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ArcheAge

Massively interviews Trion's Scott Hartsman on ArcheAge's rocky launch

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Interviews, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, MMORPG

ArcheAge
ArcheAge's server issues, endless queues, and housing woes are the subject of hot debate in comment sections across the MMO world this week as players wonder just how in the heck the sandbox's launch went so awry. Massively spoke to Trion Worlds' Scott Hartsman to ask him exactly what went wrong with the launch and what the studio is doing to fix it.

Massively: Prior to the head start, Trion seemed to be aware of the huge interest in ArcheAge, citing a million signups for beta and knowing of the launch problems faced when the game launched in other countries. And yet Trion has seemed largely unprepared for the deluge of players for the head start and even for the F2P launch. Why? Were there really far more people trying to play than expected?

Scott Hartsman: Yes. There's a lot of science that goes into forecasting how many people are going to show up for a new game, when they're going to show up, and how long they'll stick around. Beyond that, external factors such as what else is going on in online games can also have a huge impact.

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ArcheAge opens still more servers, promises compensation [Updated]

Fantasy, Business Models, Launches, News Items, ArcheAge, Sandbox

ArcheAge
Trion's Scott Hartsman has delivered a "progress report" following another shaky weekend for ArcheAge's servers. He writes that patron queueing changes and three new North American servers (Ezi and Lucius Saturday and Calleil yesterday) have helped alleviate some though far from all of the login issues and queue times. To Europeans, he issues an apology, saying the new hardware for that region is still in customs and should arrive Tuesday. Daily restarts will also "flush out AFKs clogging the server," and he claims that around 10,000 botters and fraudsters have been recently banned.

What about the reportedly long customer service wait times?
"Our CS capacity has continuously been increasing even in the short time since launch. Chat wait times are about two thirds faster than what they were last week, even though the weekend's been the busiest time ArcheAge has seen as a whole. We're still pushing hard here to make sure even more people are wanting to help, and the next group of folks ready to help starts work first thing Monday morning."
Hartsman notes that players will likely be compensated for last week's problems. "We are continuing to look into ways to make sure that everyone's made good for their troubles during this launch," he wrote.

We have reached out to Trion to follow up. [Update #2: Hartsman has spoken to us about the game's launch troubles here.] [Update #1: Trion says the EU hardware has cleared customs early and is currently being set up.]

The Daily Grind: When's the last time you stopped to smell the MMO roses?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting

I got my first aquafarm in ArcheAge over the weekend, and after I'd planted some coral and laid a few bamboo fish traps, I floated up to the surface and sat in my rowboat. My farm is situated inside a picturesque bay that almost always features player clippers cutting to and fro as well as beautiful weather and water effects that I've talked about before.

So I just sat there, taking screenshots and taking it all in. It's been quite a while since I've played an MMO that made me want to simply exist in it and it's nice to be virtually home, so to speak. What about you, Massively readers? When did you last stop to smell the MMO roses? What were you seeing or doing at the time?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

MMO Week in Review: QueueAge

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

ArcheAge
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

Let's not sugarcoat this: A startling number of gamers are willing to wait in some ridiculously long lines to fling sand in the ArcheAge sandbox. This week, ArcheAge's launch woes were inescapable as Trion struggled to add waves of new servers and deal with the fallout of queues and character creation embargoes that have kept both paying and freemium players from logging in, let alone claiming land.

Massively's Jef Reahard chronicled his first six days in the game:
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day one - Introduction
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day two - Classes, skills, and combat
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day three - PvE, quests, and story
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day four - Trade runs, sea beasts, and pirates
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day five - Random knowledge
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day six - Pay-to-win and the early verdict

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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The Daily Grind: What's the grossest quest you've ever done?

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

So yesterday I picked up piles of dookie in ArcheAge. Yes, there really is a quest in Anvilton that requires you to go around and fill your bag with yata manure, yatas being those floppy-eared rabbit/kangaroo mount things.

As if stuffing crap in my quest bag wasn't enough, there's an occasional overpowering stench status effect that causes my character to temporarily pass out and fall down. Finally, the end of the quest required me to deposit a huge helping of poo on an NPC's workbench, complete with buzzing fly and rising steam animations.

How about you, Massively readers? What's the grossest quest you've ever done?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Stream Team: Anchors aweigh in ArcheAge!

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

Braving the hostile enemies or ArcheAge's queue -- which is worse? At least fighting enemies is fun, even if you lose. Massively's MJ has beat down the queue monster but now must face a sea of reds as she attempts to get the battle pet from the other continent. That means a trek across the water depths. Can the Massively Minions be successful in this raid? Join us live at 1:00 p.m. to cheer them on.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, September 20th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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ArcheAge battles queues with new servers, character creation blocks

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

ArcheAge
In a post on the official ArcheAge site last night, Trion Worlds confirmed that it had opened two new servers and shut down character creation on others to alleviate some of the queue congestion plauging players since the game's head start last weekend. The entry reads,
We've added two new worlds to our North American server list: Ezi (NA) and Lucius (NA)! These servers were racked (physically installed) and imaged (updated with ArcheAge server software) in our Texas data center all in the past day. Here you can see Ezi (NA) and Lucius (NA) in their new home with Senior Systems Engineer Jonathan Johnson. These two servers will be on the new Auction House cluster 5 (AH5). These new servers are now online and available to play right now: Friday September 19 at 4:15 PM PDT (GMT-7).
Critically, four US servers -- Kyrios, Ollo, Salphira, and Aranzeb -- have been "temporarily closed to new character creation," so we sure hope you aren't trying to join friends there today.

