To jump on-board or not? #Archeage

Back from holiday and there’s been quite a lot to read about while I was away, I did keep up with blog posts and gaming news somewhat but found blogging on my mobile too annoying to do much. I’ll need to do some more catch-up posts on the big ticket items that have happened while I was away.

The most imminent near-future news is that Archeage Unchained launches on the 15 October. I’ve played a bit of Archeage over the last year or so, although the current live game isn’t that fun to play as a free-to-play player as you are locked out of so much gameplay (notably housing). Despite the limitations and the low population levelling zones I’ve enjoyed the game’s systems a lot when I have played it. In particular the mix-and-match class system is great, it’s rather reminiscent of Rift’s soul system.

I was initially attracted to it as a game that emphasized crafting and trading as a valid gamestyle. It’s something that I’ve also dabbled in occasionally in Black Desert Online, another MMORPG with quite a lot of depth to the crafting and trading sides, but the combat and character development systems never appealed to me in that MMO.

Why have one talent tree, when you can have three?

The game world is really beautiful to travel around, and so much of it is still totally unseen to me so that’s also a positive factor. Travel is a big part of gameplay with mounts that exist in the world, multiple automated taxi-style options and an unusual selection of player vehicles on land and on water. Oh and every character has a glider as well just for good measure. Each of the personal movement systems have progression systems attached; e.g. you level your horse or other mount as you ride it, and there are skills to unlock.

Featuring a mostly player-driven world, Archeage offers gameplay that other MMORPGs do not (at least to the same extent). Crafting and gathering are very important for driving the player economy, yet like any game with this focus joining as a new player is intimidating. When I tried Archeage the cost of even low level materials on the auction house were way out of my character’s meagre means. Starting again from scratch wouldn’t take long as, unlike in EQ2 or LOTRO, I’ve never progressed that far in levels or crafting skills.

This relaunch of a buy-to-play version of the game by the current publisher Gamigo would offer a golden opportunity to see the game at its best and busiest. A with all progression / classic/ server type experiences it is likely I’d get left behind as we’re fast approaching expansion season for several MMOs that I play regularly. Nevertheless the chance to experience the game anew does tempt me.

The main and overriding negative of doing so is that Archeage by its nature is a ‘needy MMO’, it requires a significant time investment to fully enjoy this style of gameplay. When I looked at crafting in the past it looked complex and rewarding but also very grindy to progress. There are several MMORPGs that I want to make renewed progress in so this re-launch at this time of year poses a dilemma.

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