Wayfinder Review: A Promising Start with Room for Improvement

Wayfinder is a character-collecting and fast-paced Online Action RPG, has burst onto the scene with a lot of promise during its Early Access phase. Set in a vibrant and colourful world threatened by the encroaching Gloom, players must team up with friends to embark on expeditions, boss battles, and dungeon looting to save the land. However, while the game offers much to be excited about, it currently grapples with technical hiccups and gameplay inconsistencies.

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Challenges in Early Access

Wayfinder’s early access launch has been a mix of excitement and frustration. Server queues and connectivity issues have plagued eager players wanting to dive into the action. The unexpected popularity of the game led to extended waiting times and disconnects, hampering the overall experience. While these problems are typical during early access, it’s clear that more robust stress testing could have alleviated these difficulties.

Visual Aesthetics and Music

The vibrant comic-book art style that defines Wayfinder helps create a visually appealing world design. The expansive landscapes and towns are remarkably beautiful. The characters are large and larger-than-life, with captivating skill animations. The game boasts a distinctly Fortnite-esque appearance; even the in-game menus share similarities. You might mistake the background music for that of The Elder Scrolls Online in certain areas.

Map navigation has always been a significant pain point for me in some MMOs. Unfortunately, Wayfinder falls short in this regard. Although mounts are planned for future updates, you can currently teleport around the map via signal fires. The main issue I’ve encountered is with the map itself—quest icons rarely appear, and instead, you’ll find a yellow dot on your UI. This can be tricky to locate at times, indicating room for improvement in enhancing the ease of finding NPCs or destinations the game directs you to.


Character Customization and Variety

The ability to collect and play as multiple characters, known as Wayfinders, adds depth to the game, though acquiring new Wayfinders might take some time. The range of customizations available for these characters is commendable and bears resemblance to Fortnite. It offers variety, allowing you to distinguish yourself from other players using the same character by changing skins, dyes, as well as adding trinkets and charms.


Gameplay Depth and Combat Mechanics

Wayfinder’s combat system, the central pillar of any action RPG, presents both promising aspects and notable challenges. Initially, the combat might seem basic, with only a set of five abilities. However, this apparent simplicity evolves into a challenge as the game progresses. Overcoming bosses demands precise timing of specific abilities, transforming battles into tests of skill and strategy. Survival hinges on mastering the art of dodging and blocking.

Regarding skills, there’s not a great deal of variety, and customization options are limited, though this expands as you experiment with alternative weapons. The potential for greater diversity in different builds exists, but improvements could be made. In my playthrough, I opted for Wingrave, who seamlessly combines damage, healing, and tanking. Notably, he possesses an unlisted built-in taunt. Given the apparent lack of healers, Wingrave emerges as a strong choice in challenging content, with his ability to output damage, protect the group, and provide group healing.

The flexibility in building variety largely stems from the choices you make and items you collect along the way. Echoes can be added to various parts of your build, offering raw stat increases or additional proc effects, like a damage shield when your health is low. While affinities and masteries seem to offer choices for character and weapon development, their overall impact on variety is limited.

Dungeon Exploration and Progression

Wayfinder’s dungeon exploration shines as a bright spot. Even when revisiting the same dungeon, you encounter different enemies and layouts due to the generated dungeon system. This enhances variety and replayability, ensuring each run feels distinct. Aside from overland maps, the main content consists of expeditions, ranging from 1 to 3 players. Some feel akin to dungeons, while others resemble raid encounters against a single boss. This expedition system features layers where difficulty can be increased, imbuing the expedition with additional effects. Some of these adjustments are necessary for quest completion, but they also yield substantial rewards.

Engaging overland content areas house bosses and mini events, often challenging to complete at lower levels and designed ideally for group play. A notable issue is that these overland areas frequently appear empty. Despite the apparent player queue, actual player density remains low. This scarcity complicates content completion, particularly encounters like the powerful 500k health boss in the Highlands.