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.
How so? Well, for starters I’m making a good amount of money with my aquafarm. It’s pretty relaxing gameplay too, and there are few things I enjoy more in MMOs these days than putting on my diving gear, dropping into the water below my stilt shack, and harvesting a bunch of coral for a half hour.
After a quick glider flight from my home to the NPC merchants on the shore, I’ve got my wares up on the auction house and I’ve usually got a few dozen gold in my pocket from instant sales by the time I’ve finished posting the rest of the coral!
Then I head next door to the sapling merchant and restock pearls, antler coral, and whatever else is selling well before hopping back on the glider and heading back out to the old homestead. After 15 minutes or so, I’ve got the farm queued up for another milk run tomorrow or the next day. Yeah, it’s basically fantasy FarmVille with purty graphics and slick property decor, and I couldn’t be happier about that!
The Great Ynystere Tractor Trader Race
I’ve been doing some overland trading as well, and let me tell you about this run into Ynystere the other night. See, Ynystere is a conflict zone, meaning that most of the time it’s open PvP. Occasionally it’s not, as ArcheAge’s conflict zones cycle through several stages of escalating tension followed by a period of all-out war and followed again by two hours of peace wherein open PvP is disabled.
During these windows, savvy traders from all over the map descend on the zone and bombard the gold trading NPC located in the port city of Caernord with trade packs of all shapes and sizes. I found myself in a big group of these folk the other night, and since every pack turned in to the gold trader lowers the value for the next pack turn-in, people get a might ornery if their runs are disturbed. Usually said disturbance comes courtesy of opposite faction griefers trying to block NPC access. In this case there were no reds but still plenty of lulz thanks to some unfriendly carebear competition.
See, the PvP/peace timer is visible on ArcheAge’s zone map, so naturally most of my fellow traders and I were sitting just outside the zone line waiting for the clock to tick over before we ventured into Ynystere. There I was riding on the back of a tractor filled with packs being driven by a guildmate who, like me and yet another guildmate straddling the tractor’s cow-catcher, was wearing a pack on her back to go along with the six in the cargo hold.
We lined up at the zone border about 15 minutes early thinking we were pretty smart, but soon enough we were joined by one, then two, then a dozen more tractors from a couple of different guilds, all of them brimming with pack-wearing players perched wherever one can find precarious purchase on ArcheAge’s steampunk tractor models.
The zone clock ticked over, and forward flew a mighty host of trader tractors belching steam and jockeying for position on the tiny dirt road that runs from the southern portion of Ynystere to Caernord in the north. One cat timed the PvP switchover perfectly so that, even though he’d been idling far behind us in the field, he slipped into the lead just as the zone went peaceful.
This was good for him, since otherwise he would have been ganked six ways from Sunday and all his trade packs stolen by the snarl of reds stealthed on the other side of the zone line and hoping for an impatient trader snack.
On we all rolled through Ynystere, bumping and bothering our fellow tractor drivers as we fought to hold our position and the promise of the highest possible gold rewards near the head of the pack. More than once I swung my camera around, clicked a few screenshots, and kicked myself for failing to turn on Fraps, as this particular race was ripe for remembering via a video with some Wagner audio commentary.
The gates of Caernord loomed, and though you may not notice this unless you’re trying to jam a three-wide column of ass-hauling tractors through them at once, they’re fairly narrow. So there went two of our competitors as we careened around a couple of sharp street corners, dangled a rear wheel dangerously over the edge of a bridge, and laughed as another bloke who’d cut us off had to stop and pick up one of his pack-carrying passengers who’d been flung clear of the tractor coming out of a turn. Finally, we smacked the gold trader’s butt with our cow-catcher just as that sneaky dude who bested us at the starting line was pulling away in his empty cart.
We still got nearly 20 gold per pack, though, which when combined with the race comedy made for a fairly successful evening.
So that’s been my ArcheAge week in a nutshell, aside from some rudimentary questing in service of finishing up the faction-based story arcs that my 50s abandoned late last year. They’re nothing spectacular, mind you, but the cutscene art and the Burnsian camera work makes for some good screen caps, plus I’m nothing if not a completist, so I can’t just leave my characters hanging.
I’ll see you next column and we’ll talk about… well, I don’t know what we’ll talk about yet. I may do some 50 to 55 stuff, but what I’d really like to do is some ocean PvP, which given the fact that my gear sucks, is wholly dependent upon finding an amenable group. So we’ll see how that goes.