Interview: ArcheAge’s Ham Young Jin on the Great Prairie, the western build, and beyond

    
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ArcheAge is on the cusp of a big update this week as the Great Prairie releases on June 23rd, bringing with it a huge new zone, the new Guardian Scramble PvP content, and a skill-balancing pass. To get the full scoop on the update as well as the overall state of the game, we chatted with XLGAMES’ Ham Young Jin, the executive producer on ArcheAge. Ham filled us in on how the patch lands on different server types, how Kakao is managing the game in the west since its takeover at the end of 2021, and what players can expect in the future – there’s even a tease for a new race. Read on for the whole interview!

MassivelyOP: In reading through all the Great Prairie materials to date, I was a little confused about how the patch might differ between the versions of ArcheAge in the West. Is Unchained getting the same content?

Adventurers are probably aware of the group called the Windwhip. The Great Prairie of the West was once the land of the Firran before the great migration. The Windwhip discovered the region and gathered their members to reclaim their former glory and vast territory. However, there were those who filled the land with fake death, and the Windwhip who had lost their relic did not have the strength to fight back. Their future in the prairie is now in your hands. The Great Prairie of the West also has Guardians you can interact with during various competitive content. And you can also enjoy the lore of the region through various quests, achievements, and chronicles.

Unchained will have the same contents updated.

I’m wondering about Guardian Scramble in particular, as both the dev blog and the video released for this patch so far home in on it. This is the kind of content that requires a lot of time investment for PvP guilds – can you talk about how it fits into the existing PvP meta? Is it expected to pull faction players away from other faction content? How will it play out on smaller servers or in the future when faction players may move on to other content?

The optimal level for the Great Prairie of the West is around Ancestral levels 31–35. This is the most difficult area we’ve added, so you need to be prepared to survive. That said, Guardian Scramble requires various roles besides combat, such as gathering offerings, delivery, and making the offerings for victory, so there are various levels of goals you can achieve there.

The existing faction wars relied heavily on direct PvP combat to accumulate points to achieve victory. Guardian Scramble, however, allows you to make use of a variety of tactics to earn faction points and to ultimately claim victory. The Yearning Altar will be the main strategic point for your guardian to quickly gain faction points. Capturing and defending the altar will be key to successfully defend your own guardian and defeat the enemy’s guardian. Each adventurer must collect wishes from hunting monsters or gathering and offer them to the totem to summon their faction’s guardian. The summoned guardian can be commanded to directly head to the Yearning Altar or evolve into a higher form, depending on the situation of the battlefield. It is important for all members of the factions to do their part to successfully command their guardian and win the Guardian Scramble.

Although it has the typical RvR formation of Nuia vs Haranya vs Pirates, the addition of guardians allows a PvE raid-like environment where you must attack and defend. However, while the existing Faction War depends heavily on the individual growth of each member, Guardian Scramble allows for all members to be able to contribute to the battle.

Guardian Scramble can be progressed more quickly with many players involved, but it can also be done with a minimal number of players as well.

Does the update have anything for new players who might be considering signing up for the game this summer for the first time?

We’re adding more tutorial quests and ArchePapers for new adventurers. (4th Tutorial Update: Blue Salt Brotherhood / Stat Migration / Item Enhance / Change Race Appearance / Smuggled Goods). We’re also adding a new festival everyone can enjoy called Marian’s Magic School Festival and a new Homecoming Warrior support event for new and returning players called Back-to-Arche.

Kakao is still relatively new at managing ArcheAge, having only just taken over from Gamigo at the tail end of last year. I’m wondering what Kakao thinks about the state of the current playerbase, whether the community is growing, and what the longterm outlook is from XLGAMES’ perspective. Can you discuss the current health of the core game and Unchained in the West?

We are doing our best to make ArcheAge more enjoyable not only for our existing players, but also for our new and returning players through continuous updates, and balance/convenience revamps.We expect the game to be fun in various ways, such as in terms of character/equipment growth, battles, and vocation, while maintaining its
freedom.

We first released ArcheAge in NA/EU with a localized build of a different spec, but from December 2021, this was changed into a single build system that would allow us to make updates at the same time as in Korea was applied. However, unexpected issues arose with the build transfer and our delayed response made our NA/EU players unhappy for a long time. Currently, most of these issues were solved, and we are focusing on doing content revamps and listening to the opinions of our NA/EU players.

Also, we are aiming to make system/content improvements (such as the recent weekly quest simplification, the Crimson Rift quest merge, the view update, and the Golden Plains Battle reward increase) on a weekly basis and to continuously attend ArcheAge’s chronic system issues. As we are applying revamp details as quickly as possible, we expect to show you clear improvements from now on.

What can western ArcheAge players expect from the remainder of 2022 after the Prairie – and beyond? We hear there might be a new hero and race en route – is this content already out in Korea? What’s on deck?

We are planning to apply a new guild PvE instance dungeon and high-grade equipment for the second quarter of the year in order to add a new faction-based guild content and higher growth goals. We are also working on a way to provide continuous character/equipment
growth support to players who are slow in growth. Skillset and vocation content expansions are also expected, so please look forward to our upcoming updates.

We are planning to release a new race in the future, but as ArcheAge is characterized by its system where you can choose various occupations with a single character, we are still carefully examining this plan and its direction. Though we don’t have the exact update schedule yet, we will let you know once it’s confirmed.

We’d like to thank Ham Young Jin so much for speaking with us and answering our questions in such detail! Great Prairie arrives to Kakao’s live servers on Thursday, June 23rd. Here’s one more peek at the video:

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