Gameplay: General GameplayEdit
ArcheAge is a sandbox MMORPG with persistant world effects in an open-world evironment. While the game has both PvE (Player vs. Environment) and PvP (Player vs. Player) content, the mechanics of the core game has enough content to assist in leveling a character from 1 to 55 (max level as of 10 July 2015). Also included in the content of ArcheAge is the ability to gain Experience Points (XP) by doing Crafting and Resource Gathering.
What is an MMORPG? MMORPG is an acronym used by the game development industry to indicate that the game is available to play by thousands to millions of players simultaniously. The term MMORPG stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. this means that it has aspects of both multiplayer and role-playing game genres.
How does the game allow so many players? Typically, MMOs use multiple servers and allocate player characters accross a number of servers to support the number of active players. After an MMO launches, there is typically a period where active players decrease to a stable level. This may fluctuate according to advertising, expansions, and content updates, so there may be periods of increase and decrease throughout the life of the game.
MMOs can also use the Node system, like Eve Online, where the game has only one server for the core engine of the game, but a large number of RAIDed (linked) servers that act as repsoitories for the players while they play.
The RPG aspect is typical of Fantasy games, and simply means that there is the option for players to play the game "in-character" (sort of like live action role-play, but online).
The mechanics of the game utilizes PvE and PvP content to allow players to player the game how they want. Players who prefer playing the game against the computer (PvE) have pre-programmed missions and quests that allow them to gain XP and equipment from rewards, as well as some in-game money for in-game purchases. Players who prefer fighting other players (PvP) can usually do so from the beginning, or at least very close to the beginning. This generally causes an unbalance in most MMOs where high level players "grief" low level players. Because of this well known fact, ArcheAge's developers (XLGames) added an additional mechanic called Crime.
An additional mechanic, which is utilized by a very large portion of ArcheAge players, is the Farming mechanic. Farming allows players to purchase structures and grow crops, animals, and trees on their property. Players also can choose to grow resources in the open world environemnt or on Public Protected lots (Public Farm, Public Nursery, Public Ranch, Public Stable). Doing so limits how much they can plant/ raise and how long their goods are protected from other players.The Loot table mechanic is also somewhat unique to ArcheAge, as very little of the players gear and money is looted from NPC kills. Most money rewards and equipement gained from questing are given by the NPCs for those missions/ quests. The exception to this is a loot item class called Purses. Purses provide money and items at the expense of Labor Points. The use of Labor to open these Purses provide Proficiency XP towards the Proficiency Larceny (not to be confused with the Crime Points aspect of theft). Some "monsters" in-game do offer limited loot not achievable anywhere else in the game.
While the game does utilize the traditional Fantasy genre Class system for characters, ArcheAge also has a unique mechanic for this as well. Here, players create their character and chose a primary starting skill tree. The skill tree they choose determines the class they will play (or the class they wish to play can determine the skill tree they choose).
Each charcter can have up to three skill trees active at one time. Although each character has a limit of three skill trees at a time, the character can train all of them without loosing any experience gained to those trees should they choose to replace one skill tree for one of the others.
Each skill tree has two ability sections to shoose from. The top skills are active abilities, meaning the character uses/ performs the ability. The bottom set are passive abilities, meaning the player does not need to use/ perform anything to gain that ability's effects; they are automatic.
As the character gains XP, the player is awarded Skill Points periotically (determined by Character Level) in where they may add that point(s) to one of the skill trees. Passives require a certain number of skills already be chosen in that path before the passive can be chosen. Active abilities do not have any such prerequisites, but the player is limited with those choices by Character Level. As the character levels, abilities open up for selection. As you can see in the image here, each ability gains ranks (levels) as well (indicated by the number on the ability). With the max number of points gains by level 55, the player can chose all or select abilities, not limited with order (with exception to passives). The player can add the available points to any skill tree he/ she has active.
Players can reset and exchange skill trees and skill points anytime for a cost of in-game money. Note, however, that this amount incerases each time they do it.
As with most MMOs, ArcheAge also has a player crafting system. The crafting system has a predermined set of mechanics and a random set of mechanics applied to the entire system. The predermined aspects of crafting include resources used, amount of resources used, patterns that can be used (looted, created, or bought), item level range, and range of attributes applied to the end product.
