This is a personal review that covering every respect in ArcheAge wrote by KeksX I found from archeagesource.com. I think this is really useful.
-> Conclusion: Classes and Combat
-> Conclusion: Leveling
-> Conclusion: Ships, Vehicles and Mounts
-> Liberty Island
-> Northern Continent
-> Honor Points
-> OpenPvP Problems
-> Crafting then and now
-> Fishing, Mining, Composing, Trading and Education
-> Conclusion: Crafting, Farming and Professions
-> Housing: Starbox, Ollo Cinema
-> Conclusion: Housing and Trading
-> Gliding, Exploring and Traveling
-> Conclusion:PvEand general stuff
-> KR Community
-> Stories from Korean ArcheAge
-> User Interface & AddOns
-> The Problem with Free To Play in Korea
-> Link list
-> Closing Words
after all the years I've been waiting for ArcheAge I finally got the chance to play it. I'm playing the game since about march and have had a lot of fun with it. Because Trion is now finally starting to get at least some information out, I decided to write a review about the game for all the new players that are becoming more and more interested into the game.
This is a try to get rid of all the misinformation about the game and to educate new community members. This is not a detailed guide about every gameplay aspect, it is meant for those who don't have a chance to play it but still want to know what this game is about.
I'm currently enjoying the game, even though it has flaws I'm going to point out, and that means that everything in this review will have a positive bias. Although this is a personal review, I will try to be as objective as possible, but as most of you know this is pretty hard, so please excuse me if there is anything wrong.
Also, as the game progresses and more updates are incoming, I will try to keep this review as updated as possible. Things can change and I will acknowledge that. Same goes for commpleteness: I will update this review with more and more content and even re-write certain parts depending on feedback.
Another important point: I don't claim to know everything, I tend to make mistakes as any other human being. If you find any flaws, please point them out and I will change the review.
The ArcheAge World
The endgame starts at level one
To give you some perspective about the game, let me tell you about what ArcheAge is about.
Generally, ArcheAge is your typicalMMORPG. You start the game, level up as you do quests, kill monsters and strengthen your character. You team up with friends and meet new, stronger enemies as you progress. And then you chill out in the cities and craft new stuff for you and your group. There is nothing really special about that.
However, in every gameplay aspect there's a little more depth in ArcheAge than in your usualMMO. You level up through different activities: crafting, grinding, questing and everything that is fun. Even while exploring you still get further in a way, even if it's just knowledge or gold.
You also don't just upgrade your character just as everyone else, you get to choose out of different trees and combine them to make your own class that best suits your playstyle. With a total of 120 combinations you really have the ability to pick what you like best. And even then, with limited skill points to spend and way more skills available, once you've chosen a combination of trees you still have to choose which skills to use, so the combination you use might be the same someone else uses, but you can still have different abilities.
When you've chosen your character's faith regarding his abilities, it's not written in stone. You can change your trees anytime and readjust skills as you wish. You don't lose any progress in your old trees and can go back anytime. So your friend that was the healer last time could be your tank tomorrow - after a lot of work of course.
There is also a big dynamic world out there that doesn't wait for you and moves on. While you craft your gear and gather goods to trade, other players prepare too. And not all of them want the best for you. Instead, they want your best. Your money.
There are other players, pirates or just an enemy faction, that don't care about how you just spent 2 hours planting the materials and harvesting them 10 hours later, now expecting some nice profit. They draw their weapons on you and force you to either defend yourself or lose your profit and investment.
After you've lost all your goods, you start to team up with more people. You form a guild, you start protecting yourself. Start seeing others getting attacked, and offer help. In return they pay you for defending them and you just founded a mercenary guild.
That's a simple thing that can happen in ArcheAge and this is just a major "feature" that is not mentioned by XLGames explicitly. And that is what ArcheAge makes for me:
There are so many features and even though it is not a pure sandbox game, you are free to do whatever you want to do and you wil have fun with it.
To take this point a little bit more literally, the world of ArcheAge is best described as medival steampunk-fantasy.
I know, this does not really make sense, but in a way it's the only way to describe the world. You have swords, magical fireballs and shining armors.
But you also got steampowered cars, tractors and casino slot machines.
The ArcheAge world: "Ark"
The most criticized topic in ArcheAge is the combat. It is a simple tab-targetting combat system with no player aiming involved. Everything is pretty much standard, but combined with the class system which I will explain later it is a neat system. People say it's boring, stale and not state of the art anymore, but I don't agree with that.
While the combat system is indeed not very innovative, it has all the good stuff that you could think of and if you put some time into it, it is really enjoyable.
But lets take a quick look at the details:
You target via clicking/tabbing. You lock a target and begin to cast your spells. The melee range is pretty close, so you have to really take care of your movement.
