The truth is that live service games are a dime-a-dozen these days, which can make it hard to discern the games that are truly worthwhile in that market. Jumping into the fray is Wayfinder, an online action RPG from developer Airship Syndicate – the studio behind Ruined King: A League of Legends Story and Darksiders Genesis.
I have been following Wayfinder with great interest since its initial announcement and was even able to check out one of its closed playtests earlier this year. It’s been available in Early Access for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC since August 17th, with an eventual release as a free-to-play title planned for 2024. This won’t surprise you, but it was plagued by server issues for the first few days after release, including excruciatingly long server queue times that had more than 10,000 players waiting to get in at times. Those issues have mostly been resolved now, as I have been able to join the game’s servers in mere seconds the last few days. For better or worse, rocky launches are simply part and parcel of live service games these days.
With that said, Wayfinder is operating on a promising foundation, anchored by gorgeous art direction that is reminiscent of the developers’ previous titles. The hub location of Skylight is a particularly striking fantasy location with pops of neon that give it a sort of Arcane vibe. You’ll see fellow human players running around, shopping at vendors, and interacting with quest givers, which reminds me of the Tower in Destiny.
I chose the tanky healer Wingrave as my starter Wayfinder, with more available to be unlocked or purchased down the road. Wingrave was my guy during the closed playtest as well, and I still enjoy his sword and shield combat today. There are six playable characters in total, with one needing to be unlocked through the Rewards Tower – Wayfinder’s version of a battle pass. Speaking of, I have met all the requirements to unlock the Rewards Tower character called Venomess, but at the moment, a glitch at the selection screen appears to be keeping me from doing so.
Combat can feel a bit basic when you’re just button-mashing your basic and heavy attacks, but it is designed to synergize your abilities with other players in your party. For instance, I will often deploy a shield ability while a ranged character stands behind me and fires. Teammate collaboration is not as imperative as some other MMO-style games I’ve played, but it certainly makes combat easier and more enjoyable. You are free to run solo, if you prefer, but can play in a party with up to three total players as well. The gameplay loop looks something like this: choose a quest, travel to the region on the world map, fight enemies, and head back to turn in said quest. There are main quests, side quests, jobs, and world events that all reward XP, loot, and other resources. At the time of writing, I am still running into occasional bugs where I time out of the servers during quests, which is particularly annoying after I’ve spent 15-minutes fighting a boss.
Completing quests and leveling up your Wayfinder reveals a somewhat surprising amount of depth in character builds. There are affinity levels you can upgrade for permanent stat bonuses applied to individual characters, and there are also permanent stat buffs for entire character classes. Echoes can be equipped to increase stat ratings in various categories, from critical damage to max health, and Relics are trinkets you gather on quests that provide even further stat boosts. In other words, I can totally see min-max players tinkering with builds and finding meta loadouts.
As for what is happening in the world of Evenor, an evil entity known as the Gloom extinguished the Beacon of Skylight. The Beacon was restored, but not before the Gloom spread across the world of Evenor. As a Wayfinder, you are tasked with fighting back against the Gloom and restoring the world as it once was. To supplement the main story, the game is filled with books, notes, and other materials that let you dive as deep into the lore of the world as you choose. One cool aspect is that reading up on lore increases your mastery ranks, which in turn provide boosts to your characters.
As it stands, Wayfinder is a promising, buggy Early Access game, which is about what I expected. I’m an early adopter, and as such, anticipated some of what I’ve experienced from a bug standpoint. There are even some features of the game (like rideable mounts) not available currently that are labeled as “coming soon” in the menus, so just know what you are getting into if you decide to take the plunge. The barrier to entry is $19.99 for a base Founder’s Pack, which gets you dozens of hours of content, and the promise of a game that will continue to improve and grow in the run up to its free-to-play launch next year. The choice is yours, Wayfinder.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
Hello! I'm Jason, the newest member of Gaming Nexus. My favorite genres of games are strategy, management, city-builders, sports games, RPGs, and shooters, but I don't limit myself to those. My favorite game of all-time is Red Dead Redemption 2 and I have somehow played it for nearly 1,000 hours. I also co-host a weekly PlayStation news podcast called The Dual Sense Podcast, so I stay pretty well versed in that ecosystem. Before that, I co-hosted a basketball podcast.View Profile