Hype Meter is a FreeMMOStation show where we give you an overview of the most anticipated free MMO games. This time we take a look at ArcheAge, the sandbox MMORPG from XL Games that is getting players from all over the world extremely excited.
The word ‘Sandbox’ is usually thrown around quite a lot when it comes to MMORPGs. We understand why: it looks pretty next to any game title, but truth is that real sandbox MMOs are few and far between. ArcheAge should be the one to teach us the true meaning of that word. Developed by Korean studio XL Games and running on CryEngine 3, ArcheAge is like a dream come true for players tired of exploring restricted worlds. The motto of the game is ‘a world made by you’, so let’s hope this world won’t suck, OK?
Characters are pretty standard fantasy fare, so their looks aren’t the highlights of this game. However, the combination of 10 ability trees and 120 classes allows players to explore the world of ArcheAge in many different ways, using specific skills to each character. There’s an amazingly detailed character creation system so it should be pretty easy to create a unique character or even recreate some celebrity, if you like that kind of thing.
ArcheAge’s dynamic world is like a place where you get all these toys and then you can do whatever you want with them. From building your own house and furnishing it, to building a castle and establishing your own country, it’s your ambition that determines your goals. The sandbox term really comes to life when you know that you can build your house in the game world and not in instanced zones, so this will be one huge place to explore. And you can even create your own games, like rafting or the biggest number of people on a rowboat!
You can have a fully functional farm, with trees and crops planted, watered and chopped down or harvested at your own will. Animals will be used to aid you in your tasks or serve as resources.
The world of ArcheAge, which is divided in two continents – Nuia and Harihara – isn’t restricted to land. The air and sea are also there to be explored, with gliders to fly and diving equipment to explore the depths of the sea, where you can even go treasure hunting or do some underwater planting. As for mounts and vehicles, variety doesn’t seem to be the biggest selling point but you have row boats, ships, carts, donkeys, gliders, and even some steampunk-looking cars that got quite a nasty reception from players.
One of the highlights of ArcheAge is the naval combat. But before you join in the fun, you’ll have to build a ship by getting the resources and blueprint, as well as the perfect building spot. Then you get the cannons, design your own sails and you should be good to go. Massive fleets roam the ocean and while you think your crew has the upper hand against some scruffy pirates, the Kraken enters the picture and makes you forge a rare alliance with your enemies. But don’t be surprised if it destroys your ship. Exciting stuff!
ArcheAge even goes to the point where criminal players may be taken before a jury and face jail time, where they will repay their debt by working, enjoy some soccer in prison and attempting breakout.
There’s so much more to ArcheAge that we won’t cover it all here. But you should also expect large scale combat, sieges, arena duels, a trading system and much more.
For what we’ve seen, the Korean launch wasn’t as smooth as it could be, with server and optimization issues. But that seems to be a problem that afflicts most of the MMOs nowadays, so let’s hope things will be fixed soon. We’re also aware that ArcheAge offers so much that it’s not recommended for the casual crowd, so if you’re not versed in MMORPGs this shouldn’t be the place to start.
Balancing this huge, free world could be a nightmare, and let’s hope we don’t find everyone farming the best items and turning towns into a more realistic Farmville. Oddly enough, goat farming seems to be big right now. Combat also feels a bit off, not particularly exciting as it was supposed to be.
ArcheAge is one of the most ambitious MMORPGs out there and while the North American and European versions are confirmed by Trion Worlds, it could take a while to get the game in a playable state – we would say 2014, so hang in there, guys. Ambition could come at a cost though, as with many games of this magnitude there should be a lot of bugs to fix and fine-tuning to do. We’re expecting a game with some flaws, but one that will keep us hypnotized to our screens for months on end. Still no word on the business model – free to play or buy to play, ArcheAge should be completely worth it either way.