ArcheAge is an open world PvP Sandbox game set in a fantasy medieval-ish world. Two of those elements are found in most MMOs - the open world and the PvP. The sandbox? Not so much.
"It is less of WoW with ships, more like a fantasy EVE." is how Trion put it to us during our PAX hands-on in Seattle.
Most of our readers here at MMORPG.com know the game well through articles and information released and/or have beta access, so the purpose of this PAX article is to speak to new information released and announcements made at PAX Prime 2014.
The sandbox element in ArcheAge really makes this game. There is a basic underlying structure for leveling your character, but no requirement to follow it. There is none of this “quests give you more XP” or “You have to grind XP or participate in PVP” to really progress. In ArchAge, you can do the quests. Or not. Kill things and grind XP. Or not. Build things. Or not.
“I think one of our devs has killed a total of four times. There were some critters between him an a harvesting node he wanted. That's the only reason he killed anything." said CEO Scott Hartsman.
You can be a small farmer just eking out a living if that is all you want to do. That is a perfectly viable character progression path. Just like the real world, resources are important. In ArcheAge, they are very important as the world economy is mostly player made and controlled. Apple trees can be grown and can be harvested for food or cut for wood, and wood is required for building. They can also be traded or made up into trade packs and transported to resource scare areas and sold or traded.
Animal husbandry is also in game, and some animals can be bred. Two of the mounts that can be bred are the Bear – a white cuddly critter in it’s infancy – and the Yata – a mount which reminded me vaguely of a Tauntaun but much cuter and with a tufted tail. These mounts are very much the prestige mounts as they can only be purchased from a high level animal breeder and are just a little bit faster then regular mounts.
Another form of farming is aquaculture. This is only obtained by building a beach house, a high level house that is on stilts in the sea, with a sea farm underneath where you can grow and harvest resources like coral and kelp, which are ingredients used for high level crafting.
These higher level houses are often located in high level PvP areas. You can hide in your house indefinitely, but most players from a neighborhood watch" type loose-knit group to assist each other and protect each other from griefers.
It will take larger groups of people to build the larger structures in the game. The massive sailing ships like those in Pirates of the Burning Seas take massive amounts of resources. Like space ships in EVE, they can be taken into battle, and they can be destroyed. Building castles also take an immense amount resources and manpower, and they aren’t guild housing but defense fortifications. They are built around contested control power points (glowing giant ethereal blue swords floating in the air) which can be attacked by others during siege events. Control of the castles means control of tax revenues from the surrounding farms and houses. Gates, walls, towers, layers of fortifications can be built around these control points.
"It's a big game of Capture the Flag with consequences."
Castle walls are destroyed during sieges, so it is a fine strategic choice of exactly which walls and towers you are destroying as the conquerors will have to build them back up again, or perhaps even destroy some and build new ones in better strategic positions.
Finally, we were told that the game will launch in the Western world on September 16. Gamers with pre-orders will get a head start on the 12th. The time has finally come. Are you ready?