After ArcheAge’s big launch, controversy, and eventual settling down into its own niche, folks may be wondering where the game is headed in 2015. Good thing that we sat down with Trion’s Mervin Lee Kwai, Producer on ArcheAge to chat about precisely that…
MMORPG.com: Let's talk about what the Trion and XL teams have been working on most since launch. I know there were some bumpy roads, but how have the fights against hackers and the like been going?
Mervin Lee Kwai: It’s been an interesting time, and we’re happy to be getting these bad actors out of ArcheAge! We’ve build up an extensive suite of automated and responsive tools that allow us to detect and ban hackers and botters. With the tools we have, thousands of bad actors are getting banned every day. Over the last few months, we’ve been tweaking our tools to add in more details to help us better identify the bad actors. At the same time, XLGAMES has been adding additional logging, and working with us to make changes in the game to prevent bad actors from being able to do bad things in the first place. It’s really important to us that players are not impacted by hackers and botters, and we’re continuing to improve our tools and processes to make that happen.
MMORPG.com: What about the inflation issue? I understand you're going to introduce alternative drop methods. Can you elaborate?
Mervin Lee Kwai: Inflation is a valid issue and we see it every day as we play the game. The economy is expanding more rapidly than we anticipated and that’s mostly due to an imbalance in the way gold is generated. Gold is funneling to the high end of the crafting system and that inflates all other portions of game play that depend on it. We’re keeping an eye on the overall gold gain of each server group as well as cracking down on third party gold sellers. In addition, we’re looking at how crafting components are entering the world and working to increase that flow especially with regard to Archeum Shards and Crystals. By increasing these drop rates we can empower crafters to craft more often and the end result is better, cheaper gear for everyone.
MMORPG.com: Loyalty upgrades are coming, along with the sloth glider. But will these items be permanent use, or just limited timed usage? I think that's one of those things that's frowned upon here in the Western audience.
Mervin Lee Kwai: Items that can only be used for a limited time are only obtained through in-game systems or promotions and are not a component of our Marketplace or Loyalty Store. Items that we put on the Loyalty Store will stay there for as at least as long as it take to earn the Loyalty to get them. Once the player obtains the item it’s permanent! We have some really great mounts, combat pets and costumes that will be added to the game over the next couple months and it’s our intent to also provide them for LP. I don’t want to give any spoiler information but what has 4 legs, white feathers, and glides?
MMORPG.com: You've stated that there's going to be a weekly ranking system for the Arena and Fishing tourney. What kind of rewards and prestige can players expect to see?
Mervin Lee Kwai: I’m super excited about return of the Arena and Fishing tournaments. In Alpha, we had these enabled for a short while, until we realized their rewards were way too high for our version of the game. We’re talking in the thousands of gold range for fishing and thousands of honor for the PvP tourney. These events allow players to pit their skills against each other in combat and… fishing to see who rises to the top for that week. The Arena tournament includes honor as a reward and bragging rights, of course. The Fishing tournament has a bunch of cool rewards that range from player wearable skill bonus hats, wall-mountable fish trophies and the magnificent mermaid bathtub. Yes, a bathtub.
MMORPG.com: You announced plans to adjust the work needed for the top-tier rewards. Can you fill us in on how that will be handled to make sure it's appropriate across all kind of rewards?
Mervin Lee Kwai: It’s important to us that players who spend the time and effort to get the top-tier in-game rewards get a reward that’s worth the time and effort that it took to get them. We’re working with XLGAMES to find a way to ensure that these items are just a little bit better than other items in the game. For instance, the top end Honor mount takes a lot of PvP time to get, and they should be a bit faster or better than the other mounts. We don’t have any specifics yet as we’re still talking through it with XLGAMES, but once we do, we’ll be sure to share.
MMORPG.com: How about the upcoming level cap increase and new landmasses. How is that being handled here as opposed to where it's already been done in the Korean version. Will there be changes?
Mervin Lee Kwai: Our main focus at the moment is the Secrets of Ayanad content release. We’ve been referring to this big update as “Diamond Shores” or “the 55 patch” but neither of those names are as neat. The new Diamond Shores zone includes a smaller open world housing area, commerce hubs for both easterners and westerners, quests and creatures designed to supplement a player’s journey to the new level 55 cap and of course the Ayanad Library. The NA/EU version of Diamond Shores will be very similar to the Korean version with the exception of ours being PvP enabled. This is a hot topic with our players right now with equal parts supporting the change and others against it. Our main goal with the change is to encourage world PvP and remain similar to the other 6 Auroria zones in which PvP is also enabled. The new Ayanad Library Dungeon will remain a no-PvP area to provide at least some respite for players who are focusing on PvE objectives. We’re in the process of creating a 4-part spotlight in which we’ll fully detail the upcoming content and all of its exciting features so stay tuned for that!