As I've already mentioned previously, this game ArcheAge is basically an "open" sandbox MMO where the players themselves have to choose what to do.
As such, there are actually plenty of "infrastructures" made to allow for a variety of different activities within the game.
Though I hate to say it, but side quests appear to be the only ones which can be found everywhere...except for Auroria maybe (haven't found any there yet).
If you're going with the main storyline, it will only lead your character all around your own faction's continent. Well...most of it anyway.
And at the very end of it, all you'll be left with seems to be some sort of a diary that points you in the direction of going to Auroria and then hangs abruptly there...with nothing else to continue upon. (At least that's what happened to me when I was playing as a "Harani".)
But with this being a sandbox, I guess that's to be expected huh?
- Exploration And Dungeons
But I will have to warn you, taking into account the way the gameworld's designed, that while it might be okay to travel around your own continent, its a whole other thing entirely to venture into your opposing faction's continent and hostile zones for that matter.
- Crafting And Commerce
The difference between crafting and commerce is that...
For crafting, you will mostly be making stuff that's useful and needed by the players. Stuff like armors, weapons, rings, earrings, necklaces, food, potions and whatnots.
But you should expect a "mountain climb" and some hardcore grinding before you can start making things that people want though...and also having to handle the troublesome part of figuring out how best to sell your wares to your buyers (but most probably via the auctioneer provided if your a "patron" or have bought your access to using it).
As for commerce, your primary focus is to make trade packs (at a zone's specialty workbench), run them to far off locations and sell them to the NPCs situated there for money (a.k.a. gold), precious resources and sometimes "gilda stars" (a type of currency that is mainly used to buy blueprints for houses, ships, mounts, and various vehicles on Mirage Isle).
Its pretty simple and brainless...though you might have to "arm yourself" (quite literally) with cheap sources of materials to make those packs...as well as to fend off potential aggressors.
- Farming And Fishing
For farming, what your doing is basically acting as a "supplier" of resources to the peeps doing crafting and making trade packs (mostly this).
There's seeds to plant, trees to grow and livestocks to rear for you here in ArcheAge. However, its a pretty "primitive system" (I'ld say) whereby one will only need some land to place those above-mentioned items, wait for them to grow, water/feed/tend to them and then harvest them at the end. (You might need to watch out for the climate of the zone that your in and grow stuff that's appropriate for the climate.)
If and when they fall sick, you might also have to visit a Blue Salt Merchant to buy some of the remedies sold there, for "Vocation Badges" (earned through simply doing stuff like farming, gathering, logging, husbandry, mining, and fishing), to nurse them back to health.
However, to own land for farming...you will need to acquire "Patron Status" (subscription) for your account. Else, you will either have to settle for growing or rearing your stuff in "public farms/stables" (where your stuff gets protected for only 24 hours) or out in the open (totally unprotected and open for looting once "ripe").
For fishing, this is mostly for the money as well...just like commerce. However, there's two types of fishing to take note of, "Basic Fishing" and "Sport Fishing".
Basic fishing can be done almost anywhere where there's water. All you need is a fishing rod (need to craft these) that hasn't expired yet and some bait (buy them off auction or farm them yourself from seed bundles).
But sad to say, basic fishing doesn't net you much money. Its mostly for people to skill up their fishing vocation until they're experienced enough to go sport fishing.
Sport fishing, on the other hand, can only be done at places whereby there's "schools of fishes" with seagulls flying above them.
Once you've spotted one of these, throw in the appropriate "chum" to make them go into a feeding frenzy for a limited duration. During this "feeding frenzy" time period, you can then use the appropriate lures (for your fishing rod) to fish all you want.
To successfully "catch" a fish however, you will be required to do some sort of a "dance machine"-styled routine whereby you match your "inputs" to the "buffs" shown on the fish itself...in order to reduce its HP down to zero (the better your fishing rod and fishing proficiency, the faster that you can do this).
After "killing" the fish, you will end up with some sort of a "trade pack" on your shoulders (just like when doing a commerce trade run). You will need to carry this "trade pack" (of fish) to the nearest "Fish Stand" to have it weighed (and converted into gold) or crafted into a "trophy" (for you to put in your house for "bragging rights").
And since its working just like a "trade pack", your avatar may only be allowed to carry one of them at any time...unless you have a proper fishing boat (to store the rest of your catches).
- Jury And Piracy
If your solely hunting upon players of the opposing faction, there's hardly any consequences to your actions. But if your also targeting players of your own faction, you will gradually rack up "crime and infamy" points.
