ArcheAge – What’s Wrong With It

I feel like I’ve been giving the impression that ArcheAge is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it isn’t all sunshine and roses. I’m mainly playing it just because “it’s the new thing.” And I do enjoy the fact that you can progress by doing “non-standard” MMO things. But pretty soon, Rift’s Nightmare Tide is going to be “the new thing,” and then a bit later, Warlords of Draenor is going to be “the new thing.” Anyway, here are some things I don’t like about ArcheAge.

Flying around in an invisible glider.
The invisible glider. You will believe a man can fly.

I’ve said many times before that the questing is average at best. Actually that’s being kind. It’s terrible. I have never played another MMO where I have had so little interest in reading anything the NPCs have to say. (Admittedly, perhaps it’s because I was conditioned to ignore them from way back when I experimented with the Russian version.) I feel bad saying that because most of what Trion did to the game was translate all the NPC dialog, and I generally like what Trion does with their games. All in all, the questing is probably my least favorite thing to do in ArcheAge. I only turn to it when I have nothing else to do. In many ways, it’s superfluous anyway because I feel like I get just as much experience progression from commerce activities.

In many areas, ArcheAge doesn’t seem to be “finished.” There are so many places that you can visit that are essentially empty. There are no monsters, no NPCs, no houses, no ruins, no nothing. Just empty landscape. It might as well have a big sign on it that says, “This part is still under construction. Come back later.” These empty areas are often not very far away from the main roads, either. So exploring the terrain turns out to be a bit pointless. All you’re likely to find out in the wilderness is other players trying to hide things, which is not very interesting to me.

Wouldn't it be great if we could put houses on all that empty land at least?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could at least put houses on all that empty land? Or maybe find a chest with cool stuff in it?
Empty, empty space.
More empty, empty space. So much space that could have had houses or mobs or just about anything on them.
Some places in ArcheAge quite literally have an "under construction" sign on them.
Once, I came across a place that quite literally had an “under construction” sign on it.

I find the trial system to be a bit of a joke. It does nothing to deter criminal behavior. If anything, it incentivizes people to behave badly so they can appear in court and have a big public forum for their buffoonery. In other words, people seem to want to be caught. To me, there should be more incentive to avoid being caught for it to have any kind deterring effect on anti-social behavior. Being sentenced to jail for a handful of minutes is not exactly a hardship. It should deduct levels of experience or something. Otherwise why bother having it in the game.

The graphics and animation quality of ArcheAge are sadly not up to the standards of today. Technologically, it looks and feels like a game from five years ago. Rift, Guild Wars 2, Neverwinter, WildStar, Elder Scrolls Online, and definitely Final Fantasy XIV all have far superior game engines, in my opinion.

One of many texture problems that you may encounter in ArcheAge.
One of many annoying texture problems that you may encounter in ArcheAge.

Bots and hacks are a problem in ArcheAge, although for me personally they haven’t yet affected my gameplay. I actually don’t see very many of them out in the world, but then I don’t spend any time looking for them, and I play on one of the less popular servers. (Calleil doesn’t even have a subreddit!) I’m not one of those players that “plays the auction house” so it’s not a big deal to me if bots ruin the economy. Honestly I don’t even know what a “ruined economy” looks like. Economics is a baffling, un-scientific subject to me so it mostly goes over my head. I’ve heard about hacks in PvP, too, but they could just be ordinary exploits. Every MMO that has PvP in it has exploits, and people flock to them.

It seems like everyone else will be driven away by the PvP, but that part hasn’t bothered me much. It’s the things above that will eventually cause me to stop playing. That and the fact that after a certain point, there isn’t much of anything to do except make more and more gold.

5 thoughts on “ArcheAge – What’s Wrong With It”

  1. I dinged 25 tonight on the completion of the main quest chain. Since the rewards are required level 30 I think I may be a little ahead of the game. I have done literally nothing in AA other than quest and wander about. I have very little interest in the farming/economy part of the game and less still in the PvP.

    I’ve found the questing quite involving, even compelling, so far, even though the quality of the translation is disapointing. I could certainly do better – a lot better. In fact I do. I re-write many of the quests in my head as I read them, which helps a lot.

    Bad as much of the dialog is, the plots are interesting enough. I suspect the quests were considerably better in the original. Trion probably made them a lot less convincing by dint of their mediocre translation.

    My plan was to quest to 50 and then think about whether to carry on but having hit the end of the main quest line half-way makes me wonder if that’s going to work. I am certainly not going to get involved with the silly Farmville mini-games so it’s either questing or mob grinding or that’s it for ArcheAge as far as I’m concerned.

  2. I thought it was strange that the main quest line ended so early, too. Thought I had missed something. There are plenty of non-main quests to do up to 50, but after that I don’t see much of anything for solo-oriented players to do other than crafting more and more complicated things until you max out your proficiencies.

  3. Oh, I left out the most important thing that will make me stop playing ArcheAge: When my Patron status runs out lol.

    Because I’ll lose all my land, which is a pretty important requirement for roughly 95% of the game for me.

  4. Some other issues :

    The crafting system is terrible. Really, really bad. It takes massive amounts of labor to level any craft, plus most of the material requires additional labor to gather, plus many types of gear are very strongly tied to crafting. This means a huge amount of waiting while logged in just to get labor points for gear that you will only craft just to disassemble or vendor immediately afterward.
    The land system is frustrating. There are, as you note, massive empty spaces… but you can’t drop a house or farm in them. Instead there are a handful of usable spots in each zone. Not only does this make it difficult to find usable land, it means that even if you do put down a plot, you’ll be digging through a forest of aspen trees every time you try to find your house again.
    The build system has a variety of obvious and subtle failure modes, and while it’s theoretically easy to change classes, the practical results aren’t so good. This is especially true the later those issues come up. If your class works fine until level 30+, but are impractical past that point, not only do any changed skillsets work poorly until leveled (a very big issue if they include your damage skills!), finding new gear is a nightmare. Because most players can’t even sell things on the auction house, and crafting is very expensive, you’re pretty much limited to quest drops. Which don’t tell you the stats on the gear until you’ve received them (and are often weird, like agility cloth armor), and only show up about once a zone.
    If you want to play a healer, heaven help you.
    And, of course, the PvP, or rather, the type of PvP the game encourages. I was hoping for sea battles or traders carefully avoiding enemy combat. Instead, same-alliance folk camp crafting stations in the 30+ zones for anyone stupid enough to try and put a house down there, and ‘ocean’ warfare is limited to a hundred heavily camped meters around docks. I’ve still been killed more by criminals of my alliance than by enemies of the other alliance.

  5. All good points.. It looks to me like they’ve set up the crafting system as a sort of alternate leveling progression that takes months and years instead of the normal leveling-to-50 which is pretty fast.

    With the ocean trade runs it’s pretty much impossible to avoid running into trouble because all people have to do is camp the Item Traders. It would be nice if there were more of them spread around to give players at least a chance to find one that isn’t camped.

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