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Thread: Crippling Game Design; Archeage, the Single Player MMO

  1. #1

    Exclamation Crippling Game Design; Archeage, the Single Player MMO

    Hello! I have taken the last few months to dedicate time into researching Game Development; specifically MMOs, and what can make them successful. I have been inspired from the success of Classic World of Warcraft to actually dig deep, as I plan on taking classes to work in the Cry Engine to begin work on my own pet projects and ideas. In another thread, I started to really dissect the issues Archeage faces as a whole, but I feel like it's best to address it more directly in one last ditch effort to try and save this game from crumbling further.

    There is a TL;DR at the bottom. You are in for a very, very long post. I am a very dedicated typist when it comes to something I'm passionate about. You have been warned.

    Archeage is a Single Player game under the guise of an MMO. I'll be referencing other MMOs and bits of game design, but to make things simple and understandable for a large swathe of the player base, I'll try to keep all examples defined to World of Warcraft - as it's the most popular option, thus most people can understand the terminology and references I use. Don't think I've just spent 3 months playing WoW. I haven't. I haven't renewed my subscription in two months. Instead, I've been participating in the community to learn more about what makes it so vastly enthralling.

    In these posts, I'll be talking about player power, loot, and the toxic environment that this game has fostered by poor design choice, and in another post following, I'll try to offer solutions to help fix these overbearing issues that are crippling the game. Let's start off with the main point I'm making;

    Archeage is a single player game in the way that it treats the player character. Your actions rarely if ever effect your faction. They have no impact on the world excluding your own gain in nearly all cases. When you gain power, that means nothing for your faction unless if you're actively participating in every event. On top of this, this power doesn't transfer to weaker players in your faction. In fact, it has a polarizing effect on newer players, or players who haven't invested much time into the game; these players are left behind statistically, and are excluded from Guilds and opportunity to seek help. They may not even find help with a dungeon. Mentor and Mentee quests are ignored.

    This is further encouraged by Guilds setting Gear Score requirements to join; these communities that form are what Game Developers call "Wolf Packs". Wolf Packs are the strongest players in game, that are often beyond the realm of most people. In a normal MMO, these groups are often the ones who get "world first" achievements, complete the most content, and explore the game to the fullest - like in World of Warcraft, Guilds participate against each other for a Rank on a competitive leaderboard. You can find these resources with simple google searches.

    Unfortunately, Archeage is not at all like WoW when it comes to this experience. The Wolf Packs in Archeage are not a benefit to the game - they are a toxic resource that is an active drain on the newer players and potential for them to participate. Why, exactly?

    Gear. The gear difference between newer players and veterans are absurd. Additionally, if you aren't geared, you can't play the game and have fun - you die. And since grinding gear is primarily a single player activity, a new Archeage player may quickly fall into the mindset of just that; the only Player around. This is less of a problem in WoW, as grinding for the gear isn't something you do on your own - it's something you do with the help of an entire guild of people, a full 40 man raid to get your BiS item, high level dungeons to improve your weapon - quests that'll give you the best bow, the best sword, and once you have it, it's yours. A newer player is essential in a game like WoW because they're the driving force behind doing PvE content. Behind raids. Dungeons. Filling the world. Newer players give older players a reason to log on and do PvE content.

    Archeage doesn't do that. It's the exact opposite; investing time and effort into a character is vital to maintaining that character's strength. Every day you do not increase the gear score of this character, it falls behind in viability, and you can lose on more potential positions in raids and gameplay. You're put in the endless loop of grinding to become stronger, because someone else is stronger, and for newer players, that someone else is several months ahead of you. Archeage power is linear, and a slow curve up to viable strength. WoW power is done in levels; below level 60, level 60 dungeon gear, Tier 1, Tier 2, etc. The thing is - players who are already geared in WoW will boost undergeared players by not needing the same gear the lower level players do. So a weaker player joining a stronger guild is given the benefit of getting more loot from raids, and direct progression in the form of this loot. Because of this, it can go as quickly as a week, or as long as a few months to be fully decked out in the best-in-slot gear for your character.

    Archeage doesn't inspire teamwork besides for a daily raid or mission, that does the same quests, that require no strategy, that offer the same rewards, that increase your power fractions at a time. Fractions are the problem here; newer players would have to invest months into the game to become viable, without needing to communicate with players in a broader sense, without needing to make connections or friends - and when they reach something like 10k Gear Score, they'll now be miles behind the players who continued to grind while they were gearing up, and thus, the cycle repeats. They can't catch up. They will always be at a disadvantage.

    I managed to speak with a few Veterans of Classic WoW about why new players are important, and their reasoning was the same: "No reason to run a raid if no one needs the loot". Classic WoW highly encourages new players to join in, because without fresh blood, there's no point in doing the raids, the dungeons, any of the PvE content. Those new players keep raid schedules full. And Archeage has completed a system that makes it near impossible for a new player to actually participate. This means that in Archeage, the players who have played the most are the most important; and whenever one or two quit or take a break, the weakest community members are impacted the most - those highly geared players were the reason why they won matches like Golden Plains, and thus, they lose honor, further slowing down progress and making it even harder to become viable. On top of this, with a lack of support, it's a stressing issue on both sides. Newer players start to leave when they realize they're not having fun anymore, that the game is an endless loop with no need to actually do anything, with no resources or explanation on what to do after the main quest - no raids, no dungeons, only PvP. And PvP is now full of wolfpacks, which devour this new players - often called sheep - whole. And when the new players dry up, the wolfpacks turn on each other, and start killing each other off.

    Player power is the core problem with Archeage, as everyone can play the game without more than a few words in Nation chat. In fact, you could go the entire game without speaking once, and as long as you were present at launch, you could have an absurdly powerful character. Simply because you were present more often than not. I will address a solution to this in the next post.

