Enter an endless sandbox world where law and crime, trade and theft, war and peace, are all options!
Publisher: Trion Worlds
Playerbase: Very High
Type: Themepark Sandbox Hybrid MMORPG
EXP Rate: Medium
PvP: Yes, Open World and Arena
Filesize: ~23 GB
Pros: +120 possible classes from multiple skill sets you choose. + Player-driven economy and justice system. +Expansive sandbox content. +Themepark elements help ease traditional MMO players into the sandbox realm. +Huge playerbase.
Cons: - Limitations on free players seem excessive. -Somewhat generic questing system.
ArcheAge is a free to play, sandbox-style fantasy MMORPG. Play as one of two factions, or as an outcast of society. Make your mark through crafting, trading, crime, or waging war! The expansive world allows you to create player housing, farms, castles, and more to claim territory; fight on land, sea, and air; and much more.
ArcheAge is free to play in North America with an optional “patron program” subscription. There are several limitations on free players: they only gain 5 labor points every 5 minutes while only (patrons get 10 per 10), they gain no labor points while offline (patrons get 5 per 5), and they cannot claim land, build houses, pay taxes, or post on the Auction House. These limitations may change as the game is currently in Beta for North America.
There are four playable races, split into two factions: the Nuians and Elves live on the western Nuia, and Firran and Harani live on the eastern Haranya. The class system is not traditional: instead of picking a class, you pick three core skill sets (out of ten available). The combination of these three skill sets determines your actual ‘class,’ making 120 total combinations possible.
ArcheAge Featured Video
ArcheAge – First Look
By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF)
ArcheAge is probably one of the most anticipated game in years. This is evident by the hundreds of thousands of players who have flocked to the game over the past few months, attempting to get into the various betas. During the Open Beta phase, the servers were completely bloated with players. This is because the game is unique in that it offers some favorite sandbox features such as housing or high-end crafting, with themepark elements such as quests, dungeons, world bosses, and more. One of the best selling points of the game is that the unique class system allows for the creation of over 120 classes to be made. On paper, it all sounds so perfect that people can’t help but want to play. But does it live up to the expectations?
Customization in ArcheAge falls somewhere between, “Dayum! That’s a lot of options!” and “Eh, I expected a bit more.” If you’ve read up at all on ArcheAge, you can imagine that the “dayum” comes from the many possibilities that the extensive class system offers. Things are a bit less than I expected when it comes to actual customization at character creation, though. While there is a ton of customization options for your face, you are not given the ability to customize your body.
The character class system has been said to make for a possible one-hundred and twenty (120) classes to choose from and create. That’s a lot of classes. The only games I know of that come close to this amount of customization are sandbox MMOs like Mortal Online, Wurm Online, or Darkfall. You create these classes by combining three of ten total “class trees.” On top of the ten various class trees, you further customize yourself by making use of (currently) 23 skill points gained as you level up to 50. Each class has twelve abilities to choose from, plus seven passives that are available. That’s a total of 57 abilities and passives to choose from when making your build.
One of the things that a lot of people are quite happy about is the ability to upload any 256×256 .PNG image into the game and then create stamps which can be placed on various capes, sails, flags, and other neat decorations. For example, I decked my character out with a shirt, a mask, and a cape all bearing my guild’s logo. We also ended up placing flags and frames that had images related to our guild. I’ve seen people upload lots of different types of images, and it’s this level of customization that a majority of MMORPG players have been wanting for a long time.
ArcheAge looks beautiful, through and through. Whether you’re playing at max settings, or settling for medium or lower, you’re going to appreciate the way the game looks. And it looks great not just because of the quality of the graphics, but the obvious love and care that went into the world design and building. The landscapes tell stories and the cities instill wonder. Not many games achieve this.
Characters look fantastic. They are finely detailed and, as I said in customization, there is a lot of room for unique looking characters. Those that are fond of taking screenshots of their characters will enjoy these immensely. Especially with some of the vistas you can have your character in. I sometimes like to sit in Lutesong Harbor in Villanelle and look at the scenery. At high settings, the game world simply looks magical.
Water looks amazing, when it’s not bugging out, which can happen on occasion… hopefully it gets fixed soon. But, other than that, the water takes MMORPG water effects to new levels as it should, since you will be looking at it frequently. But still, I can’t think of a game that invoked so much emotion within me with just its graphics. It’s almost like looking at a masterpiece painting, except its kind of alive and always moving and changing.
