If you haven’t kept up with Wolcen lately, its latest content patch dropped just before the weekend and it’s boasting features for both quality of life and story content alike. New content has been introduced and old aspects have been totally overhauled, so if you haven’t tried it, this round of updates complete with a character wipe offers up a solid starting point whether you’re a veteran of the genre or haven’t touched an ARPG since Diablo.
Wolcen: An Action RPG, but One Step Deeper
If you’ve played any number of isometric-style action RPGs in the last few decades, the core mechanics of Wolcen will be innately familiar, but with several unique touches. The standard formula for killing hordes of enemies to collect randomised loot remains intact but with extra steps taken to ensure maximum player customisation. There are no set classes and nothing is gender-locked.
Rather, the player is free to customise their character from individual skills and equipment down to appearance and nothing is gender-locked. If you’ve played class-based ARPGs before and weren’t a fan of being told whom to play when it came to gender and class, now’s your time to shine.
While games like Torchlight took a very stylised approach to visual presentation, Wolcen is being developed under the CryEngine and bears a more realistic style. Some aspects are more familiar in the vein of randomised dungeons and locations, randomly-rolled loot stats and drops, fast-moving combat, and RPG-style inventory and skill management.
Meanwhile, Wolcen Studio has added dynamic time-of-day cycles and AI that adapts to physical changes in the game map, allowing the world to be modified on the fly by events or player interaction in ways other ARPGs just don’t allow.
Still in alpha under Steam Greenlight, updates have been fairly regular since its initial release in mid-2016, and that comes with all the usual disclaimers and features-in-progress that implies. Co-op is promised in the future but not yet implemented and crafting has yet to be added in any meaningful capacity, so there’s still plenty to look forward to as it all shapes up.
First, the bad news: The content of this update has required a full character wipe for both local and Cloud-based characters, so everyone will be starting from scratch all over again.
The good news is that loss isn’t in vain, as the game’s 0.5 update adds new questlines, entirely overhauls the game map, and allows players to play through roughly half of the game’s first act. In fact, those looking for some sort of closure to the game’s initial foray can finally face off against the first proper boss in Halaku the Bones Lord.
The devs promise this isn’t the boss’ final incarnation, but rather a stepping stone to future patterns and boss fights. Several hotfixes have already been applied to Halaku, so they seem to be keeping true to their word.
New tilesets for zones adds some much-needed environmental uniqueness and a plethora of other minor changes promise to shake up the gameplay routine. New enemies, a revamped tutorial, tweaked world zones, and an entire host of bug fixes round out the patch and its hotfixes, so make sure to check out the changelog on Steam if you were waiting for a bug to go away before giving Wolcen another shake.