ArcheAge – It’s Not A PvP Gank-Fest

UPDATE 10/24 – Before you run to the comments to disprove me because of that one time you were ganked in a situation where you probably should have expected it, let me explain the purpose of this post. I’m not saying that ganking is impossible in ArcheAge, especially after level 30 (though I would argue that “ganking” is the wrong term to use after you’ve reached level 30). What I’m saying is that it’s extremely rare if you stay in safe zones, and you’re not going to lose anything if it happens, so there’s no reason not to try the game. You can level all the way to 50 in ArcheAge without ever leaving a safe zone, and maybe without ever engaging in combat. (One could argue that it’s actually faster to get to level 50 by farming and trading than by questing.) Also, your mileage may vary depending on which server you play on. The “original” servers like Kyrios and Naima and Kyprosa are probably more populated with people who came to ArcheAge just to gank people. Now back to your regularly scheduled post.

This has been bothering me for a while. In the western alpha and beta, ArcheAge has been building a rep as a “ganker” game with a terrible PvP community. I don’t mean to pick on Syp specifically, but I think I snapped and decided to respond to the criticism around the time he posted We Don’t Serve Your Kind Here. If nothing else, that article serves as an excellent representative sample of the reputation ArcheAge is building.

Looking down on the desert

I feel like people are getting the wrong impression of the PvP in ArcheAge. ArcheAge is NOT a free-for-all PvP gank-fest. At least it wasn’t when I played. It’s not like the old Ultima Online, where the moment you stepped out of the city, somebody ganked you to take your newbie clothes just for the fun of it. That kind of ganking does not happen in ArcheAge.

And frankly, ganking like that only happens in a free-for-all game if you are unwise, unwary, and unlucky. If you adopt a little more defensive attitude, it’s fairly easy to avoid ganking in free-for-all games. It’s a bit like how we all have adopted basic defensive postures in our real lives: We don’t walk around city streets naked, waving wads of cash around in our hands; similarly, you don’t go exploring out of the front gate of newbie town in torn cloth and a wooden sword without saving your stuff in the bank first.

But that’s beside the point, because you won’t be ganked outside of newbie town in ArcheAge. You can’t be attacked by the opposite faction while you’re on your own faction’s continent, unless a) you attack first, or b) you’re in a war zone. War zones are clearly marked, so you can’t wander into one accidentally. I believe it’s possible to be attacked by someone of your own faction if that person switches into rage mode (or whatever it’s called), but I personally never witnessed such a crime taking place. If it did happen, that person would immediately be a) killed by others and/or b) reported and jailed.

In any case you wouldn’t lose anything. ArcheAge is also not a full-loot game. With one very important exception: You will drop your trade pack if you happen to be carrying one. (But in the course of normal PvE exploration, you don’t carry trade packs.) One time I was in a (clearly marked) war zone and happened to go AFK. That was a mistake, and I don’t recommend it. When I came back, of course I was dead. It was totally my own fault. I should have logged out. But did I lose anything? Nope. Nothing at all. I just respawned and continued my day as if nothing had happened. It was exactly the same result that would have happened if a PvE mob had come across me AFK.

I played the ArcheAge alpha up to around level 30, so I can only speak to that experience. But in that time, I played almost entirely solo, without the benefit of a gang of guild-mates for protection. I was never ganked or griefed unexpectedly (other than the one case above). I was never attacked by someone of my own faction. Once I saw a high-level person of the other faction wandering around a low-level town. It caused some murmuring in zone chat but he caused no harm at all.

Now I did encounter a few opportunistic PvPers on the ocean, but that’s to be expected because all of the ocean is usually a war zone. (Not always, though.) And I did have some of my plants stolen from me on my home continent. I was experimenting with planting some trees on some “public” land that I thought nobody would find while I was at work. Turns out, somebody found it. Lesson learned: Don’t plant on public land unless you’re going to stand there and defend it.