And once you've accrued 3000 infamy points, you will immediately be ousted from your own faction and officially become a "pirate" (think there's a small island built specifically to house pirates, I believe).
To accumulate these points, either steal the crops grown by your faction-mates or murder them in cold blood. You will leave behind bloody stains or footprints which can be reported by others to "tag" crime and infamy points upon you, the perpetrator.
If and when your "caught" (die inland with more than 50 crime points), you will be placed on trial and judged by five jurors (fellow players) for the crimes you've done.
Depending on the amount of crime points you have (at the time of trial), your infamy and the jurors, you will be sentenced to prison for a varying period of time.
And while crime points are reset upon landing in jail, infamy points (however) will follow your character forever. (Not to mention that the life of a pirate can be excruciatingly painful...since there's not many places for you to go where you won't be "hunted".)
The only way to remove them is to perform some kind of repeatable quests (offered daily), that allows you to slowly whitewash away those infamy (and crime) points. (Or you can choose to take the easy way out and just "purchase" some item mall consumable "potion" that does the same.)
Conversely, by keeping yourself "spotless", one can even become a qualified juror (by completing a certain special quest), thereby obtaining your "right" to pass judgement on a criminal player standing trial.
But as far as this goes, the opportunity to serve as a juror doesn't come by that easily (as there are plenty of others whom are also qualified to do the job).
Upon logging into the game, the qualified juror (you) will be placed on a "numbered system waiting list". And as players (other qualified jurors) log off, get disconnected or served on a trial (if and when there is one), you will gradually be pushed further and further towards the front of the queue...until you get your turn (but we're talking about staying in-game for hours here though).
- Halcyona War, Auroria Castle Siege And Arena Battles
The "Halcyona War" is a faction-based kind of pvp activity that occurs once every 5 or so hours in Halcyona on the continent of Nuia.
(Afaik, its 15 minutes of "Conflict", 1 hour 15 minutes of "War" and 4 hours of "Peace". The "Conflict" time is for you to ready your groups and prepare yourself for the war. "War" time is when the actual fighting occurs...but may end early as and when the opposing base's relic is destroyed...even though the "War" time will persist to countdown until "Peace" finally occurs. After the four hours of "Peace" time ends, the whole cycle will start all over again.)
On the map itself, there is a "Nuia Alliance Base" and a "Haranya Alliance Base". And whenever the war starts, both bases will each spawn a "relic structure" that is to be protected/destroyed in order to win the war.
If you can steal some kind of "war flag" (that is spawned somewhere in between the two camps) and plant it at your own faction's base, you will activate some kind of automatic defense system within the base...thereby allowing you to focus more on attacking the enemy base's relic.
As for the "Auroria Castle Siege", needless to say that its an activity that happens on the continent of Auroria.
Its a guild vs guild event whereby players activate some sort of an "Archeum Lodestone" structure to claim its surrounding area, spend the next three weeks to build a "castle" to protect this lodestone...in anticipation of an attack by some other guilds.
"Arena Battles" are essentially pvp fights that are meant to cater for players who prefer skirmishes on a smaller scale (or simply don't have the PC specs for those large-scale "laggy" fights).
However, after rushing my character's level up (to at least try out the level 40, 5 v 5 one), I must say that the experience wasn't pleasant...but nonetheless...an eye-opener (to the game's mechanics, weaknesses and cons).
First of all, being a 5 v 5 arena battle, its pretty weird that there wasn't any sort of "balancing mechanism" put in place to ensure a "fair fight" between the two teams. (I was placed into a team...with three other level 50s...all against 1 lone single level 50 player.)
Secondly, with just a mere 10 levels in gap, I've found that it was surprisingly hard to even put a dent into the opponent fighting against us. (I believe I was only dealing damages within the range of 1 digit to 2 digits.)
Finally, despite being heavily disadvantaged (1 against 4), the lone single level 50 player had the ability to just simply waltz right into our territory...in front of our two defense cannons...kill one of us...and then walk right back out...alive (as shown in the "Arena Battle" pic previously).
But if I remember correctly, he was a tad bit "squishier" during our first two encounters (at the start of the battle, within the first few minutes). It was only after he took a couple of "stuff"...that he became "godly" all of a sudden. (After checking back at my footage, he had some "fancy buffs" which gave him more hp, more magic and physical defense than my full set of equipment combined, TWICE.)
Nonetheless though, I'ld have to say that he was one tough fella...who knew his character, skills and limits very well. Whilst on the other hand, our team was pretty much totally disorganized I guess.