I recently looked back at a game I spent a little time with a long time ago – ArcheAge. A long time ago I tried it out, created a character, spent a few hours and dropped it. I don’t remember why I dumped it so quickly. I didn’t even have enough interest at that time to review it here on this blog, so I can’t find out when I did this. But things have changed and I’m spending more time there now.
If you are looking for an “old school” but beautiful MMO with some modern features and good graphics, a wonderful open world to explore and some interesting challenges, ArcheAge may be interesting.
Why ArcheAge Now?
Folks seem to be asking for Retro-MMOs. Vanilla Wow? More challenge? Maybe you might have to respawn? [need to be careful with my language here to avoid waking up the Bots] Anyway, Here’s what I found when I came back. The game is Free To Play and has been dissed for being Pay to Win in the past, but I’m just here to play, not to win. I might spend something on a game where I’m having fun. But my friend does not get to play many hours a week, so a subscription does not make sense.
You can play with your friends.
The starter mounts from your level 11ish quest can be ridden by two folks. Maybe it’s a horse or an Elk or a Boar, or a Pangolin but you can both ride together.
There are no Solo Quest instances – at least up to about level 20 on several characters and I’ve not seen any story instances or solo dungeons. Hurray. You and your friend can work together however you would like. Are you ahead? You can be a healer or support for your friend. In a party or not, they will get their work done and you both get credit. The credit is not scaled to your level, but hey. It is what it is. This is a big change from Tera – see previous post – or FFXIV where there are solo instances every few quests where you are locked out and alone.
The Loot does not scale. But there are useful things that drop. If you are a mentor at a higher level then set the loot rules to free for all and then “Pass” and check the box to do that every time from now on. But be careful, loot is often soul-bound when it’s picked up.
The Open World is absolutely beautiful and not at all claustrophobic.
There are forests, deserts, mountains, rivers and snow covered peaks. And you can swim, glide, row a boat, ride a mount and who knows what else. There are no loading screens between zones. I’ve noticed some odd white flashes – like single frame white flashes – but I don’t know if that was a zone boundary. It did not slow my running mount down or glitch at all. And there are no narrow passages between zones that I could see. ArcheAge uses CryEngine 3, and it looks great to me. I’m playing on a 2K monitor – 2560×1440 – with an RTX 2060 and it’s great.
Transportation is Available.
There are steam wagons, and airships and rowboats and probably ships – not seen them yet. And like Wow, the Airship flights are Real Time, so don’t be in a rush. You can teleport, but it costs a hereafter stone. And if you ride your mount you and your mount gain XP for riding together. You get a glider which will fly a long long way. In the picture below, I flew off the mountain and way way down to the road below, all in one flight. GW2 gliders and Tera Flying Mounts run out of steam pretty fast. These gliders have a long glide slope and will fly forever. They are a little sluggish to control – needlessly so based on how mounts are, but they don’t fall out of the sky for no reason. Yep. I flew a glider like 2 miles in this game from a really really high mountain where the Dwarves live.
Plenty of Races and classes to choose from. And you can combine the classes for more variety. You can have three classes – skill sets – active at once. So you can be a Plate Wearing, Sword Slicing, Healer if you want to.
There is a racial starter mount for each race – 6 total, 3 of each faction. You get them early – level 11 – after only a few hours of play. And it’s easy to get the other 2 from your faction and possible to get the complete set of 6 by rowing to the other continent and sneaking past the guards to buy the mounts from the other faction merchants. That’s on my list of things to do.
There is customizable Player Housing. Which never appeared in Wow or GW2 and is way too expensive in FFXIV. I’m not sure about ArcheAge, but there are lots of plots that are in the open world, not hidden away in instances like in FFXIV. I have not yet studied player housing.
There is lots of crafting. I’ve not studied that either. But I did see a simple recipe for a Glider so if you lose yours, make one. And a rowboat too I think. If you don’t want to just buy another.
What is it like?
ArcheAge is sort of like a modernized version of Wow. It’s about like Wow / Pandaria in Graphics Resolution and Quality of Life features.
