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This is my blog-like repository for thoughts, articles, rants, and reviews on all kinds of geekery... with a mild obsession for gaming in particular. Welcome!

Quote of the Moment:

"Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more." - Nikola Tesla

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ArcheAge – Ahoy! Changes Ahead!

Changes (even BIG ones) are normal when you’re alpha/beta testing a game, and ArcheAge is no exception.  I am not going to spend my time rehashing all of the things that are going to be different in AA when version 1.2 goes live later today, but I do want to mention a few things that I find noteworthy…

1)  There will be a 2nd alpha server, which means more reasonable server populations, and therefore more real estate to go around.  (Someday I might actually get that 16×16 farm!)

2)  More XP from kills and quests… and even PVP kills.  Yay!

3)  Healers are undergoing significant changes, which is causing panic for some people.  Personally, I’m OK with the general nerfing so that one can’t be an amazing sorcerer (ranged, magic DPS) and an amazing healer, but I’m concerned with being pigeon-holed into rolling only a Templar as a PVP main healer when there are soooo many class variations out there.  There isn’t much point to even having tons of classes if only a few of them are viable, right?  To be clear, I’m really not among the panicking masses, but I do feel this is worth mentioning and keeping an eye on.

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Unlike some players (who may have been tainted by XLGames original) I am not freaking out about V 1.2 yet, because — as with all game changes — I’m happy to wait and try things out before I judge them.  And, all in all, I think that a lot of Trion’s changes make sense.  There are just A LOT of them… and even more on the way!  Scapes has promised us (by actually answering my question directly in the last live-stream) that they are working on making a more balanced experience for us healers in PVP… as in eventually we will get our fair share of honor points and XP for doing our job… healing.  :-)

Crafting is also on the table for some changes that are said to make the RNG a little less painful.  This is a good thing, and will ease one of my complaints about the game so far.

As for the ArcheAge community being what it is… well, only WE can change that.  I’ve decided that — much like in my real life — I’m not going to run when I see things that I don’t like, but rather will stay and try to make them better.  And I hope that at least some of my other awesome gaming friends will choose to do the same.  :-)

MORE ON V 1.2 AFTER I ACTUALLY SINK MY TEETH INTO THIS PATCH.  See you later in-game, me hearties!

The Guild That Wasn’t

I recently had my first experience with being part of a guild that “dissolved,” and although we had only existed for a few weeks, it was pretty disheartening.  I can only imagine how upsetting that same experience is for members of long-standing communities.

I’m not going to go into all the details of the drama and politics (especially since I wasn’t directly involved in any of it) that led to the demise of Legend Gaming’s would-be ArcheAge guild “Blackthorne” but I am going to express how highly disappointed I am by the people who presented themselves as leaders of this community, and who brought others in under false pretense.  The short version:  the guild leader told us new recruits that Blackthorne was going to be made an LG chapter, but LG leaders told us (during our final meeting) that they had told him that there was a very slim chance that would ever happen.  Someone obviously lied… and I’m not sure who, but those of us who thought we were joining up with Legend Gaming were misled.  I’m still not sure who is at fault in this, but I am completely unimpressed with how Legend Gaming’s leadership chose to handle the situation, and therefore have lost all interest in continuing to game with them in any other of their other chapters.  If this is how they run their community, I want nothing to do with it.  I chose to join them because they were presented to me as a group that had stood the test of time, and — from the outside — looked very organized, fair, and successful.  This was not my experience.  After dissolving the “unofficial” Legend Gaming chapter, it was stated that they would never support another ArcheAge guild.  Oh, and we were all directly threatened that there would be massive repercussions for us if we ever tried to recruit anyone from LG into an ArcheAge guild.  (Er, what???)  I’m not even withholding dramatic details here, they just weren’t given.  Mostly the meeting was a bunch of threats, posturing and insincere apologies from LG’s “Inner Sanctum.”  AND I AM STILL CONFUSED.  I have no desire to recruit people I don’t want to game with anyway, but being threatened by angry “well-known leaders in the gaming community who can ruin your lives” seemed a little over the top.  (OK, so apparently I’ll share *some* dramatic details.  ;-p)

I’ll be honest… I didn’t have a huge emotional investment after only knowing these people a few weeks, especially with my sporadic summer play schedule — and I know that I will go on to find an actual thriving, successful guild for ArcheAge — but that doesn’t mean I’m not upset at being misled.  You see, I learned that Legend Gaming’s outside forum threads (like on MMORGP, and other official game forums) only seem active/popular because they coerce their members to “bump” them weekly, or face retribution/dismissal.  So, I was forced to put MY NAME AND REPUTATION out there to promote what ended up being a lie.  (RAGE!)

