By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
I had the pleasure to talk to Merv Lee Kwai [Senior Producer] and Amanda Fry [Producer] over at Trion Worlds concerning the upcoming ArcheAge: Revelation expansion. It’s coming right at the holiday season which honestly is the best time for an expansion to drop. People are taking time off of school, college, and work to spend with their family, and frankly, we all need an escape from that. That’s where MMOs come in! We mostly discussed the nature of the Fresh Start servers, what they mean, how they are changing with the expansion, and how the launch will work. Overall, I’m very happy with how it’s going as well. The nature of free-to-play games is tricky, and there has to be a fine line between “making money” and “making players happy”.
One of the major issues that players had with the Fresh Start servers was the fact that so much can be done at the account level. What I mean by that, is there are items that you can activate like labor potions, that affect your progress in the game at the account level. So you could activate all these ludicrous potions/flasks/items, and then you make a character on the Fresh Start server. That gives them a horrifyingly unfair advantage. The Fresh Start server also has a serious landrush, much like the Legacy servers do. People want to get a good plot of land to stake their claim on this sandbox MMO, and those people who have spent money move faster/get farther in less time on the Fresh Start server, and frankly that’s not fair.
With Archeage Revelation there will be a new Fresh Start server, and there’s change coming to the land. From now on, if you have a character on a Legacy server anywhere, you can no longer make characters on the Fresh Start server on that account. At all. You’d have to make a secondary account just for that. I’ll admit, that’s a very roundabout way of doing things, but it should definitely put a stop to the people who are paying their way into an advantage on these “Fresh Start” servers. This is called Account Segmentation, and while there has to be an easier way to do it, with their technology and the way their game is set up, this is probably the best solution for the time being. Maybe a better avenue will open up? For now, this is how it is!
But that’s not all concerning the Fresh Start servers. They scaled back the Marketplace on those servers a lot. A. Lot. One of the things I think is most interesting is that it didn’t matter if the item in question was a best seller, something that makes Trion tons of money. That is not the point of contention for this. The point they were looking at, the question Trion asked was “What items are giving players the most advantages, that are causing the most trouble?” These items were the ones that got the axe on the Fresh Start servers. Not every “boosting” item got deep-sixed, but the vast majority did. Items that aren’t such an issue with players [exp boost] will likely still be there, items that are listed as “Acceptable Convenience”. There’s a difference between a labor potion and an exp potion. The cosmetic items will also be there. The Fresh Start isn’t to give people an edge, it’s to let everyone start at pretty much the same pace, and enjoy the game. If that’s not your bag, you don’t have to go! Nobody is making you!
There is one major change coming to Legacy servers too. Spending credits on Labor Potions is also being changed. Now you’ll be able to purchase a “Labor Stipend”, which will give you a labor potion for everyday you log in for a month. Instead of being able to buy piles and piles of them at once, now you get them everyday. This encourages players to log in and be active everyday, and still lets them have access to their precious potions. I like this idea, because I’m not personally wild about having to compete against people who are spending lots of money to get ahead. And in a game where getting your own slice of the land is paramount, I definitely think that would be an issue.
I also have one final item-related thing to talk about, and that’s Founder’s Packs. Trion Worlds has a list of everyone who initially were Founders. For the last expansion, they didn’t have a cool gift to give their Founders, but the players inquired. So they fixed that up for Revelation. There’s a Founder’s Chest that all Founders will be given for the expansion which gives a few costumes, the “Trailblazer” title, and the Dawnbreak Dove. This is a glider, a reskin of the original Phoenix Glider, and it does look very cool. It won’t break the game, but it will be very fancy and show who believed in the game from the start and who didn’t! You can use this on Fresh Start or Legacy servers.
The launch for ArcheAge: Revelation happens on Saturday, Dec. 10th. This gives the audience the most time to work on getting through the land rush and getting their piece of the proverbial pie. This is their peak time, and they’re going to be bringing up servers a few at a time, in order to not get overwhelmed by the sheer number of people and make sure everyone gets to log on in due time. The EU Servers go down at 3am UTC, and come back at 3pm, and NA servers go down at 1am PDT and come back at 1pm. It’s a nice idea to have an expansion drop on the weekend; fewer people will have to rush to try and get time off work [though I do know some people work on the weekend. . .] but many will be able to have the most time to get done what they want to do in the first hours of the expansion.
Overall, these changes are all very positive ones. The publishers and developers still have to make money, and I understand that. But I’m glad to see that they are taking the needs of the playerbase seriously, and not just going to let the people who want to enjoy the game on Fresh Start servers suffer the wrath of people who just want to blow money and get ahead of the curve. It says a lot to me, and says a lot about them to see their willingness to remove those key items from the Fresh Start marketplace to make it better for the majority of the playerbase. December 10th, it goes down!