We are midway through January. ArcheAge has been out for over four months; for most of us our Patron time is running out or has already done so. In this issue of the Hasla Herald we ponder on whether or not we should renew our subscription. ArcheAge has had its ups and downs and most of the time it’s been a lot of fun. The question remains: is it worth continuing to pay for?
Am I still having fun?
By now we all have max level characters. Some of us have even maxed out every combat skill in the game, it doesn’t really take a ton of effort to do so. At this point in the road it’s important for us to ask “am I still having fun?”. That question brings up a mixed bag of emotions. Part of me says yes, part of me says… not really.
The questing system is incredibly stale and doesn’t offer any additional replayability. The grinding for Hasla weapons is tedious and worse yet; if you aren’t in the right guilds it can take a good chunk of time to even find a group. The same goes for many of the dungeons. Unless you are running with the right crowd, you could end up spending more of your time waiting around to do something than actually playing.
One of the biggest issues for a lot of players is time commitment. The design of the game makes it very difficult to play it as a secondary game. If you only want to craft and run trade missions this isn’t so hard, but acquiring top tier gear to stay relevant in PvP can be very time consuming. It becomes even more of a task when you have a hard time finding the needed groups to get said gear.
Player vs Player can still be an absolute blast. It has become clear though that the environment and mechanics keep it from being a top tier competitive PvP game. It will never find a place in the world of eSports, and that’s okay. There are time that it can be exhilarating and nerve clenching and that’s what is needed the most.
Community…the glue that binds us
On the upside I have met a lot of great people in ArcheAge. Some I will continue to talk to outside of the game. Sure, there is always the Faction chat, which is absolutely abysmal. If you base your opinions on the community inside of a game only on what you see in the global chat, you will almost always find the worst of the worst.
Evaluating a game community often boils down to who you meet and who you play with. For the most part I have been lucky and found several decent player groups. In all honesty, I have played some terrible MMOs over the years, simply because I enjoyed who I was playing with.
Community certainly isn’t the only thing that determines fun though. We have to look at the core gameplay elements themselves. Are the mechanics still enjoyable and unique compared to other offerings in the market? Sadly, the answer to this is “not really”. Don’t get me wrong, when I log in and find something to do, I still have a lot of fun, but the game simply doesn’t hold the same level of excitement for me as it did when it was in Alpha.
But…isn’t it a sandbox?
If you are a solo player or prefer the “sandbox” elements of the game, there might still be something here for you. Crafting, Farming and Trading are still the most enjoyable aspects of ArcheAge for me. Even those systems wear out after a while. You can only do so many trade runs before you find yourself wanting to take a nap.
One of ArcheAge’s biggest selling points is its farming system. Unfortunately for many players this mechanic remains out of reach, even several months into the game. There are ways around it. You can share a farm with a friend or try to rent one from the mega guilds on Auroria. If the main thing you were interested in was the farming mechanic, this seems like an awfully big hurdle to jump. For some, they might find this process overly frustrating just so they can play the game the way they wanted to in the first place.
The game does a great job of making PvP feel important. There are many reasons to fight and many points of contention to fight over. If your primary goal is crafting, the impact feels less vital. If you are in a major guild, you might feel differently. For a player in a small social guild or solo, they might feel like they are having little impact at all.
Trion Trion Trion…
Trion has had a rocky relationship with ArcheAge Since the game’s launch there have been a multitude of issues. On one hand the publisher has done a pretty decent job managing some of the fiascoes it encountered. On the other hand it’s fair to say that some of them shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
The biggest concern I have is in regard to future content. Since the game’s release in September we have received two content updates. The first one was Auroria and it’s hard to even call that a “content update”. Most of us who had played Alpha had already experienced that aspect of the game, it wasn’t new to us.
The second content update was the release of the new raid and field boss. I was very happy with the release of both of these new additions. For one they were almost unplanned. We were told about the field boss, but the new dungeon was a complete surprise added to the holiday patch. I was really excited about that. Since then all we have seen is market place updates.I really hope that Trion doesn’t drop the ball. If they continue to release new content on a regular basis I will continue playing for a long time to come.
Yes, I’ll stay.
For now I’ll keep playing. ArcheAge is still an interesting concept. It just has lost some of its appeal. The more I play the more it appears to just be a series of rehashed concepts that do little to advance the genre. When it was originally released there was a lack of sandbox offerings out there. If you give a starving man scraps he will think it’s a feast.
Part of what drew me to ArcheAge in the first place was how reminiscent it was of Star Wars Galaxies. At this point that spell has worn off. With so many sandbox games on the horizon it’s hard to be enthusiastic about this one anymore. Who knows though, maybe future content will change that. On the plus side for many of us who got in early, we easily have the gold or APEX stashes to keep playing for free almost indefinitely.
Some players might firmly disagree with me. They will sit here and scream at their monitors and think everything I am saying is flat out wrong. Others might feel exactly how I feel. In the end, it doesn’t matter what I think. It is important for each player to take the time and analyze why they are playing and if they want to keep doing so.
Share your thoughts below and let me know what you think! What are your reasons for staying or leaving?Related: ArcheAge, Column, Hasla Herald, MMORPG, Trion Worlds