Category: 3D MMORPG
PvP Support: Yes
Pros: +Unique class system +Player freedom +Deep crafting and gathering +Heavily PVP
Cons: -Slight grind -Open world PVP isn't for everyone
ArcheAge is a sandbox 3D MMORPG from XLGames where player freedom is at the forefront. The systems implemented are deep and detailed. Class combinations feel unique. Crafting and gathering is a real priority to the in-game economy. There are open world PVP zones and faction-based sieges. There is a jail system for those that kill others or steal their crops. Combat can be on the ground or by sea. And if you want, you can shed your faction and become a pirate, looting and pillaging as much as you want.
Class System - ArcheAge battle classes are built upon a combination of three separate classes which leads to 120 different possibilities. The classes are Battlerage, Sorcery, Archery, Vitalism, Occultism, Shadowplay, Defense, Auramancy, Witchcraft, and Songcraft and any three of these can be chosen. Each class has its own unique characteristics ensuring that every playstyle is catered to.
Crafting/Gathering - An integral part of ArcheAge is crafting and gathering. Creating certain items for trade packs yield large amounts of experience and gold. However, the final destination for trade packs may be in dangerous locations and your items can be stolen. Building houses, castles, boats, armor, and weapons all require materials that must be gathered and crafted, so farming and crafting is not just a way to make money.
Player Freedom - Being a sandbox MMO means that players can do practically whatever they like. Some may want to devote themselves to growing trees which are required for boats and various buildings. Some may want to be pirates who dominate the open world PVP zones. Some may want to craft the highest grade items for others. And all of these options are completely viable.
Operating system: Vista SP1, Win7 SP1
Processor: Intel Core2 Duo or higher
Hard Disk: 30 GB (NTFS-formatted disk)
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics card: Geforce 8000 series or higher, Radeon HD 4000 series or higher, with at least 512MB video memory
High-speed internet connection
The world of ArcheAge is large and picturesque. There are huge mountains, towering trees, detailed cities, and vast oceans. The controls are simple and the UI is fairly easy to navigate. This is a faction-based game, so the first choice presented is whether to join Nuia or Haranya and, unless you become a pirate later, you will be stuck with this choice. Races are also locked to their respective faction, so if you want to be a Haranya elf, that won't be possible.
You will also have to pick your starting class, however this choice is slightly less important because of the class system. At level 5, you can choose another class and at level 10, you can choose your final class. This combination is the key feature for ArcheAge. Do you want to be an archer with melee skills and some self-healing? That's possible if you choose Archery, Battlerage, and Vitalism. Do you want to be the classic "sword and board" tank? You can choose Battlerage, Defense, and Vitalism. There are 120 different class combination possibilities and, while not all of them are completely viable, the options are available. There are also plenty of guides available to build a set based on your playstyle and whether you want to focus on PVE or PVP. If you want to change your classes, you can also do that at fountains near certain towns and safezones for a small fee.
Crafting and Gathering
Another huge feature of this game is the crafting and gathering. There are various stations to create armor, weapons, potions, etc. in each town and city and you can become every crafter/gatherer you wish, although you can only max out skills in three classes. Another aspect of the game also comes into play here. There are public farms in various areas that anybody can use to grow crops like grapes. The good thing is that these farms are protected from others for a certain amount of time. But there is limited space. If you want your own farm, you're going to need Patron status which is available through the cash shop. This option lets you grow more crops and only requires that you pay the appropriate amount of taxes to ensure that you can continue your farming. Perhaps the most important aspect of crafting is that it will allow you to complete trade packs, which are particular items that must be created and transported to a designated location. These trade packs give large amounts of experience and gold and is one of the better ways to level. However, at higher levels, you may have to traverse through contested zones and it is completely possible that someone from the other faction will try to kill you and take your trade pack. You still gain some currency when these are turned in though, even by other players. Crafting is also necessary to create weapons, armor, and other gear like swords, staffs, fishing poles, boats, houses, and more. Castles are now available and the guild in charge of a castle will need materials to supply itself. Sea battles require ships so farmers growing tress are necessary. Crafting and gathering is intertwined with every aspect of the game so if you want to only be a crafter/gatherer, that is a completely viable option and you will always find money and work.
PVP and More Playing Options
As stated previously, there is open world PVP here. Some zones for lower level people are protected, but that changes fairly quickly and there are some players who simply go around and participate in just PVP. The massive sieges and guild vs guild battles that you are alerted to while out in the world are just some of the opportunities to test your skills against others. You are free to take your ship out onto the seas and battle with opponents you find. You can steal other people's crops or kill the animals they are raising. However, you also leave evidence whenever you commit acts like these and if enough people turn you in, you can go to trial where a jury will vote on your punishment and you may be sent to jail. If you commit enough illegal acts, you can be kicked out of your faction and become a pirate. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few pirates in the game.
I know I've only briefly touched on the many features ArcheAge provides. The systems in place are deep and detailed and it is refreshing to be able to focus on whatever aspect of the game you enjoy most. There are dungeons and other instanced PVE content available. Trading, on top of the crafting and gathering, is a great way to make money or acquire the materials you or your guild needs. However, the questing is generic and, besides the combination options for classes, combat is tab-targeted and nothing you haven't seen before. And if you hate open world PVP or being ganked, you will most likely find yourself searching for another title. But if you do decide to play this game, you will find yourself in an attractive world with detailed systems in place and a deep MMO experience.
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