Initially I wasn’t going to let myself be bothered by ArcheAge Unchained’s problematic launch. Well, it’s bothering me now.
More importantly, considering how much I’ve hyped up the game during the past weeks, I feel it’s my obligation to talk about the bad things too. And boy, are there bad things to talk about.
Let’s start off with the catalyst for this post. At the time of this writing Belstrom, the server I play on, is offline and has been for 39 hours straight.
It began on Monday 20:20 (this is all CET), when an ingame message told us that the server would be going down for maintenance in 10 minutes (!). The stated reason was “auction house related issues”, and there was no ETA on the server coming online again.
The next update we got was at 01:25 (I’m not kidding). Which means that EU primetime had come and gone, and nobody had had an idea if it was worth it to hang in there and hope for at least a little bit of play before bedtime. It basically said “We’re working on it.” Again no ETA.
Silence followed until 11:44, then this:
“Bestrom is still offline.
Unfortunately, there is no new ETA to post but we’ll let you know as soon as possible about it.”
Seriously? How about telling us something we don’t know yet, like what exactly the problem is, what you are doing to fix it, stuff like that. At least we’d had a chance to understand why it had been taking more than 15 hours at that point.
We got some more info eventually, at 18:50 to be precise:
“Several deficiencies were identified related to incorrect auction data, including the failure to deliver gold as a result of a completed auction.
When we initially diagnosed the data, it was apparent that there were other contributing factors that needed to be addressed immediately.
The team has worked around the clock on these issues and we’re making progress at both restoring functionality and cleaning up the incorrect data. It’s imperative that the server remains inaccessible while the restoration occurs.
Some accounts took advantage of this situation and will be disciplined accordingly prior to the server being opened again.”
Well, that explains everything, right? It’s a serious problem and there’s no way around fixing it, how ever long it takes.
Why wait that long to give us this info though? Why not give us regular updates? I don’t care if it’s the same message over and over again, at least we would know what’s going on.
By the way, that message up there is the last we’ve heard of ’em. More than 16 hours ago.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment.
In my opinion the server being down isn’t the main problem here. Stuff like that happens. The constant radio silence is what’s getting to me, because that’s what we got from day one.
Remember when, at launch, many accounts didn’t regenerate labor points because they didn’t receive the ingame-mail containing their preorder-stuff? It took Gamigo almost two days to even acknowledge that problem. They had a fix for it, but until then those who were affected couldn’t open coinpurses (the loot NPC mobs carry) or upgrade their gear. Hell, they couldn’t even raise their starter mounts. And they didn’t know if there was a fix in the works or if they were just screwed.
Of course folks wanted to post a bug report about this (and other things) on the official forums. Well, too bad, because most people, myself included, can’t post there. Believe me, I’ve tried. Whenever I hit those Log In or Reply buttons I get:
The requested URL was rejected. Please consult with your administrator.
Your support ID is: a twenty digit number
The one and as far as I’m aware only time we heard from Gamigo about this was on October 22nd:
“The IT team is working on the forum issue.
We’ll let you know once it is fixed again.”
Needless to say, no fix yet.
All of this is peanuts compared to the elephant in the room though: the ArchePass and Diligence Coins.
You see, ArcheAge was originally designed as a F2P game, and pretty aggressively at that. To make any meaningful progress or even just play comfortably you had to buy stuff in the cash shop. Since they’ve promised to have absolutely no P2W in Unchained that had to be changed of course.
They didn’t alter the game’s systems themselves though, instead they created a separate shop to buy things like inventory expansions, labor point rechargers and various other stuff with a new currency called diligence coins. The only means to earn these coins is doing tasks given to you by the ArchePass.
That pass is – or rather, was – basically a slot machine for daily quests. Kill x mobs in region y. Spend 50 labor points on profession z. Kill a certain world boss.
The problem with that was that a) it forced players to do specific things instead of just playing the game the way they liked, defeating the purpose of playing a sandbox MMO, and b) it was way too lucrative, rendering any other method of earning gold obsolete and flooding too much gold into the ecosystem.
Oh, apparently it could be exploited too.
So on October 24th they disabled the whole thing. This was probably the right thing to do, but you know what? Since then there is no way whatsoever to earn diligence coins. They have been talking about giving out some coins one way or another, but unsurpsisingly they managed to screw that up too.
The option to log into your account and claim a bunch of coins and labor rechargers was available for all of three hours (maybe less) on November 1st, then we got this:
“We are currently disabling the diligence coin and labor recharger claim due to issues related to some eligible accounts not receiving the items or other accounts receiving multiple claims of the items.
We will continue to work on a resolution and update once it becomes available again.”
What’s really funny is that they’d lowered the price for inventory expansion scrolls from 50 to 30 diligence coins apiece on the previous day, October 31st. Yeah, that’d be great and all if we fucking had any diligence coins to spend!
Right now we have no idea when (or if) we’ll finally get any means to expand our tiny F2P-inventories, when (or if) the ArchePass will be activated again, or if any compensation at all for any of this metric ton of fuckups is planned.
On the other hand, I can’t play anyway because my server is offline. So what’s the big deal, right?
And there you have it. For all the praise I’ve given Unchained – and the game itself is truly fantastic in my opinion – it saddens me to say that I really can’t recommend buying into it at this time if you haven’t already.