the Eldan, it also replaces most of the victim's body with cybernetic enhancements, with features such as vials of omni-plasm sticking out of the victim's spine.
- And then there's Bio-Phage corruption. Ever wanted to see multiple eyes, mouths full of sharp teeth, and rank, near-bursting pustules where they really don't belong?
- Bottomless Magazines: Thanks to having access to magic, Spellslingers' guns do not run out of ammo.
- Broken Aesop: Perhaps surprisingly, the Dominion mentions that hey, even though they enjoy hunting, they do find a need to practice conservation. So you tag animals... except to do this, you have to get close to them, and when you tag them, they attack you anyways and you are usually forced to kill them in self-defense.
- However, it can be subverted if the player managed to run away from attacking animals or the animal didn't attack you after tagging them.
- Butt Monkey:
- The reporter is hilariously brutalized every second interview or so.
- Ish'mael the Bloodied gets badly injured by every single one of the Classes in the WildStar Flick Classes, getting increasingly bandaged as the Flick goes on.
- Camera Abuse: At the end of the trailer for the Exiles, Kit gets worked up over fighting the Dominion and accidentally punches out the cameraman.
- Camp: Action War Nurse #377, an intentionally bad and outrageous parody of pulp fiction.
- Cargo Cult:
- The Ascendancy worship omni-plasm and Augmentation, seeing it as some means to ascend to the same higher plane of existence they assume the Eldan went to.
- Ever since the Eldan disappeared, the Pell have been incorporating their technology into their tools and turning the rest into elaborate shrines.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Carbine made it a point for every race to have a unique, and more-importantly entertaining, personality. Best shown by their in-character "Meet the X" interviews for all the revealed races so far.
- Catch Phrase: As part of being stereotypical cabbies, the holocabs will say 'Don't get me started' at least once per trip.
- Chainsaw Good:
- The Rip-Saw shield, the staple of Warrior defense and enemy-mulching.
- There is also some equipment with this sentiment in mind, like a pair of chainsaw like claws for Stalkers.
- Survivalists use Laser Chainsaws, because really, how do you improve upon the chainsaw but turning it into a laser chainsaw?
- Choose Your Own Adventure: Adventures work like this, with branching paths that affect the environment. Do you quell the rioting prisoners, save the Warden, or secure more powerful munitions for the guards?
- Cluster F-Bomb: Certain Chua, if some leaked audio files are to be believed. It's probably worth noting that the only time they bother to get their English grammar right is when they're screaming abuse at something.
"You've got to be kidding me! This fucking thing! How many times have I shot this motherfucker — I -- this fucking thing -- ah, FUCK! ARRGH!! I'm going to go crazy! I will SHOOT you! I will FUCKING SHOOT YOU, do you hear me?!
- Combat Medic/Deadly Doctor: Medic classes can use their Magical Defibrillators as both healing devices and weapons and are equipped with medium armor.
- Cute Is Evil: The Chua.
- Damager, Healer, Tank: Featured, with each class having two different roles it can easily fufill (either tank/healing or damage-dealing). For the most part each class plays their roles differently from each other; for example, an Engineer tank is a ranged pet class.
- Discussed in this blog post, featuring comments by players about whether it's outdated and if it works.
- Dark Secret: The Mordesh and Chua for the Exiles and Dominion, respectively.
- Death World:
- Before the Dominion assimilated the Draken, they were living a rather harsh life on Mikros, a lush, fiery jungle teeming with death and deadly things.
- Nexus itself. While it teems with life, said life is rather eager to extinguish yours.
- According to their backstory, the Chua joined the Dominion after they devastated their homeworld through reckless industrialization. Now it's just a barren ball of metal, smog, and pollution.
- Defector from Decadence: Serrick Brightland, patriarch of the first human Exiles, was not very fond of the new policies in the wake of the Dominion's rapid expansion.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Intentionally used in War Nurse #377 for comedic effect, among other tropes.
- Distant Reaction Shot: In the official Paths video, an unfortunate Settler realises there's a grenade by his foot—and not three feet away from the explosives pile he just built. His sword DOES make it out, though.
- Doomed Hometown: In the backstory, Arboria. In-game, players get treated to a repeat in Everstar Grove and narrowly avert the hat trick in Woodhaven.
- The Empire: The Dominion. Their power is spread throughout most of the known galaxy, and the forces we see on Nexus is a mere sliver of the Empire's true might.
