ArcheAge Begins is the new mobile game that shares its name with the Trion Worlds Archeage MMO that many of us are familiar with, but the comparisons stop there. ArcheAge Begins is in its second closed beta, but ironically is open to anyone who can find it. The closed beta has just wrapped up and all data has been deleted and will not be saved for Global Launch.
ArcheAge Begins is an Android game developed by XL Games, published by Gamevil and is a prequel to the sister MMO, in fact it takes place 2,000 years in the past. The story goes that this is a tale of a time before the history of Nuia and Haranya when Auroria flourished. In this land there are two clans, the Ipna and the Akasch. The two clans battled, Ipna won and the Akasch were sealed into a different dimension. All was good in the world; however, the library was holding a secret regarding the Mother Goddess who created the world. Playing the rest of the intro, you’ll see what that secret was and why our heroes venture “out”.
For the most part, this is a mobile game like most others with in app purchases, stamina “waits” built in, resource gathering, hero points gathering, etc. Where ArcheAge Begins starts to differ is in its real-time squad based combat. You always start a quest with a team consisting of a squad of four heroes of your choosing. Some of these names should sound familiar if you’ve logged into the MMO, e.g. Tahyang, Aranzeb, Kyprosa, etc.
The overall battle is automated but each hero has a primary skill on a cooldown. When that cooldown is over that hero’s skill shows up as a “card” in the lower right-hand bottom of your screen with a number 1,2,3 at the top of it. To execute the skill, you swipe up and “at” one of the three numbers (which represent enemy positions). This acts as a form of targeting for that skill whether it be friend (for healing) or foe (for attacks). As a player, you can select any hero portrait that is off cooldown to execute their special ability. So during battles it’s a player action of tap, swipe up and at (with optional hold and release).
Other differentiating factors are:
- Collecting materials through fishing and raising livestock
- Using gathered materials to manufacture and trade goods
- Plundering merchant vessels to earn gold
- Selling Specialty Goods at the auction house! It's the fastest way to build wealth
- Co-op dungeon raids
- Boss raids
While we didn’t get a chance, or far enough to take in all forms of gameplay supposedly there is also PVP as you defeat other players to conquer Auroria and become an Honorable Lord as well as Territory Battles and Annihilation Battles.
Other than that, everything else seems familiar for stock mobile games nowadays. There is a three-point star rating system for battles. You need to collect hero tokens to unlock new heroes. You collect all forms of jewels, currency (gold), etc. to level up weapons and gear. Taking a page out of the MMO book the game does haves a talent tree system in place for each hero where you can choose different “normal attacks” (those through automated battle) and “use skill” (the one you deliver with the card system).
Overall, the graphics and cutscenes are above par, the gameplay is slightly different and not terribly chaotic or boring. Other than that, this mobile game offers a lot of things to do if you can live with the now stereotypical formula of mobile shop (paid items were not available during the CBT), stamina wait, resource gathering, daily login rewards, daily challenges template the game seems to have otherwise adopted.