I’m going to dispense with all the pretense and simply say that in ArcheAge, you have the potential to join a third faction that is not allied with the main two factions of the game: the pirate faction.
While this seems like the perfect opportunity to be a less than savory robber and brigand on the high seas, piracy in ArcheAge comes with significant tradeoffs, and there seems to be little incentive to stay a pirate in ArcheAge by current accounts. Let’s dive into this discussion with some anecdotes, shall we?
The Pirate’s Life
In a pair of reports on ArcheAge Source, one written by LlexX (and from which the screenshots for today’s post originate) and the other penned by KeksX, piracy was outlined as being seemingly fun at first glance, but not quite the amazing long-term venture.
LlexX noted that you had to amass 3000 points worth of negative karma through misdeeds, which would allow you to become a pirate and set up your own expeditionary force. KeksX adds in his report that this has medium-term implications, at it takes a while to amass that much bad karma, and regaining neutral to positive karma takes at least a month of not doing something horrible.
Basically, pirates in the game seem to be killers or commodity stealers bar none. With a full-featured island of their own as a base of operations, pirates can basically spend their days annoying others by taking their stuff.
KeksX even mentioned that pirates can potentially monopolize the trading post of a llucrative neutrally aligned territory,, permitting only those who agree to their terms (such as giving up ? of the goods they’re bringing in) with free passage to use the island post to make money.
Not Quite Swashbuckling
Caveats to becoming a pirate include being made hostile to guards from the other two factions, the inability to communicate with one’s former faction, and limitations on the content you could do because you lost access to your old faction.
The game in its earlier incarnations allowed pirates to be able to do more and thus make them more attractive as a potential third faction for the game. In its current state, ArcheAge isn’t a great place for open PVP, and the pirate faction mechanic suffers as a result. The addition of safe zones and respawn points made ArcheAge less piracy-enabling, as open PVP was lessened.
According to the two reports, additions to the game, such as the player factions and castle sieges, don’t seem all that great. This makes the pirate faction seem interesting as something worth pursuing, but on a base level, pirates looked tacked-on now, rather than being an intriguing facet of the game.
It also doesn’t help that the piracy storyline reportedly feels watered down, lacking a substantial thrust to make it worth pursuing. The lack of incentive can turn people off from trying the swashbuckling life.
While I myself am not sure if I’d actually take advantage of a fully-fleshed out pirate faction, the idea still remains intriguing, so long as it isn’t watered down. I’d quite like to see how Trion Worlds will handle their side of things in this regard.
Will they push for a better balancing act of this faction versus the other two? Will they add more quests to augment the pirate faction? Will they focus instead on adapting the game as it stands now for the current western audience, which may not actually be fond of open PVP (unless you count Darkfall fans and a subset of the hardcore gaming fanbase? Will they tweak some aspects to make piracy seem like a more natural extension of the game?
Time, and possibly someone knocking on Trion Worlds’ door to ask some questions, will tell.
Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains The Devil’s Advocate and ArcheAge columns for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler as a technology reporter. You can find more of his writings on Games and Geekery and on Twitter at @vbarreirojr.
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