Archeage is an absolutely huge project for Trion right now. It is a large risk to release an eastern mmo in the west as there is an inherent bias against them and many are overly critical about the way they are designed and the eccentricities they have. But, with a project this large there is a possible huge reward to doing it. Archeage could be the next BIG mmo, it has all the hallmark traits of a being great… the housing system alone is massive.
Now it was never going to be all puppies and profits for Trion as they are the ones tasked with tailoring this mmo to a new audience, a fickle and critical audience. With the amount of content Archeage has, enough that they were subject to one of the most longest running beta’s I have heard of it will keep them very, very busy. I am not sure how much of an influence Trion will be able to have over the game, usually with westernisation it mainly revolves around translation and tweaking the reward structures but here I hope they can do more. The need to take an active role in creating this mmo, it has been plagued with trouble in its initial release and already deemed to have failed by many in that market. It can be more and I hope Trion can do it.
So to help out, here are my wishes for westernisation
Saving A Soul
Games, and mmo’s in particular have a very rich soul to them. An essence which is undeniably unique to it and which captivates players and it is that soul which helps us feel immersed in a new world and ready to spend copious amount of time questing, killing, and creating. Archeage in its current form has a beautiful soul and it is one of the brightest I’ve seen in a long time. It’s call has cut through the busy media streams to become a game people have wanted for over a year now (and much more).
There are many reasons that people are very excited for this mmo from the east, mostly it seems like a world you could live in and that is a huge deal for an mmo. The world looks amazing, the housing and farming adds a lot of depth to it, the Terra-forming aspects to plant growth and even creating huge castles and structures has me squirming in anticipation. There are also many other mechanics that make it an mmo worth waiting for.
My main wish for Archeage is that it keeps the heart of its soul in tact, it has a rather quirky essence that we don’t often see in the west due to our penchant for big movie appeal and soloability but it is something I think people would really enjoy if they give it the time. I want this game, I don’t want a watered down version of it that appeals to the broadest possible playerbases, and I don’t want a game that would sell its wonderful appeal and aesthetic at a chance of cashing in on cash shop Items.
I also hope they don’t cave into the pressure and split the pve and pvp sides of the game into different servers. I know that is a hard sell in the west considering how much we hate people messing with our routines but having it in creates a world that feels more alive, dynamic and interesting. We, the pve and pvp players need each other as much as we would like to claim otherwise, having the two together creates a balanced world which is the way it should be. In most mmo’s I would say this is a bad idea but Archeage has a lot of mechanics that would control this chaos. The pirate system is a defined choice that has consequences, there is a unique criminal system as well as clues to capture people, and invulnerable areas for item storage and farming. Add maybe a bounty system and then it is a collection of systems that make pvp an interesting but important part of the world.
So please leave its soul in tact and I, and many others will be very happy for many years.
Right now it really doesn’t look very good to the outsider. I haven’t played it so my opinion is next to useless but, even though the holy trinity system seems nice again it all just seems a bit stale…hmm I might have gotten to use to the “actiony” mmo’s of late. I don’t mind the abundance of skills for use, that is ok, but just the way it exaggerates having a certain rotation. Situational skills are important, right now they have the basics of a combo system and are working to make it more interesting and complex which I hope they can do. Depth to combat creates a very active community and encourages growth of the players rather than the character.
The amount, frequency, and length of the control abilities in the game seems very excessive right now and with the level of burst it’s down right game breaking. Having these skills while fine for PvE is terrible for a PvP environment. The people who mostly engage in PvP hate the abundance of these mechanics, they are great in moderation but the overuse makes combat fell gimmicky. In an open world environment were you have pve players and lower level characters being stun locked to death it is not good and leads to more frustration than fun.
Balance needs a second look as going by what I’ve read there are only a handful of competitive builds out of the large amount of combinations. Not every build should be good, there should be a few ways that you can absolutely gimp your build but the system should be far more flexible than it is now.
Lastly the UI needs a overhall too as it looks really, really, REALLLLY bad. Improve the menu, the orientation and sizeability of the bars as well as the general aesthetic.
I said before that I really want to feel invested in Archeage but with the way development goes for mmo’s is that often enough they don’t really support it. Everything is just to easy to achieve which makes much of the achievements rather pointless. Archeage, while getting better doesn’t seem to be breaking that trend too much. I would like difficulty on dungeons and open world bosses to make a comeback of sorts. There should be places and content that are easier by design but there should also be content that challenges the individual and groups. I honestly want to see the addition of systems that Tera had in that there were a lot of group quests given that were rewarding to take and complete but that were not necessarily needed to progress.
The ease of leveling in modern-day mmo’s is another place where I would like Trion to diverge a little. Speeding through zones in a race to the end isn’t really conducive to feeling connected to them. When the process slows down and when you take your time leveling you often explore more, see things and experience things you normal wouldn’t have, and often enough form new connections with the community. it also place the emphasis on the journey more than the destination which is what mmo’s should be doing more often.
The value of items is once again all skewed as there is end game gear that never needs replacing as well as an abundance of useless drops. To preserve an items inherent value there needs to be more focus on maintaining these pieces. Having an immortal item not only removes consequence in play but encourages that feeling of completion rather than growth, yet it can be more. It is the reason many quit upon reaching end game as you complete the content, get your gear, and then there is nothing left. There will of course be a certain amount of conflict involved in this, Firefall enacted a durability mechanic recently and not everyone was supportive…far from it but it is a necessary mechanic in terms of encouraging long-term play. There is a huge difference between it being restrictive and immersive and that balance is up to Trion to find.
Another effect that slowing down the leveling process has is encouraging and fostering the growth of crafting and trade at all levels. This has the two-fold effect of creating more worth within the items in the level as well as materials gathered for them.
Apart from slowing down the leveling process the one thing Archeage requires is some sort of item degradation mechanic. Jake Song, the creator behind Archeage never really supported this even though it was suggested many years ago but for an mmo aiming to create a living, breathing, and immersive world it really should be a required mechanic. It is the foundation of a stable virtual economy. Items should not be immortal, and as I said before they should require a certain amount of maintenance in order to keep them from breaking or becoming temporarily useless. This should be for all items including houses, boats and castles and not just equipped gear. Now with dungeon orientated gear it does get a little tricky but I think there is a way to get around that by maybe having certain crafted items to repair these.
Balance in the crafting professions isn’t exactly equal at the moment either and from what I’ve seen, instead of farmville its cowville simply because breeding cows is the most profitable. There shouldn’t be one material that is more profitable by a large margin than anything else, secondly we should be crafting items with these gathered materials to gain maximum profit and selling to players instead of just gathering and dropping it off at the nearest npc.
The other more fluff orientated Item I would like is for crafters to be able to mix a little more uniqueness into the items can create. During the process of crafting it would be nice if you could also change the pattern or skin of the item in different ways like creating a round shield instead of a square one. Having a certain amount of effort that goes into finding, creating, or researching these patterns too would then create a certain amount of value to these objects and even enabling certain crafters to become renown for their craft if the have a popular but rare pattern.
The question though is even if they are going to be able to enact any serious changes to the game and it’s mechanics. I assume the game proper is still the property of XL Games and that changing anything would involve a lot of communication between them. Also will Trion even employ a decent development team for the game and if so what will they be focusing on. I doubt with only being the publisher of the game that they would want to dramatically increase their overhead for the project considering that the majority of the profit will be going to the creators. I am concerned about Archeages’ future and Trion’s involvement but still very hopeful for it.