- The Federation: Before the rise of Dominion, humans of Cassus created democratic organization known as Cassian Commonwealth before the arrival of Eldan. Also act as a Deconstruction since they also engage in galactic expansion, and face internal strife and drought.
- The Elevator from Ipanema: In the upcoming 'Strain Ultradrop', there is a mission where you fly around in a pod, and the BGM changes to 'Protostar Elevator Music', which directly homages the classic Ipanema music.
- Enemy to All Living Things: Draken and Chua are a danger to anything that lives, or really, just exists. The former love to kill things as a testament to their skills, the latter use them for their destructive experiments which usually involves the destruction of even more things.
- The Engineer: The Engineer class. Capable of using experimental weapons, summoning Bots to assist them, and equipping an exosuit that makes them much tougher.
- Everyone Calls Him Sarge: As of now, we only know the Sarge as... well, Sarge.
- Evil Is Hammy:
- Cassians seem to have a full ham dinner while being Obviously Evil.
- A red, damaged Caretaker AI sings your inevitable doom, alongside the usual melodramatic declarations.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's rather easy to see what a Path is all about by name alone.
- Expy: WildStar isn't exactly subtle on its inspirations.
- The Squirg is essentially the cephalopod cousin to the head crab. Victims are called "Zombies," too.
- The Strain is basically the the Zerg, the Tyranids, or your alien scourge hell bent on "perfection" and assimilation of choice.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Plenty of things spin in WildStar. The Warrior's Whirlwind Attack, the Esper's Blade Dance, Aethros of Stormtalon's Lair and its bevy of hurricanes...
- Fantasy Axis of Evil: Applies to both sides, really, since they are Not So Different:
- Humanoid: Cassians, who are simply humans, though their nobility, the Luminai, have a touch of Fallen about them.
- Savage: The Draken, who find hunting and fighting the most enjoyable, nay, only purpose to life.
- Fallen: The Mechari, who run the information gathering parts of the government and worse.
- Crafty: The Chua, who will build machines of death and destruction because they can and because it's funny to watch them attack others.
- Humanoid: The Human, who are Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Fallen: The Mordesh, who definitely are not space zombies, and run the medical and spy networks.
- Savage: The Granok, who live for fighting and beer, not necessarily in that order.
- Crafty: The Aurin, who use their smarts to overcome the fact that they're actually quite tiny and frail.
- Five Races: Again, applies to both sides:
- Mundane: The Humans, who are perfectly happy knocking about exploring.
- Stout: The Granok, large, strong "living stone" people.
- Fairy: The Aurin, whose leader is a powerful Esper and tend to follow in her mold
- High Men: The Mordesh, brilliant scientists and chemists. Shame about that Corruption...
- Mundane: The Cassians, who are urbane, refined, and civil... for the most part, anyway.
- High Men: The Mechari, built to be brilliant, powerful caretakers for the Cassians.
- Cute: The Chua, adorable little rat/gerbil creatures.
- Stout: The Draken, powerful physical fighters who enjoy putting that strength to use.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: This trope was applied to the Spin Drive engine used by space ships in Wildstar Universe. Unlike many popular portrayals, most of the travels between two planets, like Cassus to Mikros, took months instead of centuries.
- Fighting for a Homeland: The Exiles, they've all been driven off their homeworlds by the Dominion and intend to make Nexus their new home.
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: In an early part of Farside, the characters can discover a the body parts of a Skeech, torn apart by his fellow blue imps for the crime of being smart. As opposed to other Skeech, he's intelligent, well-spoken, and even gives you a few quests as he tries to bring the same enlightenment to the others, only to fail. Eventually, the characters learn that the only thing making him different is the helmet one of the Eldan gave him long ago, and even that eventually wears out, forcing the characters to kill him as he lapses back into the same xenophobic savagery as the others.
- Freudian Excuse: Mondo Zax's drive and sour disposition stems from a life spent as the runt of 13, losing his distant father in a freak accident, and suffering in an orphanage filled with bullies.
- Note that the loss of his distant father was in "routine maintenance", immediately after having a violent argument with Mondo, and that the Zax also engineered the unexplained, not mysterious deaths of his twelve elder siblings...
- Friendly Enemy: Victor Lazarin and Mondo Zax, their respective faction's "Lead Mad Scientist," commiserate their species' statuses as the black sheep. They then proceed to send a mutant bug (Lazarin) and a vaporizer (Zax) to each other as "gifts."