    Now, loot is another problem with Archeage. You get one set of armor. You level it up. You never switch to another set of armor. It's the same armor. That's a core problem with the game; it levels slowly, it offers the same benefits, more players than ever are in matching gear. Same shirt, different character. Why is this so rampant?

    Because, once again, gear scales on a linear path, and requires gold, labor, and resources to level. A lot of time goes into one piece of gear, thus, it would be stupid to drop it for a new weapon. If you run a dungeon with friends, and get the best sword or bow to drop from that dungeon; it's useless. You have already put more time into your current weapon than you could ever hope to achieve with the one you just picked up. Very rarely would you keep it and level it to be your new piece, as it would cost hundreds to thousands of gold to make it match the old piece.

    In World of Warcraft, this is never, ever an issue. All gear is either crafted, or found. You don't level the gear. You put an enchant on it, at best. Because of this, you can find the Best in Slot staff and equip it - tossing your old blue staff into the trash, or disenchanting it. It's better than your old staff. That's why. So running a dungeon is rewarding - you get amazing gear, and you get to really express your toolkit and be a part of the team. You get to see new weapon and clothing models, and you get to feel yourself growing progressively stronger by actively playing the game. The gear often has unique effects, too, like granting you a chance to cast an instant shadowbolt at the target, decreasing received magic damage, maybe healing you. Some have on-use effects, or allow you to breathe underwater. They're extremely powerful and give the game variation; similar to how Lost Garden weapons gave you an on-use Heal over Time.

    Archeage only gives old, aged loot that would benefit a 1.0 player. Yes. It's that old. The loot system in Archeage hasn't really seen an update since AA 1.0. When leveling a new character, you may find neat gear that you can identify that is temporarily stronger than your current gear. You may even run a dungeon with a friend and get a few pieces that really buff up your stats. This is all lost once you get Hiram; that Hiram Gear is a death sentence for unique armor and armor sets. You may never, ever find another piece of gear that will be more powerful than your current gear, without first investing over 1,000 gold into it, and 10k labor. All of which could have been put into your old gear.

    Gearing in Archeage is a disaster. It's an improvement from the regrade system, for sure, but it is not better overall.

    Now, the final nail in the coffin: Toxicity. The Archeage community is a Toxic cesspool of angry, frustrated people, and it typically stems from several complaints that I have to break down further. Let's begin with "Carebears".

    Everyone who joins the game for reasons other than PvP are treated lowly by the community as a whole. They're thought poorly of, they're often degraded in chat, and have been given the name "carebears" to denote their more passive nature. These players are often the ones who work on their housing, farming, fishing, exploring, and occasionally PvE content. They're some of the nicest people in the game. They're also core to making the game feel full and lively. But because they don't actively go out and help their faction win conflicts, they're insulted and often times targeted for fun. This is where the "Wolfpack" aspect comes back in; these high level players, with little else to do, often target weaker players because they can't do anything about it. It's straight up cyber bullying in a sense, if you wanted to use that term to describe it, but these players are being detrimental to the game, the economy, and more importantly: To the newer players. Seeing this hostility in chat often pushes people away. Watching the Nation chat is like watching an active drama; the entire game is essentially a source of drama, and not the good, entertaining kind, but the stressing "**** you, your opinion, and anyone who agrees with you is trash" kind. Another thing to note is that Carebears are more likely to buy every cosmetic the game has to offer, including housing cosmetics, and benefit Gamingo directly.

    Next up, the poor balancing and massive power differences.
    My God, is this game unbalanced. Until 8k Gearscore, Melee is king. Can't be touched by anyone or anything except a lot of CC. From 8K to about 12k, it's Sorcery. All Sorcery. 12k+ Archery just barely pulls ahead in raw damage numbers. But it's not just gear numbers that's a problem, it's the sheer effect on the community - by the toolkits offered in all of these trees.

    The main problem with PvP in Archeage is the absolutely bonkers amount of control a player has over the battlefield. And I mean CC, not just raw movement. This time, I did more research; Archeage is quite possibly, the most CC filled MMO to date, with dozens of methods to apply CC spread across, primarily, a few skillsets. Battlerage, Sorcery, Occultism, and Witchcraft have about 75% of all CC in the game. In comparrison, a Warrior in WoW classic, has around... I believe 4 CC options in total, one being an AoE 8 second fear that breaks on damage, Charge which is a 1 second stun, Intercept which is a 3 second stun, and Hamstring - which is a slow. Oh, and one interrupt. That's across the entire class. Across all classes, excluding CC's that affect only certain mobs or are simply negligible (10% attack speed reduction), Classic WoW has 35 stuns across every single class in Classic. A Darkrunner alone has CC chains and built in CC clears, all on short or resetting cooldowns, that basically allows them to counter any class the moment they get in range. Which is absurdly easy, as Mage classes have a 25 yard range, and ranged classes have a 28 yard range. Teleport moves you 15 meters forward, and behind enemy lines and Tiger Strike both have long ranges as well. Keep in mind that these CC's wouldn't be an issue if they all didn't combo. So if the benefit to a mage/range class is distance, then that distance is now null. And they immediately put you into a stun, if you don't have Insulating Lens up or you're not running defense. Which then leads to you being killed before you can get up, unless if you have defiance - which is a six minute cooldown. In WoW, racial CC clears are on a 1 minute cooldown, by the way, and CC clearing trinkets are also on a 1 minute cooldown, and there's CC clearing potions that make you immune to CC for a short time and clear it on 2 minute cooldowns, or immune to all CC for 30 seconds, Paladins have hand of freedom which clears all stuns and slows and grants immunity to them for 8 seconds, there's trinkets to make you immune to sleep on use, Fearward that prevents the next instance of fear. But don't forget - all of these CCs in WoW also have a long cooldown.

