Some might say the age of the MMORPG is waning. We’ve seen a lot of them in the past decade or so, every one of them claiming to bring something new to the table, but most have been rehashings of old familiar content. ArcheAge is the newest on the scene, and it really does seem to have something new to offer – a blend of straightforward MMO mechanics with a more dynamic, user-created sandbox world.
Appearance-wise, ArcheAge clearly shows its roots as a Korean game. It has the kind of thorough character creation and beautiful graphics you’ve come to expect from the genre, but with game play that’s much more open-ended and not so crippled by the long, dull grind usually associated with other MMO exports in recent years.
You can choose from among four races and two separate factions. Instead of choosing a predefined class, you can build your own class by combining a variety of abilities, with about 150 possible combinations available in all. And while a plot-oriented quest chain is available to lead you on your leveling journey, you can also gain levels by venturing off the beaten path – exploring, farming, crafting, even selling things in the auction house can earn experience. Combat utilizes a combination of point-and-click mechanics with more active combo-point maneuvers, giving an update on the old-fashioned MMO while avoiding the popular trend toward live-action combat.
Most interestingly, the game provides many more ways to interact with fellow players than the average MMO, like the ability to steal resources from fellow players. Beware, though, because illegal activity puts a bounty on your head, and player-run bounty hunters can imprison you for your crimes. You can also claim a country for yourself and build a castle or other structures to serve as a personal base, player store and more. The amount of player-generated content is what really separates this game from others in the genre, and is definitely its most exciting feature.
The game has been free-to-play in Korea and Russia for several years, but it’s just now made its way into the US under the ownership of Trion Worlds (the developer responsible for Rift and Defiance). It’s due to release officially on September 12. It’ll be predominately free-to-play, with subscriptions available for added perks (like the ability to own land in-game). You can check out more information on the ArcheAge website.