I have been paying close attention towards the issues ArcheAge has been having. It hasn’t seriously affected me just yet but still been this dark cloud hanging over the experience. I know there’s rain and lightning somewhere but it’s not in my part of the experience just yet.
I have noticed quite a few issues large enough with the level, predominance and widespread nature of hacking, botting and exploits that I have been, and am going to be rather cautious going forward. Just being a bit more reserved in the way I would invest money knowing it. I don’t want to put any more into a game knowing that there are some serious game breaking issues there and issues that will and probably already do affect my own, and definitely a lot of the people around me.
I remember what happened to my level of interest and excitement with GW2 until some of those wvw hacks got predominate. The ones of stealing an orb, siege range and other terrain or movements exploits. It just doesn’t make the experience that fun for me and ruins the appeal of PvP. Thankful the combat exploits still seem minimal but the ones that are being done break the game in a far more serious way
When the game launches I was a little dismissive with the complaints of people missing out as I thought, as time went on that there would be a far few people leaving as well as properties just lapsing on their rent. Sure enough these times have come and gone but those waiting are mostly still without any space bigger than the 8×8 of a small farm.
The issue here is a few programs that are widely available let you see all the available properties in a specific area, the exact time they come up and even automatically place a structure down. The timing on that is so quick too that many report a house being placed before the current one is even finished burning down leaving legitimate players without a chance.
The situation has gotten so bad that a few people own large swathes of land across the servers. These then get sold for premium gold prices, and yes they do sell because what other choice is there. A huge part of the game is owning land and while I supported the limited amount and didn’t mind how people missed out in the beginning, I’m staunchly against this sort of issue.
Unfortunately these programs are rather easy to attain and use so without an overhaul to the game engine I don’t see the issue going away any time soon. The only work around for legitimate players is to maybe message the owner before it gets destroyed to purchase it.
I’ve actually been getting really into the auction house this game. I tend to avoid it but here a lot of the things are useful to you or your guild, and even if not there is a demand somewhere to market towards. I’ve also been rather consumed with making gold and buying and selling seemed like a good approach to this.
The bid option has been good for this. Some people place their bid prices reasonably low and so you can pick up items and materials for well under the market price. You then relist at the base average or maybe a little lower and you’ve made a profit. I actually did this a fair bit in the beginning, especially with construction materials but now that’s almost impossible.
There are a few hack programs now that make it a lot easier for people. The main one is a game edit that lists the exact auction time down to the second which lets people put in that last bid far easier. I’ve even heard of a few now that do this sort of thing automatically and have a programmed highest point to buy at. Another way to ruin gameplay for others and control a part of the economy.
The other program I believe is getting used more often is one that lists certain materials at a really low price, spoofing it so to say so that lazy people listing their things relist at this lower point. Now some of the people doing this are regular humans but some are just odd enough, quick enough and regular enough that it’s beyond coincidence. Low price single items that are up for exactly 2 seconds and a certain amount of times before stopping for a certain amount to come back again later. New bids that get taken almost immediately. Something odd for sure.
When a game has hacks you can be sure there are movement based ones with teleporting being high on that list. There are a lot in here doing this and you see it often enough. There are huge collections of bots in certain areas and quite a few of these bounce around.
The well known use at the moment is teleporting trade packs and these players or bots are doing it from the crafting spot straight to their destination, over and over. This has the issue of flooding the game with gold, gold to purchase whatever they need or even funnel towards gold selling bot also lowers the price given further for legitimate players.
Now not exactly illegal or exploitative in it’s basic form, even when out in the world but the ability to farm any more has and is being abused by hackers. What’s being done is large tree farms in completely out of the reach of places. It’s not just putting it in hard spots but impossible spots. I’m quite good at navigating the peaks and valleys now and know most of the regular spots but some are completely inaccessible. While the wood would be nice these large tree farms are there solely for the chance at a thunderstruck adn making it so no one else can access keeps that supply.
With the ones you do find there are some weird little glitches that make you think it’s something a little more sinister. First many of these trees just don’t show the growth timer at all so you really have no idea when to harvest. Second is that often enoguh the trees will go completely invisible when they are, it still allows interaction and harvest but your cutting at air.
The Bots are very prevalent in game and seem to do their business with impunity. Some have that standard name of nothing but a jumble of words, others more recognisable but they still seemingly congregate in the same areas constantly killing mobs in the fast respawn spaces with the same actions. Continuously for hours on end. Sometimes stopping but always grinding. The worst spot I seem to always see is just over the bridge into Dewstone killing golems but they are all already these earlier spaces. The later you get in zones the less it gets but they’re still around, it’s just that they get PK’d. The reason for this is to get those coinpurses which is funny since they were designed to limit the amount of botting. In them you get experience gold (sometimes huge amounts, biggest being 120 gold for me) but also chances at archeum which do sell for decent amounts. exorbitant amounts for the later ones.
The other thing I kind feel there is an issue is with the occasional combat hacks but it’s nothing you can actually prove. Just inconsistencies in how the fight goes, skills used and such. There have been a few times, not experienced personally, where people will go immune without using any skills. It’s kind of like they are forcing the bug the mobs sometimes get into. The other is receiving huge, and undocumented damage. Things that just one shot you but don’t show up in the combat log. Others I kind of feel are skill cooldowns just too short then they should be, curing control skills and such they shouldn’t be and greater speeds than they could. It’s weird stuff and I’m probably a little bit more paranoid due to other areas being so prominently hacked but when other areas are, there would undoubtedly be areas like this too.
The worst part of all this is that most of these hacks have been around for years with no change and seemingly no concerted effort from XL Games to stop them or plug the holes in their games architecture. I don’t really understand the inner workings of this sort of stuff but, from what I hear the game servers are just far too trusting of information coming in from the client. People are modifying game files and installing third party programs that can recode information on the fly, bypassing Hackshield as well.
Now I’m not at the point here to be able to tell, or even have an idea what Trion can do next as the western publishers of the game. It seems like an ingrained issue that has been around for a long time that XL simply can’t get rid of and Trion don’t have the permission to modify the client or code enough to stop it. Hackshield seems like it was there best plan to at least curb the amount but it simply hasn’t worked.
Of course lately they’ve been giving some wierd responses to the issues here and some other events that come off completely clueless but also a bit flippant. These are huge issues with the game that will have drastic effects on the long term economy as well as the enjoyment of current players and they really haven’t given the amount of effort towards fixing the issue that I believe would be appropriate. More GM’s in game would be a first step but there are so many other elements of outgoing information they’d be able to analyse, or analyse in a more critical manner..
Unfortunately I don’t see it getting major changes happening that quickly and it’s probably safe to say that some of them that have been around for years will still remain. Botting and teleporting a probable fixture with week long or less absences around big patches. It’s a sad thing, I am quite invested in the game at the moment, and I want to be for the future as well but this is one Dark Cloud that needs to be removed for that to continue.