    But notice how I listed other classes that have these unique abilities. Priests have Fear Ward. Paladins have Hand of Freedom. Gnomes have Escape Artist. Anyone can use a CC clearing potion. Anyone can use a trinket. In Archeage, if you don't have defiance or Defense, you don't have a CC clearing option unless if it's one found in Auramancy. And no one can give you a CC clearing option, either. You wait it out.

    Why is this all such a terrible thing, you ask? Players in General don't like to be CC'd. On top of this, newer players wont know what's going on, get killed a thousand times over, and be put in a state of misery upon realizing that unless if they play the meta, they wont be effective. Class and ability choice are gone. There is no freedom of choice anymore. It's not what you wanna hit people with, it's what cookie cutter build are you able to deal with. Hybrid classes are non-existant at this stage, with a very rare one or two sprouting up in the cracks.

    So players are frustated in PvP, as it's the main content, if they're constantly being CC'd and killed quickly. Or they're on cloud 9, because they're so brokenly powerful that no one can harm them. But for the most part; newer players are absolutely thrown under the rug to make tryhards happy. That is poison for this game. Not just any type of poison, but a deadly one that WILL kill this game. No new players means that as older players leave, the servers grow smaller, less people will log on, the wolfpacks grow hungrier, and the community - already pretty toxic - becomes worse and worse.

    To put it bluntly, class combos do not need to CC on top of their absurd, endless damage - for ALL classes. Not just Darkrunner. CC is simply too common. Couple with the fact that non-melee classes need a second to breath to deal damage or CC themselves, all of the Darkrunners can run train until they're caught by a mage CC. Which leads into a combo that CCs.

    Additionally, there's no real options to support your team without CC. Because nearly every move in every off tree is a CC move of some sort. Unless if you take Songcraft, your utility options are non-existent. Let me note that in FFXIV, nearly every single Job in the game has a few moves that buff the group you're in. Maybe a DPS boost, or movement speed buff, but every class can benefit from another class being in the party in some way. Players in AA may avoid party buffs because it all comes back to one thing; DPS.

    Archeage has the most overpowered DPS by far, to the point that players can crit their health pool on basic mobs. As in, a Precision Strike can hit close to 30k on a decently geared warrior, or higher. A Ghastly Pack can hit 25k. One blazing arrow can deal 15k damage - and Archers can fire 3 in rapid succession. The numbers are too high in all cases, coupled with CC, it absolutely ruins a new player's experience. I recall playing around November, and joining a round of Golden Plains. Over half of the raid was continuously being cleaved down by one guy who paid his way to success, who kept spamming Ghastly Pack on a full raid to kill 40 players. It hit 25k through Leather armor. That strong. Could you imagine what it's like for half of a raid to wipe to one player's AoE attack? Half of the raid. It took out half the raid. I brought this up in the forums months ago. The response was "it's on a cooldown". A one minute cooldown for that kind of damage. Wow, totally effective balancing. He ended the game with 350 kills.

    Now, imagine all of this hitting you as a new player. You don't have a house yet - there's not much land on your home continent to choose from, so you go without for now. You're trying to farm some mobs in Auroria - one shot by a guy who noticed you in passing. You're trying to fish to earn gold on the sea - pirated. Join Golden Plains - feeding the enemy faction. Ask for help in nation - called a carebear and told to git gud. Get one-shot because you're carrying a pack by your own faction. Start to do dailies. Notice it's the same thing, again and again and again, over and over endlessly - that you have to do this for months to stand up for yourself and do what you want in the game.

    At what point is a new player going to give up? When they stop having fun. Thus, you lose the next "generation" of players. That's right. Players come in generations. And the more new players you lose, the smaller your population gets. Retail WoW has so little players because they made things too easy on the player, but Archeage is losing players because it's too hard on the new ones, and it's unbalanced.

    vvvvv --- TL;DR --- vvvvv

    If you're skipping to the TL;DR, please be constructive in the comments.

    Archeage is a single player game. The community is so Toxic, that most players stay p***ed at each other. The gearing up process is a solo task. You have to voluntarily find people to play with. You have to consciously make an effort to play with other people that isn't just a reset raid, because there's no reason to otherwise. Guilds have very few reasons to group up and work together. Improving your gear is only effective if you use it. Everything has droned into one non-stop loop of grinding gear, and running dailies. Players are unable to theorycraft or test out new builds; the meta is already established, and regearing to respec is a very daunting task. Found gear is worthless unless if you intentionally put forward the effort to respec it. There is no point to uncloaking gear unless specifically to break it down for other uses. All of the draws of the game are buried beneath needlessly tedious requirements that aren't fun to do, require no strategy, and have only devolved since the inception of it.

    This game is going to enter its deaththrows soon unless something drastic is done. I have suggestions to make this game actually playable to a new player, still viable to an older player, and smoother overall in terms of faction progression and strength. None of it will be answered by staff, it will all be looked ignored by other players, or given no serious thought, and all of it will be dismissed by some guy named xX_♥♥♥♥♥♥♥focker_Xx in the replies who will call it trash/worthless/terrible ideas. Regardless, we need a variety of solutions presented, and at least something implemented to make the game worthwhile for new players who can never catch up.

    I'll post my suggestions soon. Give me a while to really get everything on paper, I'd like a compelling argument as to why they'd be effective besides just "because I say so".

  2. #2
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    Author: It would be easier to read and more effective if you broke up the wall of text with bolded subheadings that make your key points.

