It’s been a long while since I’ve made a post to my site. While that is quite sad, it is countered with the pure awesomeness I now bring you, so sit a while and listen, as I tell you of the wonders of Arche Age.
As I have mentioned on here before, Arche Age is an sandbox-MMO with a simply staggering amount of activities you can partake in. While I could rant on and on about them, I suppose the best route to take is to simply go through things one by one as I personally experience them on my avatar.
Like World of Warcraft, you chose 1 of 2 factions to begin the game and each start on separate continents. Now, I am very against faction based MMO’s, however this game does it right for a few reasons. First off, because you still have the option to murder those within your own faction. This ALSO can come with negative repercussions, as in Lineage 2, so it’s freedom to choose and the excitement of dealing with the consequences, a bit more akin to real life. Also like WoW, the factions speak different languages, HOWEVER you can actually have your avatar LEARN the other races languages, so you can actually communicate (this is number 2 fyi)! Never understood why WoW had language skills even though you could never alter them. And Number 3 is for those that are scared (its not important in my book, but hey, we like different books). While you can feel free to kill enemy factions and your own all you wish, this can only be done on the Northern continent with the higher level content. But wait, there’s more! Number 4 is most impressive. Guilds, once large enough, can form their own FACTIONS! That’s right, To hell with the Horde or the Alliance (WoW reference as I’m sure you don’t know Arche Age’s factions). Player’s can go on ahead and join the Tiddlywinks faction, or whatever PLAYERS create! (Undeniable perhaps?). Oh, and there’s trading, Pirates, juries comprised of live players to judge those who do wrong in the game, jail, soccer, boats, cars, gliders, and so on…. Keep reading.
You start out like any other MMO, you chose your base skill tree, hit level 5, chose another skill tree, and then at level 10 chose your third (though not necessarily final) skill tree. These 3 skill tree’s combine to form your class. There are 120 possible combinations. Find you don’t like one of your classes? No problem. Much like Final Fantasy 14, you can simply change that tree, and become a new class as a result, at the cost of having to level it of course. My combination of Battlerage, Defense, and Vitalism has led to my classification of Paladin in the game.
From what I can tell, you can use any weapons but naturally some are built better for certain classes, and armors are restricted to the typical plate/leather/cloth conditions. While I believe my plate wearer was able to wear anything, I don’t know if the reverse would be true (I believe it is). As such, even though I am a tank class, I was also able to equip a bow alongside by sword and shield, and can switch between ranged and melee on the fly.
Around level 10 you are also supplied with a few essentials for navigating the world of Arche Age. First of these is your trusty steed. In my area this was a horse, and the other starters on my continent begin with an Elk like mount. You can easily obtain the other for chump change. The second is a glider, which can be used to travel by air and quickly traverse the landscape (thought I often forget I have it as it’s something so new to the genre). Both of these can be upgraded throughout with higher end models. The mounts themselves actually level up, as they gain XP the more you ride them. Mounts can also be the target of mobs and players, so your mount can (and will) die as you try to run through a field like you would in WoW. No worries however, as they can be resurrected at a stable. You are also supplied a rowboat early on, and this too can be upgraded into much larger ships capable of carrying dozens of players and engaging in battle at sea, complete with cannons and pirates alike. There are also charted and uncharted islands to venture out to and explore, those this does put you at risk of being raided by said Pirates.
The leveling and quests carry out just like another typical MMO. Collect spider’s legs, kill these goblins, slaughter hundreds of human bandits. I have so far encountered 1 dungeon which started for level 20 players. Again, the typical run through, though it maxed out at 3 players, and offered a quest that rewarded you (significantly) for bringing along a “veteran” player. I’ll be honest, nothing super inspirational here. But then again, the most impressive questing innovations in the past decade have come from Star Wars: The Old Republic’s personal story lines, and Guild Wars 2’s ‘just walk in the general area to receive+complete said quest’.
The leveling gets much more interesting once you open yourself up to the other means the games offers to gaining experience. Such as crafting, and farming. No, not grinding out mobs, actual farming! Beans, corn, raising livestock, all means to produce materials and gain xp and complete profession quests. I haven’t yet devled much into crafting, but it is clear that a lot of the raw materials come from your very own farm. While resources do spurt up in the open world like any other MMO, it is much more efficient (and fun) to raise them on your own farm(s). These farms can be placed in housing areas in the open world in Arche Age, which means anyone can see your farm. On the starter continents they are locked down and only usable by you, but this may not be so in the Northern Continent. You also don’t have to plant on a farm, however then anyone could steal your crops. Some players, looking to avoid taxes and land size limitations, scout out uncharted islands and plant on them, though players can steal it all if they find it.
Along with building farms, players can also build houses in the open world. Again these take resources, and are bought with pre-designed blueprints, however once the house is set up, players are free to decorate them how they chose. Not only can they craft all their own furniture and set it up exactly how they wish, they can also upload their own emblems and art and display it in their house. Korean examples of this show houses and shops modeled after places like Starbucks.
How does one gain their riches to afford such luxuries? A major component of this is by conducting trade missions. For these, players produce materials at their farms, go to certain districts that allow them to create “specialty” goods, and then set off to the far reaches of the continent (or world) to deliver them for profit. While you must originally start out on foot, you are eventually given a donkey to help expedite the process. To increase efficiency further, you can build trade ships or vehicles that can carry multiple trade packs at once. You also have the option of Airship rides or carriage rides that travel between all towns, in REAL-TIME (none of that instant blimp rides like WoW).
This activity is also what gives Pirates their purpose, as when you are attempting to take goods to the Northern Continent, where they fetch a much higher price, Pirates actively seek to attack you and steal your packs. This is often why guilds get together and travel in large packs, in an attempt to deter or fend off those who would be so daring.
Oh, and there’s pets. Pets that can fight beside you, be equipped with gear, and level up. And they aren’t limited to just hunters, anyone can have them. Oh, and you raise them from a cub. It’s just simply adorable.
So much to say and yet so little said. I have much more to experience and I look forward to post much more on my adventures. For the first time in a long time, I actually feel like I am adventuring in an MMO, as there are so many things to learn, and I have to manually travel so much. The game may only be in alpha here in the US, but has been out in Korea for over a year, so it is in fact solid and mostly in its final form. Oh, did I mention this game is completely free to play?