- Friend to All Living Things: The focal point of the animal-like Aurins. They have a rather special connection to life and nature, and their leaders, the Matriarchs, can interact with the "Weave" in strange, unexplained ways.
- With just a dash of hypocrisy; as the Dominion find out, the Aurin aren't above terraforming vast regions of Nexus — displacing or killing thousands of native species in the process — just to suit their tastes and give themselves a strategic advantage.
- The datacubes mention the Eldan Terraformers automatically adapt the native species to the new environment. They aren't killing anything: just turning what used to be a perfectly normal desert dweller into a perfectly normal forest dweller. Buuuuut... if you get caught in the blast, you're dead; apparently the tech can change what the species is adapted for, but the individual per se won't be around to see what happens afterward.
- However, they are perfectly willing to consume sentient Veggies.
- For Science!: The Eldan's justification for their more morally questionable experiments.
- Fun with Acronyms:
- Dominion Research and Experimentation Division (DRED), run by the brilliant, psychopathic Chua, feared and despised by both factions.
- Advanced Diagnostic Virtual Environment Neuro-Tactile Universal Research Experiment or ADVENTURE, for short.
- Advanced Modification Protocol, or AMP for passive bonuses and unique procs to power up your character.
- Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction, and Development, or CREDD, an item that can be purchased from other players in the commodities exchange, then redeemed to add a month of playtime in lieu of subscription fees.
- Genocide Backfire: The Dominion are not very good at exterminating "pests":
- If the Dominion had given up after their initial defeat on Gnox, the younger generation of Granok wouldn't have had the bright idea of sneaking into their well-established, well-stocked, and well-armed camps and stealing their stuff, thus giving birth to the Granok Free Companies.
- If the Dominion hadn't forced Brightland and his fleet into the Fringe, they would never have met up with said mercenaries who, being on the Dominion's blacklist, were likely plying their trade there.
- If the Dominion had simply left Arboria alone, the Exiles would never have recruited the Aurin, whose agricultural expertise ensures that the rebels will never want for food or herbal medicine.
- A Glass of Chianti: Malvolio Portius, the representative for "Meet the Dominion", is initially seen with a large goblet of wine. When he crushes said goblet in his white gloved hand, he promptly requests a new drink. "Something expensive!"
- Gotta Catch Them All: One of the focal points of the Scientist path. That Galactic Archive isn't going to fill itself!
- Grey and Gray Morality: No matter how the two factions are painted in promotional material, neither are totally good or evil. The Chua and the Mordesh exist to bring to spotlight this uncomfortable truth.
- The Exiles may have been run off their homeworlds, and are banded together for the sake of survival and sticking it to their common enemy, the Dominion, but the Exile Humans have unabashedly become terrorists and criminals, the Granok made the first act of aggression in the War of Gnox, the Mordesh's downfall was through their own hubris and vanity, and the Aurin were simply a casualty, forced to join a war they never wanted part in.
- The Dominion are extremely generous to those that obey. Citizens are granted numerous freedoms, are well-educated, and generally live good, comfortable lives. But then again, they have the Chua, have performed numerous atrocities like the Ravaging of Arboria, and are respected by the rest of the galaxy because of might and fear rather than compassion and good will.
- Overall, the conflict between these both factions fall into Order Versus Chaos, Dominion representing the stability of the Order with Exiles representing the freedom of the Chaos. Both factions are also willing to commit Torture upon their enemies and genocide against some native races (minus some friendly tribes of Pell) on Nexus, though the latter is justifiable due to their inherent nature.
- Growing Up Sucks: At least one in-universe theory—along with a first-person document to back it up—holds that young Skeech are reasonably intelligent (if not necessarily benevolent) but become stupid and feral as they grow up.
- The Gunslinger: The aptly named spellslingers, who still use pistols but have magically infused bullets, powerful arcane sigils, and can warp and tear reality itself at will. And it is awesome.
- Guilt-Based Gaming: Deign to contemplate deleting one of your alts? Warning lights go off in the character select screen and they begin to cry. And if you go through with it, they are immolated to death.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The Luminai, the half-Eldan blue-bloods of Cassian (Dominion human) society. Every emperor has so far been one.
- Have a Nice Death:
- Hidden Elf Village: Arboria was one, till the Exiles accidentally stumbled upon it. Unfortunately, so did the Dominion. Now there isn't much of a "Village" either.