    As a new player, I agree that the gear upgrading system is a problem. Starting out, I want to quest and enjoy the storylines, not deal with a complicated gear upgrade system right away. One of the big strengths of the game is that there is a long, unique story questline for each of the six races.

    Gear upgrading is a time sink, money sink, labor sink that new players don't need or want. It detracts from new player enjoyment.

    Having only a 25% chance of getting the stat you want when upgrading gear is another big turnoff for a new player. If I was a game designer, I'd just put a checkbox next to each stat during upgrade and let the new player pick the stat they want. Save the RNGesus stuff in upgrading gear until max level.

  3. #3
    Thank you Zornar. I'll do that in this post.

    Improving What's There

    By now, Archeage is so far along in the development, that the only solution to a lot of these problems can be fixed in an actual expansion to the game, and wont require a fresh start server. These are essentially going to be a combination of gameplay balancing changes, and catchup mechanics that will help push players forward and be more rewarding besides doing the same quests over and over again. Let's start simple with a bunch of small changes to how to improve gear.

    Improving Gear

    Gear is essentially the focus of all things Archeage. It's basically what makes the world go round. If you don't level your gear, you're going to have a bad time. If you're leveling your gear, you're going to have a bad time. If you've hit 12k+ GS, you're still going to have a bad time, but that's due to balancing and the game running out of new players to slaughter.

    There's a ton of things you can do, in-world, that should also drop Hiram Infusions. Fishing, Running Tradepacks, Dungeons, Achievements, Sunkens, should all have a chance to grant Hiram Infusions and scrolls. On top of this, there should be Daily Quests surrounding every aspect of the game that can grant these scrolls and infusions - not just a few in the Hiram Mountains and Reedwind. We can limit it to Tier 1 and Tier 2 scrolls, so that the Tier 3 scrolls still have to be farmed in Eastern Hiram. But, this will allow lower level players to benefit immensely. It will also give incentive to do other things besides your dailies, it would populate the oceans more, and it would increase trading.

    Dungeon Gear and Cloaked Gear

    Let me preface this by saying: For each item you're wearing, it has its own gears core. Maybe 200 for a hat, or 50 for some jewelry. It also has its own stats and such, that add to your character's attributes. This is very common knowledge.

    Because of how the gearing system works in Archeage, you have no reason to ever unequip your Hiram gear for anything you pick up in a dungeon - unless if it's a certain scepter to increase your mana regen, or something along those lines. The gear in dungeons is underleveled, hard to level, and has stats you don't want on it typically. We can fix that by simply changing the strength of gear that drops, by cloaking it first.

    The game should record a player's highest gear score they've achieved from infusing individual pieces of gear (head slot, chest slot, leggings slot) and take that number, and subtract 3%-15%. Whenever you picked up a new cloaked piece of a gear in a dungeon, and uncloak it, it will give a gear with this new gear score and level. So if your head slot is worth 300 Gearscore, and you grabbed a new Headslot from a Dungeon, it would be worth 255 Gear Score and be at an equivalent level to that, or as high as 291 Gear Score. Meaning that every bit of effort you've put into your gear so far is not lost when you want to try out a new piece of Dungeon Gear, or try changing classes. This will essentially make grinding out GS on Hiram beneficial to all armor in the game, and allow players to invest into Hiram first, then pick up armor sets from dungeons.

    Finally, we have typical Cloaked Gear from world drops and Dungeons. Let's improve that.

    Depending on the level of Monster you're slaughtering, Cloaked Gear can drop that will be anywhere from -15% to +15% of your gear score, to a certain cap (IE: Level 30 mobs can only have a lower max, while AR 27 Mobs can have a much higher max of around 7k GS). The tougher the enemy, the higher the max Cloaked Gear will offer. Cloaked Gear can not be infused, and thus, its score does not count to the highest level gear you've infused. Using Regrade Scrolls also wont increase your maximum infused gear. This armor, while not always having the stats you want, can serve as a buffer for lower level players whenever they run the Hiram Dailies. It will also give a bit more unique flare akin to leveling gear you'd see in MMOs. Overall, this will allow players to experiment more while leveling, and still find 6k gear once they reach 7k+ Infused Gear Score.

    World Balancing

    New Players simply can not participate in any raid v raid event without directly feeding the enemy team. Golden Plains is a fine example of this. Sea of Graves is another. This can be fixed with Raid Balancing.

    Players who enter a Raid will have all of their gearscores added together, excluding the lowest 20%, and averaged out across the entire raid. The gives you an average raid strength. On top of this, your stats will be done as a percentage - if you have 70% strength and 30% stamina in all of your stats, when your gearscore increases or decreases, you will maintain these very same stats percentage wise. So if you have 1400 Strength and 600 Stamina, and your Gear Score is averaged out to be 10% higher, you would have 1540 Strength and 660 Stamina. On top of this, Armor Values would also increase by 10%. So if you had 6,000 Physical Defense and 1,000 Magic Defense, your new Armor would be 6,600 Physical and 1,100 Magic. These numbers would apply to PvP stats as well. The only difference is that Heroes keep their bonus cape stats to themselves, and gain +20% Higher Gear Score over the average. So if the average is 8k, they would have 9.6k with their bonus cape stats. This would further inspire them to be a leader, and to lead their faction into battle. Heroes shouldn't die easily. The Raid Commander also gains an additional 10% Gear Score, so if it's a Hero, they would have a 30% advantage with their cape stats, totaling 10.4k.

    With Raid balancing, this will smooth out PvP tremendously. With two raids of 100 people, the lowest 20 Gear Scores will be ignored. The top 80 Gear Scores will be balanced out and applied to everyone. So if you entered Golden Plains with 4k Gear Score, you would have a high chance of having your Stats averaged out to 8k-9k Gear Score. The lowest level players would no longer be feeders, but appreciated, as they no longer drag the team down in any way, shape, or form - besides not being the best at the game yet.

