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ArcheAge PC Review

A mighty fine start from a mighty fine company.

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You’d think there’d be a lot riding on a brand-new MMORPG from Trion Worlds – The guys who brought up Defiance and RIFT. After both of those games turned to the F2P side, it was odd to imagine them trying to leave their mark with yet another resource-heavy business trip that’s keeping another huge-scale game up to scratch; but they’ve managed it. Again.

By this point it’s not hard for me to say just how prominent Trion are with their ventures. True as it may be, both of their prior ventures into the MMORPG market may have not held onto a comfortable player-base for as long as they’d hoped, it’s also not hard to understand that when just about any monthly-cost game is seeing numbers dropping like flies in the wake of the ‘F2P Revolution’. They’re keeping up with the times. And when they’ve honed their craft to produce 2 well-recieved and superbly well-made entries into the tired genre – it’s little surprised to see them deliver onto us another well-rounded variant.

ArcheAge wasn’t doing that much to surprise me going into the first couple of hours – yet the momentum of that decision took off skyward more quickly than any other MMORPG I’ve played in the past. And I’ve certainly played my fair share. Coming to terms with a type of game that essensially feeds from the brunt of your free time, you either have to fall in love the moment you log into your potential new virtual lifestyle, or risk closing, deleting and forgetting the game in the first couple of minutes. When 100s of MMORPGs have come and gone in the past, it’s difficult to find something within the first hour that doesn’t feel like just another one of those tired attempts.

While it’s certainly true that combat throughout ArcheAge feels a little tiresome, it definitely does get better as you steadily beef yourself up against the wildlife and crooks strolling around the killing fields. Just like any other, you’ll start of with a small selection of the skills you’ll eventually have to come to terms with – and when you’re having to choose which of the skills from your 3 chosen hybrid-class trees, you’ll quickly become spoilt for choice. The combo system that enables each attack to trigger additional effects from the correctly places last move allows you to pull of some pretty satisfying strings of brutal blows, but you will find yourself repeating a solid rotation without much trouble for a good while before having something else to add to the mix.

What ArcheAge misses out with on combat, it easily makes up for it fluidity. Questing in MMORPGs has gotten to a point these days where it’s essentially the same old system no matter which game you play. You’ll slowly venture around hour upon hour looking for jobs to do and things to kill – usually a combination of the two – get paid for the effort and grow a little stronger before having to search for your next objective in an endless cycle. It’s the same principle here, but it all comes together in a way that makes it a near effortless adventure. Gliders, mounts, speed increases and the actual ability to run and the majority reasons of why questing in ArcheAge is so much more enjoyable.

The end objectives may be the same old thing, sure, but completing one quest leads straight into another set, and running up to the top of a high hill, pulling out your glider and drifting along the sky straight toward your next adventure just makes so much more sense than having to fight your way through endless cannon-fodder lining the silk road path of peasants heading in the same direction. Cutting out the crap and taking the scenic route makes the inevitable 100th kill-quest noticeably more bearable. And simple keyboard shortcuts to interact with NPCs and accept thier task without question only makes the day-job run that much more smoothly. Little to no interruptions in your expected grind to greatness.

Those who have played their fair share of massively multiplayer online role-playing games will, at this point, understand their own frustration when it comes to questing and levelling a brand new character. You’ve done it so many times, wriggled free from the grind chains and escaped into the high-level dungeon/raid content that so many of use come to these games for that you might be feeling a little exhausted and demoralised by the prospect of doing it once again. I get it. I really do. But I can say with 100% certainty that this isn’t going to feel quite as infuriatingly dull as your last prior attempts.

 

Even so, you might not end up fighting your way into the big-leagues of heroism or plundering your way to the depths of the ArcheAge trial court and legal system. Absolutely not. On your way to becoming a legendary hero, you might just decide to replace your weathered sword for a cultivating hoe, woodcutting axe or even drag bricks back and forth to build yourself a comfortable retirement home and live out your days pulling potatoes from the ground to pay off your housing tax.

As out of place as that sounds, it’s the epitome of what any MMORPG should be. Not everyone wants to live their virtual life as a armour-clad Barbarian or a shoddy healer watching their team-mates hit the ground. Some want nothing more than to come home from work and work some more in a slightly more relaxing environment. And though ArcheAge doesn’t do the best job of introducing you to it’s 30+ professions, they’re certainly there ready and waiting to breathe a new-found depth into the general conventions of a role-playing game’s realistic economy.

Evidently enough, the changes have mirrored their effects into the community. Chat channels are constantly booming with discussion ranging from helpful hints and folks debating just how their ‘Guilty’ vote against a known pick-pocket/PvP thug had gone without sentencing. ArcheAge makes everyone feel like a player making a difference to their server, and it’s exactly that which keeps the community aspect of a ‘Massively multiplayer’ game working together in the long run.

There’s a tonne of good hidden in nearly every aspect of this game. A well-knit community aspect, plenty of reasons to keep playing, a questing system with just enough twists of the bolts to keep it together and enough fresh ideas to have players wandering around endless discovering new details day after day. While ArcheAge may look like just another F2P MMORPG, 5+ hours is all it takes to realise Trion Worlds have put out something special yet again. Graphical inaccuracies are somewhat common, yet still produce some impressive results and any serious bugs/glitches are ironed out with relative speed. It’s just a shame to still be hearing Korean jittering from the mouths of many of the world’s NPCs. But it’s not that big of a deal.

ArcheAge is currently coming across as a diamond in the rough. A stellar amount of content to sink your teeth into, but with little explanation of how to do so. You might be going into this one for the usual glory of felling your enemies, yet come out as a wannabe farmer, tradesman or some form of crooked property business magnate. I honestly can’t remember the last time any MMORPG came along with this much content from the get-go, and that’s precisely the issue others face when it comes to leaking player numbers. They don’t have enough from the start. ArcheAge could very well be the holy grail of the declining MMORPG genre.

TheGamersHub Score
Reviewer: Josh Brown
9.0
10
+ Pros

Tweaks standard questing into a more fluid, approachable format

Crafts a living, breathing world kept alive entirely by player efforts

Offers enough new and old activities to keep everyone happy and fulfilled with their choices

Some breath-taking environments to trawl through

 

- Cons

A few localisation inaccuracies

Slightly dated aesthetics linger between the certain high-quality scenes

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