Choose your own path and live out your own unique adventure in ArcheAge! Play as a native of one of two hostile factions separated by the ocean. Players can choose from two playable races per faction, each with their own innate strengths and weaknesses, as well as a multitude of class combinations. Walk, sail, or fly around in a true sandbox world that gives players the freedom to craft, farm, and even build their own sprawling mansion or trading ship. Players can gain experience points without ever swinging a sword, as the game rewards players with experience for non-combat activities, such as crafting and resource gathering. Live the life of a humble farmer, an unscrupulous trader, or turn your back on the civilized world and sail the high seas of Erenor as a pirate in search of plunder and fortune! https://www.archeagegame.com/
ArcheAge Key Features
- Awesome Class System – multi-classing system where Players can learn 3 “skillsets” at once to make their own class. Players aren’t bound to these classes and can switch into entirely new classes as desired.
- Unique Progression System – interesting system where crafting and other trade skills grant experience points.
- Want a House? – persistent-world player-housing system, though homes can only be placed in certain areas.
- A World Divided – choose between the two factions, Nuia and Haranya. Each has access to two races. Nuia have Nuians and Elves while Haranya have the Firran and Harani.
- En Guarde! – open world PvP, but random PKing is discouraged.
- Great Production – solid production of visuals, music, interface, etc.
ArcheAge is a 3D, fantasy-themed sandbox MMORPG developed by the Korea-based XL Games, and published in North America by Trion Worlds, the company best known for bring us Rift, another popular fantasy-themed MMORPG. The game went into open-beta on September 4th, 2014 before being officially launched on September 16th, 2014. Players who purchased Founder packs were given a four day head-start and could access the game four days before official release.
ArcheAge is set in a medieval fantasy world called Erenor. The world is currently divided into three continents with two opposing factions occupying separate continents: Haranya to the East and Nuia to the west. A third continent, named Auroria, can be found to the north. Haranya’s culture and structures are based on ancient Asia and Nuia’s based on ancient Europe. The game’s lore centers around a group of companions who find the source of all magic and are turned into gods. Unfortunately, they start fighting among themselves, which culminates into an epic battle that destroys their continent and prompts the Exodus. Every time the game is started, a short but entertaining cinematic is played featuring the battle and how the remnants of their civilization survived the destruction.
Extreme Makeover: Medieval Style
Players pick from two opposing factions, each with four races. The individual races have their own unique bonuses and attributes. Once players have chosen their faction and race, they are taken to the character customization screen. ArcheAge’s in-depth customization feature allows players to create truly unique characters using the myriad of options available. Players who want to dive right into the game have the option to pick from a handful of pre-made characters and be done with it. Players who want to take the time to customize can choose from a variety of hair, face, and head options which can be tweaked further using sliders for nose height, cheek size, eye angle, and more. Players can even choose from a variety of makeup, scars, and tattoo styles to make their characters even more unique. Players can also blend the elements they like from two different options to create an entirely new look. Unfortunately, there are no customization options available for the body, which is a real let down. I mean, you already have a ton of options available, how hard is it to add in two simple sliders for height and body type?
After tweaking and fine-tuning their character’s looks, players are then given the choice to pick from one of six primary skillsets. Although there are a total of ten skillsets in the game, only Battlerage, Sorcery, Archery, Shadowplay, Occultism, and Vitalism are available at character creation. The rest, namely, Songcraft, Witchcraft, Auramancy, and Defense become available upon reaching level 5, which is when players gain the ability to combine skillsets.
Memories, Monsters, and Monotony
Once players have chosen their faction, skillset, and tweaked their character’s looks to their liking, they then begin the game in one of four starting zones depending on their race. Early in the game, ArcheAge follows the same flow as any typical MMORPG, which means quests, quests, and more quests, with the occasional hidden quest thrown in to add variety. The early quests are designed as a tutorial system that gives players a taste of almost everything the world has to offer, including building a house, trading goods, raising mounts, and looking for evidence; all while giving players a breadcrumb trail to follow all across the continent. The quests also reveal an interesting storyline, which is interspersed with cutscenes that drop hints on events that happened ages before the Exodus.
Leveling up in ArcheAge is pretty fast, largely because of the abundance of quests available. Players can also overachieve, or exceed quest requirements, to gain bigger experience rewards, or underachieve them if they get bored. Underachieved quests reward the same amount of money but lower Exp. Aside from the usual quests, players can also acquire daily kill quests from sign posts located around the game world. These quests are automatically completed when the requirements are met. Players can also trigger hidden quests when they enter certain zones. Unfortunately, these hidden quests are also kill quests, and when combined with daily quests and overachieving, make for a lot of repetitive grinding throughout the game. Despite this, the questing system is quite polished in ArcheAge, as players can never really get lost. Arrows beneath the player’s feet always show where to head in order to find quest objectives.
Gameplay, Combat & Progression
ArcheAge features a unique class system that gives players the freedom to create their own class and builds. Upon reaching level 10, players are able to combine three of ten different skillsets for a total of 120 different character classes, with countless builds to match any playstyle. Players start off with a single skill point, then gain one point every third and fifth level. Players get two skill points instead of one when they pick skillsets at level 5 and 10. They then gain one skill point at level 13, 15, 18, 20, and so on. This amounts to a total of 23 skill points when they reach the max level of 50. ArcheAge introduced an update though that raised the level cap to 55 and added 5 additional skill points, so players can now get 28 skill points with a max level of 55. Skill points are used to unlock active and passive skills from any of the skillsets. Unlocked skills automatically improve as the player levels up. It’s easy to experiment with different skillset combinations and builds since they can be reset anytime by simply visiting an NPC and paying a small fee. This is without a doubt my favorite feature in ArcheAge. Bored of playing your current class? Just switch out your skillsets to something completely different for an entirely new experience without having to make a new character. Combat is fluid, fun, and fast-paced, but despite making use of the WASD keys, it’s still pretty much the typical click-and-kill system. Players can chain skills together for added damage, however. Recommended skills to create chains are conveniently highlighted on the hot bar when certain skills are used.