    In Golden Plains, I'm torn between thinking that both sides should be averaged out to the same level, but I feel like this would take away from the battle.

    Finally, Raid Balancing also applies to all Group sizes. If two players team up, their Gear is averaged out. So if a 10k and a 5k hang out together, they have 7.5k Gear Score each. In groups of 5, the lowest Gear Score player is ignored for this calculation. So if it's a 3k, and four 10ks, the 3k will have 10k Gear Score and matching stats. This allows groups to be more inclusive in who joins.

    Keep in mind that Balancing does NOT include Ancestral Levels - which are a time investment, not a day investment. So a player who has 40 AR will still be stronger than a player with 3 AR, even in a fair fight. This encourages players to level up, find better gear, and work together.

    Gear Balancing is party or raid specific. The more higher level geared players you have, the better. Additionally, Gear Balancing only occurs if the Geared Players are within 500m of your location. This prevents players from simply partying with an AFK 14k Gear Score and running amok. This distance calculation is ignored in Golden Plains, the Sea of Graves, Aegis Island, and every other Instanced Event. The Calculation is looking for the distance to the Raid or Party Leader, not the nearest party member.

    This would allow players to join groups that would normally abandon them, especially if they're filling a role they need. But there's one more thing I have to go over.

    Gameplay Balancing

    With the advent of Party and Raid Balancing, it's time to finally address it: Combos and what they should do, and what they shouldn't do.

    A Combo should: Increase the effectiveness of the player against the target. Decrease the effectiveness of the target.
    A Combo should NEVER: Prevent a target from all action with no escape, from max health until death.

    In Fighting games, there are ways to break out of enemy combos - this prevents a stunlock. There's also a built in mechanism to reduce combo damage after a certain cap. Archeage isn't a Fighting Game, but since it has a combo system that applies CC, we have to look it over and treat it like a fighting game.

    The thing is, the name of the game is Stunlock in Archeage. This is not fun for newer players, older players, or anything looking to have a few 1v1s when it's just... who gets their combo off first, or gets a lucky parry that resets their combo to do it again (for Battlerage). Let me again reference WoW here, in the time of Basic Dagger Rogues. Using the starting dagger, rogues could chain together stuns and CCs to get off not just one, but two full combos - and using cold blood and eviscerate, they were able to deal massive damage... with a dagger that hits 1-2 damage. Basically, their combo game was so strong, that within two patches, they had completely nerfed them down to using weapon damage for eviscerate, and put blind on a timer that can't be reset at all. This basically prevented a stunlock to death. Thing is, before this, that stunlock to death had a 10 minute cooldown. Preperation, which reset all of their abilities, had a 10 minute cooldown.

    So to put it simply, a much more successful MMO saw that stunlocking and CC were detrimental to the game, and removed it as it only frustrated players. This should be heavily considered for Archeage, as the game has essentially built everyone to be Glass Canon CC DPS. This is terrible for new players, who may pick trees or builds that don't have infinite amounts of CC, and worse for the longevity of the game; killing each other is too easy. There's almost no strategy involved (unless if you're playing something like Primeval) and the DPS numbers are much too high. It's to the point that a 5 man group can wipe a raid trying to do something like CR, if they play defensively and draw out stragglers. Why? They can one-combo anyone beneath their gear score.

    My recommendation is to honestly, reduce the amount of hard CC that prevents all movement and instead implement soft CC that prevents certain actions. An example would be something like Charge prevents Teleport instead of snaring, Charged Bolt reduces move speed and prevents the use of backdrop, and freezing earth prevents the use of Tiger Strike and Charge for 6 seconds on top of a heavy slow. Shadowsmite could reduce movement speed of players under the effect of Charge by 30% for 6 seconds, Blazing Arrow could silence for 2 seconds on bleeding targets, and Frozen Solid could just prevent all movement based abilities for the duration, and slows melee attack speed by 40%. Basically, what I'm trying to say is: only something like Precision Strike, Chain Lightning, and Snipe should have Stun effects, everything else is a softer CC that simply negates some of the playstyle of what it's meant to counter. I'm not going to throw out anymore ideas; these are examples. What I'm trying to say is that basically, we need less overall CC and more so direct counters that strictly affect the targeted class. (Melee kills Ranged, Ranged Kills Magic, Magic Kills Melee). Also, I'd like to point out that Archery and Magic shares nearly identical attack ranges (Mages at 22-25 meters, Archery at 28 meters). In WoW, it's best to give Ranged an extra 10 meters over magic, so that they have more wiggle room against mages, but still an easy target for melees who have tons of gap closers and movement abilities on hand.

    With less CC and more control given to the target, this would make fights more about playing to your advantages and less about nuking people.

  4. #4
    Now, this game does do a lot of things swimmingly well; the art team has done a fantastic job slowly upgrading and updating the textures to fit a more modern, refined, and cluttered style. The game is more beautiful than ever before, if I do say so myself. But it's still stuck behind graphical limitations of Cry Engine 3 in a lot of cases. Pop-in Textures are abundant and occur all over the place, with towns often being the worst offender. But I can deal with that. Sometimes the game is a memory hog, and will panic crash when it gets closer to 6 gigs. I can deal with that too by decreasing a little bit of clutter.

    But we can all agree, that the way the game is going now, it's going to tank and tumble once Corona ends. I get it - exclusivity is important in an MMO, and WoW made a mistake by trying to be too inclusive. But Archeage is, as it stands, too exclusive. Either you no life it for months at a time to reach the top, or you don't play. What I have proposed is a middle ground. Finally, let's add new challenges that target specifically the highest geared players.

