Last week Trion Worlds announced that they would be publishing XLGAMES’ new MMORPG ArcheAge for Western audiences. At first glance it might seem unusual for a company that already has one MMO (or even two once Defiance launches) to run what could be a competing title, but although RIFT and ArcheAge share some of the same general mechanics there seem to be more differences than similarities.
The details about ArcheAge, particularly the version Western audiences will see, are still somewhat unknown. The game launched on January 15, 2013, but is only available for South Korean players at the moment. (They’re strict about it too — you need a Korean Social Security number to create an account.) Just to add to the mystery, Trion will be localizing the game for its audience and it’s hard to say right now what exactly will change. It’s possible to get a sense of what ArcheAge will be like for us, though.
Both RIFT and ArcheAge feature PvE and PvP components, but PvP is much more important in the ArcheAge world. Much like designer Jake Song’s previous title, Lineage, ArcheAge has open world PvP and some corpse looting rights. Don’t worry too much though, PvE players, because killers can be put on trial for their crime and judged by a jury of their peers. It’s definitely much different (and potentially much scarier) than RIFT’s relatively well-manicured warzone battles.
RIFT and ArcheAge both have player housing, although the games approach it in radically different ways. RIFT’s Dimensions of course are.. a dimension, which allows for an incredibly free-form building experience without impacting the world for anyone else. The housing in ArcheAge, on the other hand, does take up space in the shared player world but has very little emphasis on the creative building process. Players are encouraged to build villages together, plant and harvest crops and forests, even build castle walls.
One place where the games are incredibly similar is in their quest structure. While ArcheAge was developed halfway around the world from future Trion Worlds players, the questgivers still have shiny exclamation points and question marks over their head, and killing 10 lava monsters is still the usual content. Additionally, both games have a tremendous number of class builds available. ArcheAge advertises 120 different classes, in fact, apparently put together in a “pick 3 skills” way that is not unlike picking 3 soul trees.
Despite these similarities in content and mechanics, RIFT and ArcheAge should appeal to slightly different audiences. ArcheAge is still a “themepark” MMO but with many more “sandbox” qualities than RIFT. If you want to experience immersion and put your stamp on the world, it’s a pretty good option. RIFT, on the other hand, has impressively deep themepark options with a lot less grind, along with dollop of sandbox-y fun in Dimensions.
Between RIFT, ArcheAge, and Defiance, it seems Trion is going to have an MMO for every player by the end of 2013.