I had the opportunity to play for about 2 months worth of Archeage before I decided I couldn’t spend the real-life time to invest into this beautiful MMORPG. The game itself promised quite a bit: open world PVP, land ownership, flexible class systems, and the list goes on. With so many draws this seemed like it would be a great game for me and my buddies to play. Our last great MMORPG that we truly enjoyed was Lineage 2, which we’ve played off and on for over 8 years.
I want to leave the reader with an idea of the experience I had with the game; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Gorgeous graphics don’t even begin to do this game justice. Graphically Archeage was a wondrous world to explore. Different territories had different landscape styles from arid deserts, lust forest, and frozen tundras. These unique environments gave the game an expansive experience. I felt like I was traveling all over the world as I explored each climate zone. Not only was each zone’s climate different, but the geography changed as well. Rolling hills and long stretches of empty desert was the norm in the arid regions, but move over to some of the temperate zones and you would find forests with hills, gullies, and rivers. Taking a trip to Rook Basin would give you some massive rock structures that you would imagine finding in Asian countries.
Not only was the landscape different but the architecture varied from place to place from the obviously Western influenced homes, through the Middle Eastern styled cities, and on to the pagodas of the Asian influenced palaces.
Naval battles were a great shift from normal MMORPG pvp mechanics. Lately we’ve seen an increases of particular tropes appearing in games: bows/crossbows, survival mechanics, and Naval battles. Fighting opposing faction players and pirates always brought a rush of adrenaline and as we destroyed enemy galleons there would be cheers coming from the guild and swarms of players diving into the water to steal the trade packs off of the corpses.
Building your own unique class with customizable skill choices really allowed the game flexibility in terms of allowing any player to have the option of bringing in support as a different classes.
Hacks, bots, and other forms of cheating were a real big problem from the launch of Archeage on the West. As the team dealt with them, people would complain readily about losing a land grab due to bots that would rapidly place down property to steal up all available land.
That brings me to the land situation in the first place. With the opening of the server, players rushed to grab up as much large plots of land as possible, leaving newer or casual players to pick up the scraps. Often they were lucky to get a small farm planted anywhere. The issue was slowly resolved with the addition of new servers, but it still was very difficult for players to secure land.
Cash shop exploits were something that appeared to pop up every other day, ruining the economy and giving players unfair advantages.
Upon launch the servers were hit with DDoS taking the servers down. Additionally with the large amount of players lining up in the queue it was almost impossible to ever get in the server. This was resolved over a couple weeks when more servers were eventually rolled out. However there were plenty of times that servers were unstable or preventing players to log in.
One of the most poignant times that this issue occurred was with the release of the first new bit of content which was the continent up North. All the guilds prepped themselves for the battles and crafting that would be required to secure the new lands for their castles. When the servers opened up for the release, the players poured in and began fighting their way in. During these fights many players lost their connection and found that they could no longer log in. Only those who were still in the game could keep playing. This meant that if the guild leader happened to be the one offline the guilds were in big trouble. The leader was needed to seal for the castle. This caused a lot of drama in the forums since guilds that should have been able to secure the land were suddenly unable to.
If that wasn’t enough other guilds used exploits to secure more than one piece of territory by capturing one and then changing leader to secure a second piece of territory. Although this was dealt with later it made a lot of people upset.
One of the most anticipated MMORPG’s of 2014 Archeage had a lot of potential and hype going for it with its unique features and mechanics. Unfortunately the execution was poor in the West and cost the game a lot of players. I haven’t gone back since I quit so I don’t know what it’s like now, but from what little time I did put in, Archeage was quite the roller coaster of an adventure that I won’t soon forget.