Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Impressions: Archeage Closed Beta #3

My mount is craaazy.

This session was basically through the weekend and I didn't get to play everyday due to RL crafting that had to be done. And honestly, I really only signed up for the beta on a whim since I still have an The Elder Scrolls Online - PC/Mac subscription and I hesitated because this is a Korean game that is being localized by Trion Worlds. But I have to say that I did have fun in the limited amount of time I played.

There were parts that were fairly standard in MMOs nowadays. Many consider games that use these features as WoW ripoffs though let's be honest here, Blizzard wasn't the first to set in motion all of these good ideas. They were just the ones that successfully implement them into a long-running game that STILL has a subscription fee (witchcraft, I tells ya).

Archeage will be free-to-play, meaning you do not have to buy the game and there is no subscription fee. However, to get the most out of your playtime, being a "patron" is necessary. By no means do I mean "pay to win", but if you to own a house (non-instanced housing by the way), regen labor points offline, xp boost, a discount in the cash shop and such, then yes, you will have to pay. But if you cannot, that doesn't mean you shouldn't get this game. Housing can be shared, labor points will regenerate during play, and you do not have to get the shiny fluffiness in the cash shop.

What made me really get into this game is the idea of the game being self-governing for the most part by the players. Is someone using bots or other illegal programs to farm things? There's a button to report them. Enough reports and it will be bumped up to the game admins. But also, you will be punished if you decide you want to grief someone by submitting a false report. Another thing is the judicial system. When a player commits a crime such as theft or murder, they leave behind visible evidence. That evidence can be interacted with and you can report the crime as an eyewitness. Enough crime points and that player gets automatically put on trial with other players (you can volunteer for this) being the jurors. The jurors can view the full crime report of the criminal and then determine if they are guilty or innocent which determines sentencing with prison time in real world increments.

Trading was another interesting feature for me coming from a background of MUDs like DragonRealms. While I do not play DR now, I know a long while back in the game, you could choose to become the Trader class which their main duty was to pick up contracts and move cargo from city to city. You could rent a donkey or hire a caravan but the main thing was that you had to lead your cargo physically and it was slow going compared to if you moved on your own. There were times where you also had to defend against other monsters and other players.

Archeage brings this nostalgia back for me with their player-driven economy. You harvest resources, you craft things, and you sell them to other players and cities. To sell in another city, you must travel there with your pack. You can either go on foot, by mount, or by boat/ship but the point is that you must also defend your cargo from pirates and other outlaw types who would desire your goods. This makes mercenary guilds actually work since I also hear players can put bounties on others.

The combat system is pretty simple on the surface. You get the full hotbars rather than the action RPG six key set and everything is TAB, target, stab. But the interesting part is the specialization combinations that create your class. What I chose was Vitalism, Auramancy, and Sorcery which made me a Boneweaver. This set allowed me to heal/hurt, buff/debuff, and do direct damage. Later on, I would get AOEs, teleports, and other sweet things. You can also reset at any time for a fee.

But honestly, there's just so much more to talk about with this game. I would highly recommend signing up on the official NA/EU site for a chance to beta test. If you really want to, they also have founders packs available with various perks at release and guaranteed beta participation right now. If you get their most expensive one ($150), you can have access to their alpha server which runs 24/7 compared to the non-continuous closed beta sessions.


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