Talking ArcheAge With Trion’s Victoria Voss

Yesterday we took our very first look at ArcheAge, an ambitious, up and coming MMORPG that not only hosts thousands of players but empowers them too. Just about everything in-game is created or directly influenced by other players, whether it be the world economy or just the surrounding landscape, populated with hundreds of user-made houses and farms. ArcheAge’s unique sandbox experience goes much further than that however, something we soon found out after talking with Lead Producer at Trion Worlds, Victoria Voss.


TSA: What are the first few hours like for new players? Does Archeage offer a traditional starting zone or allow players to immediately go out into the open world?

Victoria Voss: Think of AcheAge as a sandbox at its core, with themepark elements acting as a guide, in an incredibly gorgeous fantasy setting. The early levels have a quests that teach you about the sandbox elements, but you don’t have to do them if you prefer not to! Each race has it’s own starting zone, and they are all in the open world. It’s completely up to each player how much, or how little, they would like to engage in the starting areas.

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As the game progresses, the focus is absolutely on getting people to the place where they can be fully immersed in the sandbox elements, as that’s where the game truly shines. We’ve been excited about it since first hearing about Jake Song’s vision to bring it to life in the modern era.

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TSA: How do levelling and player progression work? With no pre-set classes to start with, how do users eventually define their role in combat and what sort of role can we expect to see?

Victoria: In ArcheAge, you build your class by combining three of 10 different skillsets and then selecting which abilities you want from those skillsets! There’s also the combos to think of – both cross skillsets and within a given skillset. With the combos, you can remove cooldowns, cause extra damage or trigger other effects based on the statuses on the mobs and on yourself.

I’m a fan of ranged combat, but one of my characters mixes ranged archery with melee two-weapon combat, so I can adjust my style based on what I’m fighting and what I feel like doing that day. There are some players who like to mix mostly melee, with a little extra defense and some support features, others combine a bit of everything!

There are 120 different combinations – from tank to healer to support to dps to completely hybrid classes. It’s really up to you what you want to play!

TSA: What non-combat roles can players adopt in Archeage? Can a player effectively reach the “endgame” by just fishing, farming, and building?

Victoria: You can absolutely get to max level by fishing, farming and building! On the way, you can craft yourself, and your friends, the best armor and weapons in the game, as well as items for their houses, potions to keep them going, boats, submarines, cars and farm wagons to help them get around! You get XP for doing non-combat things like harvesting, farming and crafting, so leveling up is completely possible without having to do many quests or intentionally going out to kill mobs.

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TSA: How is player housing managed in Archeage? Are players’ homes instanced or do they all actually appear in the game world? Also, can guilds collaborate and build together?

Victoria: It’s all in the open! All of the housing in ArcheAge, including everything from the smallest farm to the biggest castle, is in the open world. You can show off your cool house to your fellow players, and decide who gets to use your farm! Using families, you can create a close knit selection of friends who have the ability to use your house or farm! You could even open up your land to your guild, or to everyone if you’d like.

Once the base of a house or boat has been placed, anyone can contribute materials to the structure! Some of the larger houses and boats are designed to be built by a group of players helping each other to gather the materials and to build the house! You could build them on your own, but it’ll take a lot longer!

TSA: One thing missing from a lot of MMOs is enjoyable, long-distance navigation. How does Archeage remedy this with its ships, gliders, and other mounts/vessels?

Victoria: I love running around ArcheAge! You can find all sorts of harvestable by exploring or taking the road less explored. Harvestables such as iron nodes and trees are found throughout the world, and sometimes you can be lucky to find a stand of trees or a cluster of iron nodes that no one else has found – and that can be priceless if you’re trying to build your house or boat!

To even be able to use the instant transportation options, you need to have been to each location at least once! By the time you’re level 10, you have received your first mount and have had an opportunity to run through the initial zone. Not too long after that, you can get your first glider, and your first ship. There’s a wide range of options for travelling cross-country or cross-sea – you could use your rowboat, mount, ship, farm wagon, glider, car, donkey, or your submarine … or, you could just run and swim!

TSA: The thing that excites us most about Archeage is the prospect of huge PvP wars that can reshape the game world. How exactly does this system work – are there any limitations?

Victoria: PvP in ArcheAge is definitely one of the more interesting features. The initial areas of the world are safe from PvP but as the game progresses, PvP opens up.

As you level through the game, you move into areas of the world that cycle between peacetime and war. As each of the zones cycle into times of war, players can gain benefits from killing each other as well as from killing mobs in the zone. In mid- and high-level zones, you can even choose to attack your own faction! Of course, that means that they can attack back. Which leads into the justice system. Players can be arrested, then tried by their peers for their crimes. They can even be exiled from their entire faction, and forced into a life of piracy. The depth of the system is one of the things that we found most interesting about ArcheAge.

TSA: Through activities such as piracy and PvP conquest, is it possible for guild to effectively “take over” Archeage’s game world?

Victoria: Get enough people in your guild and you can safely gain, build, and keep your own castle and territory in the Northern continent of Auroria. With enough people in your armada you can control the key shipping lanes in the ocean, or protect players in the mid- and high-level zones from those who are trying to kill them. A large enough guild, or alliance of guilds, can definitely make a name for themselves in ArcheAge.

TSA: How will naval battles work and does a character’s profession affect their combat role while at sea?

Victoria: Naval battles vary a lot depending on what kinds of ships the different groups have. Ships range from small, speedy Clippers to big galleons with many cannons and good defenses. Because the ships are all in the open world, you can jump from your ship to an attacking ship and kill the pilot – maybe even taking over the ship for yourself!

There’s a lot of different positions on a ship for players to do. You could man the cannons, or keep a lookout in the crow’s nest, or man the harpoon, or pilot the ship! Depending on your class, you may better suited to one of the positions or as a protector of the boat! Ranged characters might be best suited to be in the crow’s nest while characters with crowd control abilities may remain at-the-ready on the ship – waiting for the other ship’s crew to try to board your ship! It’s up to you and how you want to play!

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TSA: How soon can players group together to run dungeons? In MMOs it sometimes feels like hours before new users can start to team up and go hunting for loot.

Victoria: Players can group up and hunt from very early in the game. There are a number of open world caves and areas that really benefit from having friends to hunt with! Groups of players help each other a lot when travelling some of the more dangerous trade routes. You definitely want to travel along those with a few friends!

If you’d prefer to run dungeons together, you and your friends can start them as soon as you think you’re ready to take on the level 20 dungeons! You don’t have to wait until you’re level 20 if you think you can beat it! There are different dungeons on each continent, and they offer some of the most challenging PvE content in the game!

TSA: Aside from localised text, and voicework, have there been any other regional changes to accommodate for US/EU players?

Victoria: It’s very important to us to keep Trion’s version of ArcheAge as close as possible to the exciting sandbox game that it is in Korea. We also understand that our players are not the same as players in other regions, and there are some key changes that we need to have.

We collaborate with XLGAMES’ teams regularly, and their head of ArcheAge has assured us repeatedly that his teams are there to help us in our requests. Honestly, we learn as much (if not more!) from them about their markets and original design intent as they do from us about our customers.

Our version already has a number of westernization updates in it compared to what has gone on in the Korea and China locales. Primarily in terms of balancing trade, labor points. Some of the biggest changes have been in MTX, where the relative tastes in the markets are very different from west to east. And the XLGAMES teams have been doing very well at helping us realize our intent.


Our thanks to Victoria for taking the time to talk to us about ArcheAge. You can check out our hands on with the game here.

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