I am now going to take this time to apologize to anyone who may have been led toward Blackthorne/Legend Gaming because of me.  In the words of one of the members during our final guild meeting, “We were all sold something that never existed.”

 

ArcheAge: The Not So Pretty

Less than a week after my post that praised my favorite aspects of ArcheAge, I am ready to talk about the other parts of it… ones that I think need to be communicated to anyone who has been trying to decide if they want to make a financial investment in the game.   I know it’s only alpha, and I haven’t fallen completely out of love with this game, but after reaching lvl 35 I’ve discovered some major things that could be “deal breakers” for some people.

1)  There is very little reward to being a healer.  I know that this can be true in a lot of games, but you REALLY feel it in AA.  Not only have they made it nearly impossible to level your 3 support trees solo, but they also do not give ANY honor (PVP) pts for healing.  NONE.  And you need honor pts to buy cool things.  HEALERS LIKE COOL THINGS, TOO.

2)  When you get to level 30-ish and have to quest the PVP areas, it sucks for PVE progression and immersion.  (CAREBEAR STARE! ;-p)  The ganking/griefing is horrible.  IMO, camping spawn points and ganking lowbies while they are trying to quest is just… sad.  (And annoying.  And frustrating.  And very nearly a deal breaker.)

3)  There really is NO real estate left.  And Trion has said that the alpha server population is a good representation of the average server at launch.  It’s seriously horrible that I cannot find a spot to put down my farm so that I can enjoy many of the other cool aspects of this game.  The issue/bug where bots/hackers can take land while not even being THERE (and then resell for high prices) is ridiculous, and I hope that Trion fixes it soon.

4)  The PVE questing is just OK, and the actual strategical dungeon/raid stuff is nearly non-existent.  There are very few dungeons in the game (and no one seems to want to run them.  And if a HEALER can’t find a group… something is wrong!) and no real end-game PVE content at all.  Raiding is my favorite part of MMOs, so I seriously hope that this is also something that Trion addresses at some point.

5)  The major crafting (like the tailoring I’ve been leveling) is a horrific grind that causes so much “random number generator” pain, that I don’t even plan to waste my time leveling any of it at launch.  I will likely stick to alchemy and then farming/gathering/mining to make money.  It makes me sad that I feel this way since I have enjoyed being a major crafting in every other MMO I’ve played.

6)  My cloth armor has a hole in it!  OK, so I know it isn’t as silly as some other female fantasy game garb, but I would really prefer to have the options of covering a little more… or being able to wear the “male” robes, which do not show as much skin.  ;-p

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7)  The worst aspect of this game is something that Trion won’t be able to “fix” with a patch.  Unfortunately, the worst part of ArcheAge is the community itself.  It seems like almost everyone who types in any channel is a troll/griefer…. or a new player who hasn’t yet learned to never ask a question in public chat.  I think that those of us who aren’t trolls/horrible people are simply hitting the “block” button as often as any other skill, and keeping as quiet as possible.  If the things these people said were less terrible, I’d post actual examples so you could judge for yourself.  But I would honestly be too embarrassed to repeat the kinds of things I’ve been subjected to reading for the last several weeks.  It’s like the reddit and LoL communities had a deformed love-child.  It really is that bad.

All that said (phew, I needed to vent!) I have made an investment in ArcheAge and plan to keep going for now.  I am hoping to figure out ways around the things that aren’t working for me, and then make a solid plan for launch.  As for the things I cannot change — AKA the community — I can only hope that it gets better with the influx of new people in beta and launch.

 

I used to do other things, but now I play ArcheAge!

The title of this post is a frighteningly true representation of how my life has gone the last few weeks.  While I knew that I was very interested in playing ArcheAge before I even got my hands on it, I did not know that it would pull me in completely, and steal the last few weeks of my life.  And I’M ECSTATIC that it has!  Anyone who has followed my sad journey from “devoted LOTRO fan girl” to “there will never be an MMO for me” jaded, former MMO end-gamer… will understand just how amazing it is that an MMO (an alpha, even) has held my attention so completely for the last few weeks.

So, what is it that I like so much about ArcheAge so far?  Here’s a list!

- Good variety in character creation.  I mean, just look at my psychotic harlequin Nuian:

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- Crafting (although I haven’t gotten super far) is pretty cool.  You can do all crafting professions on a single toon, although later on you will have to choose which ones you want to excel in.  It’s really nice to be a tailor/alchemist who can also smelt her own iron ingots!