Syp suggested that ArcheAge open a PvE-only server. It’s worth considering, but I think that would be a poor business decision by Trion for one very big reason: The PvE aspects of ArcheAge aren’t that good. I’m sorry to say it, but the leveling and questing is average at best, and the class system isn’t nearly as flexible as something like Rift. Sure, in the first 10 levels, it seems like a whole new world with the cute growing animals and the rowboats and all. But that feeling of freshness doesn’t last very long. A PvE-only server would probably die out very quickly.

What makes ArcheAge stand out in the long term (in my opinion) is its concept of trading, which (I think) makes it similar to EVE. And without the possibility of pirates stealing your booty, there is nothing at all interesting about running trade goods from one place to another place. It’s just a time sink.

Still, you can carry trade goods around in completely safe areas, in completely safe ways. I did it quite a number of times. You won’t earn tons of money, but you’ll earn enough to pay for a farm at least. It’s kind of relaxing in a way, riding a donkey up and down the roads.

So I guess my point is that even if you hate PvP and gankers, you should still give ArcheAge a try. It’s not nearly as bad as forums and comments and Reddit might lead you to believe. ArcheAge may not be designed for PvE players, but there is plenty of room for PvE. I can vouch for perfect PvE bliss up to level 30. Let’s face it, since we’re all so burned out on MMOs, you’ll probably get bored of it by then and want to leave anyway, so what do you have to lose?

28 thoughts on “ArcheAge – It’s Not A PvP Gank-Fest”

  1. Excellent perspective! Like PUGs, I think a lot of people lean on hearsay to help them decide whether or not an experience is right for them, and even then tend to gravitate towards whatever will help them refuse to particpate MORE than they will consider any good information that might push them to jump in.

  2. Thanks so much for providing this information. I’m super interested in playing ArcheAge, but my free-for-all PVP experience was Ultima Online. Being one of my first MMOs, too, I really soured on the idea of PVP after that, and stay far away from it.

    It’s nice to know there’s some options for cautious players and that your gear isn’t free to swipe on death. Everything else about ArcheAge seems like the kind of game that I want to play, so the PVP elements were one of the biggest concerns I had. I’d planned on trying anyhow, since, you know… what’s to lose with free to play? And I enjoyed what I played in beta.

  3. Great post. :) I usually avoid PvP like the plague but I’m so intrigued by ArcheAge I’m forgetting that for now. I played on a PvP server in WoW for several years so just time to adopt that defensive attitude again, eh? ;)

  4. War zones dont even start til lvl 30 so by your own admission u didnt even experience much of quesing etc in war zones, lost alot of credit when u admitted u only played to lvl 30.

  5. The point I was trying to make is that ArcheAge isn’t like UO or Mortal Online where a high-level gang can gank you on your first day and ruin any chance of liking the game. What happens at level 50 is a totally different story, imo.

  6. Typical white knight. Yeah it’s not full loot blah blah but it’s still basically about ganking anyway… and you dont have to be lvl 50 to realize this. And selling in safe zones? Don’t make me laugh. Try advising people to that in faction chat. lol.

    I’d like to see you play on, say, Kyrios and then see you get kicked stomped by a ganking zerg. And when i say kick i mean literally being spammed with the kick attack from say 20+ gankers.

    Anyone who is thinking about playing this game should look at videos of actual game play and SEE for yourself.

    If you like what you see, then I guess running with a big group is your thing, my point is that article above is quite misleading.

  7. I’ve never seen anyone get kicked to death (though I would probably laugh if it happened to me because that’s kind of funny.) Unless you’re carrying a trade pack you’re not going to lose anything anyway. (Also YouTube is probably not representative of day-to-day gameplay.) (Also anyone thinking of playing this game can just, you know, play the game.. it’s free.)