- Hold the Line:
- A number of the Soldier Path missions are these.
- This is the entire basis of the "Siege of Tempest Refuge" Adventure, where you have to defend a generator for 5 waves of enemies. The group can fall back and retreat for one last chance, should the first generator be destroyed.
- Honour Before Reason: The Elder Granok would rather have died at the hands of the Dominion than be saved by their children fighting with the very weapons of their enemies.
- Hover Board: Yes.
- Humans Are Divided: Cassians are mostly human (Highborns are part Eldan) so they're on both sides of the conflict.
- Humans Are Special: Apparently the Eldan believed so, the Cassians claim to have been chosen to conquer the galaxy for them. In game humans and Cassians are the only races capable of choosing any class.
- Human Popsicle:
- After sustaining life-threatening injuries, Serrick Brightland was cryogenically frozen till the Exiles find some way of reviving him. Non-essential personnel are also put into stasis during long hauls, to preserve precious resources.
- Played for Laughs in the Ark Ship Twitter Feeds, where a guy argues about the extra charges laid on him for accidentally freezing himself again. The fee is waived when he mentions he has no prior experience nor instruction with the use of cryostasis pods.
- Cryonics Failure: The players of Exiles began with a major cryogenic malfunction on their Arkship.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Most of the galaxy is controlled by the Dominion, and the few planets that remain tend not to want a bunch of refugees camping on their lawn. The Exiles have had to do some ugly things just to survive.
- Imperiled in Pregnancy: Your first task as a new Exile character is helping Deadeye Brightland find his pregnant wife Sadie, and get her medication for cold-sleep gone wrong. Later in the Northlands you call a shuttle to evacuate her to safety, which the imperials blow up as it's taking off, setting Deadeye on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: In the video introducing the Chua, Malvolio is less than pleased that he has to talk about them, and orders a huge glass of wine first. It empties itself very quickly.
- Informal Eulogy: Enemies tend to insult you or reassure themselves of their supremacy when you die. Sometimes they make some comment about their plans now that you're dead.
- Interface Screw:
- Being disoriented doesn't hurt your actual ability to move, but it does briefly scramble your movement keys. Pressing W, for example, may make you run to the right instead of straight forward.
- The Blind debuff temporarily darkens and blurs your screen. This makes it next to impossible to see enemy attacks coming and as such defend yourself properly.
- Killer Rabbit: On Nexus, chances are, if it's adorable, it can also murder you horribly.
- The Chua are pint-sized, talking cartoon rodents who have absolutely no sense of morality and are obsessed with Mad Science.
- Chompacabras. Bug eyed, perpetually smiling, fuzzy buggers with rows and rows of razor sharp teeth and insatiable appetites.
- The Aurin are actually friendly tree-huggers who would like nothing more than to prance around in peace and harmony, but they are also ferocious hunters and vicious fighters.
- Squirgs are adorable octopus-like creatures that latch onto creatures' heads and take over their brain-waves.
- Kill It with Fire:
- Your alts. There is also an especially powerful flamethrower provided while exploring a termite mound - you don't have to kill them with it, but it's a step or so better than whatever other means you have to do so, especially during the final hold out.
- There is a challenge in Ellevar where you throw molotov cocktails at spider webs. Seeing as these are giant spiders that have webs big enough to trap several humans and even highly trained soldiers, you can't really blame them.
- How the Torine deal with the Strain. Especially fun as it's an enchanted flame from an enchanted forge. They even call it the Cleansing Fire.
- Generally, if something needs to be exterminated or sterilized, you will get a flamethrower to make sure of it.
- Klingon Promotion: Emperor Azrion became the Draken's new leader after killing High Clanlord Zhur in one-on-one combat.
- Little Bit Beastly: Though Aurin have tails, animal ears, fangs, claws, elongated limbs, and feline eyes, it's very easy not to notice many of those, and they're still very human in appearance otherwise.
- Living Battery: In the Northern Wilds, the local Ice Golems are being used to power the terraforming device causing the blizzard that turned the area into what it is: a frozen hell-hole. A datacube has one of the Eldan expressing dismay that they have to use living creatures, but ethics must not get in the way of "The Project."
- Ludicrous Gibs: Death by explosions result in this, as does dealing excessive damage past the 0 point.
- Mad Scientist:
- While Victor Lazarin is actively trying to undo his greatest mistake, the Everlife Elixir and thus the Contagion, you must remember that the man couldn't have made it in the first place if he hadn't completely lost it from the death of his wife.
