I’ve been dinged in comments for not having experienced the PvE game after level 30 and misleading everyone about ArcheAge. While the game might be rosey for people under level 30, they say, the “real” game begins at 30, and after that milestone, they say, then the game turns into a PvP gankfest.
Well as of this post I’m level 40, and I’ve spent many hours questing in Cinderstone Moor and Halcyona, and sailing around on the ocean. Naturally, I don’t think to take screenshots while I’m in a PvP situation, so I have nothing to illustrate this post.
It’s true that the PvE game does change after level 30. The quests take you into zones where it may no longer be safe to ignore your fellow players.
But in my experience so far, I’d hardly call it a gankfest.
Once in Cinderstone Moor I was accosted by a couple of “robbers.” I was out by myself in a crater, and a pair of folks rode up and demanded I pay them. I ignored them, because that’s a silly demand, and then they killed me. It was 2 on 1 so that was pretty inevitable regardless of levels. After that I rage quitted and ran to the Trion forums to post a nasty note about how awful the ganking is in ArcheAge. Just kidding. I actually respawned and continued my day with a shrug. (I did a different quest for a while first, though, and re-thought the idea of wandering too far away from population centers by myself.) That was the sum total of the questing trouble I encountered in the whole Cinderstone Moor zone.
Let me reiterate that unless you’re carrying a trade pack, there is absolutely no reason to fear death in ArcheAge. Particularly a PvP death, because you lose no experience or even health. All you have to do is run back to where you died. Or run somewhere else. Exactly the same as if a PvE mob killed you.
For me, I think of dangerous enemy players as elite world bosses wandering around the landscape and treat them accordingly. You wouldn’t run up to a boss that’s twenty levels higher than you, so you should also steer clear of reds or purples if you see them. Keeping your eyes peeled and watching your surroundings actually adds a little bit of mystery and excitement to the otherwise relatively dull questing grind.
But I get that not everyone wants questing to be exciting. I know all too well that sometimes you just want to mindlessly tune out everything and blindly kill mobs until you reach a zen-like state of meditation and calm. (This week I am in exactly that mood.) If that’s the questing mood you’re in then yeah you might want to steer clear of contested zones, or play a different game for a while.
Keep in mind, though, that the contested zones also have occasional Peace Times. During Peace Time, which lasts 3 or 4 hours I believe, it’s completely safe to quest. All those reds wandering around nearby won’t attack you, and you won’t attack them, because you can’t target them. Peace Times appear to occur at roughly the same time every day, too. For example, during my evening play time, the Halcyona zone is usually in Peace Time.
Even if you’re questing in a contested zone, there are a few things you can do to make yourself less of a target. One is to stay close to others, as I alluded to above. If you’re one of those people who actually has gaming friends, if you quest in a group you’ll probably be completely safe. Gankers usually look for individuals to target. Another is to make sure you keep your health topped off as much as possible. Gankers will look for somebody with low health. I would also suggest not engaging any mobs if you see anyone standing around suspiciously nearby. They might be waiting to take you out while you’re busy.
The ocean is a different story. From my experience so far, nobody is your friend on the ocean. If you see someone, you should be prepared to turn and run, or fight them if you’re able. Reds will almost always turn to follow you, and sometimes greens will, too. They tend to gather around ports and trade destinations, and roam up and down the coastlines.
Ocean thugs are probably looking for trade packs, so they might lose interest if they discover you don’t have one. But some people will attack anyone. Once I sailed too close to another Harpoon Clipper and they snagged me. Inexpicably, they said, “JOIN US OR DIE.” I don’t know if they were role-playing or joking or what, because threatening to kill me in a game with no death penalty doesn’t carry a lot of weight with me. I was thinking, “Um, okay, sure go ahead and kill me then.” But I kept sailing and swerving back and forth and I got away from them. They never actually attacked me so I guess they were just messing around. Maybe they lost interest and detached or the harpoon timed out. I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to use a harpoon yet so I don’t know how it works.
So don’t expect to have much of a relaxing time on the ocean, unless you go way far out of the way of everyone. I personally can’t imagine how people fishing from a boat wouldn’t get accosted all the time. But then the ocean is really big, so unless you’re on a popular trading route, you might never be found. (Strangely, the ocean is not very deep, though.)