ArcheAge is typical of an MMORPG when it comes to controls. If you’ve played a standard themepark MMORPG (like World of Warcraft, for example) in the past few years, you’ll be familiar with the controls almost immediately. I never noticed any problems worth noting while playing. But at the same time, I can’t say I ever felt “wowed” by the controls, either. So, in the end, I’d say I’m happy with the controls, but there’s nothing innovating or game-changing about them.
Like most games, you’re given extensive customization when it comes to keybinds. Considering how starkly mixing various classes can change your playstyle, I advise learning how to customize your keybinds early and do so often to keep your hand from cramping up. The more intricate classes make use of more than twelve abilities, and the 6 to = key is quite a stretch in the middle of an intense fight. I found myself keeping 1 to 5 as-is and changing the rest to Q, E, R, T, F, X, etc… Stuff that I can easily reach. If you’re accustomed to utilizing one of those MMORPG mice with the multiple programmable hotkeys on them, you will be in a good place.
Movement controls are something that caught my eye. I noticed you have several options for controlling the movement of your character. By default, movement is achieved with WASD, Q and E for strafing, and while pressing W you can hold down the Right Mouse Button to turn your character. Left Mouse Button will simply rotate and turn your camera without turning your character. You can also hold down both Left and Right Mouse Button to move your character forward while controlling which direction your character is going. Alternatively, you can activate point-and-click movement. Something that I can appreciate being implemented, even if I personally would never use it.
ArcheAge, at least for now, has a massive community. People have been hyping this game in North America and Europe since the first bits of information were coming out while it was still in development in Korea. With Trion’s beta testing, we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of eager players snap up beta keys – thousands of them gone in minutes. When we look at the Alpha servers, we see that they’re full to the brim and they’re nothing but Archeum ($150) Founders – I imagine there’s triple or quadruple (if not more) in Gold and Silver Founders. And that’s not counting the hordes of non-Founders that we’ll see when the game hits release.
As you might imagine, a community this large has lots of different elements. You’ve got Role Players, PVErs, PVPers, Griefers, and more all mixed together in a massive community. Looking at the forums, you can see tons of Role Players or PVPers trying to organize themselves on one or two different servers. Like all communities, though, ArcheAge has its helpful players and its trolls. Faction chat can either be a great source of information or cesspool of racism, trolling, and stupidity. And some of the stuff said in Trial chat will have you leaving the channel and/or begging Trion to only allow Defendants and Jury members to chat there.
What I’m trying to say is, ArcheAge (at its current size) has a community that is much too large to fully describe. I can’t tell you what your community experience will be like, as it’s highly dependent on your choices – including the type of players you decide to align yourself with. There are some steps you can take to kind of get an idea, like doing some research and finding out which servers are a gathering place for Role Players or PVPers. I’ve seen attempts at organizing all-types of communities onto single servers, be it by language/location or play-style.
Combat in ArcheAge is a very nice re-telling of the tried-and-true combat system used in MMOs since Everquest. That is, point-and-click with a hotbar. You’ll click on the enemy you want to attack, turn yourself to face them, and then active your abilities from your hotbar by pressing their corresponding key (1 through = by default). And, while this is an old system, I feel ArcheAge does a very good job of it. I’ve certainly had a lot of fun with the combat.
One of the neater features of ArcheAge’s combat is the plethora of combos. A lot of the time, you’re going to design your class around the different combos that can be achieved. For example, as a Daggerspell, you will have access to Firebolt and Bubble Trap. When you use Firebolt, you have a chance to proc a burning effect. When you cast Bubble Trap on something that has a burning debuff, the bubble will raise much higher than it would normally, creating the potential for a lot of fall damage to be stacked on top of the burning damage. That’s just a tiny taste of all the different ways combos can affect your abilities. There are a ton of possibilities.