- The farming options (from size, location, climate, to what you’re going to DO on it) are totally amazing.  Want a standard plot of farmland to grow your crafting mats on?  Okay.  How about an aqua-farm for coral and other sea life?  Sure!  Small dairy farm?  OK!  Want to raise polar bears and breed them to create mounts?  You can do that, too!  (You get the picture… OPTIONS!)

- You RAISE your mounts and combat pets from babies!  They also follow you around the game world (and level without stealing your XP) instead of disappearing when not mounted like in most games.  Different mounts also have unique combat abilities.  And did I mention the CUTE BABIES?

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- Adventure on the seas is the most notable aspect of this game to a lot people.  And for good reason!  You get a tiny rowboat early in the game, but for fast travel, naval combat, and survival there are better options… everything from fast, little clipper ships to galleons that can hold your trade goods, to fishing boats… ArcheAge has it.  There are even submarines that can travel quickly and blast enemies from below.

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- There are pirates and other criminals!  I know that this could turn into a sour aspect depending on how griefy the community gets at launch, but for now, I love that people have the option to choose to do good or bad in this game.  You can help defend the innocent, or chop down other people’s trees and steal their lumber.  You can even fight among your own faction.  And every action has consequences.  Criminals end up being reported and sent to trial, where if found guilty, they are sentenced to jail time.  Accrue enough points, and you will be kicked out of your faction entirely… becoming a pirate.

- Uniquely exciting trade!  To make the most money (and trade currency) you will have to brave the seas, and make it to the opposing continent while carrying trade packs.  If you (or your ship) are defeated, these can be stolen from you by enemies (including criminals of your own faction) so you will need to go with friends.  This creates a realistic need for teamwork, and a great “risk = reward” feeling.

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- For me, the best aspect of ArcheAge is, by far, the truly open world.  If you can SEE IT, you can GET THERE.  There are no limits and no invisible walls.  You might have to use your glider (Did I mention how awesome gliders are? *makes notes for another post*) and jump from an airship, but you can do it!  There aren’t artificial limits like most games.  In fact, you are encouraged to try to get to specific, secret locations that (if you do) give barter coins and XP.

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-  You can change your class at will.  You won’t necessarily be proficient enough in the new skill line for awhile, but you can totally change your class around.  I recently had to do this while leveling my healer.  She had none of the DPS lines, which will be perfect in end-game as a healer, but was not so awesome for leveling.  So, I swapped out her utility for caster DPS, and now I can actually GET HER to cap.

- I like that XP comes from various sources like questing & mob killing (pretty normal) but also: crafting, planting, harvesting, uprooting, exploration, trade, etc.

- The open world PVP aspect is less scary than other games.  After level 30 or so, you will be questing in areas where there is open PVP.  There are, however, times when these areas go peaceful, and PVP cannot happen.  So, if you are a squishy healer like me, you can choose to wait until peace time to quest these zones.

- ArcheAge has a certain realism — which truly lends itself to immersion — that I haven’t felt in any other game.  The world, and how other players act in it, can be as unpredictable as real life.  And many of the design and mechanic choices — whether new or odd for an MMO — make sense from a “is this realistic?” point of view.  Take labor points, for example.  They are finite, and build up over time for your account.  Is this annoying to some people who cannot craft non-stop?  Sometimes.  But it’s also very real.  You can only do so much in a day!  Even the open world/same faction PVP makes sense from an immersive, realistic standpoint.  If I see a guy picking on someone he shouldn’t be, I want to be able to blast a fireball in his face.  Or at least heal the hero who does.  :-)

That is not the end of my list, but that is where I am ending it for now!  Even after 3 weeks of playing this game, I still feel like a very new player because there is SO MUCH TO THIS GAME!  I really am still learning the ropes…

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I plan to write more in-depth posts (possibly with less horrible puns) on specific aspects as I learn them, but for now, I just want to encourage anyone interested in an MMO that totally lives up to the “hype” to consider giving ArcheAge a chance.  Sure, there is some risk… but the greater the risk, the greater the reward!

~Sprinks, Privateer of Blackthorne

Privateer of Blackthorne

I plan to write many, many posts about Trion’s up and coming title “ArcheAge” since it looks like it is going to be my new MMO home.  But for now, I really just want to say that I am thrilled to have found the awesome people in the guild “Blackthorne”  to share this new adventure with, and to have been promoted to full member as of last night.

 

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Photo by Isarii, Leader of Blackthorne

 

Blackthorne is a friendly, well-organized group and I highly recommend looking into them if you are planning to spend some time dedicated to any aspect of ArcheAge.  You can find more information on the official forums HERE, and even more on the Blackthorne website.

I’m greatly looking forward to many adventures on land and sea!

~Sprinks, Privateer of Blackthorne