News

Arcterra Deep Dive

Written by Gary Astleford on February 23, 2016

Hi I’m Gary Astleford, Senior Story Designer on WildStar, and I’m going to be providing an in-depth exploration of the upcoming zone Arcterra, which will be a part of our Destination Arcterra update. If you’re not at max level, or haven’t yet completed the previous world story, you may want to do that before reading on; this zone and its content is a direct continuation of our story so far.

The Destination Arcterra PTR is now available. Download the PTR client here.

Territory Unknown

If you’ll remember, at the culmination of OMNICore-1 it’s revealed that the information the Caretaker seeks can be found in the Vault of the Archon. Unfortunately, he has no prior knowledge of the Vault, nor does he even know where it might be located. Utilizing every asset at his disposal, the Caretaker begins a painstaking search of Nexus to find it.

Sometime later, the Caretaker’s investigation pays off. A previously unexplored continent known as Arcterra has been deemed the likely location of the Vault of the Archon. Unfortunately, Arcterra is a vast and treacherous land, and the Vault’s exact position remains a mystery. In order to puzzle out Arcterra’s various enigmas, the Caretaker employs both the Dominion and the Exiles to assist him in his search.

Bring Gloves

As players join either Dorian Walker or Artemis Zin at Shiverskull Tower in Arcterra, they inevitably unravel many mysteries left behind by the Osun that once lived there. To uncover this information, players must contend with dangers both natural and supernatural. The omnipresent cold that permeates the land is akin to that of the grave, and the heroes of Nexus must work diligently to maintain their own tenuous hold on life.

Players can earn reputation with new factions in Arcterra, Operation: White Storm (Dominion), or The Arcterra Expedition (Exile). Completing content and quests—and increasing their reputation—unlocks unique rewards from the faction vendors. In addition, Arcterra features a Reward Track, a progression bar that will fill up as you complete various activities and unlock a free reward when you hit 100%. Then the Reward Track resets, you can fill it up again, and earn even more free rewards!

Layers Upon Layers

I’m really excited about Arcterra’s impending release because it offers players a ton of new—and repeatable—content. From a constant cycle of public events to dozens of bosses that are ready and willing to throw down, as well as a deadly blizzard that awakens five of the zone’s cruelest Osun warriors, boredom is a thing of the past. Lorehounds have plenty to look forward to as well, for Arcterra is steeped in secrets and stories for players to unravel.

Arcterra takes layered content to a new extreme never before seen in WildStar, and there's always something exciting happening in the zone. There are Dynamic Events constantly taking place across the zone, and they include a wide variety of activities—from uncovering mysterious things buried in the ice to rescuing a Lopp caravan stuck in the snow. There’s also difficult group content to tackle as 2-player bosses wander the region. As players roam around defeating the 2-player bosses, a tracker for the zone progresses until 5-player bosses begin to spawn. And as the 5-player bosses are destroyed, the tracker will eventually fill and spawn powerful 20-player bosses—offering players of any group size the ability to contribute to a zone-wide boss-killing smorgasbord, and their powerful and rare rewards.

Guided Tour

Shiverskull Tower

The hub in Arcterra is Shiverskull Tower, an Osun edifice that can be seen from just about anywhere in the zone. The tower is massive, and Explorers are bound to give their all as they attempt to scale its heights. Being the hub of the zone, Shiverskull Tower provides a place of relative safety for both factions. There are plenty of people and things to see in Shiverskull Tower, and it’s likely to be a familiar sight to anyone who dares Arcterra’s icy wastes. Several daily quests can be accessed from quest-givers in Shiverskull Tower, and they alternate every day to offer different options each time you play.

The Thought Forge

Nestled within Shiverskull Tower, the Thought Forge is an Osun thinking machine. Created by Pell engineers, the Thought Forge was designed with the Osun in mind. Not only is it durable enough to withstand the abuse of the largest Osun warlord, its interface is both extremely sturdy and totally compatible with an Osun’s aggressive thought process.

The Pillar of Kel Havik

Though the purpose of the Pillar of Kel Havik is still a mystery, it’s a simple stretch to determine that it was – and continues to be – a place of sacrifice. The pillar and its environs crawl with primal echoes and chilling necromantic energies. A prime source of soulfrost – the distillation of primal echoes – the Pillar is bound to be a common destination for players looking for a challenging public event.

The Crystalized River

When you need to move around Arcterra fast and with style, your best bet is to hop on a mount and hit the Crystalized River. While on the river you gain the buff “Slick Speed” that increases your movement by 20% (unmounted) or 40% (mounted). This river crisscrosses all of Arcterra, allowing you to get where you need to quickly.

Statues of the Covenguard

When the inevitable blizzard covers Arcterra with biting winds and blinding snowfall, the members of the Covenguard wake from their statuesque torpor to challenge anyone brave (or foolish) enough to face them. These five warriors are tasked with protecting the secrets of Bor Milug, and only by defeating them can the catacombs beneath Shiverskull Tower be accessed.

Bor Milug

The mysterious catacombs beneath Shiverskull Tower, carved from the blackest ice, are known as Bor Milug. Only the dead can say for certain what sleeps in Bor Milug’s darkness, and they aren’t talking. Once this mystery is unraveled, players are bound to have their hands full as they brave the dangers presented by an ancient and seething evil.

Each of the Covenguard carries a piece of the Blade-Key—a literal key required to access the darkest recesses of Bor Milug—that drops when they are slain. The key fragments, and the key that they construct, will only be able to be completed by one faction at a time. Once opened by a faction, Bor Milug is available only to that faction for the next few hours, after which the other faction can try to complete their own Blade-Key and lock down the area for their own attempts at the powerful bosses that await within.

See You There

Working on Arcterra, especially from a narrative point of view, taught me that the needs of both content and narrative can be met and married in a very symbiotic partnership. It was a lot of work, more so than anyone predicted, but in the end I believe the entire team walked away from the experience much wiser—and closer—than they had been before.

Arcterra is full of secrets and surprises. Though players can fight their way through the zone and reap a lot of excellent rewards in the process, taking the time to check the zone’s nooks and crannies can be a rewarding process in and of itself. In addition, the deeds you perform and the mysteries you solve eventually lead you to a new and epic episode of WildStar’s World Story—Vault of the Archon! But we’ll talk more about that after the initial release of Destination Arcterra, as players explore the zone and unlock its secrets.

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