Impressions of ArcheAge: Trials by Sea

ScreenShot0021It is now way too late. My eyes are aching and sore, my neck is stiff. I’m cursing myself for losing the day, but as I’m sitting here and grinning like a fool my curses don’t have much sting. It has been a long, long time since I’ve had enough fun in a game to indulge in a 12 hour gaming binge. Or maybe it was 13 hours of sitting here, stealing moments here and there to scarf down food or take bio breaks – but I do know it’s been a very long time since a game has engaged me enough for that.

ArcheAge, you’ve got problems. Big ones. But I think you’ve stolen my shriveled and jaded gamer’s heart despite them. 

ScreenShot0124The day started out with dungeon runs. I was disappointed – I still am – to see that dungeons are instanced affairs rather than the large, sprawling open world mazes that I love. But you make up for it to some degree by encouraging high level players to group up with and mentor low level players through them. It’s the social aspect of an MMO that keeps it thriving, and daily quests that reward a max level player for helping out new players will keep new players who join the game even years after its launch from experiencing empty, barren wastelands that everyone has leveled beyond. Actually, I already see more high level players looking for newbies to help than I see newbies seeking it! I rather like that trend.

ScreenShot0125I’ve only run through the first dungeon so far, so this may not hold throughout the entire game – but it also seems as though dungeons don’t require the standard trinity. Rather than making my typical healer, this time I tried out a melee class because the kodachis just look so damn cool, and it seemed as though focusing on keeping the enemies tripped and helpless on the ground was effective at keeping the damage down. I’ve long been wanting a game that rewards working to prevent damage from happening and I’m definitely curious to see if this is a trend I can keep up as I level.

Following up the dungeon runs I went back to questing and leveling. Easily the most boring aspect of ArcheAge. Says the girl who is infamous for her hatred of quest-based games. But seriously – solo questing in ArcheAge is mind-numbingly boring. I managed it for maybe a half hour before moving on…

ScreenShot0119To farming!!

Farming!! Trade runs!! Sailing the seas!! Yes, all these exclamation points are necessary. I’d add more, but even I, with my vast love of them, am aware that too many is just silly.




ScreenShot0137When I got my little garden schematic, I spent hours wandering around the various zones looking for a little place to call home. Actually, I think I spent a couple of days on it. I traveled, I rode my weird dragon thing, I glided across the lands … Land is not the easiest thing to find at this point. But it is still there if you look – at this point I’ve found 3 little patches of land for small farms. As people move around the world plots open up. And of course, there are also people in the real estate trade; I routinely see people trying to sell property.

Let me take a moment here to address a very common scam – there is a way to securely trade land. Don’t ever give money or items to anyone who tells you they’ll release their land after you pay them, and never give up your land to someone who says they’ll pay you once you do. Appraisal Certificates are the way to go – never trade property without them. Unfortunately so far as I can tell the only way to get them is in the cash shop, so boo to that, but they aren’t bind on purchase so it is possible to buy them from someone to use. And as things stand currently there are plenty of players selling things from the cash shop so they are fairly easy to purchase with gold.

ScreenShot0118So, now my little farm is up and running. I have some lovely grape vines, some ducks and geese, a few flowers … I’m all set to begin building my economic empire. You craft your pack, which is freaking heavy, and carry it around the land to vendors who will buy it with prices that reflect the difficulty of your journey. The poor man’s trade route is done via public carriage, which is a good way to start learning your way around. But the further you carry it, the more you make, with the ultimate in wealth coming from cross continental runs. But those are truly dangerous and not for the faint of heart. All manner of dangers await the adventurous merchant in ArcheAge, from sea monsters and sea storms to enemy players.

ScreenShot0129I spent a while carrying packs around, but eventually hit the point where I wanted a large farm – which required a run to the enemy continent. A rather frightening proposition, and one that I had no idea how to even begin. So I banded together with a group of fellow merchants, and thus began my very first journey by sea!

The journey itself was fairly uneventful, although it did feature a naked catman, and I discovered the tango emote. I can’t think of any activity that wouldn’t be improved by the addition of naked catmen and tangos.

ScreenShot0131 I ended up losing my trade pack, I believe we all did. As our journey neared its completion and we headed to the traders, a group of enemy players swarmed our expedition seeking to claim our riches for themselves. They certainly got mine, like the proverbial mage, I was the first to die, and my trade pack sank below the waves to be claimed by the enemy. I was soon joined by the rest of my group.

I lost my trade pack, we lost our ship, died to enemy players – But I had fun. Lots of fun. ArcheAge does not feel the need to hand everything away to everyone simply because they showed up – and I am definitely loving it for that. Would I like to have a large farm and house? Most definitely – but the hunt for them is what will make their acquisition great. I’ve finally found a game that gives me goals to work toward – rather than a long tedious path of endlessly repeating treadmill quests to gather tokens that I use to buy things until there is nothing left to buy.

I’ve only scratched the surface of what ArcheAge has to offer. I’ll keep writing my impressions as I explore and experience. But you’ll have to excuse me for the moment – I have a gaggle of geese that need plucking.

Want to join me?


About Pherephassa 213 Articles
Pherephassa has been creeping around the etherspace long enough to have remorted so often that not even she can recall her original form. She loves sandboxes, challenges, chain mail bikinis and dungeons so large they take weeks, months or even years to fully explore. Currently seeking an MMO home, she can often be found on the side of the road, begging game designers for death penalties and slow leveling curves.