Like WildStar (WS), ArcheAge (AA) wasn’t on my radar. I’d heard of it but not having much success with Asian imports in the past, I wrote it off. In between MMOs again, I started watching Twitch streams and noticed more and more AA offerings so I started watching. Initially, I didn’t see anything that would make me scrounge for a BETA key / invite or purchase my way into it, so the thought of the game passed.
My son started playing GW2 again but not with much regularity. Bored by the lack of a more traditional expansion, he began another search for an alternative. Since he’s a PVP fanboi, he decided to pay his way into the AA Alpha. I messed around on his account for a bit which piqued my interest. That combined with finding more varied game play on Twitch, I saw enough to want my own account.
What is ArcheAge
Based on the little I know about the game, I would say ArcheAge is Aion + Vanguard + Final Fantasy XIV + Runes of Magic + Pirates of the Burning Sea meets EVE Online. It’s more horizontal than many recent MMOs and you’ll have to peel the onion to discover all of the game’s features. On the other hand, if you don’t care, it can be as simple as doing quests and running dungeons.
Word of caution, I’m not sure if this game is for the casual MMO player because of the nonconsensual and unavoidable PVP. If you don’t ever and I mean ever, want to encounter PVP this may not be the game for you. On the other hand, if you know you’re a carebear but don’t get butt hurt over being abused here and there, you’ll be fine.
The very little I know so far…
Similar to GW2, you can gain adventure levels in various ways. Questing, PVP and crafting all contribute to you character’s XP gain. I loved that about GW2. You still have crafting levels (expertise) that must be advanced but both happen from the same set of tasks which is awesome sauce. Theoretically, if all you ever wanted to do was craft and play the economy, you could do so without completing PVE quests.
Not much to say about the PVE questing. It is what it is and no groundbreaking elements so far. You can discover/unlock quests while exploring or killing but for the most part, it’s the traditional back and forth to NPCs. All I can say is that they’re not horrible. I’ve heard that some of the racial storylines are better than others but I’m not really worried about that right now. I’m in it to experiment and explore.
Your mounts come early and are provided by quests. No gold required – YES! I think I had my horse around level 6 and my glider at level 17. Similar to Aion, you can use the glider to cover large distances if you can drop down from a reasonably high starting point. Even small ones are advantageous. You don’t want to kill all the trash mobs outside the entrance to that fort? Don’t. Pop your glider and fly over them. There are other specialty vehicles beyond the land mounts, most of which have to do with transporting goods. Your mount levels along the way and you can purchase buffs via gear.
Similar to Lord of the Rings, Everquest2 and FFXIV, there are also mounts on rails that travel between regions. I found them a bit slow but are cool if you want to take the scenic route. Or if you have a pack on your back but no specialty vehicle to transport it, one of the hackney vehicles might be faster than walking. Not by much mind you. *smile*
Very early in the game you’re introduced to traveling by boat. I don’t know why it’s there so early. Not a single other quest required the use of a boat and I’m level 26 now. That said, having had a row boat at my disposal, I took a little tour of an adjacent island and found a great mining spot. I wouldn’t have been sent to or run across this area in my quests for another 7 levels. So perhaps, mission accomplished in having been shown and given a row boat.
Similar to Pirates of the Burning Sea, there are a variety of boats you can build. Yes, note the word, build. Ships/boats vary based on purpose, quality and combat worthiness if that’s a concern. There are plenty of people and guilds focused primarily on sea combat.
Combat Pet for All
Everyone can get a combat pet. Similar to your mount, he levels through use and you can buy him armor. The NPC is in an area you first encounter in your late teens. The wolf can be purchased for 10 silver which is nothing by then.
Player owned Property
I enjoy crafting and don’t mind harvesting. There’s plenty to do on that score in AA. Of course, coming into the Alpha very late, there’s little to no land available for me to setup a house or farm but it’s a favorite feature and unlike other games, is NOT bound by my level in any capacity. When I can find a location, I can own a location for nominal tax fees. This much is very EQ2. The intent is that you should be utilizing the housing/farming features from the very beginning. They also have models of all the available home designs that can be purchased which is excellent. Visit Mirage Isle to see the various house designs and layouts.
The game will be F2P with an optional subscription model that offers perks for those who play it at “that level” of commitment. And for those who don’t, you’ll be missing some conveniences such as the ability to sell on the auction house or own property – stuff like that. There may be real money transaction options to get those features but I don’t know the details of what’s in the cash shop.
I know there is extensive PVP taking place and I will be subject to its grandeur or horror, depending on your perspective, once I hit level 30. Lots of PVP can be viewed on twitch. There’s a pirate systems that is in some ways, similar EVE Online in that being a pirate is a particular play style. Getting your goods to the more profitable commerce areas will mean traversing across PVP zones where you are subject to being attacked, killed and relieved of your goods. This can happen on land and especially at sea.
There’s a jury system to deal with the criminal element, pirates included. If you die in PVP and your status is at a particular threshold of badness (don’t know what the scale is called) you’re resurrected into a court house. The game then selects players from the jury pool and a trial is held. ALL of your illegal activity is logged by the game. That’s right, witnesses to your crimes are not necessary. Your past misdeeds are presented as your rap sheet during your trial.
During the trial you get to plead your case. If you’re found guilty, the player selected as the judge gets to set your sentence. If sentenced, your character is whisked off to JAIL where you have to wait out your punishment in game time. Judge’s gavel slams down, “84 minutes to you sir,” means your character in a jail cell for 84 minutes of your play time. You can attempt to break out of jail (dig your way out with spoons) which will also be added to your crimes against humanity, for the next time they get a hold of you. The jury system plays out in a chat channel as well as the physical aspects experienced by the participants. It’s quite hysterical.
Crafting is very detailed and supports a sophisticated economy. Right now, things are very expensive to anyone joining in at this juncture. You can be all crafts and harvest all components but they have to be leveled, which results in many players choosing to specialize. Doing all these activities also consumes a character resource called Labor Points, of which you have a finite amount provided each day.
Mobs do NOT drop crafting components of any sort – NADA. With the exception of mining nodes, some trees and herbs here-n-there, crafting materials come from working the land. If you need trees, you’d better plant some. Do you need cloth? I guess you’d better be planting and harvesting cotton. Obtaining leather works the same way. Breed the necessary animals, slaughter them and get your hides.
That’s the sum total of what I’ve experienced in the 4 days that I’ve been playing. There are many layers to each of the topics above and that’s just scratching the surface of the game.