Weapons play a decent role in combat, and no matter your class you usually have a few different options that will offer several possibilities. Because of this, a lot of people make use of several weapons whenever they’re participating in combat, switching them as the need arises. For example, someone who makes use of the Vitalism tree (which has a lot of healing abilities) may find that while using a sword and board their damage is decent, but their healing is a bit sub-par compared to what they want. So, they simply switch to a club and suddenly their damage may not be as good, but their healing has drastically improved. This is because clubs have a healing stat attached to them. In the same vein, a sorcerer who feels he’s taking too much damage can switch from a two-handed staff to a one-handed scepter and shield for a bit more protection.
This isn’t the case with just weapons, either. There are three types of armor in the game; plate, leather, and cloth. When you’re wearing a set of a certain gear, you’ll get bonuses. For example, wearing cloth armor helps with mana and magic damage while leather helps with evasion and agility. You won’t gain any negative effects for wearing armor that doesn’t “match up” with your class. So you could, in theory, design yourself a spell-slinging class that makes use of plate-armor for the added protection. Heck, I’ve seen some people who primarily use magic make use of plate-armor plus a scepter and shield for a bit more survivability. Of course, you do sacrifice some of your potential ability to do damage.
These possible combinations, when combined with the huge amounts of options provided by the class system, make for some fairly unique experiences. Sure, a lot of people tend to go with the cookie-cutter/Flavor of the Month builds – such as the Daggerspell, which makes use of the Sorcery, Witchcraft, and Shadowplay class trees while wearing cloth armor. But you don’t have to do that and there really is no reason to do so (unless you simply like simple things). And that’s what makes the ArcheAge combat system so fun for me. The simple yet complex nature of it – which is a recurring theme in the game.
With fun combat comes great PVP. And it is great. There are a lot of different options for PVP within ArcheAge and they mean different things. Although it doesn’t seem it in the early levels, a majority of the game is completely open PVP and anyone can attack you anywhere. Even your own faction can activate “Bloodlust” mode and attack you, although this is illegal and they’ll wrack up crime points for doing so.
I’ve gone into depth about the various PVP systems available in ArcheAge in the PVP overview I wrote back in August. Feel free to check it out here.
For a brief overview, though, there is Open PVP (as I mentioned) which is available in most of the world, except for the lower-level questing areas. There’s also two arenas – a one versus one gladiator arena and a five versus five team match. Right now the match making is basically non-existent… you get into the first available match, no matter the differences in gear or levels. Later on, leaderboards should be added as well but they’re not in yet. There are also guild sieges which can have up to a hundred people on each side and have epic siege warfare where you can destroy your enemies’ castle. Last, and probably least, is the normal dueling that just about every MMORPG has. One versus one and no one dies.
Farming, Housing, & Owning Property
This is also one of the bigger draws to the game. The farming system, which includes the raising of animals, is something quite spectacular. Simply put, the game allows you to grow the various crops and animals you need to get certain resources for crafting or trade packs. For example, if you’re a cook you might set up a farm to grow barley. Or, if you’re a mount fanatic you may choose to take up Animal Husbandry and try to raise a bear mount. What’s neat is that ArcheAge has a “Free-form” system that allows you to place and grow crops almost everywhere. Of course, some locations are safer than others.
For example, at level 10 you’ll get a quest to get a small scarecrow that (if you’re Patron) you can place in one of the specified “property” locations that are found all over the various zones. As long as you pay your taxes, everything you put within the boundary of your scarecrow will be completely safe. You can even change the permissions settings to allow your in-game family, guild, or the public to make use of your farm. Same goes with Large Scarecrows (the upgraded version of the small scarecrow, also gained via quest) and houses.
There’s a number of different houses to choose from. Each faction has its own style of house, with sizes ranging from small, to medium, to large, and even mansion size. Of course, the bigger you get the more Gilda Star the blueprint is going to cost, the more resources will be required, and the higher the taxes. In general, though, by level 15 you’ll have enough Gilda Star from simply questing to get a small house. Now, one thing to keep in mind when getting property is that it costs taxes to maintain them. These are weekly and are paid with tax certificates, which can either be generated using Labor Points, or by purchasing them from the cash shop. And, as you gain more property, the taxes continue to get higher and higher.
One final thing I want to mention in regards to farming and property is the climate system. There are various climates, such as Temperate, Tropical, or Arid. Each zone is given one of these climates and different crops will grow better or worse in these areas. For example, someone who plans to grow a lot of bananas might want to set up a scarecrow in Mahadevi, an Eastern tropical zone. In general, however, you can usually consider Temperate zones the “best” for general farming. This means real estate in “safe” zones with temperate climates are usually picked up very quickly.
