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ArcheAge Alpha: The Road So Far (Level 1 - 20)

By: Luminosity posted at May 21, 2014 10:19 am

Category: Review, Game: ArcheAge, 11445 Views

Tags: ArcheAge   archeage   age   arche   review   start   beginning   1  

ArcheAge Alpha: The Road So Far (Level 1 - 20)
Introduction


Introduction

Now let me start of by saying that this isn’t a “Full” review but a reasonably large “half” review. I’ll be contributing my experiences of ArcheAge from levels 1 – 20. All statements are based on my own experiences and opinions, you may experience things differently. However I have had a lot of experience with MMORPG’s so hopefully this review can give you a better insight on what’s going on in the Alpha stages of ArcheAge.

The Beginning



I started off by downloading the client from the ArcheAge website after logging into glyph, you can do this by either receiving an Alpha key which is extremely rare now or you can buy the $150 Arceum Package which gives you Alpha access. The game client itself was about 23.3Gigabytes of data and it took me overnight about 8 hours to download. The game successfully launched on my first try and brought me to the server screen. There was only one server available which was marked “Alpha”.
You can make a total of 6 characters in the game so far. 4 per server and 6 in total.
There are 4 races and 2 factions.
The Elves and The Nuians that are on the western continent.
The Firrans and The Harani that are on the eastern continent.
However 2 more classes will soon join the game in the future.
The Draves and The Warborn.

Character customization was reasonably in-depth, you can customize the face and body with many details like scars and tattoos, other than that its mainly generic character creation.
There are a total of 10 total classes:
Battlerage, Sorcery, Archery, Vitalism, Occultism, Shadowplay, Defense, Auramancy, Witchcraft and Songcraft. Players are allowed to choose 3 classes in any combinations, therefore giving players the freedom to mix and match and flexibility for up to 120 different combinations of classes which gives players different stats for each combination.

Leveling

The leveling system within ArcheAge is something you would expect from any generic MMORPG, you do quests, you fight monsters, gain experience and you level up. But don’t let that stop you. This is nothing but a basic foundation for our current generation of MMORPG’s. The first few levels were very easy, generally you get 1 skill point every 2 levels with some levels i.e 25, 28 and 30. When you pick another class at level 5 and 10 you will receive 2 skill points instead. The max level so far is level 50.

Quest System

The questing system is nothing unique, you can choose to either follow the linear story mission or also branch out to other side quests which gives you extra gold, equipment and items that you can use for higher levels or material to help you craft etc. I highly recommend taking any available side quests as questing is a major way to grind your levels faster.
As for the quests themselves you could argue that they are generic however I personally found them entertaining, especially some of the main quest missions. Perhaps it’s the environment that gives the questing a bit more spice than normal MMORPG’s. What I mean is as you quest you also begin to discover, some side quests also help lead you off the rails of the theme park ride.

QUESTS

PROS:
   · Reasonably Rewarding
   · Encourages exploration

CONS:

   · Can become a grind
   · Quest themselves aren’t incredibly unique, however they are well established.

Now you’re wondering, “Oh another generic theme park MMORPG, why do I even bother reading?” Don’t lose faith yet, the good stuff is yet to come.
There is also an under and over achievement system where players can earn more or less by completing a quest earlier or over completing it by doing more than the quest asks.


Mounts



This is something I have slightly mixed feelings for, but mostly good feelings. The mounts in ArcheAge look extremely good especially the Snow Lion, however they aren’t super-fast and don’t seem to be any faster than a player using sprint. However ArcheAge is about discovery therefore I guess it is reasonable to involve a lot of traveling.
Players depending on the race they pick will receive a quest to acquire a mount between levels 8 – 10. The mount distribution are as follows;

   · Nuians receive the Horse. Players can choose colors from Brown, Tan or White.
   · Firrans receive the Lion. Players can choose colors from Black, White and Brown.
   · Elves receive the Elk. Players can choose colors from White, Violet and Green
   · Harani receive the Leomorph. Players can choose colors from White, Smokey and Black.