- For Mondo Zax there's no such thing as a failed experiment, some are just less entertainingly lethal than others. In fact, the Chua as a whole are basically a species of Mad Scientists.
- Magical Defibrillator: Medics use high-tech defibrillators called Resonators, which can reconstruct and/or liquefy bone and tissue.
- Magitek: All over the place. Spellslingers embody this trope, using guns that harness the mystical forces of the universe to blast the ever-loving crap out of their enemies.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Eldan specifically designed the Mechari for this purpose. While the Draken handle most military affairs, and the Cassians handle the political aspects and PR, the Mechari are the ones quietly pulling the strings in the background.
- Meaningful Name:
- The Exiles have all been forced off their homeworlds by the Dominion. The Dominion seeks to assimilate and control the entire known universe.
- Serrick Brightland's ship is rechristened from Star of Dominus, the empire's flagship, to Gambler's Ruin, after his successful last-ditch effort ends up with him in cryostasis, barely alive.
- Mega Corp.: Protostar, owned by Phineas T. Rotostar and his army of clones, will sell anyone anything and everything you could ever want or need, for the right, imperceptibly inflated price.
Phineas T. Rotostar: Protostar, making dreams come true... For Money!
- Mind over Matter: Esper illusions can cause serious physical damage—a popular example would be Crush, a giant psychic fist.
- Must Make Amends: Victor Lazarin, one of the most brilliant alchemists of Grismara, father of the Everlife Elixir and consequently the Contagion, doomed his entire species then saved what little was left of it. These days, he's working tirelessly for a cure to his biggest mistake, along with being instrumental in solving numerous epidemics in the Exile fleet—particularly impressive thanks to their limited resources.
- No Biochemical Barriers: Partially averted; while all player characters can eat the in-game food with no trouble, including the robot Mechari, a notepad in a bar in one of the first Dominion zones notes that every alcoholic Chua drink is invariably, excruciatingly, and fatally poisonous to non-Chua, and has "virgin" variants for those who want the flavor and alcoholic content, but not the horrible death.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: For driving the Dominion off Gnox and saving their species from extinction, the younger Granok are banished from their homeworld, for breaking the Way of Stone. Thus was born the Granok Free Companies we know today.
- Off with His Head!: On the official website, one of the vignettes detailing the Warrior's abilities mentions that the fate of Vagnathrox the Spleen Gargler, illegitimate descendant of Bellitorus the Organ Grinder, was decapitation, for suggesting better, more powerful alternatives to the arm-cannon the latter popularized.
- Oh, Crap: Kit's expression when she's discovered by the annoyed Mordesh whose possessions she was just messing around with.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Malvolio's (very deadpan) reaction to a Chua putting a bomb in his goblet during the video introducing them.
- Our Goblins Are Different: The Chua are a race of tiny, cackling mad scientists obsessed with creating weapons of mass destruction.
- Our Zombies Are Different: There are dozens, of all flavors. If you die on Nexus, try not to die where any of the following can see you:
- The Ravenous Mordesh are zombies classic, with the twist that the entire race is already infected and could turn the second they run out of Vitalus.
- One of the Red Caretakers in Celestion introduces us to Augmentation by growing an entire Clone Army of Augmented Mordesh and Aurin. Later, rogue Eldan AIs of all sorts skip the cloning step and make straight-up Artificial Zombies out of people.
- Thanks to an Eldan terraformer exploding in Whitevale, the local Squirg have mutated and now rival the headcrabs in terms of heads nommed and people controlled.
- The Moodies are capable of raising ghosts and enslaving them. Said ghosts tend to thank whoever lays them back to rest.
- Similarly, the Osun's Soulrot potion turns its victims into nothing more than Voodoo Zombies, who express relief when they are finally allowed to die.
- Out with a Bang: The exploding Mammodin quest in Deradune can be failed by getting too close to other Mammodin. They either attack your mind-controlled Mammodin, prematurely detonating the explosives, or try to mate with it, also prematurely detonating the explosives.
- Parasite Zombie: Squirg Zombies in Whitevale. That terraformer explosion has some very bizarre effects...
- Phlebotinum Dependence: Mordesh require regular doses of Vitalis serum, or else they deteriorate physically and mentally and then start eating each other.
