Trion, the company behind Rift and Defiance, has a new MMO coming out called ArcheAge. The game went into open beta on September 4th, and I finally got a chance to play. While some things feel new and fresh, most of the game feels very familiar.
The game is based upon the book series Akkiage, by Korean writer Min-Hee Jeons. 2000 years ago, all races lived together in peace. Then war broke out, and the four main races were kicked out of their homelands. Now they are working to retake those homelands.
The four playable races are Nuian (who worship the Goddess Nui), the Elves (who are now a warlike race because of losing their home), the Harani (an Asian culture), and the Firran (cat people).
The story itself feels very similar to that of Guild Wars 2. A group of adventurers go off to seek power, and end up doing something bad. And now it’s your job to set things right. Unlike Guild Wars 2, you actually feel like the hero. You aren’t standing by as the hero does things. Which is good. The player should always feel like the hero!
The classes are pretty standard. The primary skillsets are Battlerage (warrior), Sorcery, Archery, Vitalism (healing), Occultism (necromancy), and Shadowplay (rogue). The support skillsets are Songcraft (the use of musical instruments to heal and buff), Witchcraft (debuffs), Auramancy (buffs), and Defense. When you create your character, you choose from one of the standard skillsets. Then at level 3, you get to choose another. And at level 10, you choose a secondary skillset. This system feels very familiar to the Rift class system.
The mount system is pretty unique. Your first quest to unlocking mounts has you carrying babies to the stablehands. Then you get to choose which color of your races mount you wish. You get a choice of three different colors for each baby (more mounts can be purchased afterwards).
From left to right: Elves baby Elk, Nuian’s baby Lilyut Horse, Harani’s baby Leomorph, and Firrans baby Snow Lion.
From there, you have to grow some feed, then begin the process of “bonding” and raising your mount. This only takes a few moments, but you get to see them grow up. It’s a cute way to do the mount system, and I love it! And after you have raised them to adulthood, they not only function as a mount, but as a pet. They level up as you ride them, have them out walking, and battle with them out (they can also fight for you, but that is either unlocked at a higher level, or not currently in the game). You can put armor on them, and they have some battle skills.
From baby, to adult, to mount.
Some of the new features this game is bringing feel fresh and done in a new way. Customization is huge in this game. Have a sword with really nice stats, but don’t want to lose the look of that really cool glowing sword you’ve used? You can transmute the sword to have the great stats, but still look pretty and glowy. The same can be done with armor and costumes. Costumes are a huge bonus, because not only do they look nice, they stack on top of your armor, and give you a stat boost.
On top of transmogrification, you can also create your own icons. These icons can be stamped on to shirts and cloaks, along with other things. Which leads me into some of the more cool features. You can build houses (only patrons can own land), castles, and ships. And those stamps I mentioned can be used to put your icons on items in your house and the sails of your ships.
Speaking of ships, there’s a lot of PvP in this game. It’s an economy based game, and if you want to knock your opponents out of the economy, what better way to do it than to kill them? And that includes naval battles.
And if there are naval battles, there must be pirates! In fact, there’s a justice system. If you kill someone from the same faction, you get criminal points. At 50 criminal points, you can be arrested. At this point, you can either go to jail for the pre-determined time, or go to trial. A judge and jury of 5 randomly selected players level 30+ will decide innocence or guilt, and jail time will be sentenced. For every criminal point, you receive an infamy point, and at 3000 infamy, you will become a pirate. You can make pirate guilds, do pirate quests, and live on a special pirate island. So, there’s actually a benefit to being bad!
While there are some downsides to the game, such as not being able to own land on a free account, the game is pretty fun. With some fun features, and good game play. it’s definitely a game to check out. The game is set for full release on September 16th.
I give ArcheAge 4 out of 6 dice.