Already over a thousand words in and I’m just now getting started on Gameplay. It’s been a while since I’ve played a game that required this much detail in the review. And that’s one of the things that’s refreshing about ArcheAge. It’s simple yet complex, which makes it interesting and fun. Everything you could want from an MMORPG. Something that a lot of developers seem to fail at completely, unfortunately.
A lot of people get confused when they try to place ArcheAge into a genre. Some call it a sandbox and plenty of people are quick to point out that it isn’t. And those people are right, to a point. The term I’ve found the most exactly describes ArcheAge is Sandpark – that is sandbox and themepark mashed together. It’s got the typical features of a themepark MMORPG such as quests, dungeons, world bosses, and click-based combat. But it also has sandbox features like housing with lots of customization, territory control for guilds, sailing, trade packs, and a player-run economy. It is, in my opinion, nearly the perfect balance of sandbox and themepark elements.
Speaking of questing, it’s probably my least favorite thing in the game. The primary way to level up and get low-end gear in ArcheAge is through questing. And these are your typical “run here” and “kill X of Y” type quests. Nothing special and highly repetitive to the point that you might even accidentally burn yourself out on the game. However, questing isn’t the only way to level in this game.
You get EXP from just about everything in the game. Heck, during the beta I would let my Labor Points (something I’ll get into soon) recharge up to 5,000, chug a vocation potion, and then head over to the massive mine in Solis Headlands and get a few levels while getting a nice chunk of iron ore and stone for my guildies to use. I also typically get enough exp while crafting to go up at least one level during each session. It may not be the most efficient or quickest ways to level, but it’s certainly possible to do so for those that don’t want to make combat their main focus of the game. Not that I’m saying you should do that – combat is very much a core component of the game and it’s something you shouldn’t avoid. But it is possible.
Speaking of crafting, there is a lot of it. From cooking, to tailoring, to masonry. There’s a skill for just about everything you could want in a fantasy setting. And they’re all pretty interlocked. You won’t be able to efficiently get everything you need for your primary craft by yourself unless you spend a lot of labor points and time preparing. This dependence between the crafting professions means you’ll want to work with others or, at the very least, take part in some trading via the auction house.
There is an item in the game that is required for crafting all gear. Accessories, armor, and weapons. At first, the Archeum requirements for this gear isn’t too bad – especially since Trion has listened to the cries of the players and introduced better Archeum drops. But, even with those changes, it seems impossible to get the thousands upon thousands of Archeum you’ll need for some of the better crafted gear. The reason for this is mostly the RNGesus, as a lot of the later gear is basically a dice roll to see if you get the exact right kind that will unlock the ability for you to create the next set. It gets frustrating, to say the least.
It sucks knowing that high-end crafted gear is a pipe dream for a lot of people.
There’s also an interesting Trial System in the game, where players can volunteer (by completing a short quest line) to be a Jury candidate. Once someone has gotten enough crime points and then die from PVP, they are sent to court where they’ll sit in front of a Jury of their peers (who have access to a list of all reported crimes) and plead their case. As you might imagine, this can be quite hilarious at times. Unfortunately, though, as you’ll see in the community section of the review, anyone and everyone can hop onto the trial chat channel and throw in their two cents. This has kind of turned Trial chat into a general chat channel. Another downfall of the system is that it’s very easy to rig it so that your friends are in the Jury when you go to court – either by careful timing or by just having a large amount of players in your guild/alliance.
Trade Packs & the Sea
Probably one of the greatest features within ArcheAge are the tradepacks. These are packs created by combining items that you’ve gathered, grown, or bought. You can then transport these packs to various locations that have special Traders that will accept them for rewards. These rewards can be the obvious gold, Gilda Stars (used to purchase things like Ship or house blueprints), or even crafting components.
Though, for some of that, you’ll need to make a trip across the sea, usually in a boat. It’s time to enter the world of pirating. As the game is currently, anyone can kill you in the open sea – even the person you thought was your friend. They can then take that pack and turn it in for the reward you would have gotten. Fear not, though, as they will only receive 80% of the reward, with the 20% that is left going to you. This means that, while it is something you want to avoid at all cost, it’s not the end of the world if you lose your tradepack. Unless you died from sea bugs and your pack is left at the bottom of the ocean to rot.
