Well after two days in the ArcheAge beta I can honestly give my opinions on the overall gameplay, whatever that’s worth to any of you gamer monkeys at this point.
After spending close to six hours on and off in the game and rolling two characters, I was pretty weary of the pve grind. Yes, the game is smooth and looks very pretty using that Cryengine 3 engine but overall, once you get past the excitement of character creation and the thrill of sharing a vast open world with all of those new players, it’s a pretty long grind until you can do anything cool like pvp or naval battles, or housing. I could be wrong but it seems the great stuff comes in the later levels, which may be true for most games, but I just don’t think I have the patience for another grind heavy game.
There are pvp zones on the map, but I am not sure they can all be accessed by newbies.
RIFT for example, that’s a similar styled game but the difference is warfronts and the rifts in the open world actually made for some relief from the drudgery of pve questing. In a game like wow, you only need to gain a few levels before Warsong Gulch opens up to you, granted you may be too low level to make any impact in your bracket, but at least you can work your way to gear up and enjoy this facet of the game.
Maybe Dark Age of Camelot ruined me for other games with their RvR and b.g.s but this game doesn’t have anything close to that system, at least not thus far. In DAoC for example, you can do quests and explore the world and get into some really neat instances, but ArcheAge, though more advanced graphically is not nearly as fun because it feels too linear on the PvE. In fact, for a game that advertises itself as a sandbox mmo, the sandbox elements, at least in the lower levels, are few and far between.
Take another mmo I love: Dungeons and Dragons Online. Now granted, Turbine’s game is pretty unique ad it is mostly instanced and designed for group play and not for solo playing, but that’s a game which though not as graphically advanced as AA, allows for smooth grouping and which is always a blast to play for someone who loves to group. For a pvp guy like me, even the fact that pvp is notable absent in DDO is not an issue, given the fact that is not the focus of either D&D or DDO by extension.
A.A. gives a player what most mmos like wow give them, satisfaction with easy leveling, while a game like DDO only has 20 or 30 main levels, but there are ranks so it’s really a longer leveling experience, but holistically a more rewarding experience, especially to those who played the 3.5 ruleset in which the game is loosely based upon.
I did join a low level “raid” of sorts but it was mostly boring with other players one shooting the mobs. I think I would be happier with a game that looks as good as AA and which has interesting and fun instances like DDO and DAoC. Sadly, that game doesn’t seem to exist yet.