The studio also says new European servers are physically en route to the Amsterdam data center.

[Thanks, Siphaed.]

Working As Intended: Lessons from the history of MMO housing

World of Warcraft, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Vanguard, RIFT, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Working As Intended, Landmark

Hustis House - Daniel Case
Once upon a time, a subscription MMORPG sandbox had open-world housing, only there wasn't quite enough for everyone. Well, there was, but there wasn't enough of it in safe lands, so a lot of the people who wanted a place to live had to live in dangerous places they didn't like, places where they could be killed on their doorstep by other players. Even most of the plots in the safe lands were so remote or allowed for such small homes that they were undesirable. In fact, there were only a few housing plots on every server that afforded a strategic advantage in PvP or trade or storage, and if you didn't own one of those, you were at a distinct disadvantage. And when new lands opened up, scripters and gold farmers were first in line to grab the best plots and sell them on Ebay for hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of dollars. And legit players were pissed.

I speak, of course, not of ArcheAge but of Ultima Online.

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Trion's Hartsman on more ArcheAge servers, communication

Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Trion CEO Scott Hartsman has posted an ArcheAge launch update letter on the game's official forum. The long and short of it is more servers, expanded customer service, and more aggressive AFK sweeps.

Hartsman also mentions that he's "personally tweeted more during this launch than [he thinks he has] since Twitter existed," and he says that Trion's communication will be "redoubled," most notably on the game's forums.

The Think Tank: Surveiling ArcheAge's launch

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Sandbox, The Think Tank

ArcheAge
Some of the Massively staff have been playing ArcheAge during its head start and launch week, and some haven't, but all of us have been watching to see how the first major sandbox launch in recent memory fares. For today's Think Tank, I polled the Massively writers about their impressions of the game whether they are playing it personally or examining the launch from an industry perspective.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day six - P2W and the early verdict

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Is ArcheAge pay-to-win? That's a question I've been asked several times in recent days. Before I answer it, let's get something out of the way up front. And by "out of the way," I mean that this is the most important part of the article and needs to be emphasized in the intro.

Pay-to-win is 100% subjective.

There is no scientific or universally accepted definition of pay-to-win. Some things in this life are absolutes. Pay-to-win is not one of them.

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ArcheAge endeavors to quell queues, bugs

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Launches, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Following ArcheAge's official launch earlier this week, Trion has continued its work on bugs and queues and other issues affecting the game. Last night, the team said that it planned to increase the total capacity of the North American servers and EU server Kyprosa by 10%. Players have complained of long wait times to log into Kyprosa specifically; one Patron claimed to have waited nine hours in the queue. Other players have taken to calling the game "QueueAge."

Trion also says that it is working on fixes for Patron status bugs, having "deployed a fix for accounts that were missing their Patron Time after this morning's NA server maintenance." Community Manager Scapes says a relog after server-up is necessary. EU's fix should be in now as well, tweeted Trion CEO Scott Hartsman.

Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day five - Random knowledge

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Today's diary entry is going to skip around a bit, as I'm still dabbling all over ArcheAge and finding it nearly impossible to convey everything important inside of a few thousand words. If you're just joining us, this is day five of Massively's launch chronicle because even though the game "launched" yesterday, it really launched last Friday via the founder head start.

I'm aware that some people had disconnect issues and nightmare two-hour login queues on the 16th. I did not have much trouble with either, presumably because of my Patron account status regarding the latter. Trion does have some work to do, though, as I noticed a lot of slow-down in high-traffic areas throughout much of my play session last night, and I also logged into a black screen more than once and had to re-queue as a result.

In other words, it was a typical MMO launch day. I've seen better, but I've also seen far, far worse.

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Global Chat: Blaugust triumphant

World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Humor, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Elite: Dangerous

blaugust
Last month, Tales of the Aggronaut issued a community-wide challenge for MMO bloggers to commit to posting (at least) once a day for all 31 days. This challenge was called Blaugust, and it caused a tidal wave of additional posts, top 10 lists, and random cat pictures as writers struggled to keep up with the rate of output.

While not everyone who signed up succeeded in sticking out the entire month, it certainly injected some life into summer doldrums and got people talking. The 2014 Blaugust Wrap-up does a great job giving an overview of the challenge and a list of all of the blogs involved. If you're looking for outspoken opinions put forth at a prodigious rate, I'd suggest checking these out.

Speaking of outspoken opinions, we've also got plenty of them in the form of the most interesting posts from the past two weeks! Global Chat... away!

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ArcheAge's launch trailer shows you the way home

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Races, ArcheAge, Sandbox

If there hasn't been quite enough ArcheAge news for you lately, here's the latest in the form of the fantasy sandpark's Western launch trailer. "Craft, claim, conquer," says the two-minute clip, which briefly dips a toe into the title's racial lore and shows off plenty of gameplay in the process.

View it in full after the break.

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