- Planet of Hats: While individual personalities vary wildly, each race has a specific personality archetype and a counterpart in the other faction:
- Humans and Cassians are their factions' Jack-of-All-Trades, capable of fulfilling any role.
- Granok and Draken are their factions' Proud Warrior Race Guys, the former because of a tribal culture built from war, the latter because their planet is a desolate, fiery hell-hole where only the strongest survive.
- Aurin and Chua are their faction's geniuses (good or otherwise), handling most matters of technology and study.
- The Mordesh and the Mechari are the ones who handle the Dirty Business such as espionage and taking care of problematic individuals.
- Plant Aliens: Veggies are semi sentient vegetables with a face and stubby hands and feet. The Aurin are quiet fond of them, and try to protect them from herbivorous who'd want to eat them.
- Potty Emergency: In the "Meet the Exiles" trailer, Genki Girl Kit Brinny gets a little too hyper:
: You see, normally they don't let me do this kinda thing on account of my mouth runnin' where it ain't supposed to, and... I'm just so excited! I think I might wet my britches! ...Uh oh.
- Precursor Worship: The Vigilant Church worships the Eldan.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Granok and the Draken. While the former will only engage in friendly tussles unless you're Dominion, the latter will happily eviscerate anything that moves as a test of their skills.
- Psychic Link: Aurin have an empathic link to plant-life, especially trees.
- Psychic Powers: The very basis of Esper combat. Illusions, telekinesis, and a few delusions make for a fun, fun time in combat.
- Pun: The game likes to throw these around from time to time. More rampant are making amusing quest names.
- Punny Name: Quite a lot of the quests are clever plays on words. Particularly notable are pretty much all the Crafting Workorder Dailies, which are all puns like Hot Cup of Tailor, The Weaponsmith's Guide to Galactium, and Platinum If You Got 'Em.
- Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: Had it not been for "Dominion Galactic Diplomacy," the Exile races would never have met. As a result, groups can be VERY wild and colourful. Prime example: Buck, the reckless and too-curious-for-everyone's-good human Explorer Spellslinger, Liara the quiet, appreciative and life-loving Aurin Scientist Esper, and Sarge, the beer-guzzling, weapon-loving, "Just Doing My Job" Granok Soldier Warrior.
- Reforged into a Minion: Augmentation is useful for the Eldan security systems, bolstering their ranks with would-be hostiles.
- Revenge by Proxy: The Aurin were a totally innocent, peaceful race who had never hurt anyone, and had no intentions of doing so. For aiding the human Exiles, the Dominion promptly arrive to "collect their due," and deploy massive harvesters with the intent of cutting down every single last tree and strip-mining the earth till the lush, verdant world of Arboria is nothing more than a barren wasteland.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Sometimes the adorable little Nexian critter is just adorable.
- The sentient, mobile, talking veggies. They have faces! (Adorable ones.)
- Splorgs, caterpillar-like creatures the size of a toy dog.
- Cubigs, genetically engineered, perfectly cuboid pigs, from Protostar!
- Robot Buddy: Every Scientist comes with a free Scan-Bot, an intelligent, sentient AI that floats beside their owner, flying off to collect raw data on phenomena. They are frequently destroyed and replaced on a regular basis, and frequently bemoan the fact that scanning things often leads to them being shot, chewed, clawed, eaten, melted, set on fire, exposed to harmful chemicals, or any other myriad of unpleasantness, all in the name of science.
- Engineers can have up to two different types of bots out at the same time. Many players tend to grow fond of their bots, with many R Pers making the droids an integral part of the character.
- Rock Beats Laser: The Granok are surprisingly effective fighters, having caused The Dominion no shortage of heavy losses during the War of Gnox. Ultimately, however, they were no match for the empire's technology, until the younger generation stole them and turned it against their creators.
- Tragically subverted with Aurin's backstory. Their primitive weapons and a few explosives are no match for Dominion's technological might and Planet Reapers in the loss of their homeworld Arboria.
- Rule of Fun: Carbine has made it a point that if a feature is not fun, it must be made so, or risk being cut. Majority of the game's logic and quests also apply.
- Running Gag: Rowsdowers have appeared in every DevSpeak so far, as Stephan Frost, the narrator, has a thing for them. A behind the scenes video has Frost mentioning that the fans latched onto the original throw-away gag, not Frost having a thing for them. He's pretty much known for it by this point, though. An unlucky Rowsdower is always at the business end of the classes' offensive weapons in tactics in their official pages.