Running these trade packs across the sea in big groups is a ton of fun. Shooting the breeze on a boat with friends while on the look out for pirates.
Which brings up my favorite feature in the game – ships. I instantly fell in love with the ships in ArcheAge back when I first saw a video of them from the Korean beta. My time spent with them in both the Russian and North American betas has just reinforced my love for them. The ability to hop in a ship with friends and just explore the sea and visit some of the various islands – a lot of which can have houses placed on them – is just amazing. When combined with the possibility of some epic sea battles, especially when the large galleons are involved, it adds a whole other dimension to the game. I want to mention that I found it highly disappointing that about the only place you can go to make a decent profit when it comes to Gilda Stars is Freedrich Island – if you take a trade pack over to the other continent, a majority (if not all) of them will get you just a single Gilda Star per pack. Needless to say, not even worth the trip, really. This is an unusual design choice as cross-continental trips are often more dangerous due to the flagging system within the game.
This is a biggish topic and I actually wrote a whole guide on the various ships in the game. I welcome you all to check it out
One neat thing I would like to mention is the exploration aspect that the sea in ArcheAge offers. Not just in the ability to wander around and find remote islands, but there’s also under-water ruins with hard monsters to kill or interesting things to find. And, while the rewards for it seem to have been nerfed quite hard, you can find ship wrecks with treasures in them that you can raise to the surface using a balloon. And besides exploration, there’s a whole slew of underwater “crops” that can be grown and harvested, such as coral. For those inclined, there are houses and aqua farms that can be bought and built. A lot of my friends look forward to having a house in the water, simply for how picturesque it seems.
Last, I want to mention the fishing. A lot of people really enjoy the fishing in ArcheAge. There’s two types, the “farming” kind and the “sports fishing.” Sports fishing is the more enjoyable of the two, as you might imagine. In this, you can catch fish of various sizes and then turn them in at ports for rewards – some of which can be quite hefty. There’s even a fishing boat which is basically a decently sized ship dedicated solely to fishing. There’s also regular fishing competitions held in the Mirage Isle.
F2P vs Patron
Chances are, if you’ve read up on ArcheAge, you’ve probably heard of Labor Points. This is the system which is used to restrict the material gathering and crafting progress of players so someone with no-life and the ability to multibox can’t instantly ruin the server’s economy. It’s also the source of much strife within the ArcheAge community, due to the difference between Free-to-Play (F2Ps) accounts and Patrons. F2Ps gain five Labor Points every five minutes, but only while online. Patrons, on the other hand, gain ten Labor Points every five minutes while online, but also get five points every five minutes while offline. So you can see where F2Ps have a disadvantage when it comes to the Labor Points system, even with the various methods in the game that will give you more Labor Points besides the passive recharge system.
This is frustrating to a lot of people when you consider that just about everything besides combat makes use of the Labor Points. Heck, even your loot costs Labor Points. ArcheAge does away with the “old” loot system that most MMORPGs use and instead drops almost nothing but Coin Purses. These purses can then be opened for a chance at some items along with some money. The most basic of these take as little as two Labor Points to open, with the higher end purses taking over a hundred.
Other than that, the major difference between F2P and Patron is that a F2P cannot own property. This isn’t the end of the world, as there are plenty of public farms and you can easily make friends with a patron, then ask to use his farm (or pay him, even). And, thanks to the awesome farming system in ArcheAge, you can even put crops wherever you like to create an “illegal” farm. You usually want to put these in a hard-to-get to or hidden location though, as anyone can come up and take your crops if they’re not on a safe property.
ArcheAge is a massive game with so many things to do that it’s hard to talk about them all. I’m sure I missed some neat features that really deserve a mention, which is something amazing when you think about it. Sure, there are some issues in the current iteration of the game – namely with the dreaded Archeum Drought of 2014 still being a bit of an issue, even after the updates. I do have hope that further updates in the future will be able to completely fix the issue. But there are still plenty of awesome things in the game that have persuaded me to spend hours upon hours playing. And, after all those hours, my hype is still quite high, and I’m looking forward to the launch of the game as much as I was a few years ago when ArcheAge in North America was still just a dream. Definitely check this game out, as it’s a wonderful blend of Sandbox and Themepark that everyone should at least try!
