Answering Questions about ArcheAge

Someone sent me an email with a whole lot of questions about ArcheAge, so I figured I would save it and my responses and turn it into a post. Ta-da!

Liore’s ArcheAge FAQ

1) Are you still crazy about this game, Liore?

Yes. Yes I am. However, I am also not playing it at the moment! I played enough to know that ArcheAge will be super duper fun and I want to play it obsessively, but I would rather not do that in Alpha. I want to wait until I know my hard work won’t be wiped before launch, and I have a bunch of friends with me.

2) There are a ton of possible class combinations, made by mixing 3 of the 10 possible talent trees to form your own build. Can you switch later on, or are you committed each time you choose one of the 10 to use?

You can switch at any time for a nominal in-game fee. However, skills level up as you earn XP which means while it’s relatively easy to level your first 3 talent trees to maximum, once you’re out of leveling quests it takes a lot longer to level up additional trees. Not impossible at all, just grindy. You don’t lose levels on a tree once you’ve earned them, so you can switch it in and out of a build freely.

3) Have you had any exposure to PVP? How is the open world fighting?

I have not yet had any exposure to PvP! This is how it works in AA:

i) Roughly half the zones on the East and West continents are oriented towards levels 1-29, and do not ever allow same faction PvP. Presumably a group of the other faction could ride in and attack Newbie Town, but it would be a lot like level 60 Alliance attacking Crossroads — fun but futile overall.
ii) The other half of the zones on East and West go through varying states of unrest, from none at all to full on war. At some of these stages you can be killed by your own faction, which if reported will eventually get them thrown in jail. (If you are patient you can wait for “Peaceful” mode to do your business in those zones.)
iii) The North continent is 100% all PvP, all the time. This is also where the castle sieges take place — I believe there are 6 castles and up to 60 players on each side of a siege. Also, if you go to the other faction’s continent it is also all PvP all the time for you, but that’s probably obvious.

Note that your house, your boat, and your mount cannot be completely destroyed. (I think your boat can be permanently stolen though? I’m not sure.) People will totally steal your trade packs, which are bunches of materials that people cart and trade around the world for money and currency. If your trade pack is stolen, you will receieve 20% of its value while the thief gets the other 80%.

4) Are there dungeons and raids, and if so how many players do they support?

There are no raids that I know of, although there are big wandering world monsters that require a large group. There are dungeons. I haven’t done any, and I have no idea how they are or what you do or really anything. I am all about the farm, yo.

5) Tell me about naval battles! Are they awesome? Do you get your own ship?

Yes they are awesome! Players will get their first boat at about level 20. It’s.. a dinky 2-person rowboat! And if you’re not careful you will be eaten by giant jellyfish and seabugs!

Fortunately there are many more boat patterns available for the low price of Gilda Stars currency and materials. (Remember that materials in ArcheAge pretty much means “things you / your guild personally grows” so that can take a while.) You can get speedy catamarins, submarines, giant pirate ships that come with cannons…

As for how battle looks and feels, here’s a video from the Korean version with a big ship battle.

6) Can you give any more details on player housing? It’s all in the world and not instanced, right?

That is correct! There are multiple levels of houses, from one room shacks to big mansions. As with ships, each take an increasing number of Gilda Stars and trade packs to build.

There are building zones all around the world, including the North PvP continent if you are feeling sassy. You can set your home to be accessible by everyone in your “family”, and build your farms and some crafting stations around it. You can also build furniture, set up fences — heck, I saw one house that had a tea party set up on the roof.

Your house can be attacked by enemy players, so if security is your top priority set up your home in a safe zone.

7) What is combat like? Are there a lot of abilities?

Combat is similar in format to WoW — tab target, hit hotkeys. The number of abilities is not limited like Guild Wars 2 or WildStar. I have only played a certain flavor of archer, but I am able to move while using just about every ability.

8) Anything other little details?

Man, there are so many other things! The UI is functional but could use a little more control over sizing. I’d give it a 7/10. There are no addons. The character generator is crazy elaborate. Personally I plan on buying the $50 level of founder pack, which will give me headstart access, a patron subscription, and some store credits.

