ArcheAge: The First Week of Live – Land Wars, Queue QQs, and Trion’s Response

One week ago today, I hadn’t slept for two days too excited like a kid at Christmas! I rolled a Ferrin on Ollo, and logging in was delayed, as expected. I thought I was prepared for the overload of players, but I sincerely wasn’t as we all seemed to have the same plan.

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The Land Grab Race!

The plan: Get to level 10, get a 8×8 Scarecrow and house, and then get to a 16×16 Scarecrow and get your land.

Right from the beginning this did not go smoothly because of delays in logging in and disconnects, throwing everyone in a queue. Ollo is the second biggest North American server following Kyrios. ArcheAge is a sandbox-ish MMO where growing crafting resources and materials make up a large portion of the game. The equipment, instruments, vehicles, buildings, armor and weapons you are able to attain via crafting are necessary– the range of choices and how you get them are a personal choice.

Being a planner, my brain was thrown into turmoil for 3 days as every preset idea went out the window. Testing in Alpha and Beta left me unprepared for the updates that took place before live, throwing my knowledge out the window. I was left scrambling to remember things or relearn them. Not getting to put my plots down where I wanted them threw a spanner in the works, BUT also added an air of excitement as everyone rushed around me to find their own plots.

Freedom Farming

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“Freedom farming” is a new term on Ollo in place of “illegal farming”– also known as growing trees and plants throughout the world. Aspen trees are chosen most often because they yield the most logs in comparison to the labor points used. Doing this quickly and smartly began same-faction wars pretty fast.

If you haven’t done this yourself yet, you will find that if you do freedom farm, many players turn up to harvest some of your trees since anyone can pick them. Yes, you can be reported for it and go to jail. On the first day of live, a 284-minute sentence was handed out for such a “crime.” The risk of planting so many trees and losing them fast became my favorite part of launch as guilds committed themselves to ensuring large scale cultivation took place. Guilds prepared to take on whoever tried to take what was planted. Searching for other hidden plots also became part of a daily routine. I hopped by legal farms daily to check for empty spots that were already scarce on Day 3.

Server Stability

Once you can get in the game, the most frequent source of lag is when handing in quests that have a “talk” button available. I was surprised with how flawless leveling has been. The only thing that truly slowed me down was the land grab. I’m an idealist, so I envisioned this great plot where I could have my large house and 16×16 farm with a workstation in one place and a Thatched Farmhouse in a different climate so I could have livestock. Struggling to let this pixel dream go, I made a ton of decisions that held up advancing my levels beyond 35 during Head Start.

Launch Goes Live!

After 4 days most land was already gone, leaving PvP zones with a few spots and many players already yearning for Auroria to open. It became apparent that Trion Worlds was not prepared for how many players were keen to flock to ArcheAge. Some servers had queues up to 10 hours long. Being a patron in ArcheAge gives you a shorter queue time than free-to-play, but some Patron guildmates still found themselves in queues for up to 7 hours.

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Trion Worlds Responds

Having been part of numerous game launches, I was happy I could log on, but during the first 48 hours disconnecting was an issue as you found yourself in a queue immediately. Within a few days, a grace time was added. We also received a few other helpful bits and bobs:

  • Two new servers were added to EU and NA continents
  • EU Founder’s Packs were issued
  • The issue with Patron status not updating was fixed (send in a ticket if you’re still having issues with this, by the way)

More recently, Trion Worlds’ CEO Scott Hartsman issued a Launch Update post on the official ArcheAge forums reassuring players of more server updates incoming. He detailed the approach Trion Worlds is taking to get on top of what has been an underestimated capacity launch. In this post he addressed capacity issues, hardware updates, an increase in customer support, taking care of AFKers (server messages started yesterday stating that all players running around in circles leveling mounts will be disconnected), and an increase in communication from Trion. He also included his personal Twitter account.

This morning we received some follow ups to Hartsman’s update. Better communication with players via forums was evident after checking the forum’s Dev Tracker. ArcheAge‘s Senior Community Relations Manager Evan “Scapes” Berman posted a Launch FAQ announcing the news that server transfers will be available soon which opens a whole new world of possibilities to this game. Now we’ll have a lot of options when it comes to getting what we need.