Features: 4.5/5 – There’s a lot of them and they’re all fantastic. Except Archeum…
Customization: 5/5 – ArcheAge has a ton of this – including the ability to import your own images into the game to put on clothing, sails, and more.
Graphics: 5/5 – The game looks amazing. Prepare to live in a masterpiece painting.
Controls: 4/5 – Good, but not as responsive or modern as they could be. With some proper keybinding tweaks you can have an enjoyable time though.
Community: 4/5 – It’s impressive, to say the least. Perhaps overwhelming though communities usually are at launch.
Overall: 5/5 - Quite simply the best MMORPG I’ve played in years.
By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF)
ArcheAge is an MMORPG that sets out to achieve the perfect balance of themepark and sandbox. Being developed by XLGames in Korea, it will be published by Trion in North America. Unfortunately, that’s still far off. Right now, myself and hundreds of other English-speaking gamers are playing ArcheAge on foreign servers, with the Russian Mail.ru servers being the most popular. This Early Look will be based on my time in the Russian open beta of ArcheAge, where I played with many other OnRPG forum members.
Character Creation and Customization
Character creation in ArcheAge is fairly extensive. If you enjoy sliders, you’ll enjoy making your character. With the extensive customization available to you, creating a beauty (or a monster) is quite possible. Personally, I went with a mutated demon cat with an afro. Needless to say, I was impressed with the creation process.
Did I do a good job?
I should mention there are currently four races to choose from, with more planned for the future. These races range from your standard humans, to cat people. These races are split into two factions, each at odds with each other in both lore and actual gameplay. In the west, you have the Humans and Elves. In the East are the Asians and Ferre (Cat people). Each race has bonuses, and its own features to make it unique.
As a last note on customization, some of you may be pleased to know that it is possible to upload your own 256×256 image and print it on your capes, sails, and flags. This means you can fly a fancy skull-and-bones that you designed yourself (or found on google) on your sails while you do your pirating, or you can have your guild logo on your capes while taking part in a siege (which is a feature that hasn’t been released in Russia yet). It’s an exciting feature.
Classes in ArcheAge are a bit odd. But in a good way. When you first start playing, you choose a single school. As you level up, you’ll choose another. Eventually you’ll be able to have three schools at the same time. This is how you generate your class – your combination of the ten schools currently available. This makes for a lot of options and it won’t be hard for you to be unique with so many available classes. Of course, cookie-cutter builds are a thing, but most of them aren’t as powerful as people like to make them out to be.
Because of all the options, there is a wide-range of character types to play. And within each character type there is a ton of variation. Even for those that have the same exact class, there can be a lot of differences between them. For example, my main character is a class known as “Gladiator.” Within that class, it’s possible to go two-handed weapons, sword-and-shield, or dual-wield. I could build myself to be focused on damage-dealing or tanking. It’s all these options and possibilities that make ArcheAge’s class system so fascinating to me.
The combat in ArcheAge is a mix of somewhere between World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2. Its point-and-click based, but it feels a bit more action-oriented than other titles. But then again, when you get into the combat system, it’s actually fairly simple. A lot of abilities are AOE-based, and the only way to dodge an attack is to get out of its range. In the end, that makes ranged classes have a bit of an advantage in a majority of encounters. Not to say that you could not do well with Melee.
Don’t mind me, just beating up on some farmers.
The PVE has simple AI. The difficulty comes from health points and damage output, rather than some unique or interesting aspect. There are a few monsters that are amazing, just because of how rare they are, but most of the time you’re going to be bored out of your mind fighting the AI. The prime example of special mobs is the Kraken. It roams the sea and can show up seemingly out of nowhere and destroy you and your friends in an instant if you’re not prepared.
Our community member Jin-Roh offers a clip of the rather horrific encounter here.
The Game World
Is completely stunning. Even at a moderate graphics setting, you will be able to enjoy the beauty the game has to offer. The difference in architecture and plant-life in each zone is quite noticeable, too. The game is open-world as well; there is no load screens between zones or anything. If you have a machine that can run the game at full settings, you’ll probably be a bit mind-blown at how good the game looks.
