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My short rendezvous with ‘ArcheAge’ leaves me wanting more

‘ArcheAge’ is just finishing up with its open beta. Sadly, I didn’t get to play it as much as I would have liked to, but I did attain level 15, clear the first two areas, get a mount and a glider, and became a wife. Not too shabby, I must say.

ArcheAge

So, what is ‘ArcheAge’? It’s a new F2P MMO (fun fact, almost just typed MOO – lol) from Trion that promises open world sandbox play in a world filled with angst and vengeance. You have your run of the mill mobs – ogres, spirits, small animals – and a basic quest line, with side quests to keep you busy. And of course, there’s crafting. Oh My God the crafting. This is sincerely the most crafting intense game I’ve ever seen apart from games like ‘Minecraft’. Aside from crafting your normal armor and weaponry, you can craft houses and everything that goes in them, boats and ships to take to the sea, and even better gliders so that you can bomb your enemies from above.

By enemies, I mean the other faction. This is a very PvP centric game – if it’s red, it’s dead. There’s no option to go to a strictly PvE or RP server, as there is in ‘WoW’ or other MMOs. PvP is everywhere. However, you better make sure that you’re fighting with honor. If you’re caught doing dishonest warfare (slashing down low level players, for instance), stealing, trashing other people’s farms, or other various offences, you will be taken to trial.

Now, this trial system is a bit different than, say, ‘League of Legends’. You’ll be taken to trial while you’re still online, and you’ll get to see what the jury has to say in the chat log. An interesting take on internet justice. Seeing as how this was open beta, I have no idea how well this will actually work once the game goes live. I’m hoping it cuts down on serious griefing infractions, but we’ll have to see. If it goes too rampant, they may have to scale it back a bit, or leave it for the worst offenders. Pirates, take heed, you may want to stay on your ships.

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Overall, the game is beautiful. To be honest, I had the graphics scaled way back on my machine, because my video card isn’t all that great. I did peek over at my husband’s screen, and the detail was much better. But, even with my lowest setting graphics, I was still pulled in by how well done the graphics are. It’s still not as realistic as, oh y’know, real life, but it’s a major step up from some of the cartoony looks of ‘WoW’ (I’m aware they’ve cranked up some of the graphics. I haven’t played in a couple years, though, so I’m basing off of that.) and demands your attention. The sound is beautiful, and the ambience is also realistic with the chirps of birds or the sound of water.

A few things that could be improved, though — The UI is almost a complete ripoff of ‘Tera’, and could use a little more “oomph”. The map starts out HUGE, but you can choose between small, medium, and large. It’s slightly annoying, though, in that it’s a HUD map with a clear background. That’s okay in some areas, but when you have 50 buildings around you, it’s a little too chaotic. I also had a hard time getting my abilities to go off (I’m a clicker, so sue me.) during battle, or even selecting targets. TAB targeting is basically the only way I could get things done. Something that I like, but other people may not, is the lethargic controls. Just like ‘Tomb Raider’ slowed down the speed of movements to make them more realistic, so did ‘ArcheAge’. Movements such as running, jumping, swimming, and fighting seems slow. But, it does increase its authenticity. You don’t just appear on your mount, you take hold and vault yourself up on that mofo.

If you’re looking for an MMO that offers a true OPEN WORLD experience, I highly suggest trying ‘ArcheAge’. I know I’ll be playing it when the launch happens. And, hey, if you want to get a headstart, you can always become a founder.

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I quit… but years later, I still talk about ‘World of Warcraft’


World of Warcraft is known as the quintessential multiplayer online game… at least it was in its heydey. The folks at Blizzard knew how to make a stunning and thought provoking game, while encouraging teamwork and imagination. It was full of life, along with victories and letdowns came relationships with fellow players and an open world that you could literally spend hours just looking at. But somewhere along the line, it started to falter.

My friends and family like to say, “And on that day, the Lich King died, and World of Warcraft died with him.” There are arguments on whether it’s the fault of the developers for spending so much time on one IP for so long, or Activision and it’s money-mongering ways of trying to appeal to too many demographics (hardcore vs casual). Some place blame on Free-to-Play games saturating the market, while others still uphold the belief that World of Warcraft is the best game out there.

But whether you’re looking for someone to blame, or you think WoW is still alive and well, one thing is agreed upon by everyone I’ve talked to about it. Something changed with the dynamics of the game near the end of the ‘Wrath of the Lich King’ expansion.

WoW didn’t have the same feel anymore. Dungeons that had previously been a major challenge and accomplishment to beat were being nerfed into the ground. More and more “daily quests” were being added for people who didn’t have more than a few minutes to play. Stats were being blown to ludicrous numbers, and epic gear started to lose that “I have to have that” look.

I played up until right after ‘Mists of Pandaria’. At that point, the game just felt like a grind-fest to me, and I no longer enjoyed playing. Back in the days of Vanilla and Burning Crusade, I could play all by my lonesome and still have fun. Near the end of my WoW existence, I would really only log in to chat with my guild mates for a few, before calling it and getting on some other game.

So, where do I place the blame? Honestly, I place the blame on the gamers themselves. So much bitching and complaining about game mechanics, or that something was too hard. That they couldn’t find people to run instances with, or that there weren’t enough things to do in only ten minutes. Even gamers like me, who once enjoyed the game, but soon came to find that they were no longer having fun, but still paid the monthly fee for some reason or another.

You can only feasibly be a great game for one type of player at a time. “Candy Crush” wasn’t made for hardcore gamers that like to sit and waste 5 hours on a game, and they’re not going to change their gameplay to get those gamers to play. But WoW did change. They went from an epic storyline with well developed and nigh impossible end bosses to having pet battles and more quests that you can finish in five minutes than you can shake a stick at.

Blizzard did not keep WoW what it was. And that is the fault of the gamers.

Why do I even bring this up? Well, honestly it’s because I still have conversations about it. The fond memories that we had as guild-mates. The screw-ups, the small victories, the big wins, and the major losses. The many political dramas within the guild that resulted in /gkicks or “soandso has left the guild” messages. The times we couldn’t find our pants in our backpack in the middle of a boss fight, so we didn’t wear any. Fun excursions onto other servers to cause chaos on the other faction. The many holidays spent chasing after some crazy trinket good for one use. Funny or lewd things that would come out of some people’s mouths in the heat of battle. All of this stuff that happened and brought us closer together, not only as an online guild, but also people. And almost NONE of it happened after Cataclysm.

During talk of all these memories, I start to think, “What happened? What changed to make such a drastic difference?” And the answer is simple. We did.

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