Once upon a time, it seemed as though ArcheAge was going to be the Next Great Coming of the MMO Sandbox. People were salivating and jittering with excitement over the import of this already-proven fantasy title from Korea, especially those who wanted a fuller and more flexible gaming experience. It’s hard to remember this, but for a good couple of years there, ArcheAge was mentioned in hushed tones of reverence as the savior of MMORPGs.
And then it arrived, and while it had the content, it also came with an absolutely horrible business model that greatly segregated the community between subscribers and free players. Trion’s handling of ArcheAge went downhill from there, with horrible decisions and PR blunders coming left and right. The community as a whole became a shouty, frothy mass of humanity and sane people left the game in droves. It became a textbook example of how a bad business model could make a good game terrible.
Last week, new owner Gamigo announced that it was going to try to undo at least some of the big mistakes that ArcheAge experienced in the past by launching a new server type that will be a buy-to-play model with no pay-to-win cash shop or subscription options. Now, I am not as knowledgeable with AA to speak with any great authority on whether or not this will solve the game’s woes and restore its reputation — in fact, I have a feeling that the community will gnash its teeth about this and never allow any chance of redemption.
But for me? It might be a game changer. It might actually make me want to try this game out, especially now that the energy mechanic is normalized and housing is available to all. There’s still PvP and limited housing and other issues… but this has always seemed like a game world worth exploring. I guess it really depends on the price point of the game and any further revelations of this model.
It’s kind of like that scene from Arrested Development, where the Bluth Company is upgraded from a “sell” to a “don’t buy” on a stock advice show and everyone in the family goes nuts over not being the absolute worst any more. “Don’t buy! Don’t buy!” It’s a step up for ArcheAge, at least, and probably a wise move from Gamigo to try to undo some of the damage caused to what is, from all reports, a flexible and captivating game.
What do you think? Is this too little, too late, or did this announcement get you to reconsider ArcheAge as a future play?