I’m of two minds about the last two races in WildStar. And I’ll be honest, the first mind is kind of bored because those of us with sharp eyes had already figured most of this out.
Most of us might not have been sure of the names, to be fair. But the core concepts are fairly close to what most of us expected, with both races playing against type — cute and fuzzy for the Dominion, creepy and leering for the Exiles. I even speculated that the last race of the Exiles would be a race that focused upon getting dirty work done when it needed to be done, and sure enough, what did we get?
That being said, both of these races are pulled off with a style and panache that I should have expected but didn’t. So even if I could have guessed that these were the practical upshots of the race grid, I hadn’t counted on them being this nifty.
Gremlins of destruction
The Chua are smart, adorable little bundles of fur. What’s a little more unexpected is the fact that they’re also not particularly nice. Maybe not malicious, but they sure as hell don’t care about who gets hurt by their various antics, seeing as they take a sociopathic pleasure in watching victims of their pranks, pranks that would be called outright assault by most legal systems.
In one respect, I’m a little upset that the last race isn’t a bit more friendly or likable. I’m not really down with the idea that the Dominion are pure evil, and having a more genial species in the last slot would have sent that message quite nicely. They might not like the Exiles, but they’re not monsters. Instead, we have an explicitly nasty little race, which sends the same message in a more roundabout way.
Obviously the Dominion isn’t completely proud of the Chua, but it’s not because of size or capability. Watch the race reveal video again. Our dear Malvolio says he dislikes the Chua chiefly because he wishes they weren’t all so psychotic.
That’s an important distinction. It isn’t what they do or how they do it; it’s the why. That prompts us to look back at the Draken and the Mechari.
Neither of those races is known for being gentle. But both of them have a reason behind how and why they hurt people. The Draken are all about the hunt and the challenge, not about blood for the sake of blood. Mechari eliminate only those that are necessary to ensure the Dominion’s continued survival. And of course, the Cassians would never dream of wanton slaughter.
But the Chua? They just like causing mayhem. They like building things that grind and gnash and shoot and stab and burn, and they don’t really care who gives them that opportunity. That impulse can be controlled by the Dominion, but they don’t really serve any sort of purpose. They’re just convenient in certain ways. That shows how much having a purpose actually matters to the other three races.
As I said, it does show that these people are not entirely evil. It just does so a bit indirectly. It works, but it requires a bit of additional reading.
Unlike their reveal-partners, the Mordesh do not lack for purpose. This is a race with a singular purpose, a purpose that allows no ambiguity or confusion. It is a race of dying, sick people abandoned by their would-be saviors that is now dedicated to doing as much damage as possible to those saviors. It’s not that they’re humorless, hateful monsters; it’s that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to tear apart the Dominion.
In other words, they’re that practical arm of the Exiles I posited all that time ago — a race willing to do what it takes no matter what.
As a long-time fan of playable undead, I innately like the Mordesh, in no small part because they look like science-fiction zombies. There’s no hint of necromancy, no dead parts rotting off, but there’s a clear sense that these are unwell people held together more by science than by good health. I especially liked seeing some “spare” body parts lying around in the original reveal video, giving the impression that the Mordesh increasingly see bodies as machines rather than fundamental components of identity.
Unlike the Chua, the Mordesh reveal something about the Exiles that we already knew, insofar as they’re more concerned with taking down the Dominion than living up to any ideals. It’s the talents of the Mordesh that make them desirable allies, not their outlook on life or overall demeanor. The Exiles need someone like that on their side, and everything else is kind of superfluous by necessity.
So how far have the Mordesh been willing to go in the past to ensure the safety of the Exiles? No way of being sure. But we can guess that it hasn’t been pleasant at all times. We know that the Exiles see them as something necessary without being something likable, a requirement to the cause instead of friends that they love to have around. Someone has to be willing to do the hard things that the other races don’t want to do, after all.
In other words, they provide a new perspective, which is refreshing on many levels.
Beyond the basics of both races… well, thus far my predictions about classes and the new races seem to be holding out. We’ll see what develops when we finally know for sure what the last classes are. No, I’m not counting datamined information.
Feedback, as always, can be left in the comments below or mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, I want to discuss what we haven’t yet seen in WildStar’s various reveals… and how those elements are worrisome.