Group Goals and Personal Progress

I might have come across a bit negative in my last post when the reality is that I’m quite happy with Archeage at the moment. When you’re just talking about all those launch week issues, and there are a lot, it tends to be overly negative but when looking at the picture as a whole I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m enjoying it enough to put up with all the issues quite happily which says a lot about the experience.

I’ve said it quite a few times now that what I’m really after in an mmo is options, modes of play that can be rewarding to your character in a multiple of ways and it seems Archeage does this quite well, better than a lot of the current crop in fact. While I’m not exactly happy with the traditional mmo questing style as it does tend to bore me there is a lot to do in other areas of the game that can be just as important.

For the last couple nights the main activity I’ve been involved with is just tending my farms. At the moment it’s just getting the majority of my ingredients ready for the trade packs quests that eventually reward me with the Large farm space. Dealing with the small ones is not enough and I’m thinking with the space I do have that I want to tend animals or something, the large cute ones. So far I’ve only done the first quest but based on the materials I can nearly craft all the trade packs I need for it. It’s just taking the time to get this done as there is a lot of walking and waiting for carriages and aircraft involved.

This is probably my first short term goal for Archeage and it’s nice to have such a thing that doesn’t just relate to levelling or gear acquisition. You get a donkey and a farm and people are ecstatic to get them. You might have a hard time putting it down though but at least you have them for the future and that donkey is heaps of fun… just have to figure out an awesome donkey name. It’s interesting as well just how much of a motivator it’s been for the guild, getting everyone involved and helping each other to complete them.

We’ve been trading ingredients needed around and sharing optimal farming techniques… seriously, a hardcore PvP guild that delights in ganking sharing farming stories is something I didn’t think would ever happen. Manipulating the economy, a little crafting but not farming. The whole thing has also been this great guild goal as well in that we all chipped in, gathered what was needed and crafted the first clipper boat for the guild. A big project that makes that last trade quest that much easier. It ended in failure but a very enjoyable group affair and something I can see our guild using a lot more in the future. AS a guild we already seem to be working towards earning and building the larger boats as well but that will be a far longer goal to pursue.

And that’s the great thing. There is a lot there to motivate both small and large groups that is more than just the traditional dungeon grinding. We’ve done all those things before and while they bring many together to do them they are often a very forced, and often times frustrating affair. You get the rewards but enjoyment is often elusive. Here there are many more open world options that are far more fluid in how they operate, lacking a lot of restrictions like numbers and class composition and involving a range of different gameplay styles. It allows guilds to play together and often how they want, a very important factor.

The other element that I think is done rather well is that there are a variety of options for progression. So far the main currencies seem to be Gold and Gilda Stars with each having a few ways to gain depending on what you want to do. Gilda Stars are what is used on Mirage Island to buy a number of things from housing items, costume pieces, Ships, auto mobiles and a lot of other random fluff things.. awesome things too that I absolutely hunger for. You can get these through a few ways but mostly it seems trading and a few dailies are the main way. What you buy with these is also tradeable and a lot of it has already ended up on the Auction House for gold. Earning gold can be done in a number of ways too from trading, farming, questing, killing, crafting and a few other ways which means many ways to go about getting your own personal progress and attaining these items.

This means that no matter what I’m doing right now, even at a lower level I kind of feel like I’m still working towards some sense of progress. The trading packs being an important part that also helps you learn about the system itself; farming, crafting, and trading that form an integral part of Archeage. And there is a lot to learn here, about everything. There are a lot of crafting professions and types of ingredients too numerous to count. A lot of trees, bushes, flowers, and many different forms of livestock that are used for different types of ingredients. Being the release it’s hard to know exactly what will be more rewarding to grow, trees and wood are big business right now, as are most of the things needed for the trade packs. Cotton too as it’s used in large quantities for the boats. I’m just wondering right now what is more needed for the later recipes as I think that is where to get in on farming right now, with maybe middle range stuff later on.

The thing is you only have finite safe space to grow, and you often want to do so much with this small space and this leads me to my exploration into illegal farms. Something that seems silly but is actually big business at the moment as it allows you to farm large quantities of materials. Mostly tree farms for logs but a little of everything is out there. It is something that has had me exploring a lot of the little corners of the world as well as finding my way around a few mountainsides and so far I’ve come across a fair few. Those that aren’t ready yet I just leave, no point in being an ahole and ruining a good farm but those that are.. mmmmmmm.

I’ve also been doing this to find my own little illegal farm hidey holes and so far it’s rather fun to do. You end up really climbing around everywhere and the view from these spots is great. I love how there are no real invisible walls as it really allows you a lot of space to abuse to for this aim. I’ve found a couple spots I think, maybe and will test them out with a few saplings in the week to come but I don’t think any will come close to both the ingenuity required in places like these.

It’s nice for a change getting into an mmo with a lot of things to learn and not just systems that have been refurbished like a new attunement process or the areas and amount of probability for certain drops. There is a depth there to learn; in the way the world functions, with the amount of crafting, the variety of ingredients and learning the land as you seem to use it far more, and more openly than the usual mmo spaces. Learning about these new mechanics is an enjoyable part for me and seems to drive my initial engagement far more than any sort of achievement focused Ding noise. I want more than that and while It doesn’t exactly provided all the elements I might want it is a lot better, and bit different than the usual… and I love that.

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