There's enough gap closers for you to take care of your mistakes though and a big variety of other skills can help you out in any situation.
There's also stealth in the game, but unlike in other games where you can not be seen by anyone if you stealth, you get revealed if you get too close to your target. The detection range is around 8 meters and gets higher or lower depending on the lvl difference between you and your enemy.
On the technical side it is also pretty advanced. You have not only a collision detection with players which enables neat things like body blocking, but there's also an obstacle detection for ranged which is pretty accurate for the most part. On ships though there are some annoying things; if you fight between package slots you can still hit ground-aoes while ranged skills won't work.
The combat system also heavily favors good movement. You have to face the target to attack and with proper movement and skill usage you can avoid dmg or break combos simply with being in a better position. Together with the synergy system which allows instant casts, extra damage etc through the use of specific combinations of skills, you have a really complex system that has yet to be fully understood.
You can also attack via glider(bombs, arrows), ships(cannons), tanks(cannons) and mounts(different depending on which mount you have). There are also combat pets you can use to support you in a fight!
Considering the lag we have with our connection to Korea, the combat system feels okay.
However, there are some things that need to change:
- Skill lock. Once you've began casting a skill you don't stop if your target runs out of range.
- Obstacle detection should be improved.
- Ground-based AoEs ignore any kind of detectiion - they work even through houses.
Here are some video sources on the topic
KoreanPvPvideo, shows general flow of fights
ArcheAge has a really simple class system that gets more and more complex the further you dive into it.
There are 10 trees of active and passive skills and in the beginning of the game you can pick 3 of them. The tree you pick at creating your character has to be a fighting tree, so that you actually have the ability to defend yourself.
The next trees at Lv5 and Lv10 are your choice completely, and after that you can change the trees or just reset the skills in a tree as often as you need - it only costs money!
There are no status points you can pick or level up, everything is based on character level and gear, which includes basic boni from gear, lunar stones and so on.
The character system actually gives you the opportunity to create a class that best fits your playstyle.
For example, if you like to tank, there's the Fortification tree which has powerful shield and self-support skills together with some CC. Combine that with Combat and you got a decent sword and board character. Now you only need to ask yourself: Do I need more damage or do I need more utility? This will decide what third tree you want.
But of course, this doesn't mean that everyone with Combat and Fortification is just a pure tank. The Predator, which is Combat, Calling and Fortification, is a powerful CC burst class with the ability to tank as well.
Some trees live up to their own and could potentially be good even if you don't use any other trees, but you will never use your full potential if you don't combine different skills. Heck, you could even combine a melee weapon tree with a magic tree. Just try it, I've seen it deal some massive damage.
If you have a tree selected, it gains XP just as your character does. Those 2 are different kind of levels: The level of the tree changes what skills you can pick and how strong they are, your character level changes what gear you have, what basic stats you have and so on.
Replacing a tree with a different one will not delete the progress you made on that tree. If you switch back again you will have the same tree level you had before.
10 different trees and you can have 3 active. There are no restrictions on what you choose meaning that theres a total of 120 combinations.
On first glance, this seems a bit too much. And sometimes I think it is. I think that there could very well be worthless combinations, but so far I didn't find any. Personally I have a Predator and my other charcater is an Apostle, which is Death / Devotion / Will. On this character I'm currently trying to get all my trees on Lv50, starting with Magic, Calling and Artistry. Just by doing this I get so many more combinations I can try. The Grim Reaper, the "Death March Performer" etc... all powerful classes.
To "stay on the carpet", as we Germans like to say: there are cookie cutter builds. As you can imagine, the Predator is a really popular class because of it's powerful CC and burst combo as well as the Grim Reaper, which has really high magic burst that is hard to avoid. You can do a lot with gear and proper skillpicking though. You can react to "the meta", however there will be always someone that has the perfect combination against you and you will end up dead.
But when this happens, groups come into play. The current system in ArcheAge heavily favours players that work together and build up so called synergies in their trees to get the best out of their combinations.
Synergies are extra effects, buffs or debuffs, that you get through using skills of different trees. A quick example:
The Will tree has magic shield that heals you everytime you receive magical damage. While you have the shield buff, you can instantly cast the first skill of Devotion, which is either a healing skill or a magical damage skill, depending on whether the target(including yourself) is friendly or not.
There are a lot of synergy effects in the game and if you know how to utilize them, you can create powerful classes that are stronger than most others - but don't let yourself be fooled: Just because there is a synergy in a class you don't have to use it. When in a group, you can build powerful combinations even without using most synergies.
If you want a detailed topic about synergies, please refer to Rip's Guide I linked to at the end of this section.
The combat system together with the class system has the potential to be something really, really fun. I'm enjoying it in Korea very much now that I found out how to properly build gear and a build, and I highly recommend you to play around with the things you have once you get your hands on the game.