- The Runt at the End: Mondo Zax is the 13th of the family, noticeably smaller and much, much angrier than his siblings, who all disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Mondo Zax: Unexplained. Not mysterious.
- Self-Deprecation: Carbine frequently makes fun of their inability to keep things secret. A shot during the Adventures DevSpeak has two Aurins laughing as Frost says "... we've been really tight-lipped about:"
- Schizo Tech: Swords clash as blasters fill the air with magical bullets. Nuclear-powered greatswords.
- Schmuck Bait:
- Screw Destiny: The elder Granok were ready to accept their fate, and die at the hands of The Dominion. The younger Granok thought otherwise; they snuck into the enemy camps, stole their weapons, and rid the empire of their one advantage: firepower. For their valiant efforts and saving their race from extinction, they were banished for breaking the Way of Stone. Thus came to be the Granok Free Companies we know today.
- Secret Police: The Mechari act like this for the Dominion, ensuring the smooth operation of the Empire. Officially, they are known as the Imperial Corps of Intelligence (ICI). May be State Sec, but it's unsure just how much power these servants of the Eldan hold.
- Shout-Out Theme Naming: The Mordesh seem to be named after classic horror characters, figures and authors, such as Mary Shelley of Frankenstein and the protagonist, Viktor Frakenstein.
- Silicon-Based Life:
- Granok are made out of "living stone."
- The Osun are made out of a metal substance. Strike one, and hear a loud "CLANG!"
- Space Western / Science Fantasy: Takes place in what is essentially this universe's version of the Wild West, the Fringe, the unmapped, mostly uncolonized, and very uncivilized regions of space. It also has ray guns along side magic blasters.
- Spin Attack: Warriors have this as their go-to AoE skill. Given the size and weight of these babies, it's hard to tell whether it's the wielder spinning the sword around or the sword spinning the wielder around.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Sadie Brighthand and her unborn child in the Northern Wilds. Extra points for the fact that a big chunk of the Exile tutorial is spent trying to save her from cryosickness.
- Sugar Apocalypse: At the lowest level of Sanity in Shiphand: Space Madness, the station will turn bright green, be decorated in rainbows, have magical Gar (crocodiles) swimming through the air, have Dawngrazers (deer) standing around, and have angry lamps and sparkles as enemies. The name of this state? "You are now completely—OOOH, RAINBOWS!"
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Discussing the humans in Meet the Exiles trailer, Kit has this to say out of nowhere.
And no, we ain't inbred! [beat]
Well, most of us, anyway...
- Sympathy for the Devil: Despite their numerous crimes of genocide and oppression of the lower classes, The Dominion actually believes in universal education, freedom of creative expression, and equal opportunity for all races and species.
- Talking to Plants: Aurin can communicate with plant-life, being very well connected to the energies of the universe.
- Tastes Like Purple: Khuvor, from the Meet the Draken video, claims that Skeech taste "Terrible and blue!"
- Technically Living Zombie: The Mordesh are cyborg aliens cursed with a degenerative disease, christened the Contagion. Rotting flesh? Yes. Potential to degrade into a mindless cannibal? Yes. Dead? Nope.
- Technology Uplift: The Dominion uplifted the Draken and Chua so that they could serve the empire. In the Chua's case they took to advanced technology so well that after strip-mining their homeworld in less than a century they became the Dominon's top scientists and mechanics.
- Terraform: The Eldan have left plenty of these devices on Nexus. Sometimes, it works on a very small, local scale (Deradune), and sometimes, encompasses an entire region (the Northern Wilds).
- They Called Me Mad!: Dorian Walker got a lot of flak over Nexus, till he, you know, actually discovered it.
- Tree Top Town: Aurin architecture features this heavily. Arboria was an entire planet of this trope... then the Dominion arrived, and things were never quite the same again.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: A quest in Blighthaven and a challenge in the Defile suddenly challenge the player's mathematical skills. Better hope you remember the four basic functions, exponents, and factorials.
- The Unreveal: In the Exiles and Dominion trailer, Kit and Malvolio specifically skip over the then-unrevealed race of their factions until the "Dirty Little Secrets" video, where they reluctantly discuss the Chua and the Mordesh.
- Unwilling Roboticisation: The Ascendancy is very intent on getting everyone to see "the Truth" by dragging them kicking and screaming from their homes and forcibly augmenting them. That is, of course, if they can't persuade you into joining them first, or tricking you into getting exposed to the nanites that do the augmentation...
