Trion Worlds dropped the ball this week. A triple-whammy of bad decisions has managed to push players away from the game just in time for the holidays. Let’s take a look at what went wrong.
The Land Rush
The northern continent of Auroria opened on Tuesday for guilds to claim one of four castle waypoints. This is the one and only time castles will ever be claimed. They will be fought over, but this is, as it were, "server first" time for castles. The Archeum Lodestone item is no longer necessary and might as well be removed from the game, since no one will ever have a reason to craft it again unless a new server is opened (an unlikely event after this week).
On my chosen server, Kyrios, two Western and two Eastern guilds managed to claim castle lands in Nuimari, Heedmar, Marcala and the Calmlands respectively. Intense planning went into mining Ayna pebbles in the caves of Exeloch’s Serpentis Ruins. Backstabbing and profiteering still ran rampant, facilitating the speedy crafting of Archeum Lodestones by certain unscrupulous guild leaders.
Trion Worlds’ servers could barely handle the number of players in Exeloch, turning the entirety of the zone into a laggy slideshow. Many of guildmates lost connection or crashed out and were unable to reconnect to the server for hours. Trion won’t specify the true nature of the issue, preferring to leave the root cause nebulous in some effort to deflect criticism of their excessively weak and slow response.
Was an update of the Hackshield anti-cheat client the cause? Were XLGAMES’ and Trion Worlds’ ineptitude to blame? We’ll probably never know for sure. Trion did commit to setting up a public test server and pushing updates to it first, but that’s not a satisfactory response for many guilds. Some spent considerable time to claim a castle only to be thwarted not by worthy competitors but by crashes and disconnects. This affront won’t soon be forgotten.
Before ArcheAge launched in September, Trion Worlds offered three different “Patron” pre-order packages for purchase. The most expensive one would grant players access to the Alpha servers, but the Patron status itself was supposed to come with a 10% discount all on marketplace purchases. There was no catch, no fine print. If you paid for Patron status, you got the discount. That was supposed to be it, but somehow things have gotten out of hand.
Patron players noticed very quickly after launch that they weren’t getting the promised 10% discount on marketplace purchases and started a thread on the official forums to push Trion Worlds to act. Trion promised to do something for players as soon as they could.
Now Trion’s finally decided on a course of action: give a retroactive 10% bonuses on purchased gems (credits) bought after launch. Trion says in their announcement that they chose this course of action because the actual promised discount would have taken uncomfortably long to implement. That seems like a weak excuse to me, but perhaps in time the full 10% discount on items will come through.
Thunderstruck and Archeum Deflation
In what appears to be a kneejerk reactionary move to the negative attention and potential exodus to certain MMOs with expansions releasing this month, Trion Worlds added a new randomized chest to the ArcheAge marketplace. This chest has dramatically increased the amount of Thunderstruck trees and Archeum crystals available on every server, dropping prices on these items exponentially. I’m enjoying this change personally, building vehicles I haven’t been able to afford until now, but I know the free ride can’t last.
Players who spent thousands of gold on TS trees for vehicles or hundreds of gold on Archeum crystals for weapons and armor are now feeling a bit burned by the new regular price of these materials on auction houses across all servers. The price will probably creep back up within a few months but the damage to the economy has already been done.
How has your week been, ArcheAge fans? Did you get any land in Auroria? Finally build that fishing boat? How big was your gem refund?