ArcheAge makes for some rather interesting blogging fodder, and hopefully I can get through the major points and get my point across in a way that makes sense, but no promises, as this might get rambly.
Let’s start with the business model. Flat out, AA has one of the worst versions of F2P in the genre. For starters playing for free is basically a non-option due to the limits of labor point generation, among other crippling restrictions. What’s really awesome about this is that it encourages free players to stay logged in even when not playing to generate labor points. Such brilliant design was no doubt a major factor in the terrible queue situation that AA had (has?) at launch.
Then there is the pay-to-win (P2W) factor, which really should be renamed pay-for-power (P4P) overall, because that’s really what it is. In almost no game can you outright buy wins, but in many you certainly can buy power so that if all other factors are equal, the guy who spent more wins (or gets ahead, has an advantage, etc, as you can’t always ‘win’ in an MMO).
I don’t mind the P4P model if its honest and upfront (gold ammo in WoT before it was removed, for instance), because then I can decide if I want to get involved in something like that. What I hate is the “oh no we don’t sell power in the shop, just convenience” bullshit developers try to shill you, and Trion has plenty of this in AA. From labor points (buy a potion to get more!), to pet/mount levels (buy a potion to level them up!), to lottery item chests; if there is a scummy F2P itemization strategy for the cash shop, Trion has included it in AA.
The multiple currencies situation really brings this home, as AA has three. The first is in-game gold like all MMOs have. Then you have ‘loyalty’ points, which you earn 5 of each day if you sub and log in. This buys you a few things in the item shop, but not much, which leaves it as little more than an insult from Trion. “Thanks for your $15 a month, feel free to buy some table crumbs from our store”. The third is the cash-only currency, which buys everything else.
The double dipping ($15 for the basically required sub, plus a fully stocked, P4P item shop) is bad. Really bad. The fact that you have to run the game through Trion’s feeble little Steam-clone Glyph sucks as well. Trion has 2.5 games released (Rift, AA, Trove/Defiance), and the Glyph shop has an embarrassingly small selection of other titles to purchase (Not that you would want to anyway, though I would LOVE to meet someone who has, must be a fascinating creature). Glyph is just bloat garbage that delays getting into AA, so thanks for that Trion. Also thank you for your anti-hack program that installs itself without asking. I’m sure there will never be an issue with that, plus who doesn’t love random stuff installing itself on your PC, right? Also that program delaying getting into AA is another plus of you being the publisher!
The MMO that XL Games (the developer) made seems pretty great so far. It really does, and I’ll cover that in future posts. The trash Trion stacked on top of said game brings the experience down sadly. The translation that took Trion so, so long to do is at Google translate-level, and even some of the voice work in the game isn’t in English. The whole “Join us in beta” email campaign that was really a “buy into beta” message was insulting. The launch was a borderline disaster thanks to multiple Trion missteps. Plus given Trion’s history with Rift, I’m not exactly confident that they won’t find a way to (further) screw with AA.
AA the game is great. What Trion the publisher has done with it is terrible. Seems that even when we get nice things in this genre, they come with something that reminds us we aren’t allowed to just fully enjoy ourselves. So a big ‘Thank you’ to Trion, for going above and beyond in attempting to take a fun MMO and trying to ruin it, what you have done really is next-level incompetence and scumbaggery.
PS: While its possible XL Games forced Trion into all of the F2P-based crap (there is no doubt who caused the Glyph garbage), and they are just a helpless unthinking drone in all of this, until this is made clear, they get full blame.
I am surprised I haven’t heard much about HackShield getting installed, given that it is a mild pain to get rid of once it is on your box. Just uninstalling AA left it behind on my system. It took some work in regedit to clean it off.
I don’t really get the Glyph hatred. Most MMOs these days have a launcher which handles authentication and client updates before sending you into the game proper. Glyph is just such a launcher, only it can handle multiple Trion games.
Not all launchers are the same. Compare the feel of logging into FFXIV vs AA for example. Night and day.
Really? They seem about the same to me. Open Glyph, click play on Acheage. Open FFXIV, enter credentials, click play. Does something else happen on your Glyph?
I can see logging into AA being worse because of Hackshield, but that’s after Glyph.
