ArcheAge North America Alpha Test: First Impression
ArcheAge North America (NA) alpha test started 2 weeks ago on 10th April 2014. I just started playing the game 4 days ago. In this article, I will share my first impression on the game and some of the interesting aspects of the game. For your information, this is the first version of ArcheAge I have played, although the Korean and Russian versions of the game have been released earlier. Pardon me if I cannot explain the features in details or commit any mistakes in my comments.
First, let's take a look at the character creation. Players can choose one of the 4 available races: Nuian, Eif, Firran and Harani. Each race has special traits relevant to the gameplay. For example Nuian race has increased double stats buff duration after being resurrected from death and enjoys 30% reduction in construction time for houses and castles, The facial and body features of each races can be fully customized to fine details.
Players can pick one of the Skillsets or classes to start with. However, the game allows you to pick up to 3 Skillsets for each character when you hit level 10. There are a total of 10 Skillsets to choose from and thus, a total of 120 combinations of Skillsets. The Skillset chosen can be changed at the skill manager NPC with a small fee. Therefore, players can try out different Skillset combinations to find a build which suits their play styles.
The skill effects within the same Skillset or from different Skillsets have synergy with one another. For example, "Snare" from Archery Skillset can immobilize an enemy within 5m for 5.1sec while "Shield Slam" from Defence Skillset can inflict additional 31% damage on a snared target. There are many more other skills with such combo and I believe this feature would result in a rich variety of skill builds. During party play, skill combo from different party members can be coordinated and performed as well.
The battle system is the standard point-and-click type. Certain skills are cast instantly while others require a finite casting time. The target must be within the specified range before the skill can be used. Despite the bland looking battle system, there is a few interesting features worth mentioning. There are actually monsters within water such as rivers, lakes etc and in the air, for example birds flying around in the sky. One can actually attack the birds which are flying in the sky as long as the height/distance is within the range of the skill or spell. While battling in rivers the current actually pushes you downstream if you are not swimming against it.
Besides the current in the river, I can't help but notice that the environment in ArcheAge is highly interactive. For example, you can sit on almost every single chair in game, or try to switch on/off any light you come across. You could also try to collect fruits from certain trees, before chopping them down to get logs (the trees actually will be shown fallen and disappear). There are many other materials which players can gather from the world map, such as iron mines, stones, clover, mint, lotus etc. It would be fun, exploring every nook and cranny in the vast world map to gather the required materials for crafting.
The landscape and in-game environment can actually be altered based on players' actions, farming for example. The first farming area allows you to rent a small plot of land, the so-called scarecrow garden, for a weekly fee. On that personal land, you can plant all sorts of vegetation and rear livestock. Water required for the plantation can be fetched from the nearby well.
The crafting and life skills are very elaborate and closely intertwine with each other. For example, one can produce "scramble eggs" through cooking skill. However, you would need 'eggs' as the raw material. To get eggs, you can raise 'chicks' in your farm, wait for them to mature and feed them with 'barley'. To get barley, you will need to plant 'barley seeds' in your farm as well. The livestock can actually be infected with diseases and you will need to treat them with supplement, or else they would just die. If you don't intend to harvest eggs, you can slaughter the chicken for meat also.
One of the strongest selling points of ArcheAge is the sandbox nature and the variety of gameplays available. Although other traditional MMORPG's have some sort of crafting or farming system, battle or pvp is still the core for character growth. ArcheAge, however, provides a totally different way to groom and grow your character. One not only can obtain experience and level up through the conventional questing or killing monsters, but also through performing life skills such as farming, gathering or crafting as well.
Besides character growth, players can work on the growth of their mounts as well. The first mount which are given by quest is a creature called "Leomorph". The mount can act like a pet which follows you around while you are doing quest or battling monster. It will level up as you summon it, whether riding it or battling along side with it, Take note that monsters can kill your mount as well! When your mount reaches level 10, you attack enemies while riding it with its special skill. At higher levels, more advanced skills can be learned, such as Stealth etc. Armors can be equipped to the mount to increase its stats as well.
There are many more features which I have yet to describe in the article, such as gliding, building houses and sailing with ships. Overall, I believe ArcheAge has a huge potential due to its innovative and unique gameplay. Specifically, It would appeal to players who enjoy performing crafting, farming and other life skills, pretty much like Harvest Moon or Farmville, in a much larger and more elaborate world. Players who like exploring a vast world map to gather materials and look for hidden locations would definitely indulge in the game as well.
ArcheAge Live Stream Episode 3: Classes and Crafting
ArcheAge Livestream Episode 2: World Tour & Lore
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ArcheAge New Live Stream Video Shows Housing System
Overview | Races and factions | 120 classes | Trading | Naval battles
Launch trailer | Mounted combat | Crafting | Housing
Popular class builds | How to earn gold | Leveling guide | Breeding guide
Gathering ore | Crafting guide | Glider guide