Hi Guys, so some people may not like an ArcheAge and Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) comparison but for me there was only one true open world MMO and that was Lord Of The Rings Online. Yes WOW was the originator and yes it is an open world MMO and we have a great deal to thank it for but the difference between them is vast. This is due in no small part to the lore and the style, if you do not like the lore or the cartoon style of WOW then there is little chance you are going to explore the entire land and progress through the levels. However, with LOTRO it is the lore of Tolkien and the graphical style, for me, offered a more realistic character type.
The Cartoon style prevalent in WOW was also the reason that at first I did not like the idea of the new Wildstar MMO although I do have to admit it once I got passed the first hour of hating the cartoon graphics I now absolutely love this game and will talk about Wildstar in the future, so what do I know? Even if you take away the lore from LOTRO which for obvious reasons is just beautiful, you still have in LOTRO the most open world game I have ever played. While I have been playing ESO (Elder Scrolls Online) recently and this has some big areas, you simply do not experience the freedom you have in LOTRO. I have also played Neverwinter as well and while I enjoyed the game it would seriously give Dragons Age 2 a run for its money on linear gaming and Neverwinter is an MMO!!!!!
I still have a heavy heart with ESO and I truly cannot put my figure on why it falls short for me but it does. However, there is one major point I can think of and that is Cyrodiil, the imperial home world from Oblivion. Don’t get me wrong I love Cyrodiil and nothing to my mind was, or has been since, so convincing at immersing you into your character and surroundings. Oblivion was the game that did it for me and the world was massive, beautiful and the lore was great. Yes the areas in between the cities were uninhabited and some would say boring but Nexus mods sorted that out in the main. The problem is that it is only available in PVP on ESO and I think that is the major issue here. In Cyrodiil there are galactic amounts of emptiness between big PVP battles in which next to nothing else happens from a PVE or PVP perspective, this feels almost criminal when looking back at the part Oblivion plays in the Elder Scrolls franchise and for anyone who is not into PVP then the whole game loses a main focus. I actually travelled to Weynon Priory just so I could see it again in the MMORPG setting and when I got there , it looked ok , it brought some of the memories back from playing oblivion and then there was just nothing to do, I would not have minded but it took me what felt like travelling from Manchester to London to get to it in the first place!!!
This therefore is why a trudged back to LOTRO to gain the lost lore, however I did not stay long (Sob sob) as the graphics are so dated it was painful to play, but I saw I could go anyway and do anything and not be confined except by death, which would always ensue from entering high level areas. However, I could still go there and explore and it felt open. I then started downloading AION, RIFT, TERA and anything I could get my hands on like I needed an MMO fix fast, basically trying any MMO I had played before to try and find that buzz I had been missing from ESO and then I uninstalled them all after about 5 mins as I realised they did not give me that expected rush, like the one you have when you first play a new MMO.
Then i came to realisation that I actually liked the combat mechanic that ESO gave me as it was not just endless button mashing and the hits felt like hits, it also sticks to a more realistic character model as mentioned earlier, which are two of the major saving graces of ESO. However, this leads to a cycle of building a character in ESO then deleting sometime after you hit level 20 it and starting again. While I am well aware you can reset all your points I started to dislike my own character so it had to go, plus you have to level up new skills so that takes a while, so you end up fighting with a level 35 character and a dual weilding skill you just changed to a level 1. Therefore, I am still on the proverbial fence with regard to thsis game and I would like to revisit this in more detail another time. Then while searching for something that could get me back the buzz I began reading about ArcheAge and watching some streaming videos and reviews.
As it stands I am stuck between really wanting to play this game now and parting with the £109 for alpha access that my brain and my partner say “What!!!!!!! A £109 for a Game!!!!!” However , from the housing mechanic to the open world feel and through to the combat, I believe this is the game will not just get me playing MMOs again but actually love MMOPRGs again. ArcheAge seems to be the true open world experience I have been looking for since LOTRO and once you reach around level 21 or so, it appears it may open up to be a true sand box gaming experience.
The really big challenge is PVE and PVP, I think they have concentrated on PVP to much, by all accounts, as the two forms of play maybe linked on every server and therefore you can be attacked at any time. Maybe they will add a “Peace time setting for PVE” that is what I have heard people talking about, so you can’t be attacked or maybe there will be a dedicated server for PVE? Myself i am a PVE player and do not have much interest in full blown PVP battles at all really, so this PVP leaning is my biggest potential issue with ArcheAge and as of writing this nobody seems to definitely answer this question. If you search the forums and go to the website it does seem to have a heavy PVP element that is intertwined with normal PVE environments. Anyway here I sit with my money in hand going back and forth about buying the alpha, which is available now and has been for a while, right up time until it’s released.Then I remembered that at release all of your progression will be lost and you start from scratch but then you will have the advantage of game experience and this could be key in building your character to be the best it can be, argh the agony.
While it may be that Archeage will be the sandbox/open world king of the MMORPG genre we have been looking for, there are these doubts about any longevity for PVE players. This is due in no small part to the way you gain experience, which appears to be through endless grinding on mobs and not the actual quests themselves, which all leads to grinding to level so you are able to enjoy the PVP content instead of following a main plot and quests to bind players to the lore. With all that said as a PVE player I will continue to keep an eye on Archeage with my money still currently in my pocket and knowing that one day I may enjoy the freedom of Archeage. There is little doubt it will be epic, if it continues to develop with the same care and attention it has been to date but from what I have seen it will be an epic PVP rather than PVE experience.