Each mount also has different skill sets, and is available to ALL races if they decide to visit the origin stables that belong to each race. They can all be brought for 10 silver.
Each mount also vary in speed;

   · Horses : SPEED : 9 m/s (fastest among the starting mounts)
   · Lion: SPEED : 8.8 m/s ( second fastest )
   · Elks : SPEED: 8.5 m/s ( third fastest )
   · Leomorph : SPEED : 8.3 m/s (slowest among the starting mounts)

One of the awesome features is that you can buy equips for your mount which come in different levels.
It not only adds a spicy and unique look to your mount but it also increases its stats like + 3 strength and + 20% speed.
There a various other mounts within the game that are yet to be discovered, such as a donkey. They are apparently acquired by breeding a snow lion with a horse. A breeding system within ArcheAge would give extreme amounts of depth into the game.
All other mounts can be found within the ArcheAge wiki.


Gliders



Gliders are one of the joys of this game. Other than the many different ways of transport, gliders are one of the most fun ones. Players will receive a glider from a quest around levels 8 – 10. “The Experimental Glider” is what your first glider is called. It shows you the basics of a glider. The player can use the glider at any time (YOU DO NOT NEED TO JUMP TO USE THE GLIDER), even in combat or inside water, however depending on your altitude your glider could last for minutes or drop down in a few seconds.
So far I have not experienced any flying mounts and don’t know if they actually exist, however gliders provide a much faster alternative to using your mount or running especially when you’re in higher areas such as buildings, cliffs or mountains.
Glider are somewhat like mounts, depending on the type of glider you have you can use certain skills such as Nitro which allows the player to forcefully increase the altitude of the glider in-order to prolong the distance and duration of the glider in the air. This is extremely useful if you’re trying to get past tall walls or barricades as Nitro acts as a jumping booster.
There are several different gliders you can get. 3 of which, branch of the Experimental Glider. You can upgrade to the other gliders by buying a “blueprint” or a “design” from Mirage Island which I’ll talk more about later.
After you buy the design you can go to any carpentry workbench to upgrade to the next glider that are as follows;

   · Experimental Glider (Comes with no special skills)
   · Improved Glider (Comes with Nitro)
   · Enhanced Glider (Comes with Nitro and Barrage)
   · Ultimate Glider (Comes with Nitro, Barrage and Air Raid)

There many other gliders you can find by going to the ArcheAge wiki.

Combat



Combat in ArcheAge is surprisingly okay. Even though it’s generic tab targeting, there is plenty to see. The skill designs look great and the attack animations are extremely smooth. Starting players are equipped with one of their main class weapons and a bow. Therefore players can mix and match melee and ranged combat. Monsters have great hit detection and will only damage you if you are right in front of them or if they use ranged attacks.  You can completely destroy mobs without getting damaged by using the right skill tactics.  Therefore ArcheAge is not an “Action Combat” styled game, it utilizes the combination of skills for the best outcome on different mobs. Warriors can easily equip a staff or a bow, as they can mix and match skill trees and basically be a Warrior/Mag/Archer hybrid that utilizes slowing skills and buffs from magic and close and ranged combat depending on the position of the mob. This gives the combat system extreme depth and allows players to strategize on defeating certain mobs with minimalistic repercussions.

Crafting/Building



Now crafting and building is one of the big and bright features of this game. There are so many things to craft listing from
Armor, Weapons, Items, Materials, Costumes, Gliders, Tools, Decorations, ships etc.
Although I haven’t explored a lot of the crafting and building options, I feel it is safe to say that crafting and building is something players will have a ton of fun doing.
Various things can be crafted on various different craft tables, for example, gliders can be crafted from the Carpentry Workbench, and certain armor like Plate Armor can be crafted on the Plate Armor Workbench or if its Leather Armor the Leather Armor Workbench.
Would I say that crafting is extremely flexible in this game? No, the crafting is very good, but not extreme like minecraft etc. However it is one of the best I’ve experienced so far on any MMORPG.
However, crafting, planting or building things require “labor points” a point system that limits how much you can plant, build or craft. Labor points are rewarded around every 5minutes in-game and are the only drawback to spam crafting. Future ArcheAge subscribers will receive extra labor points unlike normal players. This allows them to be ahead in crafting, planting, building etc.
As I said before, I myself haven’t done much crafting yet. I managed to upgrade my glider from experimental to ultimate and craft a few equips. You will have to check out the crafting yourself when you get the chance.



