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ArcheAge Comes To America

ArcheAge releases today, although those who purchased founders packs had the last four days to get a head start.  I was one of them, but decided to work for three out of four of those days, so I missed a lot of the excitement.  Most of the excitement was apparently in the form of service outages.  I witnessed a few such problems, and heard plenty about the rest.
This is a pretty good guess what most of you will be seeing in ArcheAge this week.
Things have indeed been rocky during the four day head start between Sep 12th and Sep 15th:
  • There were a server outages, as to be expected.  DDOSing is something script kiddies will do on any Internet hotspot where they think it will be noticeable, and official blame has been put at the feet of such attackers.  By and large, however, the servers were up.
  • There were too few servers at release, resulting in queues that would, at times, take over two hours to let more players in.  Without queuing, most people would be facing impenetrable servers.  Trion Worlds later introduced a grace period for players who were disconnected or had the client crash to be able to circumvent the queue, but this was on the very last day of headstart.  A few servers were put up towards the end, but this undermines the advantage of a headstart somewhat, and I suspect those servers will be slammed with refugees looking for land.
  • Speaking of land, there was apparently nothing stopping some enterprising players from running out and grabbing ten or more plots of land for their housing and farms.  They are now trying to ransom off these plots of land for exorbitant fees, sometimes outright scamming people.  (EVE Online's policies have taught a number of players some very bad habits, indeed.)  Players showing up now will have a very difficult time placing farms or houses in places that are taxed and "protected," and here's hoping the land barons have their excessive claims taxed out from under them in the coming weeks.
Trion Worlds may have dropped the ball on this, the biggest thing in MMORPGs since Ultima Online (even if it is gimped by the parts it borrows from World of Warcraft).  As I initially wrote this entry, the launch was supposed to happen almost an hour and a half ago, and the servers have just now become available.

I am left feeling that Trion Worlds had absolutely no idea how important this MMORPG is.  ArcheAge introduces some virtual world features that the players have been craving for a very long time, and delivers them in a pretty cohesive package (at least when the servers are up and you can get past the login queue).
It's pretty obvious who the original audience
for this game was.

In other ways, all this attention is sort of pathetic:
  • I would not say that the core combat mechanic is as good as WildStar's (except for the vehicular aspects).  Indeed, it's very much a step backwards to the kind of combat we were seeing in MMORPGs as early as 2007.
  • The roleplaying game mechanic is inferior to Trion World's own Rift, whose soul trees are far more smoothly designed than the skill trees in ArcheAge.  
  • At heart, ArcheAge is a Korean PC bang game that was already released in January of 2013, we're basically slavering over a version that has been tweaked to be a little less grindy for western audiences.
So basically, the players are fighting over table scraps of a game that we should have been made years ago, and probably would have if more investors were willing to invest in something other than a World Of Warcraft clone.

Basically, it would seem ArcheAge was a blistering success.  Perhaps this will finally be the Western-released game that topples World Of Warcraft subscriber numbers.  (Perhaps then Trion Worlds would realize just what they have on their hands here.)  With any luck, more investors will be willing to get on board with virtual worlds in the future.

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