Patron vs. Free-to-Play

So in a neat and tidy bundle, Head Start did give Patrons the possibility to set up accordingly, but it was evident immediately that big guilds, small guilds, and solo players were all in and scrambling for any land they could get. Sales for land began immediately when the official launch happened four days later, and it didn’t matter how informed or supported you were, queues made the final decision on whether you and your guild could accomplish the plans you had made in the past few months.

Disappointment is riper than many of the items being grown with scattered plots or having none at all with no room left for larger plots unless you have managed to get 500 Gilda already for a large manor/large breezy bungalow. Free-to-Play players cannot place their own plots so the land grab issues would not be felt by them.

I predict the race for Auroria land– when this part of our world map opens– will be greater than launch itself as many now push to get the materials they need for that rush, as well as a strategy that may also go out the window if Head Start and launch are any indication of what may happen. Another prediction made from this week’s events is that as taxes roll out, some plots will be unpaid. The scout for land may ease for future Patrons and those currently looking for land. With new servers coming soon and transfers, we will wait and see if eventually we get that dream location to build that perfect ArcheAge adventure.

Valuable Lessons Learned

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On a personal note, the best advice I can give to all players is be careful buying land. I lost a number of APEX this week trying to secure a plot for my Thatched Farmhouse (24×24). There is a more secure method for purchasing a built plot where you can have the plot changed to your name OR use the Appraisal Certificate (previewed left) available on the Marketplace. Below are more handy hints that may also help as you begin:

  • Do the Blue Salt Brotherhood quests which will lead you to the Scarecrow Farm (8×8) and Donkey quests.
  • Learn about Gilda Stars and trade packs ASAP.
  • Plan your plot: The temperature of each zone affects livestock if this is what you would like to do.
  • In PvP zone plots, be aware you have a high chance of losing your trade pack to build your farm or house, and yes– logs/lumber are a sparse resource.
  • Concentrate on Proficiency (found under your Skills tab) knowing that your Pumpkin Scarecrow Farm (16×16) will be your only choice to grow stock, plus a Thatched Farmhouse if you plan to turn your first Scarecrow Farm (8×8) into a Farmer’s Workstation. You must have a workstation if you want to grow bundles or gather worms for fishing. Farmer’s Workstations are bound only to you and are not able to used by anyone else, BUT it cannot be used to grow bundles without 15,000 gathering proficiency minimum. Leave your Scarecrow Farm where you have it to use until you have this proficiency.
  • Check the auction house for prices and ideas for what to plant if you have no plans for which crafts, buildings, or boats you will work on.
  • Take what land you can get no matter where it is, and stock up on Hereafter Stones that allow you to travel to each zone instantly (bought on the Marketplace OR crafted at a Stonemason).
  • APEX can be bought on the auction house using in-game gold or via the Glyph Website using your account. You may purchase Patronage using two APEX with some left over to spend on the Marketplace.
  • Pay your taxes (or don’t if you have a 24×24 or any plot near my lighthouse on Ollo!)

So, all in all, ArcheAge has been exciting and exhausting. Staying up later or longer because of queues, then getting in to relax but being disgruntled because of the queues on top of not getting land where you had really hoped has been the down side. On the up side, it’s just so nice to finally sink your teeth into this gorgeous game knowing this is it– no wipe. This is it!

The community on Ollo North America is vibrant already with spicy guild interaction lending to the game itself. The way ArcheAge is played, land wars are not surprising. And yes, like everyone, I have often thought that it would have been better if there were more servers to begin with. However, ArcheAge is so popular that I’m unsure it would have made too much of a difference. In a month or two when hype has died down and people avoid taxes like in real life, we will all be glad our servers have a better economy because the population isn’t spread too thin.

And now I need to check on my chickens and geese, and plant some roses, mushrooms, and coral. Then we’ll see about getting to level 50 over the weekend and beginning Jury Duty quests, gathering 15,000 proficiency, and dreaming of a plot for my Thatched Farmhouse while I try not to miss my lighthouse plot from Alpha. And THIS is ArcheAge!

 

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