- Up to Eleven: Mondo Zax's dial literally goes up to eleven. The same can also be said about him and his people's experiments, which get more and more ridiculous and destructive with each new iteration.
- Vendor Trash: Rife with it, making the early levels very tedious if you wish to save equipment and loot before reaching Gallow, Sylvan Glade, or Feralplain Collective. (Ellevar players can store them as soon as they enter the zone.) These could be stolen nicknacks, scrap metal, body parts, and anyone will buy them.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: This is a game where you get to kill poachers with mind-controlled rhinos strapped with explosive ordnance almost as large as the beast itself. Sheep are regularly killed or scared into mines for shits and giggles. And it is hilarious and enjoyable.
- Villainous Friendship: The Draken and the Chua in Deradune. The former like killing things, the latter are in the science of finding new, more efficient ways of killing things. They get along quite nicely.
- Visual Pun: Granok are a humanoid species composed mostly from rocks. Male characters can have a moustache made from moss — a mosstache, if you will.
- Weather Control Machine: Your first major story mission in the Northern Wilds is to turn it off. The gigantic blizzard it's making is impressive, but is putting a real hamper on rescue attempts.
- Whitevale also sports one... or, more accurately, sported. The Icathians kinda sorta accidentally blew it up, freezing most of the area solid in their effort to get to the Primal Water Focus. They'll suck all the Primal Water out and leave because hey, who cares what happens to those inferior organisms? They have what they need.
- We Buy Anything: Any vendor will buy whatever you have on you. Commodities like ores, wood, and leathers? Highly advanced technology? The body parts of your fallen enemies? They will give you a good price.
- We Care: Protostar: Making dreams come true. For money!
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: The totally coincidental mysterious disappearances of his 13 siblings were helpful to Mondo Zax's attempts to get closer to his father.
- Wicked Cultured:
- Mechari, Highborn Cassians, and the Dominion in general. Though the Draken and the Chua are about as far as you can get from "Cultured," the empire's aesthetic is clean, elegant, and very, very expensive.
- Yet another aspect that separates the Mordesh from their fellow Exiles is their sophistication and sheer elegance. In an entire faction of rough and tumble, "pull up your sleeves and get dirty" species, they are the ones preferring to stay in the background and quietly pull strings. Their emotes also use a distinct economy of movement. The female Mordesh wave, for example, is the Mordesh raising their hand slightly and waving with their fingers, while the other races raise their hands above their shoulders and wave vigorously with their entire arm.
- Wilhelm Scream: Used in the "Meet the Exiles" video, when Kit mentions "ravaging it with their frikkin' machines" and the planet is twisted.
- Wine Is Classy: In the videos featuring Malvolio, a Dominion Highborn, he is usually clutching a goblet of wine. Whenever he needs it refilled, he will only identify it as "Something Expensive".
- Worthy Opponent: The Granok and Draken have this kind of relationship (no surprise given they're both a race of Blood Knights) and are known go out of their way to fight each other whenever Exile and Dominion forces clash.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Exiles only. Thanks to your efforts, your fellow survivors from the crash that brought you onto Nexus can finally leave the frozen hell-hole that is the Northern Wilds. The Dominion promptly blow up the new ship.
- You Can't Go Home Again: The Exiles all suffer from this. Otherwise, they wouldn't even exist:
- Cassus is forever tainted by the history and influence of the Dominion.
- The elder Granok would rather kill their children than welcome them back.
- There might be a chance that Arboria can be rebuilt, and the trees regrown. Operative word: might.
- Grismara is likely under permanent quarantine, if the Dominion hadn't purged it already. That aside, you wouldn't exactly want to go back to a planet where the Contagion first mutated and those whose minds have deteriorated too much might still be waiting...
- You No Take Candle: Despite being a race known for their intellect, the Chua speak in a very simple manner, probably because they can't be arsed to learn something as superfluous as grammar. They could be doing something much more important with their time, after all — like inventing new bombs, or testing them. Though as mentioned under Cluster F-Bomb, they'll gladly speak full and comprehensible English when they're really pissed off and hurling threats.
- In a bit of Fridge Brilliance, Chua actually choose their words carefully and cut out unnecessary details like pronouns and subjects which are easily implied. A really angry Chua is too angry to self-edit. The Chua know proper grammar, they just choose not to use it because it's inefficient and takes too long.