(Image courtesy of fanpop.com)
I’ve been an avid gamer of MMORPGs, also known as a Massive Multi-player Online Role playing Games, since about the year 2000. MMOs, which an MMORPG is typically referred to as, are games in which thousands of people connect to a server to interact with online through quests, raids, and player vs player (PVP). Think of World of Warcraft (WoW), which is the most popular and well known MMO to date by the general public.
You log in, choose a server, choose a race, customize your character, and then you enter your world as your ultra-buff and extremely attractive pixelated avatar and begin your adventure for fame and glory! However, many MMOs are plagued with bad starts. The newest MMO out, ArcheAge, may have taken on the title of biggest flub of an MMO launch.
ArcheAge is a Korean MMO, which has been out over there for a couple of years now. The developer is a company called XL Games, but an American publisher named Trion Worlds decided to pick it up for distribution in North America and various other areas around the world.
A video displaying some PVP in ArcheAge:
First Trion decided to have a tiered package to purchase for their game. In the past, MMOs had a subscription package. This meant you paid a set fee monthly as a recurring subscription. Today, many MMOs employ a free to play (F2P) model with micro transactions in game. Some people claim that micro transactions are pay to win (P2W). ArcheAge is a F2P model, but you can purchase a subscription package which gets you a “founder” status and some perks.
ArcheAge is a unique MMO in that the economy is player driven, and so, to be successful, one can do their own crafting of armors, weapons, potions, etc. You can also own a home and model it however you wish. You also can go on trade runs to make money all with the danger of another player attacking you, killing you, and taking your stuff.
Yes, it’s a dangerous world and the stakes can be high. The complexity explained previously is why Trion Worlds royally messed up with their launch of the game. As part of purchasing the founder’s packs, a 4-day head start was assured for players. This amounted to getting an upper hand by acquiring the limited space for land to build farms and houses. This also gave players a chance to get ahead in levels.
The problem was that Trion Worlds was already under attack for the founders packages from the gaming community. They also had to battle DDoS attacks from hackers. These attacks are essentially when a single person uses a program to send multiple queries to a server to simulate thousands or millions of people trying to access the servers at one time. This overloads and shuts down servers. On Saturday, Day Two of the head start, DDoS attacks had all servers down for nearly the entire day which essentially stopped thousands of people who paid $50 – $150 on their founder’s packs from playing (Wilson, 2014).
During the head start, players snatched up all the land for farms and houses (WelkinDust, 2014). Some characters creating multiple characters to achieve this. They then turn around and sell the land for extremely steep prices. In addition to all of this, there are queues to get into the server to create, delete, or play your character on that server (Lemos, 2014). Some of these queues can take hours. Some forum posts have claimed anywhere from 1 to 12 hours depending on the server and time of day.
One browse of the official forums yields some other issues:
- Random and/or sometimes constant disconnections
- Bots taking actual player spots in game on servers
- People not receiving their patron items they paid for
- Queues, queues, queues…
- Lack of servers on launch to accommodate all the players (Reahard, 2014)
In the end, all MMOs have launch problems, but in a world with an ever increasing need for instant fixes and gratification, more gaming companies are under fire. Is it fair to cause so much grief to a publisher of a game? I don’t think so, but many players disagree and expect everything technical to work perfectly from day one. There is no remorse and Trion Worlds image has been hurt by the launch from hell with petitions and many asking for refunds. Their customer service and public relations has also been slow to respond and make amends, but they are working on it.
Let this be a lesson to future MMO players and developers. At least be prepared with your customer service if things don’t go right. You may also want to be prompt with responses instead of waiting for days. Also, make sure you do proper research and collect data to ensure you have accurate numbers for your game launches. I hope that a lesson was learned here. ArcheAge is an involved and fun game and I hope they have success despite the horrible launch.
Lemos, J. (2014, September 19). ArcheAge: The Good, Bad, and Ugly. Retrieved September 23, 2014, from http://www.gizorama.com/2014/feature/opinion/archeage-the-good-bad-and-ugly
Reahard, J. (2014, September 18). Trion’s Hartsman on more ArcheAge servers, communication. Retrieved September 24, 2014, from http://massively.joystiq.com/2014/09/18/trions-hartsman-on-more-archeage-servers-communication/
WelkinDust. (2014, September 17). All Non PVP Land Gone. (2014, September 17). Retrieved September 23, 2014, from http://forums.archeagegame.com/showthread.php?50706-All-Non-PVP-Land-GONE
Wilson, N. (2014, September 13). ArcheAge head start is live, but a DDoS attack means it’s not all smooth sailing. Retrieved September 24, 2014.