  8. Man, article couldn’t have been MORE wrong. This game is 100% a gankfest, once you hit level 30 and are forced into zones to level. Don’t get me wrong, I love PvP. But this isn’t it. Groups of 6-20 level 50 guys killing fresh level 30 guys isn’t PvP, it’s ganking, by any definition. And spare me the BS about how I can craft my way to level 50 if I don’t like PvP. If I wanted to craft all day, it certainly wouldn’t be in Archeage. I came here to fight, PvE and actual PvP fighting. Both of which stop once you hit level 30.

  9. Sorry but you don’t know what the heck you are talking about. The moment you said you were level 30 i stopped reading. The true game starts at level 30 so you are still a beginner. Get to level 50 1st then come back and tell us your experience…I bet you it’s a whole lot different.

  10. I was trying to point out that people starting out don’t have to worry about getting ganked and pushed out of the game before they even get a chance to play, which seems to be the general fear.

  11. It really is a gankfest now its live.

    I have now lost more trade packs to my OWN faction than to an enemy. In fact i have now lost over 10 packs and ONLY 1 of those was to the other faction. That’s right, 9 of those packs went to my own faction.

    Bottom dollar, easiest way to make gold in AA, go to a contested area and kill your own side as they get off the airship……..

  12. Hrm. Maybe people don’t know what “ganking” actually is. I’m still using the old school definition, where it meant unstoppable high-levels killing defenseless low-levels and taking their stuff. Level 50s fighting other level 50s is not ganking, and dying after voluntarily walking into dangerous zones is not ganking either.

    It’s not a good idea to take trade packs into contested areas without help. That’s just common sense. Wait for peace time at least.

  13. I can only advice anyone who isnt into ganking/harrassing/trolling other players to stay away from Arche Age. This game has got to be one of the most foul gankfests I have yet encountered.

  14. Yeah, ganked by 2 level 35 toons at level 8. Tell me again how “It’s not like the old Ultima Online, where the moment you stepped out of the city, somebody ganked you to take your newbie clothes just for the fun of it.”

  15. Lvl 35 now and it is just so slow leveling, kill a few mobs, get ganked. Go heal mount at stablehand, go kill a few other mobs, get ganked, repeat. I might give it a few more goes before I throw in the towel.

  16. Yes, it is a Gank-Fest. At least now it is. You can’t even quest in upper level zones unless it is peace time, which means no more than a 2 hour period per day. The game needs huge changes before I will ever continue playing.

  17. Hitting lvl 30 the first time I entered a pvp zone I got ganked by a lvl 50 player of my own faction, if that’s not a gank fest I do’t know what is. A game built for griefing and nothing more.

  18. Level 32 here, been in “war” zones for 3 days now, no pvp deaths. My worst experience was getting attacked by a level 40 because I beat him to a iron vein. I was able to mount and get away before he finished me off. I’ve been attacked once, that incident, in 2 weeks of game play.

    1. Grats you’re one of the few. And if you’ve been in “war” zones for 3 days and are only lv32, well that explains a lot.

  19. lvl 32, 5 minutes into the war zone and i got ganked the first time by a group of purple and then ganked by a larger group of reds… i’ll give it another try in a couple of months, hopefully by then it’ll be fixed.

  20. I call Bullshit… I get ganked all the time in the level 30+ zones by small groups of players several levels higher than I am.

  21. I agree with some of what you say, but then I read more and question did you really play Archeage. Ganking happens quite often in contested zones. Truth is I don’t even consider it real ganking as it is a contested zone. The zone doesn’t have to be in a state of war for the opposite side to attack you, It is just that only during a state of war do they get honor. That said to bring a zone to a state of war, so many pvp deaths must occur for that to happen so people will come up and kill you to push the zone back to a state of war. Just to be clear, ” ganking ” as some put it, or faction vs faction pvp must happen, if it isn’t happening most contested zones would rarely change states. As to trading in safe zones always, its risk vs reward, pretty much not really worth it if your just staying in safe zones. Anyway the games economy is messed up right now, and I am waiting to see what Trion does to try and set it right.

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