ArcheAge 4.0 Preview
A few weeks back, I had the privilege of talking with some of the Trion Worlds team, to discuss the 4.0 update for ArcheAge. Seraphina Brennan (Associate Producer) and Amanda Fry (Producer) showed me around with a sneak peek at what content is coming. This update is a combination of the Korean 3.7 Update and the Korean 4.0 Update. Since they received some of the Korean 3.7 content during our 3.5 (Erenor Eternal), the rest of it is coming in this update.
One of the major updates in 4.0 is the Raid Finder Bulletin Board and the Raid Alliance System. This will no doubt help returning players in organizing raids, or even new players who want to experience the content a bit faster and find a solid group for dungeons. You enter the Conscript Menu and look for a particular dungeon/raid, enter required levels, give some information about what exactly you’re looking for, and then players can apply to join/allow them to auto-join. For players who are doing the bigger content like open world bosses, they’ve added the Raid Alliance System, which lets two Raid Groups ally and work together, creating a massive 100 player group to tackle some of these truly titanic bosses. It’s practically required for some of the fights like Kraken, and this way, both raids will get credit for the encounter, instead of just one.
The next serious update is one that surely everyone will enjoy: changes to the Lunagem system! This is certainly a quality-of-life improvement. Before you’d slot gems into gear, and if the gem didn’t take, it would explode, taking all of the gems in that gear with it. This caused wasted time, frustration, and very hurt feelings if the very last gem in your gear turned out to fail. Instead of risk-reward, a system that was very painful, this was changed. There are five different colored gems, and each color matches a particular theme (Red = Damage, Blue = Defense, et cetera), and you choose the gem, pick its color, and slot it into the gear. Now you pick what you want your gem to be, and it will work. There’s no more exploding gem nonsense! It does, however, cost more labor/gold, but it has a 100% chance of working, which is ultimately worth it. The increased cost is due to the ArcheAge economy. There’s no more randomness in the gem, no more hoping that RNJesus loves you. Now everyone can achieve fully gemmed gear, without luck/RNG.
We started off in a new mansion that was added to the game, which I must say looks quite glamorous. This was a lead-in to the first big update, a housing change. In 4.0 (Maelstrom), you can now rotate your house! This is a much-requested feature apparently – I’m still pretty new to ArcheAge, so I have no house, but I’m glad to see it. Before, if you wanted to rotate your house, you had to demolish it, which means you could lose your land and had to redo everything, and it sounds like a right chore (and thus, not worth it). Now, if you just take all the furniture out of your house, you can go to your nameplate on the house and using some tax certificates, rotate your house. It’s equivalent to 1/5th of the houses’ demolition cost, which is not terribly expensive, all told. So if you decide you want to overlook the sea or the mountains, you can do exactly that.
The Title system, which some gave you particular stats if you wore them, also gets an update. With this collection system, you can switch Titles and stats at your leisure. So if you have a particularly rare/pleasing title that you worked hard for and want to show off, but it doesn’t have the stats you need, you can fix that by simply equipping the stats of another title that you’ve already earned. I absolutely love this, because sometimes there are stats and titles that simply don’t add up, or you want a fun/silly one on display. You can also put a lower PVP title on, but equip the better stats to fool people. You can now mix and match as you please, which is a delightful cosmetic change. You can also click on a title on this collection to see where these titles are unlocked, without having to go to a wiki/google search. You also gain exp in this system the more titles you unlock. As you gain levels in this collection system, you can unlock seals that go next to your name/title, which represent the various factions, and other fun symbols you can show off.
The Crafting Folio also saw a serious update, and one that will make crafters of all kinds happy. Previously, if you wanted to look for gear, you had to seek out that particular type of craft (Blacksmithing, et al), but now it’s listed by Item. You can search for a specific set of Plate Armor and see all the resources/professions that are required to craft it. It also shows the order of items required to get to it (if it’s part of a chain of items), so that you can begin work on the first rank of that item and go from there. This shows every possible item crafted gear in the game and shows all ranks of them. It certainly streamlines the whole system of crafting gear, and crafting is such a major part of the ArcheAge economy. This definitely will be a quality-of-life improvement that makes that entire process just that much faster, where you can simply search for whatever you happen to need at that moment, and start working towards it. Sometimes, players don’t even know what they can create, so having this will give them a much clearer picture of the options open to them as crafters. And you can search directly for items by partial search instead of just having a full item name.
