WildStar exclusive hands-on: The Mordesh add space zombies to the roster

At its San Diego Comic-Con panel today, Carbine Studios revealed WildStar's final two races: the Dominion's adorable, frighteningly evil Chua (GamesRadar has more about them ), and the Exile's disturbing, monstrous Mordesh. Earlier this week, I went down to Carbine Studios and got my hands on the opening areas of the Mordesh—and then I immediately washed my hands.

My voyage began where all great MMO journeys do: on the character select screen, fiddling with buttons and levers. Here, I was able to customize the disgusting abominations as I saw fit, changing their facial features and swapping between a few different hair styles. No matter how much I tried, nothing I did took away from the gross appearance the lanky goons sport, likely because all of the customization options weren't in place. But even if they were, I doubt I'd be able to undo what terrible genetic atrocities have done to them.

While they used to be a fairly normal-looking alien race as far as weird alien races go, the Mordesh faced a near-extinction event when one of their most brilliant scientists unwittingly unleashed a plague that came close to wiping out the entire population (oops). He was able to create an elixir to prevent them from dying out completely, but the damage done to their DNA was too severe to fix with a simple pill.

Now, they're as close to death as possible, with a sickly skin tone and a generally unpleasing appearance. It's no wonder that other races will offhandedly refer to them as “space zombies,” because that's pretty much what they look like. And if they weren't disturbing enough as is, they also run the Exile's secret intelligence agency, making them an undead version of the CIA.

I jumped into the world as a Spellslinger, which actually has more in common with The Old Republic's Trooper class than it does any mage you've ever played. Sporting a slew of ranged blaster attacks, my Mordesh (which sounds like the name of an '80s show) lumbered around the world taking down enemies with his powerful guns. WildStar's combat is real time and based on area-of-effect attacks, so I found that I was able to use even the most basic of attacks to hit multiple enemies if I lined things up right. This shaped how I played the game, changing my focus from kiting an enemy away from his allies to trying to group foes together to do as much damage as possible to as many things as I could. When they went to return attacks I'd tumble away, which animated more gracefully than I'd expect from a race that's supposed to have one foot in the grave.

At a glance, the Mordesh fill the role of the "ugly character for the good guys," but they definitely feel like a natural part of the series' lore, and fit the fun, comedic tone well. That said, I don't think I'll be playing as them when the game comes out—they're way too gross to spend 300 hours staring at.

WildStar is currently in closed beta, and is accepting sign-ups on the official site .