However, there are some things I want to point out:
The combat inpvpis really gear dependant. If you are Lvl50 and face another Lv50 that has better gear than you, it feels like you are Lv1 again. This can be very frustrating for players not in a guild or dedicated group, but personally I don't have a problem with this. The real problem is how hard it is to get to that gear, but I will talk about that later.
You could also argue that you are forced to play specific combinations or pick specific skills to be able to survive inpvp/pve, so when you want to do some seriouspvp/pveyou are much more restricted in the class you want.
But this is only a possibility, I have yet to see someone asking for your spec or anything like that, however I can see that being a big problem in EU/NA. I'm talking about things likeDPSmeter or stuff like that. The game itself allows for really different combinations, but it's up to the community to handle it properly.
Conclusion: Classes and Combat System
The class system definitely has the possibility to become one of the best we've seen in the past few years. There are some issues still, such as the cookie cutter builds that take away from the feeling that you can truly do anything, but that is only a minor problem in my opinion. With the current combat system, you really have the opportunity to make many things work that look weird or even bad on paper.
The gear dependancy can be seen as either bad or good. In my opinion, it is okay, but it is way too hard to get highest tier gear. For more information on getting gear, see the crafting section
With synergies and the heavy focus on group play, we have a nice system that rewards players thinking for themselves, doing things that are not just standard and general smart play. Tab-Targetting doesn't hurt the game at all, as with the current featureset(collision detection etc) it feels advancade and it works pretty well in any situation.
Both systems are definitely a strong point about ArcheAge.
For more detailed views on classes, check out those links:
(Outdated skills, still useful to get an idea of the skilltrees.)
(General character status information)
(ArcheAge english skill calculator – thanks to the german Impact guild!)
(Synergy list by Rip)
Good example of the stun lock Predator (keep in mind that this is a grim reaper, the perfect example of a glass cannon.
Don't WorryPvPGuild Movie - Really good Naval Warfare!
Leveling is really quest-heavy in ArcheAge, there's no doubt about that.
However, with so many other things involved in the game such as crafting, exploring and the obvious grinding, it's hard to ever only do quests. If you're not a hardcore-thempark player, you will find yourself doing so many other things: Chopping down trees, farming ore and stone and refining them, craft packages and sell them, craft constructions etc.
All that stuff gives you XP and lets you forget about leveling for a while, while still giving you a nice reward for your work.
If you don't want to do that, you get rewarded for grinding as well: there are kill streak quests that give you bonus XP and some potions that make you stronger for a while(can only be used up to a certain level, not exploitable).
As someone that hates questing, I really dislike the fact that without doing them, I don't stand a chance to catch up with the guys doing it. Yes, grinding is rewarded, but not as much as questing is. With quests you can easily grind a little bit to still get the grinding rewards and the amount of money and xp you get from each quest is insane.
Although the quests are quite fun sometimes, the majority of them involves running around, pressing F and killing monsters. No other game does it differently, however I just wish the alternative, grabbing some friends and grind the *§$%&/%! out of some monsters was just as worthwhile.
But talking about the positive aspects of questing: The story of ArcheAge, and thus the quests and storylines, are based on a famous korean novel by Jeon-Min Hee, that means that even if gameplay-wise the quests might not be wonderful, if you are into lore there is a lot of stuff to read and explore. There are currently 2 books about ArcheAge and many short stories about the lore – so it's not your typicalMMOwithout a soul.
While leveling, you will also have the possibility to go through several dungeons that are, I have to admit, a fun relief compared to the open world that is sometimes lackluster. You also use those dungeons later on to farm pet or mount gear.
The difficulty of leveling is in general pretty low. The record to Lv50 is currently 12 hrs 34 mins(source: Fido). It is much harder to get all trees on Lvl50 for the simple reason that you have fewer quests available.
When you make a new character, you also get a lot of help from the game such as better Lvl20 gear and Adventurer's Potions that really boost your overall efficiency. You don't have all that in high lvl and thus have to work hard for every bit of XP, making Lvl50 something not really worthwhile if you don't aim for "high end content" straight away. The real deal is getting all trees on max level.
Leveling in ArcheAge is nothing unique, but it is also not bad. You have plenty of stuff to do. Whether it is crafting, sailing or simply just grinding on a spot that looks lovely: you will rarely get bored in the open world. However, the same old quests that are absolutely needed to do can get boring if you are not interested in crafting or doing anything else. Dungeons are a nice change for those players, but I would rather see a better open world questing system.
If you are like me, someone who enjoys the open world much more than the instanced world, you will have fun as long as you try to take everything ArcheAge gives you. Take your time crafting, farming and participating in the open world and you will have a blast leveling. Rush through the game and you will be burnt out pretty quick if you don't know how to level to 50 in <24 hrs.