There is a solid delay after hitting play in Glyph for me with AA, while there is none on FFXIV. Also the launcher for FFXIV isn’t as ‘busy’ as Glyph, plus Glyph stays active while you have AA up, which doesn’t happen with FFXIV. And then as you mentioned, Hackshield on top of all that is another negative thanks to Trion.
Well, there’s a solid delay when AA starts, but I ascribe that to HackShield, because the HackShield logo comes up with a progress bar.
One thing you may want to try if you are running Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender. Go into the options for those and exclude the Glyph directory. Apparently the two products interact badly.
Glyph seems to hate my computer. I have successfully downloaded AA, but logging in is another matter. Glyph or possibly hackshield, likes to destroy my internet connection, forcing a reboot to do anything online. This is even with AV turned off for the Glyph folders and it set to allow through the windows firewall.
Yeah, everything you said. The game seems really neat (and my sons love it so I have to fight them for the computer — they’re 8 and 10 so not gonna pay for 2 extra accounts) but the F2P model blows. Cash shop payment to have more than 2 characters on your account? Really? When there’s four different races with four different starter zones and quest lines.
“AA has one of the worst versions of F2P in the genre”
Agreed. But really AA is a subscription game with a F2P mode shoe-horned into the code.
“Then there is the pay-to-win (P2W) factor, which really should be renamed pay-for-power (P4P) overall”
Agreed. If you are a cash whale you can buy your way to success in AA. A good example is one player on my server who owns almost half of a player housing community in one of the zones.
Trions anti-hack program has proven useless. Players have been botting all over the place and there are numerous examples of players teleporting around the landscape to snipe available property (yes this has actually happened).
One bit of advice. Don’t waste your labor on reporting bots. Many of my guild mates have and no one has been reimbursed their labor points. The game is absolutely infested with gold farmers and Trion has done nothing about it.
I haven’t had any issues with Glyph. As a frontend launcher it is mostly benign.
I have to agree with most of the post, except the part where it’s said ArcheAge the game is great – personally I think it’s pretty mediocre.
What I really wanted to comment on though: the term P4P, pay-for-power, is great stuff. I’ll have to steal it!
You are missing Trion’s total seemingly lack of GM/In-Game/community presence in the game. The spam and bots in this game is the worst i’ve seen anywhere. Now i don’t think the bots/spammers are more than any other game it’s just there is ZERO options to ban the bloody f%$%%ers and get them out of the game permanently.
They added this debuf to report players but it costs 25 LP, it’s ridiculous. It would be great if i spent this 25LP and something actually happened to the bots , but nope, Trion does nothing.
Then the spammers can totally hijack the public channels and there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do, every 5 minutes. I can’t remember that i ever had to constantly enlarge the entire chat box, scroll up multiple pages of spam just to find the NAME of the spammer and then play “whack-a-mole” to block it….constantly.
This weekend a spammer managed to hijack all the public channels with some sort of script that hides his name (can’t even find it if you scroll/enlarge the box). This went on for the ENTIRE saturday, how can there be absolutely no presence of GMs/Trion to do something?
Seriously, cheapskate bastards. Then they don’t even seem to acknowledge the outcry from the community to allow for player GMs (since Trion is to useless to pay a few GMs per server).
Can’t really comment on the spam aspect as I have all public channels turned off, but not surprised that it’s amateur hour out of Trion on that aspect as well.
But don’t worry, I’m sure on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat someone from Trion will come out and explain that while they have a best-in-class spam/bot prevention plan in place thanks to all their previous MMO experience, the amount/type/unicorn of the AA spam/bots far exceeded what they expected.
Edit: That said the fact that Trion has it setup so that reporting a spammer costs the player making the report 25 labor points, when labor is a major limiting factor in the game and a hugely important resource, is yet another example of Trion being Trion and trying their best to drag AA down.
Is it too late to have anyone, even SOE, publish AA?
Really ? Wow, labor points to report a spammer ? Just when you think Trion cannot sink any lower…
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I’d like to play, in fact, I’ve “tried” to download roughly 10 times but I constantly get errors. Apparently Glyph won’t allow you to download and install to flash memory or external, so I’m pretty much hosed there.