    10,000+ Gear Score

    A player needs a reason to play. And for wolves specifically, reaching that 10K mark makes them absurdly powerful, and a massive threat - specifically to new players, as people will often target lower gears because it's free honor. I want to introduce a thought I've been working on, I call it "Marauder Mode". To activate Marauder Mode, head to the capital of your faction, or any Ezi's Light and speak to a dedicated NPC who will explain it to the player further. Marauder Mode ignores Raid and Party Balancing - you are now on your own, and need to level your gear to be effective. On top of this, you take on the pledge of the Sea Thief, allowing you to attack other Marauders in your faction, and other factions, without gaining Crime Points - excluding when Marauders are in Capital or Faction controlled areas. Marauders can still party together in groups of 5, but are unable to enter normal raids - IE Crimson Rift Raids.

    You need to pay 1000 Gold to enter Marauder Mode, and 10,000 Honor. It lasts for three days. When the time expires, or you quit - you get back your deposit. Quitting early deducts 500 gold from this deposit and 5000 Honor. Every time you kill another marauder, you gain 200 gold/2000 Honor from their deposit, and vice versa - being killed by another Marauder costs you 200 gold and 2000 Honor. If you run out of your deposit, you lose Marauder Mode and may not enter again until next week.

    Normal PvP rules still apply to Marauders; attacking your own faction is bad, killing enemy faction is good. Being killed by a Non-Marauder does not cost gold or honor, besides the normal amount lost of 40 honor.

    Based on the damage you deal to a target, percentage wise, you will be awarded for 2 Gold and 20 honor for every percentage of damage you deal to the target. This is factoring heals into the equation - so if you damage them 3 times over while they're healing, but someone does the last 30% of health in one attack, you will be rewarded for 90% of the kill. If the other person is a Marauder, they will be granted 10% of the kill. Healing in Marauder Mode gives the player Support% - they are awarded 40% of the earned Gold and Honor of the players they heal who are engaging the opponent. This is lost from the other player's rewards; no gold is generated in this game.

    Marauder Mode is a unique Game Mode, as it activates for 3 days of the week at a time. To draw Marauders together, we can have world events that spawn in varying places of the world that calls for their attention. It could be a simple form of capture the flag; a Flag spawns that can be captured by any other Marauder. You can not glide or ride mounts with this flag, but your movement speed is increased by 30%. A beacon will be placed at your location every 45 seconds, to give players a distinct clue of where you are, and where you're going.

    Your goal is to take this flag, and run to the edge of the circled area on the map. Once you do, you win - and you're given 20 seconds of complete invincibility. You may not attack during this time, but you can cast Recall or open a Portal. The match is over, and you've won.

    Every time the flagbearer is killed, the flag respawns in a random location closer to the perimeter of the circle. The person who landed the killing blow is given the exact whereabouts of its location, others will have to guess - or hunt him down.

    Carrying the flag out will reward you with 500 Gold and 5,000 Honor, transferred directly to your character. You keep this money. It's yours. It wont be lost to other Marauders.

    If you are playing as a Team, the money is split up among yourselves, and you're each awarded 1 Life for the final Marauder tournament.

    You can only win this challenge once a day. Players are free to spectate these matches, and will not be able to heal marauders or help them in any way. If one hour passes and no one captures the flag, the match ends. These matches take place in world, in random zones, which will become "Tournament" zones for 2 hours; 30 minutes before the match, one hour during, and 30 minutes after. This match will take place three times a day.

    The winners, at the end of the 9th match, are then given a chance to enter a 1v1 arena and fight with their winnings. They're allowed to challenge the other players at will through an instance menu. This will put them in an Gladiator Arena battle, 1v1. The players are given lives representing how many times they've captured the flag successfully; two lives for once, three for twice, and four for four captures. Parties are given one life for each win, but may not party together. These lives are not regained if you win a match, once you lose it, it's gone. To enter, a player wagers 1,000 Gold and 10,000 Honor. The true victor keeps it all. This can be taken from carried resources, or your deposit.

    The top 5 players who win Marauder Mode, gets a Marauder Cape, that grants stats similar to a Hero Cape. It can be combined with a Hero Cape for a greater effect. They are not allowed to enter the next Marauder Tournament, which happens once a week. A player can opt out of this tournament, at no cost to them. Additionally, missing the 4 day dueling deadline will opt you out of the tournament.

    If there are several remaining Marauders in the duel pool when next week rolls around, the gold and honor is split evenly among them, and the top 5 players with the most wins in the dueling arena will be granted a cloak. If there are any ties, it's based on kills made during marauder mode. If there are still ties, these cloaks are granted at random.

    Marauder Cloaks last 2 weeks. Additionally, these cloaks apply their Gear Score buff directly to you, ignoring Party and Raid Balancing, similar to Hero Cloaks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bastrii View Post
    But we can all agree, that the way the game is going now, it's going to tank and tumble once Corona ends.
    Archeage took in 11% of Gamigo's total revenue in the 3rd quarter of 2109. It was behind only Trove at 15%. That's a very strong performance considering Gamigo has 30+ MMOs and 500+ casual games.

    Maybe the biggest threat to Archeage is Archeage Unchained. Gamigo is competing with itself with two versions of Archeage.

  6. #6
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    The forum is adequately curated to where all you can do is produce an ineffectual verbal diarrhea of your frustration with the game.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zornar View Post
    Archeage took in 11% of Gamigo's total revenue in the 3rd quarter of 2109. It was behind only Trove at 15%. That's a very strong performance considering Gamigo has 30+ MMOs and 500+ casual games.

