Kakao’s western version of ArcheAge is sunsetting in June


I’m sorry to report this morning that the western version of ArcheAge is apparently shutting down: While we were sleeping, Kakao announced that it will sunset its ArcheAge servers come June 27th, 2024. Its final content update rolls out today as the Discord is locked to new participants.

“After discussing the performance of ArcheAge with XL Games at length, we have concluded that we’re no longer able to provide the MMORPG we envisioned. The declining number of active players means the game’s content is no longer accessible in the way it used to be, and the experience of it is different from what was originally intended. In light of this, we’ve made the difficult decision to terminate the live service of ArcheAge in Europe and North America.”

Refunds aren’t in order unless you happened to still be within Steam refund windows, with the exception of purchases made in the last two weeks and haven’t yet been claimed; those will be refunded. Kakao’s FAQ suggests that the cash shop will stay open and you can continue to spend down your credits. Player personal info – and presumably, ArcheAge data – will be deleted two weeks after the sunset, though players can continue to use their Kakao accounts.

Naturally, you’ll be wanting to know whether you can play on other ArcheAge servers around the world. Yes and no. No, there won’t be any character or account transfers, but Kakao all but tells gamers to go try their luck abroad:

“Like Kakao Games Europe, publishers of ArcheAge in other regions have also implemented IP blocks based on their respective licensing agreements. If you eventually find yourself part of a different publisher’s Territory of Service, you are more than welcome to play. Keep in mind that your EUNA in-game data will not be available in other regions, and you will have to start with a fresh account.”

There are also a few rogue servers for ArcheAge that are about to get a lot more popular now.

Readers will recall that ArcheAge’s fate has been up in the air for a long while now. XLGAMES had originally partnered with Trion Worlds to bring the deep sandbox gameplay to the west in 2014, but the implosion of Trion sent the game’s western publishing to Gamigo, and then to Kakao in 2021. However, over the years, all those moves – along with unresolved game issues stacked on top of endless new server land rushes, a thin content pipeline, and the dishonest handling of ArcheAge Unchained – clearly took their toll, in spite of Kakao’s apparently sincere efforts to unify the game’s monetization and merge Unchained back into the core game.

But the real panic set in last summer, when Korean media reported that a major XLGAMES restructure would lead to the closure of ArcheAge in multiple regions as their contracts ran out and the loss of some of its devs to the ArcheAge 2 team – a game that has been repeatedly delayed and won’t make it to launch before this sunset in time to rehome all the players XL is now ejecting. While at the time, Kakao vehemently told us that there were no plans to terminate the game in the west, in Korea, or in Russia, it also admitted that regions that were “underperforming” would be “assessed” for sunsets, which always seemed ominous. And now, here we are on the other side of that assessment.

Ten years is a long time for an MMORPG, but it’s never long enough, especially when the game had incredible mechanics and yet never quite reached its full potential. That almost hurts more. Our sympathies extend to the players and the rank-and-file devs, as always.

Source: Kakao. Cheers, Pepperzine.
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