ArcheAge: Working and Wandering

I still can’t believe how much I’m still playing ArcheAge. I’m getting on in the afternoon just about daily and even in the morning with my tea for the sole purpose of tending my family spaces. I don’t exactly why it has resonated so well with me when so many recent titles haven’t. By now I’m usually winding out of my release time insanity and searching out new games and experiences but I’m still solely playing AA.

Paths Of Progress

I’m not even 50 yet which is weird considering the amount of time as there is just so much to be involved with. It’s a goal for me but not the only goal and certainly not the more important one and that a big change. The distinction Kill Ten Rats made between progress and progression is the key difference here that I think matters more than it appears. I’m am and can gain progress in a variety of ways through crafting, farming, dailies, building, pirating, exploring and questing and it all reasonably relates to some sort of progress tour making.

It is usually a lot of busy work and I get that some, like Levelcapped ,Don’t enjoy that but I really do. I like the more involved process, that you can’t just click to complete something in one go. There are a number of actions to do in completing most farming activities and all these have trickle down effects into other aspects. My geese need regular feeding to maintain that needs me to gather grain and grind it first, or buy it off someone else. They get sick occasionally too which requires a separate ingredient. Trees get gathered, animals get tended and new things constantly planted. These gathered things gets used for crafting or trade packs, that earns money and exp that in turn comes back to buying more things to tend your own again. It’s busy work but with a level of interdependency that keeps me engaged as it’s all important. It’s a small part of a much larger round system.

Tending the Herd

Tending the Herd

In a way I think this is why I fell out of ESO and Wildstar so quickly. It’s all progression, all the time and that gets insanely tiring and is a rather lonely, self obsessed playstyle. ESO’s never seemed to end with its endless VR rank idiocy. Wildstar was the gear treadmill of dungeon running and while their was a tonne of fluff to enjoy it was all pretty much inconsequential. You didn’t feel as though your character or account was growing from it. It was more an online version of hoarders anonymous with a tinge of guilt worked int that you were never being productive.

I’m kind of over Progression as the only important part of online world’s. It’s a nice thing to have an essential thing to do but when it’s the sole experience it becomes boring to me. I just need other things to do, things that still help me grow, that still helps me reach towards other goals. It’s about having a variety of options for progression and not just the limited gear grinds that usually get crammed in.

In AA I can trade for gold to get that gear, I can farm for it, pvp for it, craft it. I can play the auction house or just be lucky and get it handed to me from the guild. I can explore and take advantage of hidden farms by either making or harvesting some. You can even do the guilda dailies and buy large plans to sell for huge stacks of money. Then there’s the traditional dungeons and token things too. Each area allows progress, maybe not optimal but at least one that’s tailored to your interests and moods.

Or being a criminal

Or being a criminal

Living Lanes

The other element that seems to make the experience better for me is just how much more active and alive the world seems. Of course being in a PvP zone this involves the unplanned attacks of many red characters, often max level. It makes it so you mostly stay out of the whole zombie mode questing routine. I’m active, aware and enjoying my surroundings as well as talking to people around me and it seems others are more doing this as well.

PvP creates a world in flux even if it really isn’t in terms of the land and characters. It creates a space with more people involved with it and is often a reason for people to visit other zones. To either gang of protect. It also drives many to more action, guilds enter zones, battles over space or for fun… Or to retaliate and those even just after an opportunistic trade pack. It creates a hive of activity that isn’t just centered around the usual end game hubs.

The PvE has also managed this due to the trade system which is something I wish in all my mmo worlds now. The Eve approach of regional trade centers is more interesting but for this game it seems right that the town’s themselves pay for the goods. As Syncain noticed in his a road traveled post, it creates zones that are more active and that that feel more believable with the many people travelling to and from places along these roads. Every zone at every time of day there are people plodding along on their donkeys, shuttling on Carts or just shuffling around the trade stations. In the rivers around Marianople it can often be a traffic jam of boats going into open water or just trying to cross the channel. It creates an interesting feel even, something you’d expect of a fantasy world even though it is just people doing their relatively menial tasks. That’s what life is sometimes and while it isn’t really that exciting or even fun, I find it an engaging activity and far more immersive.

What I like most about this, about this busy work is that it is all worked into the games core. Every system has been built here with the other systems in mind. It’s not just some tacked on mini game, the next public loot pinata or mechanic neatly portioned off so as not to interact or upset the other systems. It’s not solely for groups, or guilds or solo players just for anyone who wants to spend more time. It is also something that rewards players who actually do a little work, there are no handouts (well… maybe the Hasla grind) and what you put in, and the amount of risk you allow determines your reward and from what I’ve seen from the amount of people actually engaging with the system through trade or plunder, it is extremely popular.

It's even better when you can hitch a ride

It’s even better when you can hitch a ride

#Archeage #crafting #Trade

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