ArcheAge 4.5 Press Preview
A few weeks back, I got a chance to see the changes coming to ArcheAge for update 4.5, and I have to say, there’s some really big stuff on the way! Some of it I can’t even go into yet, but it should be an exciting year for ArcheAge fans. This update is known as “Legends Return”, and this update is fittingly arriving on April 5th. Yes, 4.5 drops on 4/5. There’s so much coming in this update: Dragon Taming (yes, you heard me right), Shadow Invasions, Crafting Optimizations, and the Fresh Start servers. From enormous and monstrous dragons to a host of quality-of-life changes, let’s dive right into what’s coming in ArcheAge: Legends Return.
Fresh Start servers aren’t new in and of themselves, and the last Fresh Start was December 2016. These new servers will accompany the new update and will begin on the current game patch. There will be one for NA (Nuy) and one for EU (Ezi), each named appropriately for gods in the ArcheAge universe. These will be time-locked progression servers. That means the last four years of content will be rolled out over an eight-month period. The features/updates will be time-locked, unlocking on certain months. The idea is that it will feel more like the launch, and add some much-needed pacing to the progression servers, so that the general player base can advance at a solid pace instead of certain users blasting ahead, crushing all of the competition due to their progress. With this in mind, Fresh Start servers will allow only one character per account, which is a new change to this style of server. They are considering adding more character slots, but for now though, it is one only.
Dwarf/Warborn will also be deactivated, due to their expedited leveling speed and transformation powers. It’s not appropriate for the Fresh Start server goals, so they will not be playable.
The level cap on Nuy and Ezi will be 50, and there hasn’t been a level 50 cap in about 3 years. Everyone should be at a nice level playing field from the outset. Finally, the Aurorea Territory Zones (the Northern continent, where players can claim a castle/claim land for themselves) will be disabled. No mobs will spawn there and players cannot claim a castle there. The world geometry will be there, but the players can’t interact with it. However Diamond Shores and Mistmerrow will also be enabled, and I see that being a strong point of contention for level 50 players to duke it out.
As of this update, players will be limited to crafting up to Magnificent level gear but can acquire greater dungeon gear. All of the World Bosses will still be there and can be attempted for rewards and gear, but as of this point, players will not be able to craft further than Magnificent. One of the detractors in the last Fresh Start servers was that the Battlegrounds would wane in popularity. Some players would simply be so far ahead of others, it would stop being fun and challenging, so the less powerful players would likely not spend any time there. That’s another solid reason for this limiter on power, at least in the start. This should make the battlefields pretty popular in the early going.
The Marketplace will also be restricted. Majestic Drills and things that expedite the crafting material gain won’t be seen until later. Bag expansions, Tax certificates, and similar items will definitely be there, but items that give players a crafting advantage I would not count on. I really like this idea in general, because no matter how often you have to play the game, you can still progress at a steady pace, without having to play hundreds of hours a week, making the game accessible to everyone. There will also be a pre-order pack (starting today), that secure your ability to log into the Fresh Start server, for the purpose of name claiming and character customization only. They will not let you play early. Everyone starts at the same time. Normally, on Fresh Start servers people just make generic, boring characters to rush into the game as fast as possible, but hopefully, that won’t be the case here.
The Red Dragon is one of the biggest, most well-known World Bosses in ArcheAge. He has a pretty complex backstory though, and through this, we’re going to see the birth of Dragon Families. This is also going to be the first time players will be able to tame or ride their own dragons. You’ll be able to ride one of three dragons (Red, Green, Black), each tied to their own aspect of nature. They can glide and help you in battle, with a phenomenal combat ability that is not to be sneezed at. I watched in the test build, where the dragons roared and would hurl citizens in towns all over the place! Loved it. Players will interact with Priests, the Daru, who are allies of the Dragons in the past. These are “great pets”, and are colossal sized. If it dies, you might be in kind of a mess, so be careful. With great power, comes great responsibility.
