By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF)
It seems like whenever I become invested into a free-to-play game, the company running it makes mistake after mistake, ruining the experience for myself and countless others. It happened back when I was playing in Age of Wushu and it’s happening again with ArcheAge. Some of the things that Trion has done this past week have left a lot of players scratching their heads and others threatening to quit.
Auroria – 11/4/2014
Anyone who played during the launch of Auroria will understand how messed up it was. For those that didn’t, let me explain. Auroria became available on the 4th of November. After a seven hour down-time, the servers came up and people were able to get in. However, after about fifteen minutes, a game-breaking issue reared its head. Thousands of players found themselves disconnected from the game and unable to get back in.
In most cases, while this would be a horrible inconvenience to players, it wouldn’t be game breaking. But due to the nature of Auroria and the territory-control castle aspect the continent offers, this caused some major issues. The first hours of Auroria were spent with dozens of guilds on each server striving to grab one of the limited castle slots – of which there are only four currently available. A lot of the guilds participating in this were severely limited, or down-right had their chances ruined, because key members of their guild were not able to log in. I know of one guild on my server who had almost all the special resources they needed to claim a castle, but their chances were ruined when the guy with everything was disconnected and became unable to log back in. This is just one tale, out of many, of how this issue ruined the launch of Auroria.
So you can imagine how there were quite a number of people who became upset after the Auroria incident. I’m guessing Trion lost a good number of customers on that day. I was one of those that could not log on at all during the first day of Auroria – I can understand how they feel as I myself feel cheated out of potential land and the epic PVP battles that happened on that day. What makes it worse is that, despite knowing that the issue was around, rather than take down the servers and try to do it right, Trion decided it would be a better course of action just to leave things as they are. Their reasoning being, judging by the latest producer’s note, that while there was a large number of people who couldn’t get in, there were still more than enough that could.
The 10% Discount – 11/6/2014
A lot of people that pre-ordered the game by purchasing a Founder’s Pack did so under the impression that they would also get a 10% discount on all cash shop purchases along with their Patron status. Unfortunately, this never happened and almost two months after launch it’s still not here. Recently, right after the Auroria incident, we were told that we would not be getting the 10% discount we were told about. A lot of people were hoping to at least receive a retroactive reimbursement for their previous cash-shop purchases. Instead of giving that, Trion has instead decided to start giving a 10% bonus to all Cash Shop credit purchases if you’re a Patron. This isn’t quite the same as a 10% discount on cash shop purchases, as you’ll have to buy more Cash Shop credit to benefit from it and a lot of us don’t feel like doing so right now.
So right after their (arguably) failed Auroria launch they break the bad news that the promised 10% discount would never be a thing. And instead they introduce a 10% bonus whenever you purchase more credits. This doesn’t sit well with a lot of Founder’s, as a lot of us have been saving the Cash Shop credit we got with our Packs in preparation for the eventual release of the discount. So plenty of players who weren’t previously upset with Trion now are, and those that were already upset with Trion due to other issues are just using this as fuel for their “Lets Hate On Trion” fire.
The Flashy Racing Kit – 11/7/2014
Just today, immediately after the issues surrounding Auroria and the 10% discount, Trion released what can be summed up as a game-breaking, pay-to-win luck box. Trion has been a big fan of the luck boxes when it comes to ArcheAge. These are boxes that you can buy from the cash shop and then open for a chance at getting some nice items, some of them extremely rare. The reason this Flashy Racing Kit is so game breaking is that it has a high chance of giving you what is called a “Rumbling Archeum Tree Sapling.”
These Rumbling Archeum Tree saplings have essentially ruined the game’s economy as they give you two of the hardest-to-get and most expensive crafting materials in the game – Archeum and Thunderstruck Trees. Once they’ve fully grown, the trees will give you up to five Archeum crystals. However, these trees are also extremely prone to getting struck by lightning. So, in the course of a few hours, both Archeum and Thunderstruck Trees were rendered nearly worthless in comparison to how much they were worth previously. For example, on my servers Auction House cluster, Thunderstruck Trees sold for at least 1,300 gold. You can now buy them for between 300-400 gold. The price also appears to be dropping at a steady rate as more people grow these trees.
And there are a lot of people doing it. Over the course of the past couple of hours, I’ve witnessed these trees go up everywhere. Either people are buying the crates in bulk off the cash shop to use for themselves, or to sell on the cash shop in an attempt to “get rich quick.” This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that the only way to get these trees is from the cash shop or from people who bought them from the cash shop and are now selling them on the Auction House. And because of that, most people are considering this pay-to-win. If players weren’t mad before, they definitely are now.
I don’t know if Trion can pull themselves out of this. When the three major issues above are combined with the rampant botting, hacking, and other issues people are having with the game and the way Trion is running it, it’s hard to believe that they’ll be able to save the game. This is especially true if the current trend continues and we’re hit with another bomb-shell in a couple of days. Personally, I hope the game won’t suffer so badly from this – I’ve invested a lot of time, effort, and money into this game as a Guild Leader and Founder. I really do not want to see things fall apart as quality sandbox MMORPGs are so few and far between. So here’s to hoping that Trion can pull off a miracle and make good to all the disgruntled players who are threatening to leave the game.