Monday Random Nerd Things

I am short on sleep and long on real life things to worry about this morning, so just a few scattered bits of news today!

* Last week Ellyndrial and Chris from Game by Night interviewed Paul Sage from The Elder Scrolls Online for Game On Podcast. I wrote about the interview for MMORPG.com, and you can find it all here!

* I played about 6 hours of Child of Light, Ubisoft’s new “JRPG-style” game, and it’s really good. The art design is beautiful, like really really beautiful, the music is great, and the gameplay is solid. My only complaints are that it’s a little too easy on “Normal” mode if you’re already familiar with JRPG logic, and the dialogue sometimes goes to silly lengths to rhyme. That being said, the game is absolutely worth its $15 asking price.

* Over the weekend I watched the movie Knights of Badassdom. On paper it looks amazing: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn, Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Jimmi Simpson, and Danny Pudi in a movie about LARPers fighting demons? Um, yes please! In practice though… what a waste. Knights of Basassdom committed the greatest sin a movie can make — being just okay, I guess. It never settles on a tone, and just wastes a lot of great nerd humor. I suggest just watching the trailer and then imagining the rest of the movie.

* I haven’t done a Backlog Project update in a while because I haven’t been playing non-MMOs lately, okay? Don’t judge. Anyway, yesterday I finally completed Mass Effect 1! It took like two years because I insisted on trying to visit just about every planet and drive over its precious native wildlife with the Mako. Anyway, I knew this game would be amazing and have a great ending, and it did. I need to consider it some more, but I feel like 1 may end up being my favorite in the series.

Also in backlog news I fired up Surgeon Simulator and played it for 10 minutes. Then I marked it as “Not Interested” in my spreadsheet. Damn you Steam sale madness! I think next on the list will be The Testament of Sherlock Holmes.

* The Newbie Blogger Initiative is happening right now, and to contribute I made a short video with an overview on how to create a podcast.

Dear WoW: Be Back Later
May01

Dear WoW: Be Back Later

After an extensive break during Cataclysm, I rejoined the masses in Azeroth in September 2013. Patch 5.4 had just landed, and I had a whole expansion of content to explore. And it was good!

I have really enjoyed Mists of Pandaria, with special mention to the Legendary quest, the introduction of flex raids, and challenge modes. The Pandaria zones are pretty and have neat characters and fun quests. Monks are totally a hero class without being actually called a hero class, and they have awesome flip-kicks. All in all, I would personally call Mists a success.

That being said:

2014 05 01 10 03 57 World of Warcraft®  Warlords of Draenor™ Battle.net  Dear WoW: Be Back Later

While there are still a few nitpicky things, I have basically completed my Pandaria bucket list. I finished the Legendary quest and got to exalted with Tillers, Anglers, and that flying dragon faction. I levelled a monk to 65 and insta-levelled a paladin to 90, and I can play both decently. I finished all the heroic dungeons, killed all the new world bosses, got silver in the Proving Grounds, ran everything in LFR and a few things in Flex.

It’s pretty unlikely that Warlords of Draenor, which I did pre-order, will drop any time before American Thanksgiving and WoW is going to remain pretty static in the meantime.

And man, there is a busy slate of games between now and then. For the past two weeks I have literally gotten 5 hours of sleep each night because of the ArcheAge alpha, and it is a pretty strong candidate for becoming My One True MMO Love at its official launch in (I’m guessing) August or September.

Meanwhile, WildStar launches the first week of June and is luring a few ex-MMO-playing guildies back into online life. At this point as far as gameplay goes I’m more excited for AA, but MMOs are social experiences and I am delighted that we will be getting the band back together for another tour, as it were. I can’t help but go where my people go.

And as if that wasn’t enough there will be a Steam Summer Sale in the next six weeks and I have been very good about just adding new games to my wishlist and not buying them on the spot, which means I have basically given myself mental permission to go crazy and buy All The Games once they’re on sale. I deserve it! Well, except for Child of Light which just came out but is only $15 and sounds so good that I really need to buy it. Oh, and Transistor, which is out on May 20th.