The game is full of amazing vistas.
You can have a lot of fun just wandering around the zones. One of my favorite things to do is just run around my favorite zone (known as the Singing Land in the Russian version), just exploring the mountains with my glider. I love the high mountains and Chinese-themed architecture of the zone, and it reminds me a lot of Age of Wushu. Sometimes I come across farms that I’ll steal from, and there are plenty of wild trees and plants to harvest from as well. The fact that I can spend hours doing something where the game isn’t completely holding my hand, and still have fun, is awesome.
And that brings me to the glider. Probably one of the greatest inventions in MMO history. It turns the whole game world into a challenging puzzle. Using it, you can get into places you didn’t think possible. It’s in some of these places that people decide to put down a large tree grove or cotton farm, which you have a chance of finding if you’re lucky. It’s also a useful tool for getting in and out of combat, adding a whole new layer to everything.
The freedom that the gliding allows is amazing.
This is an area I’m kind of confused about. Generally, I hate questing. I hate it a lot. Mostly because games just give you “kill 10 of X Creature and bring me X of its hair” type quests. And, honestly, ArcheAge is no different. The quests feel like generic time-wasters. Only a few of the quests I’ve done were interesting, and that was usually because of how absurd they were (like when I had to capture a mermaid for some guy that lived by himself on the beach…).
However, ArcheAge has a nice balance of sandbox and themepark content. So, while the questing is a boring grind after the first couple of hours, I can always go farm or do trade runs or any number of other things to enjoy my time without having to slowly kill my soul. The other neat thing is a lot of the other stuff you do will give you experience as well. Such as farming, or doing trade runs, crafting, and even selling stuff on the auction house. There’s a lot to do and you honestly don’t have to stick to questing to enjoy or progress in the game (questing is, however, the fastest method to level).
Probably my favorite part of the game, farming is a very nice system which has a lot of variables to keep it interesting, but is simple enough to still be fun. Before ArcheAge, Age of Wushu has my all-time favorite (literally) farming system in a game. The wide variety of stuff you can grow, the different climates that affect the growth rate of the crop, and the fact that you can make a decent sum of money versus time spent tilling crops all makes it a great and important part of the game. Most things will require something be grown, especially trade packs (which I will get into later).
My super-secret farming spot.
One of the neatest things is that you can farm almost anywhere. As long as there’s a patch of grass, you can probably put down some plants on it. Although that is quite dangerous to do if you aren’t careful to find a hidden place to grow your crops beforehand. Anyone that comes across your crops can harvest (or ruin) them. And if you’re growing in one of the non-PVP zones, you may find yourself racing against someone else to harvest your own crop. The only way to farm in complete safety is to plant your seeds in an area you’ve claimed for yourself using a scarecrow or a house.
It should be noted that farming (and crafting, for that matter), make use of Labor Points. These labor points regenerate extremely slowly for free-account players. Premium players have a much easier time of it, due to the increase labor point generation and the ability to generate the points while offline. Scarecrows and houses are also unavailable to free accounts, so you’ll need to make friends and join a family or guild that has members who will be willing to share their land with you.
Crafting is a huge part of ArcheAge. If you want to get anywhere in the game, you’ll either have to get into it yourself, or rely heavily on someone else who has. The crafting itself is fairly simple, as you just choose a recipe from a list and click a button to make an item. However, getting the ingredients is where the fun comes in. Each recipe requires multiple ingredients which may require you to grow, collect or craft several different things. The more advanced the recipe, the harder it will be to gather all the required items. A lot of crafted gear (which is generally the best, unless you get very good drops), requires that the previous version of the weapon be crafted before the more advanced version can. For example, a Simple Sword is an ingredient for a Superior Sword.
You’ll also be using crafting to make trade packs, which are used in “Trade Runs,” which I will get into after this. Resource packs are also required to build just about any type of structure of vehicles available from houses to boats. These packs are made by combining a large quantity of a resource (usually a stack of one-hundred) and then carrying said pack to the location you are crafting the item.
Next to farming and crafting, Trade Runs are probably the next biggest part of the game. Everyone will end up doing them at one time or another. Why? Because it’s a great way to make gold, and the only way to make the all-important Delphic Stars, which are used to buy stuff from the market-island of Mirage. Just like in the real world, if you want to make big profit, you’re going to have to travel a bit of a distance.