    Maybe the biggest threat to Archeage is Archeage Unchained. Gamigo is competing with itself with two versions of Archeage.
    The whole increase in revenue was just because of the launch of the new server and nothing else. They did a great job marketing that new non P2W server tho. But they will receive zero to none profit from this game from now on if they don't do something. Since launch the population of Archeage unchained has dropped by 7 times. That is for just 7 months. In 6 months the game will be dead again. To "revive" it, they can redesign the game or they can just create a new server. The new server is the safe and cheap option so I bet they will choose it.

    The game itself has a relatively good design, excluding alts, daily quests, and the lack of catch up mechanic.

    Btw don't bother reaching them. They ignore any suggestion that is posted on the forums. Have you ever seen them making something as simple as a poll for the opinion of the players. A prime example is the crime system and the usage of alts.

  8. #8
    I think Gamingo needs to at least hire a real, dedicated community manager, that will help them recognize the overall vision of the game.

    Gamingo shouldn't kneel to any immediate suggestion unless if it's a good one, they should be trying to find methods to improve player retention. So here, let me do some work for them, and explain why player numbers are dropping. I wont offer solutions for this, but I'll note my reasoning for these observations.

    Older players are lacking in both social content, and unique things to do.

    Very rarely does any real communication need to take place in Archeage. No driving force behind making friends or communicating as a group, even guilds are boiled down to getting a cloak and running a few dailies. There is little PvE content that requires strategy beyond "hit it until it's dead" or "stand in circle to not die". There are no legitimate Raids - even including Red Dragon's Keep. What I mean to say, is that there's no grand dungeon, a raid dungeon, that players can delve into - a reason to play. There's raid events, that require larger groups - but these are simple, boring tasks, excluding perhaps Sea of Graves... which is PvP, with some minor PvE elements thrown in.

    Newer players are aimless and unsure how to approach this game. They're overwhelmed by PvP, and can't fit in. They often have hard times finding direct help.

    Players aren't willing to baby new players into staying. There isn't an incentive for it, as it's usually a gold and time sink, and even if they're making a friend, that friend wont be a viable one to play with.

    The combat is smooth, but the mechanics for PvP are too one-sided on all sides.

    Nearly every player you ask will confirm that damage numbers are too high. This is unanimous. Many more will claim that, with a combination of Stun Chains (not just CC, but chaining it together for a Stunlock) are overall detrimental to the game. Overall, fights shouldn't be relying so heavily on either of these broken mechanics; fights should have more grounding in skill, not luck. The luck being who gets CC'd first, or burst-down.

    Newer players can't play with older players.

    With numbers dwindling, newer players are becoming less common. This means that the pool of people they can participate with in-world is small, and decreasing by the day. New players are important. Bandaid solutions will only make things worse in the future; you need a system to make them viable when playing with higher geared friends.

    A lot of core MMO mechanics feel neglected. A lot of infrastructure in the game is old.

    Loot has boiled down to very rare drops you need 50 of to use. Or an infusion. This feels very boring, and has lost its charm. Dungeon loot is a big offender here, as you can't use it without throwing out a massive amount of gold invested, and you can outlevel the dungeons immensely. Some systems in the game, built to encourage using the real money shop from the prior launch, need to be removed instead of bandaged over. RNG stats on gear you have to roll to replace, crystalizing gear, destroying gear, feel like the game is cheating the player out of hard earned resources. The decrystalization scrolls in the Diligence store helped, but it was far too late for some who blew over 150k honor trying to ascend gear.

    Arenas are broken, unbalanced, and unfun.

    More times than not, one side will steamroll the other. Pre-Ancestral players can join Arena, which will often times leave your team at a massive disadvantage as they lack skill points. Stats are poorly thought out, and doesn't respect the Gearing Power Tiers established in game - where between 8k to 12k Gearscore, Mages are dominant, and the balanced Arena seems to put the given gearscore at around 10k. In the Free for All, players often AFK/Idle because of how unfun it is to play. Players steal your kills, and they run around the map killing the Generals, avoiding PvP, because they give the most points and don't put up a fight. Killing a player will often consume most of your health, leaving you completely ineffective in a FFA. On top of this, the unbalanced classes means that one fourth of the classes - Archery - simply can't compete against anyone who runs plate armor. Which is everyone, with a Magic Shield. Because Melee can still compete at this gear range, and are often very deadly.

    This point on is a summary of what I've got from the core classes of Archeage, what they do and what they have, etc.

    Archery has the highest DPS very late game, but is the worst class until that point.

    Players who play for Late-Game specifically take up Archery, as after a certain point, their Endless Arrows start to hit 5k per hit. This is stupidly broken. They have no variety otherwise, and are often called the "one button class". It has the longest cooldowns as well, further pushing the one-button class stereotype. All of its unique abilities force the Archer to pretty much stop moving, which is exactly what a Mage and melee want. Blazing Arrow is too damn powerful, steady shooting is a curse to deal with - they pop off 3 blazing arrows for free, then pop it off like nothing happened, but they basically have to stand still to get it to work. It's the only accessible DPS dump they have, but it also has the same range as Magic attacks excluding 3 meters wiggle room. This wiggle room to deal with mages is much too small, all things considered, and their pathetic attempt at CC is laughable at best. One snare, one trip - on a hard cast - and that's it. Compare this to CC combos in Battlerage or CC in Sorcery and you see the problem. Unless if an Archer absolutely runs train on the Mage or Melee, it's game over. Additionally, they have no CC resistance in their class. One good mage combo and they're dead, unless if they take Auramancy - further limiting freedom of choice down to Primevals; or Ebonsongs, and Ebonsongs are the more glass-canon variant. Against Melee, they have to just hope to God that Melees get bad luck with their teleport ability, and only get one proc on teleport. Deadeye is a ♥♥♥♥♥♥ed skill; something that Melee gets for free on a proc is a hard cast skill point that forces you to stand still to get it. Archery also has 4 self buffs, two of which require that you slow down/stop to be effective. Which is a death sentence for an archer. The other one is a crit chance buff on a massive cooldown (Fire AR)/Movement Ability (Life AR). Hunter's Guile is essentially useless, as the buff given is just trash. 20% movespeed and a reset on Snare (useless in most circumstances) and Fending Arrow (Their only good CC on a long ♥♥♥ cooldown) is just not worth it. This could have been a passive. A lot of their self buffs should just be passives. Plain and simple.

