Monday, March 2, 2015

ArcheAge (Part Five)

Gameplay (Continued)

ArcheAge - Powerful Adversary
And while there are a lot of stuff put in place for you to do (within the game), I've found that the core of the gameplay essentially still revolves around the theme of grinding.


Grinding to get your character to PVP-able status. To wielding absolute unyielding power and perhaps even attaining "god mode" itself (ultimately).
ArcheAge - Chosen Skillsets
First and foremost is "skillset" grinding. Though at any point in time you may have three skillsets simultaneously in tow, each of them still has its own separate "EXP Bar" and "Level" to raise.

You will need to perform activities (to gain EXP) to level the skillsets up in order to gain access to the higher level combat skills as well as improve the individual combat skills' potency (their skill rank).
As far as combat skill potency is concerned, so long as you increase the skillset's level, the individual combat skills will automatically rise in skill rank...regardless of whether you've learnt the actual combat skill or not.

However, not all of the combat skills will have an increase in skill rank some of them simply do not have a "next rank" to go to (or its not their time to rank up yet).
ArcheAge - Swapping Skillsets
And if your thinking how's that considered grinding? Well...please be reminded that in order for you to mix and match to find your best three (skillsets), you'll possibly have to grind all "ten" of them up to the max level (at the moment, its capped at level 50 for each skillset).

Yes...ALL TEN.

So if you don't find that grindy, then I don't know what is.
Naturally, if you already know which three to aim for, then its all fine and dandy, I guess. But I'ld have to warn you that purely "reading" on the combat skill's description isn't going to be enough. You will need to physically "try out" the combat skill to know whether it would fit (into your combo) as what you've expected.

For instance, Archery's "Boneyard" skill. By just the description given, you might think that its a good skill to trap opponents in and let's you attack from the outside with your other archery combat skills.

However, in actual implementation, you'll find that it mostly just blocks your line of sight and inhibits any form of attack...from the outside...towards the occupants trapped inside it (not sure if AOE skills can bypass this).
ArcheAge - Very Nice Weapon
Then we have "equipment" grinding. This is ultimately the one that will pull you away from the ordinary crowd and propel you one step closer to that mythical "god mode". (Like that very "tasty" weapon as shown above.)

However here, it actually comes as a twofold grind. Yup, twice the G R I N D. (Perhaps many times more...if we were to go into the trouble of getting it socketed with lunagems as well.)
ArcheAge - Proficiencies
In order to be able to craft high level equipments and consumables, you will need to bring up your proficiency level in the trade first. All the way up to proficiency rank 6 for the best items I reckon.

And its made in a "pyramidic way" such that the number of proficiencies that you can get to the next rank gets increasingly smaller and smaller. (Only two can be at "Champion" rank.)
Seems fair enough? Just wait till you hear the rest of the process.
ArcheAge - Conqueror Volcano Bow RequirementsArcheAge - Sealed Delphinad Bow Requirements
But what's making it worse is that, to actually craft them, you will not only need to source for the right materials to make that thing, but also its "predecessor" as well (the one before it).

And once you get to the level of making the "sealed" ones, there's four to seven varieties of them that you may get. However, only one "particular" variety can be used to bring it to the "next level".
To make the Delphinad Bow, you will need the "Volcano" version of the Epherium Bow. No other varieties will be accepted.
You can start to see the grind here now, can't you?
ArcheAge - Labor Spending Activities
And tying all these "bundles of joys" (grind) together is something called "Labor Points".

Any activity, be it the growing/harvesting of crops, rearing/butchering of livestock, mining, logging, construction of houses and the paying of its maintenance, fishing, crafting, commerce to even the recovering of lost XP after dying, so long as it involves the gaining of gold (in-game money) will somehow require the use of labor points (usually).
Do note that performing of these activities may require varying amounts of labor points...ranging from single digits to triple digits or more.
However, not all of the activities will reward you with the same amount of gold per labor point spent though.
1 Gold = 100 Silvers And 1 Silver = 100 Coppers
If you directly compare the amount of gold gained when you "NPC" those gathered resources (not that you should do this of course...its just for comparison), you will find that certain activities may net you only 1 to 2 silvers per labor point spent while others can get you up to 4 or 5 silvers per labor point spent.
For instance, the opening of coin purses (looted off monsters killed) will typically give you about 1.5 silvers per point spent. (But considering the rate at which you get them...its a fast way to get some in-game money.)

Turning in of trade packs to gold traders will usually give you more...about 5 or 6 silvers per point spent...if there's some considerable distance in between the "source" and the "destination" zone...and your taking into account points spent while gather the materials as well as when making the trade pack itself. (But since this takes quite a while to get the money, its a rather slow method of obtaining in-game money...albeit having a more efficient conversion rate.)

As for gathering of resources out in the wild, then it wildly differs depending on what your harvesting. Logging of trees for wood tend to only give you about less than 1 silver per labor point spent while gathering of plants such as "Vanilla" or "Saffron" might net you about 3 to 4 silvers per labor point spent.
Why am I talking about this? Well...that's because its partly related to what I'm about to say next.
That the gaining of "Labor Points" is perhaps the biggest grind of them all. The ultimate bottleneck.
Now if you can grasp what I've just said, then you should ought to have noticed by now that the crux to all this grinding to get the best equipment is "Labor Points".
And there's two ways about it.
You can either choose to spend the labor points on leveling up your proficiencies to craft those equips can choose to find the best conversion method...for your labor points...into buy the equips from other players.
ArcheAge - Insufficient Labor Points
However, that also means that if you currently have ZERO labor points, you will be stuck either way. And will more or less be unable to progress any further (in your quest for those mythical items) until you've reacquired some.
So how do we get labor points?
Well...this largely hinges on whether your a free-to-play or a subscription player (a "Patron").
"Free-to-Play" players gain 5 labor points per 5 minutes while staying online, but does not gain any while offline. (Labor Points Cap - 2000)

"Patron" players, on the other hand, will gain 10 labor points per 5 minutes while staying online and 5 labor points per 5 minutes if offline. (Labor Points Cap - 5000)
Doesn't sound like much? Then think about it this way...

If a typical player plays about 2 hours per day (on weekdays) and 5 hours per day (on weekends), then being a "free-to-play" means that this player will only get about 1200 "Labor Points" to play with (0 Labor Points for offline time).

However, if this same player were to be a "Patron", he would have 2400 "Labor Points" for staying online and possibly 8880 more for the time he was offline (assuming that he doesn't just let it accrue to the cap).
See the difference now? And we aren't even gonna talk about the "free" loyalty tokens that patrons get...for logging in daily...that can be exchanged into "Worker's Compensation Potions" (basically means more "Labor Points" or can be sold to other players for gold).
ArcheAge - APEX
But thankfully though, the saving grace for "free-to-play" players is that they can work hard to get some gold, buy some "APEX" (probably needs at least two), exchange them into "Credits" and then use it to pay for their "Patron" status (via the game's official website).

So its not all a losing battle for them.
But the way I see it, you'll definitely need to be a "Patron" to succeed in this game. (Hats off to those clever clever game devs.)

Previous: ArcheAge (Part Four)