Labor & Crafting
ArcheAge also implements a Labor Point system, which seems to be designed to keep people from spamming resource-gathering skills that could potentially break the game’s economy. Labor points are used to perform actions like gathering, building, crafting, and farming. While labor points aren’t really that important early in the game, they become useful once players begin practicing their chosen vocation. Players regenerate a set number of labor points while playing the game. The points are capped at 2000 for F2P players and 5000 for Patrons (subscription players). Patron players also regenerate points faster, and I believe also do so even when they’re offline, which is actually a huge advantage. Players actually gain experience for crafting as well as gathering resources in ArcheAge. In fact, it’s entirely possible to level-up this way without ever swinging a sword!
What A Wonderful World
ArcheAge uses CryEngine 3 and looks absolutely beautiful; especially on max settings. The game features breathtaking landscapes and scenery, as well as an incredibly detailed and believable game world. The water also looks amazing, which is one of the things I usually take a look at when playing games. Characters models are also wonderfully done and the animations are very fluid. The game’s music fits the overall theme of the game and is reminiscent of background music in Final Fantasy and other epic fantasy MMORPG’s.
ArcheAge features an expansive sandbox environment, wherein players are free to pursue their own goals. Players can focus on Crafting, Farming, Trading, Soldiering and Mercenary work, or PVP. The game also features a housing system, which allows players to purchase lots and build houses, mansions, or even castles in marked areas in the open world. However, this feature is only available to subscription players, which frankly sucks. If you really want a house of your own, you can rent one from other players – this adds a new dynamic to the game. ArcheAge also allows players to build boats and ships. Together with their crew, they can participate in fast-paced naval battles. It’s also worth mentioning that ArcheAge is one of the only MMORPGs to feature housing within the persistent world. Practically every game that features player housing has them tucked away in an instanced zone.
Judge, Jury, and Executioner
A unique feature of ArcheAge is its Judicial System. Players who commit crimes within the game world can find themselves on trial, and possibly in prison. Crimes can be as simple as harvesting potatoes, to more serious crimes like killing a player from the same faction, or griefing (harassing and annoying other players). Players gain Crime Points when they commit crimes and gain the “Wanted” debuff when they reach a certain point. Players with the Wanted debuff will automatically be sent to trial when they’re killed by other players. Other players take on the role of jurors and, for some diabolical reason, think that stealing potatoes from your neighbor is worse than killing him. A guilty verdict can almost always be assured and it would be wise for players to just plead guilty to reduce their sentence. Guilty players are thrown in prison and can be locked up for as little as a few minutes to as long as a few days. They also get the “Prisoner” debuff which prevents prisoners from using most of their abilities. Players can try to escape, but even if they succeed in hopping the fence, the debuff still remains for the entire duration of the sentence. Crime Points are also reset to zero once they finish serving their sentence. The debuff may sound a bit too much, but it can actually be quite fun trying to escape the first few times.
Aside from Crime Points, ArcheAge players also gain Infamy Points when they commit crimes. Infamy Points aren’t reset even after doing time in prison. When a player reaches 3000 Infamy points, he or she automatically becomes a pirate. Pirates have their own side quests and are hostile to every faction and all non-pirate NPC’s, even the neutral ones. If living the pirate’s life isn’t for you, Infamy points can be reduced by completing daily quests from the Jailer NPC, which can be found in the two starting continents.
ArcheAge focuses on PVP just as much as trade and vocations. Players can attack and be attacked by both their own and opposing factions anywhere in the world except for the starting zones and a few safe zones. The seas and beaches are always open for PVP. Players gain Honor Points when they kill members of the opposing faction. Honor Points can be used to buy mounts, weapons, rare blueprints, and upgrade items. Guilds can also fight it out in a separate island where they can capture and control territories. Guilds can also build fortresses to protect their territories from invaders. One interesting thing about ArcheAge is that the game doesn’t punish players for scamming. All forms of deception and trickery are fair game – so be careful!
The Cash Shop
ArcheAge’s cash shop, like most free-to-play MMORPGs, offers an assortment of items to give paying players a bit of an advantage over the general population. Nothing game-breaking though, since players can still obtain these items with a little elbow grease. Credits can be exchanged for in-game gold via the Auction House, which gives other players the opportunity to buy premium items without spending any real-world money.
Final Verdict - Great
ArcheAge’s expansive sandbox environment and innovative housing system is what has players flocking to it in droves. Couple that with stunning visuals, beautifully-made characters, fast-paced PVP, naval warfare, and an interesting storyline, and you’ve got a very solid game. Even with the fairly large amount of mob-killing involved, as well as the limitations on F2P players, the game is still very enjoyable. Whether you’re into role-playing, PVE, hardcore PVP, or just terrorizing innocent civilians, ArcheAge offers something for everyone and is definitely worth a try – maybe even a subscription.