(Warning, this article will contain my personal story with ArcheAge, and might stray off topic for a bit.)
Archeage was easily one of the most hyped MMORPG’s of the last 10 years. Everyone thought it would be the genre’s messiah, and for a while it was. Indeed, the Alpha version of the game was close enough to perfection. The game was so enjoyable that a lot of players, myself included, ended up getting the $150 founder pack. It started getting it’s issues after the official release, but even then it was still fun. I never regretted buying it, and even now I don’t. So what went wrong?
First of all, Trion went back on their own words regarding their no tricks, to traps policy. Defend them as you wish, but they went back on this promise when they started including items they swore would never appear in the cash shop, turned craftable items into cash shop items, and even failed to deliver a founder pack reward (cash shop discount). They recently even, intentionally or not, admitted that the game was Pay-to-Win.
Next was it’s tagline that most of you should be familiar with now: Craft, Claim, Conquer. Sure you can craft, but are greatly limited by rare ingredients and absurd profession requirements (alchemy being worse off than the other professions). Claim? If you don’t want to spend hundreds of gold to buy some land, you can always go on a dead server to find some. As for conquering, it did exist for a while. But soon enough, you had to swipe your credit card to upgrade your gear and be good enough.
But in all honesty, while the above have been annoying, I wouldn’t have left if it was all about that. My main issue was with how they managed the launches and updates. The early access for founders was bad enough. I was stuck in a queue from day one, and was disconnected twice before being able to make it in. And that was all after the launcher itself had an error. You’ll have guessed it, by the time I was in the game, the land I wanted was all gone, and I had to settle for my third choice. But I still stuck around. This happens with nearly every new MMO.
A few days later, the game went launched for free players as well. Honestly, no one expected it to go well. We all knew the server would get overpopulated and the queues would be a disaster. But clearly, Trion didn’t, or they simply didn’t care. I’ll be crude, I didn’t care either. While the free players were stuck in their queues of 2000 – 3000 players, I was rather comfortable in my patron one. They even made it so that you kept your slot in the game if you got disconnected, so the experience wasn’t entirely bad for me.
What really went wrong was Auroria. I had been excited about this update for weeks. I wanted it to happen ASAP. I sold all my land with the desire to relocate there, and spent gold on buying designs and materials. On the promised day I was both excited and nervous. I knew I would probably have to fight to CLAIM some land, but I was confident I could do it. But of course, things didn’t go as planned. I still don’t get how they managed to mess up an update that was already live in other versions of the game, but they did. Myself and a number of other players were unable to login. The issue went on for hours, and by the time we were finally able to get on, all the land was gone. I was upset, bitter. A whole week of preparation and I ended up with nothing. So I left. I gave away the Apex I had left, some of my gear, and worker’s compensation pots.
Then, a couple of weeks ago I was looking for a game to write about. ArcheAge popped up, and I figured I’d check if there was any worthy topic. I expected nothing out of the game. I didn’t even expect my account to even be alive. But it was. So I took out my clipper on a sail for old times’ sake. And without exaggerations, that was the most fun I’ve had in a MMO, or any online game for that matter, these last two years. The freedom to explore, my ships, the rewarding feeling of completing a trade run, I was immediately drawn back to it all. It took a few weeks of convincing, but I managed to get my friends to give it a try with me, and it has been a great experience so far. I remembered all about why I loved the game. I also realized that I didn’t leave because I didn’t like the game. I left because I didn’t like the way Trion had handled it.
My return was also rewarded with a number of Homecoming gifts (most having a timer of 30mins), including Heroic equipment, an Apex Squall, and Fishing Longliner, and so on.
So yes, if you are one of those that left the game for any reason whatsoever give it another try, preferably before the 3.0 launch so that you can have a good idea of the end game and decide if you would like to invest your time into the game again.