The random effects of crafting are called RNG (Random Number Generator). essentially, it's a roulet wheel of crafting. The end results (the attributes applied and rank of the item) are determined by random selection. While many people have various oppinions and theories of how the RNG system works, take into account this is a computer game. Random numbers generated b ythe system are not truely random at all. An RNG uses an Algorythm to determine what result will occur. This means a poorly created algorythm or really sweet algorythm can drastically affect the outcomes. Algorythms generally are mathematical formulas that calculate a number or range of numbers using the system clock. Really well designed RNG systems cannot be hacked or figured out very easily. What is randomized is the attribute added to the item and the attribute's value. There's also a random effect for whether or not the item will gain a rank when the process is done, but that rank can only be 1 rank higher than the item used to create it.
For example - if a basic (white) ranked item is crafted, the next "teir" of that item must use the item previously created. It is random whether the next teir item will gain a rank, but if it does it will only gain the next rank up - which in this case will be a green ranked item. That Green ranked item can be used for the next teir item and will do a RNG check. If it passes, the next teir item will gain the next rank (blue), and so on.
Given that this game is an RPG, there is a degree of story telling invloved. this is known as Lore. ArcheAge's Lore can be found in two spots in this wiki. There is the Lore Category and the or Lore page.
RPG allows some story to be added to provide players with a sence of meaning behind their game-play and to make things interesting. this is essentially the story-telling aspect of the game. Players may also choose to participate in Player Designed content, or active role-play. The "emotes" in this game is exrtemely limited to other games on th emarket (or games that where once on the market), but there are enough to do some emotes while role-playing. An additioanl option players can do is simply state in chat what they are thinking or doing without the use of predesigned emotes. Another mechanic not in the game, that can be found in other games, is the /emote action. This usually allows players to create their own personalized emotes. However, ArcheAge does not have any such mechanic implemented as of yet.
One aspect of a well designed MMO is Open-World mechanics. ArcheAge is an Open-World environemnt, which means the player can literally go where ever their heart's desire. Additionally, the Open-World aspect allows players to freely become involved in Open-World PvP. Some zones allow same faction PvP without risk of Criminal Points being added to their character.
Some people confuse Sand-Box with Open-World, however, sand-box means the players are free to play how they wish without limitations to their choices. ArcheAge allows for a wide range of freedom in this regard. Sand-Box also generally refers to a mechanics system that allows players to create their own story and events. While there is no mechanic in-place like the Story-Teller mechanic from Star Wars Galaxies (SWG, published by Sony Online Entertainment in 2003 and closed down in 2011), players are free to do what they want as far as creating guild vs guild combat, player griefing, territory control, etc.
Some players might have a little trouble at first understanding what persistant means. Games like Ever Quest II (EQ2, published by Sony Online Entertainment in 2004), limits the player to a very linear system of game-play. this means outside of limited world-PvP and events, most of the content is zoned or instanced (meaning the game has some aspects of open-world and sand-box, but the content people play generally is not in the main world area of the game). Persistant worlds are open-worlds that can be modified by the player in-game and those modifications stay there until another mechanic determines the placement must be destroyed. this also means that if you see something somewhere in-game, it will likely be there again, allowing for predictability.
While all MMOs have multiple genres associated to them, every MMO has a Primary Genre which dictates the content and story aspects of the game. ArcheAge is a Fantasy MMORPG. this means it has the standard MMO genres of Multi-player and RPG, but has a Primary focus on the Fantasy genre aspects of story. Some may call this genre tHeme Medeaval. Fantasy genres generally have Magic, swords, bows, and potions. All of this is true in ArcheAge. Fantasy games are also the last remaining genre of MMOs to utilize the antiquated Class system of Tank/DPS/Healer. Other MMOs are vying for a more modern and realism approach to gaming, where classes are the "Professions" or Skill Sets, and the Class is the role played in group settings. ArcheAge sort of combines the two systems by making the Skill Sets dedicated to a role, but also allows th eplayer to add roles to their character - creating a more custom experience.