Then I asked Scott to sort of clarify the way ArcheAge uses both a traditional quest structure and mixes it with the sandbox to ease people into the freedom it presents. There is a content path, a main story from 1-50, but you’ll only see about half the world while progressing through the story. You start out in an area with quest hubs, quest progression, in your own racial starting area. This is intended as a way to introduce you into the world. Within one or two quests, you wander into a mine, and you start picking away at rocks, start leveling up that tradeskill.
Then you start seeing vegetation in the world, notice you can pick it. Then you find you can chop trees down, and realize you’re carrying all of these bits and pieces to aid in tradeskilling. It all opens up as you progress. There’s a whole other quest overhead for tradeskills, and farming, which leads you quickly into owning your own farm. So you’ll get a safe place to make your own, pull up water from a well, and water your crops. Or if you want to just plant stuff in the wild, be ArcheAge’s version of Johnny Appleseed (or Joe Sunflower as Scott called it), you can. Right from level 1, you could ignore the quests and story, and just go off and work on your own. Scott mentioned that Amary (Associate Producer on AA, formerly Rift) went from 33-40 JUST tradeskilling over the break.
As if that wasn’t enough, Scott wanted to make sure to drive home why AA will be unique among the many MMOs set to launch in 2014. You’ll get your own hang glider, customize it, kit it out to make it bigger and faster, but also make it shoot other gliders out of the sky. You’ll raise your own pets and livestock from babies, effectively becoming a master at husbandry if you so desire. The first time you summon a boat you’ve spend hours working towards will leave you breathless. You’ll see that there are air tanks to go scuba diving with, even two for guests or friends. You’ll find a harpoon gun, portable harpoons for protection underwater. What other modern MMO lets you build your own plantation, drydock, and craft a boat from scratch? Lastly Scott brought up treasure hunting. You’ll quickly find just how much importance is tied to crafting once you find a treasure map but realize you need to head underwater to get at the booty. You need a sextant (crafted), a dive-helmet (crafted) and other supplies. And when the day’s over, and all the adventuring is done, maybe you’ll find a local pub and cozy up with friends while a guild member plays you one of their own arrangements on his or her hand-made instruments.
ArcehAge is shaping up to be the quintessential sandbox, a game many have long been waiting for. The standard MMO trappings like dungeons and quests are there, but it’s what goes beyond those details that will draw you in and capture your imagination. Scott’s a gamer through and through, and his excitement for AA is absolutely palpable. If his fervor for XLGAMES’ magnum opus is to believed, then we have a lot to look forward to this Spring as development progresses on ArcheAge. Be sure to head over to ArcheAgeGame.com (Trion’s official site), sign up for the newsletter, and keep an eye out for beta updates.
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.
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