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The Stream Team: Analyzing ArcheAge's latest update

Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, The Stream Team

ArcheAge just introduced a new gift event meant to help the economy in a controlled way (according to the latest producer's letter, at least). Another anticipated change ushered in with this update was the gazebo farm, the largest single farm plot a player can own. It's a beaut, but it costs an awful lot -- especially in labor points! That means Massively's MJ needs to earn gold while simultaneously conserving her labor. Can she manage that? Only if she finds plenty of trouble to get into! Join us live at 3:00 p.m. for a chat about the latest updates (including the recent sloth addition) while MJ tries to make progress on her plans to acquire this fancy new real estate.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, January 23rd, 2015
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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New ArcheAge producer promises communication, game improvements

Fantasy, Culture, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Subscription

No word yet on whether or not there will be a chicken in every pot, although it seems likely.
There's someone new at the head of ArcheAge, producer Marv Lee Kwai. Kwai posted a lengthy letter to the players on the forums recently outlining the major standing issues that the team still sees in the game along with several of the changes and additions set for the game over the next year. He stresses that the developers are well aware of unusual market fluctuations, sieges being too costly and difficult, and the balance of top-end rewards; moving forward, the team means to see them all tweaked and improved.

The letter goes on to mention that the team is planning to add a global trade channel to reduce faction chat spam. Also en route is The Diamond Shores, a new area in southern Auroria that accompanies a bump in the level cap to level 55. It's a little past the start of the new year, but Kwai's tone is hopeful that the game can rise above its somewhat buggy and controversial launch.

ArcheAge patches in Divine Gifts and land expansion certs today

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

Not that you can always expand the land you're on, see.
Following today's ArcheAge patch you'll want to keep a close eye on the bottom left of the game's UI. You'll see a little icon light up to indicate that you have a new gift awaiting you, and then... you get free stuff. That's it. That's all you have to do. The newest patch will offer these Divine Gifts to players regularly, allowing you to open as many as 10 in a given day for rewards like Lunarites, bonus food, and Hereafter Stones.

Players will also be able to craft land expansion certificates (which will also be available from the Marketplace in a future update) and larger storage chests. That's in addition to new rewards for maxing skill trees and new portals leading directly to Serpentis and the Sea of Drowned Love. Whatever your focus is in ArcheAge, you'll have plenty of opportunity to take part in it when today's patch goes live.

Das Tal devs: 'We don't even own a gauntlet'

Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Das Tal
Yesterday, we posted about an article penned by Das Tal Head of Communications David Wells in which he threw down the proverbial gauntlet, as we put it, at ArcheAge's feet; he laid out many of ArcheAge's faults and explained how Das Tal, an admittedly indie sandbox, could improve on the format and avoid some of ArcheAge's infamous mistakes. This prompted a fiery debate, particularly among ArcheAge's fans and frenemies, over sandbox design in the indie and AAA space.

Das Tal Managing Director Alexander Zacherl hopes to expound on that treatise with a letter to players of his own; he emphasizes that Fairytale Distillery's intent was not to provoke a duel with ArcheAge but to improve the studio's corner of the genre. We've agreed to publish that letter in full today. Read on!

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Das Tal boasts that it will 'do things better' than ArcheAge

Betas, Fantasy, PvP, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, ArcheAge

das tal
Consider the gauntlet thrown down from one sandbox to another. Das Tal Head of Communications David Wells posted a new essay today in which he says that his title will best ArcheAge: "Unfortunately I, like a lot of others, have come to the conclusion that ArcheAge is probably one of the worst MMOs to come out recently -- but the reasons why are not straight forward. I am going to go over the good and bad, as well as shamelessly point out how our game will do things better."

Wells says that ArcheAge stumbled with a messy housing system, bad monetization, cultural differences, hacking, heavy grind, lackluster PvE, no solid PvP, shaky server tech, and a lack of good communication by Trion. He goes on to provide a counterpoint for each these items, explaining how Das Tal will succeed where ArcheAge has failed.

Or, if you're looking for a TL;DR version, "How we do it better: To put it simply, we give a s**t."

The Stream Team: Prowling ArcheAge's Perinoor Ruins

Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, Sandbox, The Stream Team

Thanks to the sandboxy nature of ArcheAge, there are still plenty of things Massively's MJ has never done. And one of those things is explore the wilds of Perinoor Ruins. Depending on the time and the threat level, the zone could be a hotbed of war activity or it could be a quiet stroll through a tropical park. Which will it be this time? Tune in at 4:00 p.m. and get a look at this corner of the Haranyan continent (and see just how long MJ survives!).

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Gutrhie
Date: Friday, January 9th, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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ArcheAge tosses its end-of-holiday update on the test server

Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge

We aren't going until everyone here is absolutely certain the oven is off.
Testing out an update that's mostly meant to just turn off the holiday event might seem to be overkill, but ArcheAge has seen such problems with bugs that the team behind the game is apparently taking no chances. A small patch is currently available on the test server and will go live later this week; it contains the shut-off for all of the holiday events (so players with gifts or stockings should use them before the deadline).

This build also contains adjustments to the MTX Pet Healing Potion; the potion will now heal pets for 100% of their health, and a future build will add a resurrection effect. A Marketplace addition is also slated to go live on the test servers within the next few days. If you want to make sure that everything's working fine after the event gets turned off, you can hop on the test server today.

One Shots: Midnight sun

Screenshots, Culture, One Shots, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

Reader Sid is out for a midnight fishing expedition in this ArcheAge screenshot, and I have to envy him of the breathtaking view. Although, why not fish during the day? Less kraken that way, my granny always said.