    Battlerage is the dominant class in early to mid game, falls shorter during late game.

    Battlerage has a ton of damage tucked into their CC combo chain, making their combos basically a one-shot, even against a mage if the mage isn't lucky (they don't get a CC off first). They're nearly impossible to keep away, which is the point of their class, but this also means they're impossible to really fight without defense - as they're basically smothering you in CC and massive damage (again, damage is a big issue here, on all sides). Their precision strike hits upwards of 20k on a good hit, even with toughness, this number is much too high, especially for something they can get off for free. But then, very late game, they're just demolished by Sorcery and Archery. So if you played during the first few months as a melee, you had a ton of fun - before you start hitting the instant DPS brickwall that basically crashes your good time. It's why cloth armor becomes the go-to past 15k GS, as it absorbs the most magic damage - which is hitting closer to 40k on a whip. Archers are still CC bait, and if they don't kill you nearly instantly, the melee just runs train on them - so that's their saving grace. They basically need either a ton of gem investment on plate armor, or a ton of gem investment on cloth armor to be effective very late game. Some of their passives are absurd, as well. Free Armor Penetration on a crit. Parry resets all cooldowns. Parry ranged attacks. I get that they're supposed to counter Archery, but at what point is this overkill? Archery has a tough time being useful until late game, where they dominate everyone by just bulldozing everything, but there has to be a better middleground than this. They also take less damage when charging in. 15% damage reduction for using a movement ability, or an opener. This is basically up at all times when they could be taking damage. Great for the player, not for the defender. Then, they just get rekt by mages - so it's a dog eat dog world, I guess.

    Mages are well rounded Pre-8K GS, become dominant past this point, then tie with Archery for the most cancer past 12K-14K.

    Quite possibly the biggest offender is Malediction. Amazing damage, can't be avoided or blocked, hits through walls, CC in combo chains, hyper effective against both Melee and Archery, >>>has Malicious binding<<<, >>>Ghastly Pack is the Raid Wiper<<<, and is the most taken Tree in Arena. Just hit 55 with it and run train on people in the Arena. On top of that, past a certain point, Magic in general becomes the most powerful class in game, if you include CC into the calculation. They also hit the hardest - which is to be expected, but in PvP, it's more of a cancer when there's nothing you can do to avoid it. Can't get out of their range, they're on you all the time, they basically have no real cast times to slow them down except in Sorcery. Couple that with the best AoE and you've got a broken tree. If you don't take Mage for late game, you're not viable unless if you're an Archer. I honestly can't find a negative thing to say about them, that should be changed for the better. I've played Mage before. It's possibly the best-in-game classes to play. Pretty much no downsides, as Archers have nearly the exact same attack range as you - so you just need to land one slow, catch up, freezing earth or frigid tracks, and you can get off as much damage and CC as you want. If you use a cheap tactic, they can't even hit you with Concussive, so it's a free win.

    I don't know what to say about Healers. They're good.

    People complain they're hard to kill. That's the point about healing, I guess. Only complaint I can think of is possibly the lack of an Ancestral Skill for Mana Barrier. Or maybe some of the cooldowns on like, say, Skewer, are a bit long, and Mirrored Light. Personally I'd put Mirror Light on a 12-16 Second Cooldown. That'd be cool. If you're gonna fight a healer, just make sure to spam Healing Reduction moves on them, I guess. They don't need any nerfs or buffs, besides perhaps making them a bit more viable early on. Or give them better passives. I get that you don't want people multi-classing, but Prophet's Voice is a lot like Archery's Relentless; not useful, and should be something beneficial to the caster. Absorbing 3% of damage taken as mana for 9 seconds after taking damage is pretty trash, considering how they have an infinite mana pool to begin with. Probably should give them something more worthwhile. Since they often can't DPS themselves, why not have something like a 5% damage reflection? Sorry, no suggestions, I forgot.

    I'm pretty sure I could give more somewhat public/somewhat biased (I played Archer and Sorcery a lot, not so much Melee, forgive me) opinions of the game that hopefully someone could read and pass on to the developers. But it's a bit late, and I'd like to do something else with my time. I love this game to death, it's one of my faves, and I don't want to see it go.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rewtew View Post
    The whole increase in revenue was just because of the launch of the new server and nothing else.

    The statistic I quoted that Archeage generated 11% of Gamigo's total revenue was for the third quarter 2019. It was in a pie chart in Gamigo's video report. The pie chart also included a slice for Archeage Unchained so it would seem they were separate.

    Archeage Unchained did not launch until the fourth quarter.

    For all of 2019, Archeage was 15% of Gamigo's total revenues, second only to Trove's 16%. Archeage Unchained was 10%.

    Those numbers come from a pie chart in a Gamigo video report at the 14:12 mark.
    https://corporate.gamigo.com/en/inve...ancial-reports

  10. #10
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    I dont know why the game designers would allow such hugh power gap between the hardcore and the casual gamers, getting new players and retention of existing gamers become so much harder. The game has much going for it, but also many reasons for people not to play.

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