This has been a much anticipated update, adding further end game progression with the inclusion of the Primal Matrix, but was it worth the wait? Well, I guess it depends on what you were hoping for. The amount of actual new content is limited, one new expedition and a new dungeon. It’s not anywhere close to the scale of the Arcterra update, which added a whole new end game zone. The Primal Matrix system does look interesting at first glance, but delve a little deeper and all it seems to do is add further incentive to grind established content.
The Primal Matrix works by collecting essences to unlock stat boosting nodes, but the costs are quite high, even in the first tier, and while it was promised that these essences could be collected by all characters on an account, once one had reached 50 and unlocked the ability, standard drop rates outside of the boosted content seems limited, leaving the most effective collection method, the endless running of expeditions, dungeons and raids, which gets old pretty quickly. Essentially, it leaves the update feeling like a grind fest. Also, because of the large time demands of the essence collection process, it feels like yet another feature that favours hardcore gamers. Those with full time jobs and family commitments, will soon find themselves at even more of a disadvantage. With the average age of gamers on the climb, this seems an unwise decision.
Also added is Prime Difficulty levels. This is a way of scaling dungeons and expeditions to higher difficulty levels, similar to that recently added to World of Warcraft. This also increases the item level of loot, in kind, and so should help those gearing up their characters, but again this has mainly been added to existing content, so if you’ve played it to death already then this update isn’t really going to refresh the game for you, just add a little extra challenge. Prime difficulties also need to be unlocked by either progressing in the Primal Matrix or by completing the lowest level prime for that dungeon/ expedition with a silver or gold medal.
Lockbox loot has also been improved with a base item level of 100 in level 50 content. Lock boxes are available by completing a dungeon, expedition, raid or community event. These have helped me a lot in gearing up alts, as key are available for Omnibits, in the game store, which drop as you play the game, and the return usually pretty good. Those with subscriptions also get given one free key a week.
While this update isn’t what many players hoped for, it has attracted a number of new and returning players, which has left the main cities bustling again. How long this population increase lasts for remains to be seen, as the new content will be exhausted in a matter of hours with the exception of the grind for essences, which I can’t see keeping the masses entertained. However, Wildstar is free to play, so it’s not like you wouldn’t get your money’s worth by checking it out, and there is still plenty of content, if you haven’t played the game before, but this update alone may not hold your attention long.