A majority of trade runs quickly devolve into chaos.
During my time playing the game, the trade runs were one of the most enjoyable and social experiences I have had. Being in a large guild that can sport several ships worth of people, all heading to a port to trade is awesome. Not just because being around a lot of people and chatting is fun, but also because of the fact that there is a chance that PVP is just ahead. Perhaps you’ll be attacked by pirates while crossing the open sea? Or maybe you’ll come across another boat of traders and wish to kill them and take their trade packs? Each a blast, either way.
I probably should have waited for backup.
And that brings me to the next point – Pirates. There are literal pirates in ArcheAge; those players who have accumulated enough crime points to be tossed out of their own faction and be left in the pirate faction. And then there are those pirates that are taking part in the act of pirating, which is stealing someone else’s cargo. I admit that I love nothing more than killing someone and stealing their pack right before they get to the turn-in point and then turning it in myself for the rewards. And the threat that it may happen to me as well makes the game all the more intense.
More than likely, you’ll spend a lot of time on the sea. You’ll either be doing sea-based trade routes, pirating, or just traveling. Almost everyone goes after the so-called “Speed boat” as their first major construction, even before they go after a house. It offers fast travel across the water, and can come with either a harpoon or a cannon. And let me tell you, the harpoon makes the effort required worth it. Due to the physics in the game, a lot of fun can be had with that hook.
Because spending time on the water is required for so many different activities (even more once fishing is introduced to the Russian version), you will run into other people fairly often. Sometimes these are same-faction, sometimes it’s an enemy faction. But always, you can never trust them while on the open waters. As it’s considered a “war” zone, anyone, even your own faction, can attack you. This makes the waters feel like something you would expect from a 17th century pirate tale.
ArcheAge has a very nice housing system. It’s a bit more than just a cosmetic thing, too. To be able to get access to the more advanced recipes, you will need to place crafting tables that can only be put in a player house. So if you plan to get far into the crafting portion of the game you will need a home, or be in a family or guild where you can make use of a friend’s house’s crafting tables. It also will allow you to place your own mailbox and set it as a teleport location. It’s a very useful thing to have.
But space is limited. You’re only allowed to place houses in certain areas, and the space in those areas can fill up fast. There is a tax system in place to keep inactive people from taking up space, but you’ll still want to get your house down in a good spot ASAP. Or, if you can’t place a house, put down a scarecrow to help save yourself a spot. Also, keep in mind that (at least in the Russian version) this feature isn’t available to free players so you’ll need premium.
PVP & Crime
A lot of the game world is Open PVP. Once you get in the 30-50 range, you’ll begin questing in “War Zones” where players of the opposite faction can attack you. I also mentioned already about the open sea and its dangers. Even some of the best resource spawns are only available in the PVP zones. This means that, unless you make an effort to avoid it (which you could definitely do), you may end up PVPing at one time or another, which strengthens the need to be part of a good, strong community to help you survive.
But fear not! For there is law in this land. Sort of. Whenever a crime is committed, be it murder or theft, either a red footprint or a blood stain is left behind. Anyone (even your guild mates) can then report that print or stain and it will count towards your “Crime Points.” If you reach fifty Crime Points, you will go to court and be sentenced by your fellow players (or you can just plead guilty for a slightly shorter sentence than you would if the jury found you guilty). If you continue in your bad ways and reach three-thousand total crime points, you will be kicked from your faction and put into the pirate faction. That closes some doors, but it does open others. You should, however, try to avoid being put there until you’re a high level though.
My time in the Russian Open Beta has re-confirmed my hype for ArcheAge. When I first heard of ArcheAge over a year ago, I was instantly excited by the concept. Now that I’ve gotten the chance to play the game in-depth, I cannot wait for the Trion NA/EU beta to begin. The blend of themepark and sandbox concepts and content is nearly perfect, and I was surprised at how well it was done. Unfortunately, it has been announced that Russia will be IP-banning all but a select few nations, and so I won’t be able to play anymore. Here’s to hoping Trion gets their version of the game into Open Beta testing ASAP!
ArcheAge – First Look
Official Launch Trailer
Official Closed Beta Trailer
ArcheAge System Requirements
Coming Soon. . .
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