Okay, okay, so buy some of the games now, and then the rest of the games once they’re on sale!

So long story short: Pandaria has been very fun and is in my mind a great comeback after the ishyness that was Cataclysm. I have enjoyed the last 8 months, and I’ll be back at some point after the launch of Warlords of Draenor. And until then.. bring on the new games!

Cat Context 50: Our Second Birthday! Ask Us Anything!
Apr30

Cat Context 50: Our Second Birthday! Ask Us Anything!

cat context vertical Cat Context 50: Our Second Birthday! Ask Us Anything!

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday Cat Context! Because now you are two!

This week Liore, Arolaide, and Ellyndrial celebrate the podcast’s second anniversary with an Ask Us Anything episode!

Do any of us regret anything we’ve said on the show over the past years? Who is our favorite publisher? What hardware do we use for the show? Is podcasting harder than blogging? (Preview of that last question: Liore gets all tongue-tied trying to explain that spontaneous talk is not usually her strong suit. Then she drinks a lot of vodka.)

Also, Elly is playing TESO and loving it! Liore is playing ArcheAge and loving it! Aro is playing Bloodmasque and loving it, although in a slightly more ironic way than the other two!

Thank you so much for all your support, listeners. We have so much fun doing this show, and here’s to another great two years!

Like to watch? This podcast has a livestreamed video version:

If you enjoyed this podcast, please “Like” or “Favorite” it in your media consumption method of choice! It makes us feel nice.

* Beyond Boss Fights Podcast on iTunes.
* The Going Commando SWTOR blog.
* Free Music Archive page for our theme, in THE crowd by The Years

Justice is Served? Player courts in ArcheAge and beyond
Apr28

Justice is Served? Player courts in ArcheAge and beyond

One of ArcheAge’s more unique features is a trial system. When a player commits an in-game crime, like killing someone of their own faction or stealing crops, bloody footprints appear. Any other player can come along and click on the bloody footprints, which reports the culprit to the authorities.

Once the player reaches a certain number of reports they are summoned to court, where a jury of five of their peers must vote on their innocence or guilt and determine how long the sentence should be.

Trial chat is broadcast across a wide area (continent? zone? I’m honestly not sure yet), and for the most part it’s pretty entertaining. Here’s a sample from last night:

archeagejustice Justice is Served? Player courts in ArcheAge and beyond

Jury of your peers indeed! Sadly despite his fine argument player Usocrazy was found guilty of uprooting an oak tree he did not own and was sentenced to 14 minutes in jail.

It got me thinking about the whole purpose of the trial system. I’ve often said that I wished PvP sandbox games had more tools for whitehats, and this seems.. sort of eligible? But also kind of just useless-but-fun flavor? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

First, everyone who goes to trial is guilty, whether the jury finds them guilty or not. The only reason they were reported is because they left bloodstains, and the only reason there are bloodstains is because a crime was committed!

Also, sentences quite simply cannot match the magnitude of the crime. Take Usocrazy’s purloined oak tree, for example. That tree probably took at least 24 hours to grow. Usocrazy got 14 minutes of jailtime, which while obnoxious I’m sure also means he still sort of got the better end of the deal: trial time + 14 minutes of jail for an oak tree vs. 24 hours and seedling costs.

And that’s reasonable, because a game really couldn’t get away with throwing a player in jail for a truly punitive amount of time, like 36 hours. Not even I would play that game, and I’m crazy.

So does the trial system in ArcheAge inhibit anti-social behavior (in the true definition of the term) at all? I’m just guessing, but probably yes.

Players know that doing a crime will leave a bloody footprint, and often even the possibility of being caught is enough to stop potential casual transgressors. And while judging by the chat channel trials are just goofy fun (as they should be), it’s probably a little intimidating for some people to have to stand in a virtual courtroom and stare down five strangers while they review a list of your crimes and pass sentence.

All in all, the trial system is kind of wacky but a nice addition to a sandbox game. Jail time is not really very efficient punishment, but I think a trial system does help curb mild offences like crop-stealing in particular. But most of all … it’s just good fun.

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