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My Synthetic World

Random thoughts and opinions as inspiration strikes.

Author: mklinic

ArcheAge - Day 1 - Install and first 10 levels

Posted by mklinic Friday September 5 2014 at 9:36AM
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By now, most people have probably heard of ArcheAge. As with any title, it has its share of supporters and detractors. I've been mildly interested in the game, but have maintained a level of ignorance about its features and lore. This 'self-imposed ignorance' is really just my way of not getting sick of the game before it releases :). The little bits I have read seemed to throw around all the right key words for me: "sandbox", "open world", "housing", "crafting", etc. With that in mind, ArcheAge went to Open Beta on Sept. 4th 2014, so I decided to give it a go.

As a disclaimer: Whatever I post during this Open Beta is going to be from the perspective of a totally new player. As such, feel free to correct me if I completely misrepresent a feature of the game. I'm only giving my impression/opinion and am certainly open to the idea that I overlooked or misinterpreted something. I have no agenda toward this game and, at the end of the day, just want to play something I enjoy.

The Experience:

First up: the installation. It's been a while since I've played Rift so I was not aware of Trion's "Glyph" system. To sum it up, this looks like a very scaled down version of Steam. It seems to be a single sign-on, and sales platform, for games Trion publishes. Glyph is a requirement to be able to install ArcheAge. Apparently, I already had an account from when I played Rift, so after retrieving the password for that, I was able to commence the download/install.

The Glyph download and install was trivial. The ArcheAge download was somewhere between 8-9 GB and was done in a reasonable amount of time (about an hour or so). The install was pretty 'hands free'. All-in-all, the install process for both Glyph and ArcheAge was pretty unremarkable.

Post-installation: Once the installation was done, I was able to launch the game and select form a handful of servers. All servers had a reasonable queue so I picked one at random and waited about 15 minutes. Finally, once I was through the queue, I was able to create a character.

Character creation seems pretty well done in this game. On the right-side there were some 'preset' character faces or you could get in an customize quite a bit. I generally like personalizing the characters I create so I spent a good 20 minutes or so just tweaking things. At that point, I realized I could spend a good amount of time longer and end up not even playing the game for the day, so I wrapped it up and moved on with character creation. Aside from the customization, I rushed through a bit of the rest so I don't recall some of the settings I had picked. I know I picked a Nuian Shadowplay and set a name.

With the character created and initial story sequence watched, I was finally in game. The game was understandable crowded. The various chat channels were all fairly active with the usual Open Beta banter and gold sellers (already). I generally ignored all that and moved on to the first quest NPC. ArcheAge has a pretty noticeable 'tutorial' system that gets you going in the right direction pretty quickly. A decent portion, or perhaps all, of the tutorial tool tips appear to be voiced which was nice, but got a bit annoying.

What followed was 10 levels of typical MMO leveling which surprised me a bit. I did the "Kill X [bad thing here]" and "Deliver [this valuable thing] to the guy [some distance from here]". The only thing I don't recall doing was an escort quest. In the process, I raised a horse which only took a few minutes and made getting around a little quicker seeming. In the leveling process I had also gathered some ore and various plants, so I checked out crafting which seemed to consist of finding the right crafting tool; smelter, kiln, loom, etc, and clicking "craft". Admittedly, I'm only level 10, so I don't expect I'd be making anything too in-depth anyhow. 

Aside from that, the skill system seems a bit interesting in that it appeared I was able to pick other classes to combine with my main. I select Archery and put a couple skill points into Archery related moves so I can see the potential for customization there as the character progresses. I also liked the various skills though not sure how increasing a skill like Larceny relates to the results of opening a "Farmer's coinpurse". But I do like seeing something progressing, so I guess there is some satisfaction in that. :)

To summarize Day 1: Install, wait in queue, create character, do some quests, raise a horse, do some quests, row a boat, get stepped on by giant crab thing, do some quests, craft a bit, call it a night.

My Opinion:

So far, I can't help feeling a little underwhelmed. A lot of what I've experienced so far has been about as far form Sandbox as I could think. I kept trying to think of which game(s) ArcheAge reminded me of, but realized it seemed so generic that I could have related to any number of games. I realize I've only played for a bit and thought I had heard statements that the 'sandbox' elements of the game open up post-level 20, so we'll see how that goes.

Otherwise, not a huge fan of the Labor Point system which seems to be a pool that accumulates over time and depletes a bit whenever you gather or craft. On the plus side, tasks that require LP also give experience points, so that's a bit redeeming. LP is not a show stopped as far as enjoying the game. It's just not a feature I'm fond of. It seems like it would punish a player who wanted to be a 'pure crafter' if that is even viable in the game.

I'm probably coming across a bit harsh and I really just glossed over a couple hours of play time. So, to clarify, the game was nice looking and i had fun during the time I played. I could see myself playing ArcheAge every now and then, but so far, I wouldn't consider this as something I would play regularly or spend money on. It'll be interesting to see if my opinion changes as my character progresses.