I like to read Eri’s Healing the Masses posts on ArcheAge. I say this because I have absolutely zero interest in any open PvP game and her posts remind me a heck of a lot of my early days in UO (before split). I get why people enjoy it, I do. It’s like people who eat mustard with eggs. I mean, what’s with you people, it’s mustard?
ArcheAge seems split into 2 games. The 1-30 PvE themepark of sorts. Then the open world game at 30+ that tries to merge PvE with PvP. It makes the world a more dynamic and living place and to be honest, I don’t mind a bit of the rush that goes with it. Some areas are off limits, or provide better rewards if you can get through. Armadas of boats running docks is a cool thing. Faction wars are even better.
What sucks about open PvP is greifing, where the play of one person causes more financial harm than they bring in. And in a F2P game… this barrier is incredibly low. I remember when Diablo3 came out and people were mutli-boxing gold runs. I saw one guy who had 200 VMs running gold runs, pulling in a few million per hour. With the RMAH, it was an EASY money laundering system. D3 was B2P, where you needed the license of ~$60 but making that back from RMAH was a pretty simple affair. I know I made a few hundred from it. AA being F2P, with zero up front cost and tons of bots makes the D3 issue look juvenile.
And I haven’t even begun to talk about the actual hacks. Bots that automate actions are one thing. Hack that teleport, grief and replace client data are a great way to destroy an entire game in a few short days. Neverwinter had an infamous Caturday that cause the devs to roll back the economy for 2 days. WildStar had teleporting resource bots for 2 weeks. You couldn’t hit a node in any 35+ zone (thank goodness for housing plots). ESO was lucky, it only had armies of bots camping dungeons and spamming for gold. That AA has a hack that auto-detects house decay and allows for an auto-placement before the house goes splat is ingenious. That everyone playing the game had to endure an anti-hack tool that does nothing is ridiculous.
All this hacking produces more gold, which artificially inflates the economy. If something used to cost 5 gold, now it costs 20. And it gets worse every day. This makes for an artificial barrier of entry for any new player and ages the game’s economy. But it doesn’t put any money into honest player’s pockets. It just isn’t a sustainable economy but you can’t expect a rollback!
The absolute worst part about AA is that Trion has zero control on the code. No matter what you post or report, Trion can’t do squat. They can report it overseas, sure, but so far that hasn’t given any fruit. If I was sitting in a Trion room right now, I’d be sweating bullets watching the leeches destroy a goldmine of money and pushing more and more paying people out the door.
This year has been such an interesting one for blogging about MMOs. It’s like there were no lessons learned at all.