ArcheAge is a free-to-play fantasy, sandbox MMORPG developed by XLGames and published by Trion Worlds. Some users, myself included, have had issues launching it on Steam, however. Instead, I suggest that you download it from the ArcheAge website itself.
You start on either the Nuia or Harihara continent, depending on your faction choice. You are given free reign in ArcheAge to play your way and be the character you want to be. ArcheAge has a robust enough character creation suite for you to look however you want. While the game was released in 2013, you would be hard pressed to find a character creation suite that offers nearly as much depth as the one found in ArcheAge.
Creating your character is only the first of many steps you must take. From there you will play through an introductory sequence. This helps you get used to the world and some of the later game options, such as flying on a glider and naval battles.
This is where my problems with ArcheAge began. Creating a new character to play through the introductory sequence, I ran into multiple freezes and crashes. Even upon changing settings and adjusting options I would run into the same crash on multiple occasions.
Dejected, I went back to my other character to play a little more to refamiliarize myself with the combat systems of ArcheAge, which is probably one of the best parts of the game. The combat feels fast and fluid even though for the most part it is the typical MMORPG combat fare found in many other games in the genre: hit a button and hit more buttons.
ArcheAge is a sandbox MMORPG, letting players live what basically amounts to a second life. You can build massive castles and claim the land’s riches for yourself in a deep player-driven economy. You can band together with other like-minded players to protect the fortune you have amassed in grand siege battles and naval combat. Or if you really wanted to, you could become an outlaw, prying gold and glory from slain foes.
ArcheAge requires all types of players to drive the economy: gatherers, crafters and traders . You can master a diverse skill set to craft trade-goods, houses, ships and even castles. You can then transport these goods to trade, all across the world. This won’t be easy to do, however with the aforementioned outlaws and pirates to contend with. So, you had better bring some friends along for the ride. Unless you are feeling confident.
For an old game with as much going on it as ArcheAge has, the game itself is pretty enough to look at, even at a lower graphics setting. There are times where parts of a character’s texture won’t load in or will load in a different color to the rest of the model. But after a second or two, the issue will resolve on its own.
The soundtrack is fantastic. The sweeping score accompanying you feels like it truly fits in the world and could even be coming from an in-world source that you can’t see. Having music and sounds that blend so seemlessly with such a large and robust game world is quite an impressive feat. XLGames has pulled it off masterfully.
ArcheAge has 16 weapon types, with many weapons in each type of varying quality. Those weapon types are: daggers, swords, katanas, axes, scepters and shortspears for one-handed weapons. Greatswords, nodachi, greataxes, greatclubs, staffs and longspears are the two-handed weapons. There are also bows and musical instruments that can restore health or mana when played, in the case of the Lute or the Flute.
Where ArcheAge falls down is the way it has been managed by Trion. The game has been considered pay-to-win at times. In its current state, from what I can tell, ArcheAge is in a pretty good spot. However the damage may have already been done to the once-good reputation of ArcheAge. This doesn’t stop both available servers being highly populated at the time of writing.
The game may be free-to-play and has moved away from a lot of the pay-to-win aspects that once plagued it, but unless you can actually get to play the game, avoiding crashes and the launch issues with the Steam version, then it doesn’t really matter.
Established players and characters seem to be fine for the most part. As far as I could tell from my own testing, it only really crashes at one certain area when showing users how to use gliders. As this is an unskippable section however, it makes creating a new character, at least for me, impossible.
While ArcheAge may be better now than it has been for the last couple of years, it is by no means in a great state of playability. If you have an existing character or know how to get around the crashes, you are going to have a great time in the world of ArcheAge. It allows you the freedom to truly play your own way and live the life of either a noble king or a devious bandit, or anything in between.