ArcheAge is a new free-to-play fantasy sandbox MMORPG by XL Games and Trion, the developers of Rift, that was released on September 16th. It is based heavily on farming and crafting with an emphasis on PVP. I’ve been playing ArcheAge since just about release day (I downloaded the game on release day, but the queues were outrageous for the first several days, so I wasn’t able to play right away). Although ArcheAge has a lot in common with other MMORPGs, there are some cool things that make it stand out.
Housing and farms. There is in-game housing that is actually in the world instead of instanced and stupid like in other games. You can also build farms in the world to grow plants and raise animals for resources.
- Ships. Players can build ships that allow them to sail the seas, search ship wrecks for treasure, go deep sea fishing, and take on a life of piracy. I like using the harpoon to make ships go places they shouldn’t be able to go — on mountains, in cities, airborne,… 🙂
- Gliders. Instead of normal flying mounts, gliders work like a real glider would. You can’t just fly up and down and sideways however you want.
Trade runs. You can gather resources into a trade pack that you carry across the world to NPC traders. Trade packs make you move slowly, but donkeys, ships, farm carts, and carriages can help you get around faster. You can do short, safe trade runs for a smaller reward or you can go on longer, riskier routes for a better payoff. Trade packs can be stolen in certain situations, though, which makes trade runs exciting.
- Trials. Trials are awesome. If you see a crime, you can report it, and the criminal will eventually go to trial. 5 players are selected to sit on the jury and determine the defendant’s guilt or innocence. If found guilty, the player is sent to jail for a period of time decided by the jury.
- Crafting. The crafting system is very extensive. You can make anything from potions to furniture to gear to farm tools to musical instruments that play custom music.
- 120 different classes. Rather than having a handful of predetermined classes, players get to choose 3 out of 10 different skillsets and add spend skill points in those 3 skillset trees as they see fit.
You can play how you want. You can gain experience from just about anything… questing, farming, mining, and even using the auction house. If you get enough infamy, you can even become a pirate, able to be attacked anywhere by anyone.
- Levels are important, but it’s still possible for lower-leveled characters to take out higher-leveled characters, especially when the higher-leveled character is outnumbered.
I’m not sure whether to put “free-to-play” in the good section or the bad section. Although ArcheAge is promoted as “free-to-play,” it’s pretty much a necessity to have patron (paid) status. You have to be a patron to own land (houses and farms) or sell things on the auction house. You’re also severely limited in labor points (necessary for performing most actions) if you don’t have patron status. However, you can buy patron status with in-game currency, which I think is great.
- Queues. Server queues were absolutely horrendous the first week or more of the game. The queues have improved enormously, though, and don’t seem to be an issue anymore.
- Player collision. It drives me crazy when I am pushed around unable to move because of player congestion. That’s just part of this game, though.
- Mob tapping. If someone else attacks an enemy first, it’s theirs. You don’t get any credit for the kill and you don’t get any share of the loot. This is common to most MMORPGs, but I really don’t like it.
- Minimap. The minimap is terrible. It is zoomed out so far that it is hard to find what you’re looking for and there isn’t any way to change the zoom level.
And if someone from Trion reads this, here are 4 minor things I’d love to have changed:
- Name the screenshot files according to the date taken (YYYY-MM-DD…).
- Add an option to zoom in the minimap.
- Stop requiring that the auctioneer be targeted when using the auction house.
- Do not include fences in the decoration limit for houses (or up the decoration limit to accommodate). I have a farmhouse with fences around it and I can only have a handful of decoration items in the house.
I’m enjoying ArcheAge so far. I wasn’t sold on it right away, but it has been growing on me. My friends who used to play Ultima Online back in its heyday are loving it, saying it’s the closest thing they’ve seen to UO. Since the game is free, ArcheAge is definitely worth trying out if it sounds interesting to you.
[Edit] More things I’d love to have changed:
- An option to disable right-click attack.
- A way to preview sheet music before buying it. I keep hearing about people who assume they’re buying one thing and end up with empty sheet music or get rick rolled.
- Fix the bug that resets your settings.
I rage quit yesterday after remaking my chat tabs half a dozen times and being killed twice by guards after unintentionally right-clicking a red on the docks (once, I was just trying to move; the other time, I right-clicked a chat tab, which made me attack a red).
[Edit] Game over
I quit the game and blogged about my final thoughts.