Customization


(my friends face on the back of my cape)
Customization is by far my favorite part of this game so far. This is probably because I love to express myself uniquely and love games that let you do that. The equipment you get throughout the game look great, neatly textured armor and weapons. The capes you get throughout the game look very nice and that’s not even the good part.
Players are able to upload their own custom logo/emblems into the game. You can place the image on your cape, boat, houses etc. You can practically put anything you want unless it is copyrighted or offensive and inappropriate content. The images themselves come out great, and gives depths to each character by letting them customize their own crests.
I also heard that you could upload custom wallpapers to your house that becomes public to all players in ArcheAge.
Players can choose to wear any type of armor, regardless if its plate or leather or cloth. Individuals can mix and match and come up with unique looks or stats. Costumes are apparently another feature of the game however I doubt any of that content will be available in the alpha stages of ArcheAge.
Nui Tears are a currency you receive in-game from quests and discovery. They can be used for certain cosmetic items for your houses, mounts etc. It gives a great alternative to just using gold or cash shop credit.
The items can be brought from Mirage Island, which is basically an island market that sells things ranging from mounts, gliders, houses etc.


Discovery/Environment



ArcheAge is very big, not mind-blowingly big, but heck there are so many places to go and so many things to see, you’re unlikely to walk past the same path anytime soon. The environment is one of the many wonders that pulled me in immediately. First of all the graphics aren't incredible but maxed out ArcheAge still looks damn sexy for a sandbox. Nearly all of the scenery you can see are actually reachable, for example; mountains, rivers, oceans and beaches. There is a tone of secret places and areas you can discover that actually reward you with Nui Tears and experience points. These places can be found by simply trying to get to places you often wouldn't think you can get to. Like high hills, under water caves etc. Certain places like high roof tops can be reached by using your glider.

Community/Player base

Even though this is only the Alpha phase of the game, there are many players active on the server. I am surprised on how many people actually bought the Arceum pack. The moment you login, you will see the chat spammed. Not bad spam, just a ton of players talking about how they stole a potato and got arrested.
Guilds are always recruiting. They became an important asset to me and helped me with many things I didn't understand. Everyone I've encountered so far are extremely friendly. Everyone always seem to be talking about all the sandbox features of the game, not something you’d see people talking about on any other MMORPG.

Things I haven’t done

There are tons and tons of features I have not yet explored, as this review is only based on features I’ve experienced through level 1 – 20. Please forgive me for features I haven’t yet addressed however, I was mainly on the rollercoaster theme park ride and have not yet explored all the sandbox features.
The main ones I want to explore are;
Ship building, sailing, pirating, sea wars, in-depth crafting, exploration, farming, house building, breeding, PVP, guild pvp, dungeons, raids, bosses, economy features, justice system and many others I most likely aren’t fully aware of yet.

Bugs

Like every alpha game, there are bugs, and plenty of them. However the main ones I’ve experienced where only client related bugs, and little texture loading and optimization issues but that’s about it.
The game seems to disconnect sometimes when you choose to switch characters, and sometimes the game crashes due to perhaps resolution settings when running the game.

Alpha Conclusion

So far so good. I am personally enjoying my time with ArcheAge and I am hoping they start adding even more content to make this sandbox experience richer.
Make sure to look out for my level 20 – 40 review in a few weeks’ time for of a look into ArcheAge Alpha.

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