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Patches Make Perfect

Mark Wilhelm Posted:
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A few days ago Trion Worlds announced that ArcheAge’s beta events would be delayed by a couple weeks in order to incorporate Patch 1.2, a collection of content, balance and feature tweaks. What does this update change and why is it so important to ArcheAge’s success in Trion’s territories? For answers to those questions, rewind the ArcheAge timeline one year.

When ArcheAge was finally released into the world in 2013, it launched into an MMORPG market inundated by themepark games. Demand for sandbox experiences was at an all-time high and ArcheAge, while feature and content-incomplete, was still hailed as a much-needed breath of fresh air. Many MMO fans in Europe and the Americas temporarily overlooked the game’s shortcomings in favor of focusing on what ArcheAge got right. Back in Korea, XLGAMES’ designers and producers immediately started work on an update to tweak mechanics and add new content to the game, ArcheAge’s first patch.

Patch 1.0 was released in early 2013 and was received very poorly in Europe and the Americas. Many of the changes present in the update were seen as a sign of XLGAMES taking a step back from hardcore sandbox mechanics in order to court more casual players in Korea. It’s easy to be upset when the wild continent of Auroria gets an entirely peaceful zone or when stolen trade packs magically send money to the original crafter upon turn-in. While there were positive changes in Patch 1.0, such as class balancing tweaks and tax certificates, sandbox MMO fans’ trust in XLGAMES’ creative integrity dropped considerably.

Around this time Trion Worlds’ publishing deal with XLGAMES was announced. Not long after the press release was posted the ArcheAge fan community started banging on Trion’s virtual door, demanding the company decline including parts of Patch 1.0 in their version of the game. Trion’s CEO, Scott Hartsman, eventually responded to the controversy in a post on Reddit about two months ago. His words assuaged concerns over how much control Trion Worlds’ had in the localization of ArcheAge for its territories. The post did nothing to convince sandbox MMO fans that XLGAMES had their best interests in mind.

Thankfully, a couple months later XLGAMES released Patch 1.2 onto the Korean retail servers. Patch 1.2 rolled back or improves many of the most pressing issues that Patch 1.0 unintentionally brought into the limelight, including stolen trade pack rewards and glider turbulence. Other changes are just plain great, such as user interface improvements, new world bosses and increased experience points for crafting.

When Trion announced that ArcheAge’s beta events were being delayed in order to include Patch 1.2’s changes, I was pretty excited. In the news post, Evan “Scapes” Berman explained that translators needed additional time to convert approximately 70,000 words from Korean to English. Some MMO fans were skeptical of Trion’s alleged motive, hypothesizing that the delay was part of an effort to squeeze more money out of the alpha testing phase. If this is just a moneygrab (it probably isn’t), it’s supremely well-timed. Launching ArcheAge’s beta events without implementing Patch 1.2 would be a major marketing mistake.

XLGAMES still has work to do and promises to keep, such as adding the four races they implied would be playable years ago. Jake Song’s studio is still relatively new to the market and ArcheAge is only their second game, the first being a nearly-forgotten online racing game. ArcheAge is not the MMO that sandbox fans dream about after reading The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor. Those kind of idealistic experiences are years away, perhaps decades. ArcheAge may never be perfect, but every patch brings us a little bit closer.


Mark Wilhelm

Mark Wilhelm / Mark is a community manager and fansite operator. He infrequently tweets via @mark_wilhelm."