Trion was gracious enough to grant me access to the alpha test phase of ArcheAge. I’ve had access for two days now and put in somewhere around 5 hours of play. Â I’m still -very- early in the game and haven’t even gained access to most of the features I’d like to try the most (ships, housing).
I want to start sharing my impressions, though, because there’s going to be a lot to say about ArcheAge. Â Let’s discuss the first few hours of play.
Visuals, Presentation, et al.
ArcheAge is quite beautiful. Â You can glean that from watching most videos. Â The engine runs well on my computer at maxed out settings with only the slightest hint of slowdown around what I think could be a shadow issue. Â FromÂ a complete technical novice like myself, theÂ game ‘feels’ well put together and as the end-user I have no technical complaints yet.
SomeÂ of the game is still in a language I do not understand — Korean? Â Other than language, ArcheAge feels Eastern to me. Â Character models all look feminine and ‘pretty’. Â Back to how the game ‘feels’, I can ‘feel’ the Eastern influence in the controls and the gameplay. Â Playing MMOs for almostÂ 20 years gives one that sense to pick up on these things. Â Keep in mind that’s not yet a negative thing by itself.
The UI is okay at best. Â It’s very standard, gets the job done, etc. Â I think the minimap gets in my way, and I’m looking (I actually haven’t begun to look) for a way of shrinking it so that it doesn’t overlap with my quest tracker.
Combat is the typical tab target hotkey fare. Â There’s one little twist that I haven’t seen before, though, where some abilities are labled something like fast use (rapid use? I forget) and you can hold the button down to essentially spam it. Â Graev’s character (he also got in) throws these arcane stars from his hands “Hyah hyah hyah!” rapid fire style — by holding down the button he alternates hands and spams them. Â When I was Shadowplay (I’ve already respec’d 6 times) I could hold down one of my sword swings to have it keep attacking quickly. Â Other than that, from what I’ve seen in the first 5 hours the combat is fairly standard.
Animations are awesome in more ways than one. Â Combat looks great. Â Shooting a bow, swinging a sword, casting a spell, playing an instrument (there are bards!), etc. Â All look good and feel pretty good.
Mounts, Boats, etc!
I already have a rowboat! Â It’s awesome! Â Best experience I’ve had in the entire game so far. Â Nothing has come even remotely close. Â Controlling the boat is really intuitive. Â I’ve done some minor rowing as a young scout and I recall how weird it is to row with your back facing the direction you want to go. Â As you can see in the video below, it took my brain a few seconds to catch on but once I did the experience was fantastic.
The water is awesome in ArcheAge, and I seriously can’t stand the wait until I can build myself a ship. Â I’m going to go into this special zone tonight where I can try out the ships and all that good stuff. Â I’m really excited.
My horse is awesome too. Â He follows me around like a pet and levels up. Â I raised him from a young little thing. Â Took me 3 whole minutes! Â Although quick, it was neat to at least feel attached in some way to the process. Â All animations are superb with the horse from riding to mounting. Â I think, eventually, my horse can fight with me. Â For now he just follows along like a good horse.
Questing – meh. Â The early game.
Surprise! Questing is dull. Â I’ll be harsh and say it kinda sucks. Â 1-20 feels like it’s one big tutorial. Â That’s fine and all, but I hope the questing eases up (I hear it does and I’m sure someone will comment) and gives me more of a “here’s your world now go explore” vibe.
The class system is based off of choosing threeÂ skillsets which in and of themselves resemble classes. Â You can pick the typical healer, fighter, mage types then combine them with other classes like witchcraft, songcraft, auramancy, etc., to form something else. Â Essentially nothing changes from what I’ve seen — it just gives you a name for having chosen three.
There are combos and synergies to consider when choosing abilities. Â I haven’t min-maxed the best combinations yet, but it looks like shadowplay with songcraft and vitalism could be a sneaky support character that I may want to try out.
As you level up you get points to spend to unlock skills, and abilities within each class rank up. Â Pick and choose the abilities you want to make your fairly unique character.
Soooo much more to see
I’ve really only scratched the surface. Â Right now the 1-20 experience feels themepark. Â I want to get to the sandbox part of ArcheAge everyone keeps telling me about. Â Press on I shall!