It’s been over a month now since ArcheAge’s
massive update 3.0 went live, adding oodles of new content to Trion’s
expansive fantasy sandbox. The update, dubbed Revelation
, is indeed monumental: It introduces two new races, the Dwarves and the Warborn—who join the Nuia and Harnya, respectively—and new starting zones for each; two massive new housing zones (one for each continent); new housing and social features such as housing-zone community centers and an overhauled family system; and an absolutely ludicrous number of adjustments and changes to almost all of the game’s existing systems.
On top of all the new content, Revelation also brought another new feature to ArcheAge’s proverbial table: brand-new "fresh start" servers, which are limited to players whose accounts were created on or after December 8th, 2016, and feature a modified version of the in-game cash shop that aims to limit the much-decried pay-to-win aspects of the game.
As someone who has always wanted to like ArcheAge but just couldn’t get past the pay-to-win stigma and the domination of the legacy servers by established players and guilds, I was intrigued by the prospect of starting the game with a blank slate, so I joined the flock of fellow fresh-starters to see if the experience might erase my former misgivings.
Sometimes the wait for new content is made worse when you see another region enjoying it long before you can. That's how I've felt about ArcheAge.
So when Trion Worlds
Senior Producer Merv Lee Kwai
and Producer Amanda Fry invited me to tour and chat about Bloodsong before its launch today, I whistled a happy tune and jumped right in. We dived into the Mistsong Summit dungeon and rubbed elbows with the resident bosses, talked about the new PvP arenas, danced with the new pet, and raked up some leaves off the new treehouses. I also learned other interesting tidbits, such as the origin story behind this update's music and the details of the new version of welcome back packs.
It has been quite a year for ArcheAge
. As you look back over the past 12 months, you certainly can't say 2015 was uneventful; from content to controversies, something was always happening with this sandpark title. Not a month went by that didn't have some good, some bad, or even both! It was always a roller coaster ride!
The year started with a new man helming the operation: Marv Lee Kwai became producer. In his January Producer's Letter he stressed that the devs were listening to the community. He also outlined issues that were being addressed while laying out a plan for the rest of the calendar year, saying "a multitude of positive changes on the horizon." One thing he promised was better communication, stating, "One of our top goals for the New Year is to be more transparent when we communicate with you. It is our intention to fix a lack of information or detail, starting now."
How did that plan go? Let's take stroll down memory lane and see.
Did you miss the latest ArcheAge livestream featuring the Trion dev team? It was a biggun, and it contained quite a lot of information relative to the upcoming Dread Prophecies patch. Currently 1.7 part one is scheduled for the end of this month, though it may slip into early May given how much stuff is jammed into it.
Whether you're looking for new zones, achievements, PvP objectives, or furniture items, the new patch probably has something interesting in it if you're an ArcheAge fan.
I'd like to play devil's advocate about this whole ArcheAge dolphingate thing. First, though, let me start with a disclaimer. If you've read this column for any length of time, either here in our new home or over the years on Massively-that-was, you know that I don't pull any punches when it comes to Trion's ArcheAge buffoonery.
But this was not that.
So ArcheAge got five additional levels and a dungeon called The Library this week. To which I say, whoop-tee-funking-doo! Don't get me wrong -- it's good that we're getting new content -- but I'm so far removed from the bored-at-endgame crowd bum-rushing through this stuff right now that I may as well be playing a different MMO. This is, of course, a backhanded compliment to XLGAMES for producing a title that departs from this industry's feature-deficient mean.
And surprisingly, given how much I loathe Trion's business model and its ethics, I'm still having a good time in week three of my return.
Last time out I said some pretty mean things about ArcheAge. And let's face it: The game earned every one of them. It's inarguably pay-to-win, the comically intrusive cash shop is the bane of both immersion and economy-based sandbox play, and Trion made a lot of anti-consumer decisions in 2014 (hello "normalization," Auroria launch, and so on and so forth).
Regardless, I'm back in ArcheAge because the rest of the MMO space sucks worse if you crave non-linear virtual worlds.