The PvP was a big part of my interest when getting I to archeage but it’s bad to say that I really haven’t been involved too much with it so far. The most I seemed to have had is being ganked (quite a few times) on, near or going to my housing plot down in the Hellswamp by higher level players and that’s not really pvp more… quick travel.
As I’ve been going up the levels making my way slowly to 50 (damn this farmville mod) I’m getting more interested in it and will start seeking it out but it’s really not a big part of the experience if you don’t want it to be. It’s there, off to the corner and something that will find you if you’re not watching but nearly completely avoidable. The beginning zones are entirely PvP free. No cross Faction PvP and no flagging, no ganking of any kind. Of course you, as a low player in a lower zone can still attack other red names but I wouldn’t recommend that most of the time. The contested zones also run through stages, 100 kills making it move to the next and an eventual Peace time meaning you can quest without worries too and in between go do other things.
Right now ganking during these war times is a bit worse than it will be. Levelling up to 50 cam be a short trip but because there aren’t as many people there just yet the wait for arenas is far longer, this leaves those people searching out the action elsewhere and there are a lot doing this at the moment. I would like to say it’s avoidable but during a war time there will be a few reds going around, usually in pairs or more. The one thing to remember though is that they hunt around the busier places, the town, port, and camp exits and entrances. Take alternative paths and keep off the main roads if some are around and you’ll mostly go unmolested.
So far there hasn’t been as much PvP as I thought while levelling but that’s more the zones I’ve been around. Cinderstone isn’t exactly the hot spot and the others have been protected. I’ve been busy with other aims too and not necessarily rigid questing paths. Where the fight seems to be at the moment, at least on the West side is more in the southern areas. You will often see groups going around here plus high level players. In between the beginning and end of war zones you can usually see groups of PvP enthusiasts moving between these as well going where they can to hunt and attain that delicious Honour, the PvP currency.
There is a reason for this. Halcyona is a zone with a territory style mini game every now and then with some better than average honour rewards. With being a focus for PvP players to go to get kills and earn honour it brings more down to this smaller area. Of course afterwards it goes into a much longer peace state, over three hours and this leaves many bored players after more action while waiting for the next fight. This is when they head to other zones, nearby Hellswamp being a popular spot. I’ve been here a few times when large fights are going on, 20 vs 20.. larger sometimes. Even when it’s not that big there are still a lot of reds there at all times it seems because these contested zones are also alternative leveling spots. and there are people out there needing it to level other combat lines.
I actually enjoy this. It is something to do that breaks up the monotony of leveling. That ganker coming at you is a chance to learn your skills better. To learn the classes, how they attack and how to counter. Lesson 1, know where your cc breaks are. The wars are kind of fun too but it’s much more personal than the mass you face in the large scale maps of other recent games. I see a lot of people afraid to jump in but it’s not too bad, there is no exp loss and all there is to worry about is increased res times and maybe a debuff that stops fast travel for a small time.
The other place you’ll get PvP is of course the ocean with the space between the western peninsula and Solis Headlands being heavily patrolled. This is the more popular trade run; it’s part of the quests to get a large scarecrow and it rewards Charcoal which is the more sought after of the cross continent trade items. That small way to get through on the west between Solz and Two Crowns is easy to blockade and catch people and the islands along the way make nice spots to hide your boat and wait. Of course even if you make it to the other side it is highly likely that there will be people stealthed waiting for you and the only way to counter that, but not always, is being stealthed too.
It is dying down a little bit now. It’s a dangerous run and for people wanting to make money there are easier and safer paths to take that, while rewarding less are more guaranteed. The materials are good but the recipes needed for them are limited and in smaller quantities. They will be more used later on but not too much at the moment. I’ve heard from other versions this was far more popular as it was the only way to gain more guilda stars but now that there are a few decent dailies that reward them it has become a little pointless. A shame really as it’s a fun aspect…maybe if you could hand in cross continent for gold too it would provide a greater incentive.
I guess the question all along that I’ve been thinking about here is, is Archeage a PvP game? Does that form an integral an unavoidable aspect and there answer is… maybe… probably but it isn’t as intrusive as many think it would be. That is unless you put down your house and farms in a PvP zone and get ganked occasionally while tending your roses. There are many elements of Archeage that don’t involve PvP and arguably the more important parts. Housing and farming can be done without it as can being a part of the economy. For my trading I leave from that southern most zones but due to the way peace times can align I am able to do it in complete safety earning myself some nice coin from each. I’ve never lost a pack when trading in my own country and probably won’t.
It’s just another mechanic to the game to be a part of more if you wish but that does change the experience a little as you will have to either change the way you play or just put up with the things that happen. I find this far more interesting. It makes the world feel less static and predictable. It doesn’t exactly form the basis of the game though and there are two distinct facets to it, even at end game. There’s PvP through open world and arena grinding, later on the north continent to fight over. And the trading, building, farming and dungeon running PvE side. Both do overlap at many points but can done to the almost exclusion of the other. Enjoy One.. Both… or just have fun complaining about whichever is ruining the game this week. All I know is that it would be a damn familiar and forgettable experience without either.