Players will undergo a long, arduous quest chain to claim these dragons, and will have to find a piece of the draconic line that is still tainted, the Red Dragon himself. I’ll not spoil what you really have to do, but it’s a detailed quest line that has lots of intriguing lore to it. You’ll be collecting items and learning more about the Dragons. This dragon, once raised as your ally, will last for thirty days, in which time players will have to recharge it in order to use it again. This terminology scared me at first because that made me think of spending real money, but all it means is players will have to go on a quest to recharge it. The best part of this to me is it’s not restricted to kingdoms. Anyone who wants to undertake this quest may do so to get their dragon. These dragons are insanely cool looking, have awesome powers, and of course, have their breath weapons (that can be used on the ground and in the sky). The big thing for me is, this reminds me of when Wyverns were announced, but then only certain people could have them and fly around on them. Dragons are for everyone, and I think that’s a much better idea. No one likes feeling left out.
Shadow Invasions are a brand new incursion that will spawn after the death of any world boss. All of them upon their death trigger this new event. Once a world boss is dead, people tend to just get their loot and leave. This will get people to hang out and team up even longer and should promote greater teamwork. Ideally, these will be undertaken by groups of ten, with an average gear score of 6,000. These Invasions are seriously tough, but with major world bosses, this should not be a problem (with at least 20 people at a world boss). Defeating the Shadow Invasions will trigger quest lines that can give Lunarite, Guildistars, and Honor. The Lunarite comes from a new crate that is opened with a crafted key (which is a completely free process, a crate that is opened and created through player crafting, with nothing to do with the store. It’s very important to note that this is not a cash-shop thing) that do take some effort but are well worth it. I had to make sure to clarify because when people hear “crate” “key” or “box”, they start to clam up and shout “Pay to win”! These chests also have titles and achievements attached to them (which also work with the new title system).
A final note for this new system: Attached to it is a new Trade Pact. Bosses can drop specialize crafted materials, and these can be formed into new Trade Pacts that can be moved across the world. Some of these turn in for ~60 gold a pop, so they’re lucrative and rare.
A brand new crafting request system is coming to the game, which should really help players who are looking to level up their crafting, as well as players simply looking for gear but don’t have the capacity to make it! Think of it as a “buy order” for gear on steroids. Players can visit a community center and go to a workbench. You can request or pick-up items that you want someone else to make here. Say if you want someone to make a new weapon or piece of armor, and you lack the ability to make it, you can commission someone to make it for you, pay them gold or offer them crafting mats. This is a safe way to commission gear, without fear of being ripped off. It’s a win-win for crafters. You can use this to raise your skill, and get paid or free materials to raise their levels! This helps them become a greater force in the crafting world, which is a delightful idea. It’s a really easy UI to follow and use. Once you’ve used it the first time, you’ll have an item in your bags to access the UI wherever you are.
Another huge change is crafted items that are re-graded can no longer be destroyed. It’s such a beautiful change. Major failures will now “lock” the item, making it stuck on the level that it’s at. Say you’re at Celestial, and you want to try to hit that next level and you fail, it will stay at Celestial. You can still use it, equip it, and in the future, if you have Erenor gear, you can use that item to upgrade the Erenor equipment. Or you can sell it if someone wants it. This is crafted gear only, but it’s such a massive, exciting change. I know I’d be upset watching powerful items simply fall into dust, never to be used again.
An arena change is coming to the game for Bruiser Badges. It’s a currency that players can use to enter the arena after they’ve gone to their maximum allotted times for the day. Originally, you could enter as much as you want, but the most invested players would just go and hang out in Arena all day, acting essentially as gatekeepers for people trying to progress. So this limiter was put into place. This is being adjusted again. You can enter an unlimited amount of times, but you only gain rewards beyond the normal limit if you have a Bruiser Badge. So if you just want to go into the arena because it’s what interests you, you can keep doing so, but won’t get rewards without Bruiser Badges beyond that normal limit. For people that simply want to PVP, this will be much easier for them.
A final balance is some battle balance. There are some skillset changes, such as “Shield Block no longer blocks all incoming damage, but a percentage of it”, and these changes should create a shift in the meta, and some changes will definitely be seen. But there’s an absolute slew of them, and it would have taken all afternoon to go over all of these. The patch notes will have them without a doubt. But it looks to be an exciting year for ArcheAge!
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