Boating to Freedom
Over the last few days I have been all over the place as far as my game playing has gone. Saturday night while recording the podcast I worked on my Rogue in Final Fantasy XIV, and Sunday morning I spent a good deal of time playing Wildstar. However after talking about ArcheAge at length during the podcast I spent Sunday afternoon and evening working on leveling a brand new character on the server the rest of the AggroChat folks have been playing on. Our show ended up unintentionally talking about how games change and giving them a second chance. If you have been reading my blog for very long you will know I did not exactly give ArcheAge a glowing review at launch. In truth the game was rather good, but the community that had arrayed around it was among the most toxic I had experienced.
The moment that sticks out the most in my memory is still crystal clear. There is a moment in the early human storyline where you are asked to cross a bay in a rowboat. Now around the time the game launched high level players were hanging out in the middle of this area with their huge boats, trying to capsize and subsequently drown anyone trying to cross this bay. It took every bit of maneuvering to make it across the bay, as I watched many other players sent to the bottom. Up returning and starting my level process again I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at just how chill the community has become. For all I know they might be off in some far corner of the world being assholes to each other, but at the very least no one seems to be getting their jollies out of griefing new players.
Good Game in Disguise
In all the time I spent watching chat this weekend, I have to say that similarly the general banter has improved as well. The awesome about about this is that I can finally focus on the fact that the game underlying all of those layers of frustration is actually rather good. We talk about this at length on the podcast, but in many ways this is the game Rift should have been, or at least by that I mean that the skill trees seem to work so much better. The key problem with Rift skill trees is that there are a lot of different flavors of the same ability, that can then be arrayed in a macro to simply push one after another. The skill trees in ArcheAge have very little if any duplication between them. In Rift the warrior tree for example have essentially the same basic attack, and same combo point dump. This is required since any tree could be used as the starting point for a given spec.
In ArcheAge however there are trees that have basic attacks, and those are the only ones that the game will let you start with. From there however the sky is the limit and it will allow you to mix in any combination of three trees. The coolest part to me is that each combination has a fixed class name. In the past I had tried Doomlord and Paladin, but this time while leveling I decided to go with Auramancy for my third tree. The end result is this awesome mix of debuffing and magical shielding that I think will end up in being an extremely strong tank. Right now I seem to be having an extremely easy time taking tearing through the content and just managed to ding fifteen. Now this is in theory my third time leveling through the content so I am sure part of the ease comes from remembering what I need to do in various situations, but overall it does feel like maybe I am taking less damage at least in part due to the debuff I can throw out during every combat encounter.
Waiting for Heavensward
The main question is how long we will stay, and if we will manage to make it into the open pvp areas. Who knows, I do know that in a week and a half we will have Heavensward to pull us away. In the meantime it seems like most people are at least taking a minor break from Final Fantasy XIV right before the big launch. I have the days surrounding the launch off work, so I am more than likely going to be pushing it pretty hard. Right now it is my intent to level my Warrior first, and then after getting it to 60 switch focus to playing Dark Knight. I really do love my Warrior and the more I have played it recently, the more I realize just how happy I am with that class. Everything about its tanking style “feels” right to me, and as exciting as the new and shiny Dark Knight might be, I have a feeling that I am always going to be a Warrior tank. Who knows, it might launch and I might think it is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. But in reality I keep expecting to keep swinging the big axe.
In the meantime however I am having a blast piddling around in both Wildstar and ArcheAge and exploring these two games that I am giving a second chance. There is a significant problem however with my ArcheAge account so I am hoping the good support folks at Trion can get that taken care of shortly. I have two characters on my account, but I am supposed to be able to create up to six. All of the character slots are grayed out, and I cannot even connect to servers other than the two that I am already on. So in theory something must be jacked up with my account. Now considering my account is extremely old, and I have been playing for a very long time… it makes me wonder if something is related to the age of the account dating back to alpha. Makes me wonder if it is somehow counting characters I made on test servers? I spoke with a nice GM yesterday and he escalated it, so hopefully it will get addressed soon. Right now we are largely torn between which faction to level on… but at the moment I am limited to only the one since I cannot roll any new characters. So I am curious, what are you doing to ease the tension while waiting on Heavensward?