So this wraps up our two-week series of daily One Shots! Tomorrow we'll be back to normal with the weekly column. I hope you got inspired to send in your own screenshots and stories to oneshots@massively.com, because I'd love to feature them!

Want to be featured in a future edition of One Shots? Send your favorite MMO screenshots to oneshots@massively.com, and don't forget to include your name, the name of the game, and a description of the scene. Large, colorful, UI-free shots that tell a story and really show off the game make for the best images. Look ma, we brought back One Shots!

The Stream Team: Getting festive in ArcheAge

Fantasy, Video, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, The Stream Team

Most games have some kind of holiday festivities, and ArcheAge is no exception. The Winter Maiden Festival is in full swing in the lands of Erenor. There are trees to decorate and snowmen to build -- both of which result in presents for you. And in true ArcheAge style, there's even a short-shirted bunny outfit available for purchase! Join us live at 3:00 p.m. for a little holiday cheer. If we're lucky, we'll even be able to catch the snow.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, December 22nd, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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ArcheAge Korea adding second-story housing upgrades, treehouse

Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Housing

When update 1.8 hits in Korea, ArcheAge housing will reach new heights -- literally. Two different models of houses, the thatched farmhouse and the medium house, are getting a special upgrade that will elevate them to two-story dwellings. Available in the cash shop, this upgrade item is applied to existing homes; there's no need to tear down and build anew. In addition, there are new models of houses being developed for release in Korea, including a house nestled high in a tree. Yes, folks, there's an outline of a genuine treehouse to tantalize housing aficionados!

There's also talk of an exclusive housing district, but the details of the translated notes are fuzzy. Whether the Western market gets this update, however, remains to be seen; if it does, it's likely a long way off.

ArcheAge details its upcoming update, PTS, and holiday events

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge

What do stockings, a vengeful sea goddess, and a dragon have in common? No, it's not a titillating new fantasy paperback. It's ArcheAge's next update. Version 1.2 Build 4.6 (as it is officially known) heralds the introduction of the Red Dragon to Erenor, an insane ancient Wyrmkin that will test the mettle of the strongest adventurers. Additionally, the jealous sea goddess Dahuta will make traveling the waters near her domain even more treacherous. Other update tidbits include a five-second forced delay between land claim attempts "in order to disrupt rapid spam-placement attempt tools" and the sale of the Comet speedster for 800 gilda. Players can test these new experiences out on the newly launched public test server. More information on all this and instructions for installing the PTS can be found on the official site and the PTS FAQ.

This update also introduces the Winter Maiden Festival for the holidays. Featuring buff-giving trees you decorate and stockings you assemble all from loot drops, the event sees players decking the mobs with swords and staffs all through the season. Plushie collectors have the chance to acquire seven new snowman plushies to decorate their homes.

A dragon interloper is approaching ArcheAge

Fantasy, Lore, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

I think he's kind of angry.
ArcheAge is gearing up for its December update, and that means getting ready for a dragon. A long time ago in the in-game lore, the dragon Misagon tried to take the land of Erenor for himself and his kin, which led to the Nuon rising up and killing him because that's just a really rude way to move in. The dragons panicked and left, but one among them started planning for Dragon Invasion II: The Dragoning.

That invasion is going down as part of the December update, with the somewhat uncreatively named Red Dragon leading his minions in an assault on Erenor. This is the same dragon who resorted to feeding on other dragons to get stronger, so you know he's... well, not a good guy. Go ahead and check out the lore post for a slightly less irreverent explanation of what flies forth on crimson wings, and get ready to undertake some dragon hunting in the game's next major patch.

The Stream Team: The art of ArcheAge bot wrangling

Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content

What do you do when rampant ArcheAge bots are littering your landscape and lording over the mining nodes? Why not make them sleep with the fishes? It seems as if the devs aren't doing enough to help stem the bot problem, so Massively's MJ and the Minions took matters into their own hands and developed an amusing new minigame within ArcheAge: Bot Wrangling. It takes a bit of skill mingled with some luck, but unlike PvP, this game can be played in peacetime zones. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to see who can rustle up the most bots.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Leaderboard: Would B2P or a sub-only server bring you back to ArcheAge?

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Leaderboard

I've been thinking about ArcheAge a lot this month, and most of what I've been thinking about it is pretty negative. XL's fantasy sandpark has more problems than any single MMO should, but despite all of them I would still enjoy it if it weren't for that godawful cash shop.

Yeah, the bugs are annoying as are some of the more pervasive exploits (flower dance griefing, really?), but underneath all that is a feature-rich virtual world I'd love to keep playing. At this point, though, the only thing that would bring me back is some sort of subscription-only server, or failing that, a buy-to-play-with-a-cosmetic-cash-shop server that doesn't sell labor potions, tax certificates, appraisals, and the like.

What about you, Leaderboard readers and disgruntled ArcheAge expats? Would you come back for a subscription-only server or a less invasive cash shop? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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ArcheAge reinstates APEX purchases

Fantasy, Economy, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Just wait for the next issue, because it'll happen.
The time since ArcheAge's launch has been a cycle of allowing cash shop purchases, discovering exploits with those purchases, and disabling those purchases, usually APEX. There have been a variety of other goofs hither and yon, but the important one right now is APEX. After a long period of being unavailable, it can be purchased once more, hopefully without a need to disable it again in the future.

APEX, for those of you unaware, is essentially a way to purchase subscription time and sell it in-game, a la EVE Online's PLEX or WildStar's CREDD. The exploit issues caused by use of APEX items without actually consuming them have led to the items being removed from the store on multiple occasions. Hopefully this reinstatement signals the end of that particular cycle for the game.

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