There are also some minor currency changes coming in 4.0. They are removing the Merit Badges and Warrior Badges, which are being moved to Honor and Gilda Stars. For every 1 Warriors Medal you had, it changes to 100 Honor, and for every 1 Merit Badges, it will change into 2 Gilda. The items in the store have been moved around and adjusted accordingly. If the quest rewarded one of the old badges, now it will show the correct reward. There’s also the PVP shop, Curios Badges. The Honor Shop is focused on Open-World PVP, which is where the Honor comes from, so there are items in that shop focused on that task. This is also where you can get Tier 1 Lunagems. For the first time, they’re adding in Charms, which were normally only on the Marketplace. They were available via gold/credits, and you can now get them via Honor (except for Superiors). The Curios Badges are also PVP oriented, acquired in the Arenas.
Then we moved to the part that was the most difficult to me: Bloodsalt Bay, the new Arena. This was hard for me to watch because I do have pretty bad motion sickness/sea sickness, and the water felt very lifelike and churned around as if it were in a real tempest. Arenas only offer these Curios Badges now, and can be used on things like previous Honor Titles, and also has Migration Talismans for stats and the Instruments. Bloodsalt Bay is a very cool concept though because you have a huge ocean battle, where ships do battle against one another. It’s skill-based, and as this is a Balanced Arena (item stats/skills do not come into play, only personal player skill), this promises a truly pitched battle. These are also now Cross-Server, so anyone in your region with equal skill can come battle against you. There are (as of what I saw) four ships to choose from, and you sail in the realm of the Evil Goddess of the Sea, and a group of unfortunate sailors has been trapped here, from a land long-since forgotten. Your goal is to free those souls, sailing around this vortex. In this, four captains (four of the most famous captains in ArcheAge) are answering the call, trying to help these souls. Each ship can have up to five players on board working together.
As a note, the 5v5 arena is going away, as are a few dungeons – Palace Cellar, Sharpwind Mines, Kroloal Cradle. These lower level dungeons/arena were simply not being done as frequently as the others, but they will may be revamped and brought back later. The only reason some of the Unbalanced Arenas weren’t given Cross-Server for Maelstrom, is that they have to be completely rewritten for Cross-Server functionality, and that takes quite a bit of time. For now, we definitely have this.
The water pushes and pulls you towards the vortex, and the water is furious and choppy. Fun fact I learned, the reason the open sea isn’t this choppy, is the Evil Goddess of the Sea, Dahuta, does not have a presence there. You either crash your ship into the souls or hit them with your cannons. You can also attack the other captain’s ships, and if you sink them, their souls will spill out for you to acquire. At the end, whoever has the most souls at the end of the battle is declared the winner. These teams are also randomized (you can’t invite friends yet) and can also be cross-faction. So you have to work well with who and what you have. The language barrier goes away, thanks to Magic~, to make sure it’s not even harder than it has to be. There’s also a gigantic monster in the middle of the sea, and cannot be killed; but you can push your foes into its hungry maw as you try to escape the Maelstrom. There are also monsters on the outskirts of the Maelstrom, and those Leviathans can be killed. Killing them drops a large number of souls, and is advised if you can. There are also Dahutas Barriers, which, if you get past them, you can find a shipwreck which also has more souls. These are definitely advantageous. Players have to work in real-time to raise/lower sails, switch cannons, repair the ship, and in general work as a team. It sort of reminds me of an ocean Guns of Icarus. But you can’t use any of your own ships, buffs, items, skills, et cetera. It’s all boat vs. boat and skill vs. skill. It’s incredibly scenic, and gorgeous. The physics of it are terrific, but I can’t watch it for very long.
ArcheAge Maelstrom is set to release this week – December 13, in fact. You can find the gritty details on the official ArcheAge website.
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