ArcheAge is more like Vanilla Wow than more modern MMOs. You have to fight for what you get. And you’ll have to res if you don’t plan. But it’s no big deal. The walks from the Res Shrines are short. You aren’t OP unless you work for it. But unlike Vanilla Wow, the mobs don’t come after you from long distances to gang up on you. As a level 12 or so, you can easily run past level 20-40 mobs on your way to get your other faction mounts. The roads are safe. You pretty much have to pick a fight to be in danger.
Hitting a Wall?
Some of my characters – four so far – are hitting a wall at about level 18 or so. The quests / mobs I’m seeing are 20 – 22 and I’m only 18 and that’s a problem. I need to be at or above level. I’ve run out of MSQs and zone quests in the areas where I’m playing.
One of my go-tos for this situation would be to run a few dungeons to level up. But there is no cross server dungeon finder. There is a Server Only Raid Finder – which nobody uses. The first dungeon is level 18 – 20 – looks like requires 18, 20 is suggested. But my friend can’t play right now.
There are a ton of folks using Multi-boxing – which is permitted as long as you don’t using Botting software. You need to look those up. I don’t feel like doing a tutorial here for those. But the bottom line is that folks are leveling like 5-10 characters at a time by having them run around together. Which is legit with terms of service if done manually. But that’s not my style anyway.
I’ve discovered if you are out of quests, and you just kill some mobs that are hanging out, you often get a quest after killing 8 – 10 of them which instantly completes and gives you some relevant XP. Sort of like Fates from FFXIV except they are hidden. This is cool. I did a computation tho. Assume I get about 155xp for killing a level 18 mob and I have about 76000xp to get from level 18 to level 20 – from the XP chart I found online. That means I have to kill about 500 of those mobs before I reach level 20.
I’ll search all the starting areas and sweep all the quests I can find to see what happens.
Things go a lot faster with a friend since you can do those quests for higher level mobs. But things worked very well up through level 16 or 18. I hope there isn’t just an XP wall in the design at this level that’s really hard to pass. We’ll see.
Don’t worry about Mob Levels.
They are more of a suggestion than a rule. In most games when a mob is a level or 2 above you, you are in trouble. But in this game, if you do all the quests, at about 20 you find that you will be fighting mobs a level or three above you and it’s works fine.
Here’s me polishing off a 24 mob when I’m 21. As you enter White Arden [Nuia] at about level 20, you’ll be pressed by mobs that seem to be a few levels higher like you are behind. But take heart and press on. It all works out.
Skill Choice Changes
And I figured out that you don’t want to choose Vitalist as a primary class to start. Choose Sorcerer instead and then add Occultism and Vitalism. Sorcerer is the classic Glass Cannon, and you can back that up with powerful Debuffs with Occultism and self or friend healing with Vitalism. I changed my Vitalist to this mixture and am much happier. About level 20 or 21 you meet a priest at a Res Shrine with a quest to let you change your classes around at will.
Here I am half way through the process of changing to Cultist which is Sorcery / Occultist / Vitalist. The Vitalist doesn’t hit very hard as a Primary Class, but the Sorcerer is very powerful and you will love the first rapid fire cannon skill she has. Ice ’em down with Ice Arrow, then debuff them with a couple of Occult skills and then shoot them to toast with the fire cannon skill. It’s a fun way to go.
Oh. Two more things
So, apparently the character models have changed in the last couple of years. There are no sliders for the shape of the character bodies in the game. Here is a comparison between the original character I made a couple of years ago and one I created a few days ago? See any differences? I’ll leave it up to you. I can’t explain it.
In each photo, the original Nuian character from a couple of years ago is on the right, and the new one, also Nuian – see the ears, is on the left. You tell me. They changed the character models, right? And you don’t get the new models by just logging in. Like I said, there are no body sliders in the character creator. I’m not complaining. I’m just say’n.
And another thing. They got the hooves for the Boar Mounts wrong.
So porcine hooves are Cleft. Two main toes with two high trailing toes. The Boar Mounts in ArcheAge have three toes. Why don’t these folks look this stuff up before they make the models? The Elk and Horses are correct. I have not checked the Pangolin models in detail. But someone doesn’t know their porcine anatomy, apparently.