ArcheAge: Unchained, developed by Korean developers EXO games and published in the EU and NA by cacao games in 2019, is a Korean-style MMORPG with tab-target combat. While it has many exciting features such as a vast array of class combinations, a thriving PvP and PvE scene, gathering, crafting, and housing systems, it has faced significant criticism due to its monetization model. In this article, we will delve into the game and discuss its strengths and weaknesses.
One standout feature of ArcheAge: Unchained is its class system. Unlike traditional MMORPGs where players choose a specific class like an Archer or a Warrior, ArcheAge offers hundreds of different class combinations that players can create based on their choices throughout the game. This level of customization deserves recognition and makes the game highly appealing to players who value individuality and creativity in their gameplay.
However, it is important to address the negative reception surrounding the game. ArcheAge: Unchained initially had a pay-to-win ArcheAge Unchained Gold shop, which was a significant drawback for many players. The developers then redeveloped the game as ArcheAge: Unchained, with a less aggressive ArcheAge Unchained Gold shop and a free-to-play business model. However, they introduced a subscription model, which caused dissatisfaction among players. Adding a subscription to a game that was previously sold or given away for free is a questionable decision, and it has resulted in a wave of negative reviews.
Moving past the monetization controversy, let's explore the gameplay experience. The game offers a detailed character creator, allowing players to customize their avatars to their liking. The skill and class system is where ArcheAge: Unchained shines. As players level up, they can select a second and third class skill set, resulting in a vast number of possible class combinations. This freedom and creativity in character building is a standout feature of the game and can provide a highly enjoyable experience for players who appreciate customization.
The combat in ArcheAge: Unchained is another area where the game excels. Combining skills from different class trees and weaving them into powerful combos feels satisfying. However, there is a downside to the combat system. The boosted, one-hit-kill combat mechanics have made the gameplay feel repetitive and stripped away the complexity and depth that the class system offers. This oversimplification of combat detracts from the overall experience.
In terms of the game's story, it feels somewhat dated. However, the detailed cutscenes at major quest milestones help maintain the flow of the game and provide a sense of progression. The story takes players on a journey through combat, acquiring mounts, and even gliding, which feels great and adds an element of exploration to the world.
Despite the positive aspects mentioned, there is a significant issue that undermines the overall experience: the lack of player population. The game feels deserted, with major cities and quest hubs appearing empty. This can make the world feel lifeless and detract from the multiplayer aspect of the MMORPG genre. It is disheartening to roam through a vast world alone, and this lack of player interaction can quickly lead to burnout and disinterest.
Considering all the factors, it is difficult to wholeheartedly recommend ArcheAge: Unchained in its current state. While it has commendable aspects like the class system and combat mechanics, the game's paywall and low player population significantly diminish the overall experience. If the developers address these issues by revamping the subscription model and revitalizing the player base, ArcheAge: Unchained has the potential to become a great game. Until then, there are numerous other MMORPGs available that offer better gameplay experiences.