The other day Syp talked about having fun with gliders in Guild Wars 2, and while I don’t have the experience in that game myself what he’s describing is exactly how I feel about glider mechanics in ArcheAge Unchained:
“Sure, you can’t fly up, but it really changes how you interact with the world by being able to glide short and long distances. I’m finding that the glider has a lot of functionality. I can use it as a parachute to do a long drop safely, I can hop between rooftops, I can get to vistas with ease if I have a higher vantage point from which to begin, and I can simply have fun jumping off and soaring over the land.”
Seriously, although he’s talking about a different game I couldn’t have said it any better.
While ArcheAge’s world doesn’t have regions specifically and obviously designed for gliding – Bhagpuss has a lot of praise for those in GW2 – it’s a mechanic that really enhances the gameplay wherever you go and whatever you do in the game.
For me these gliders hit the sweet spot between having ‘real’ flying mounts and being grounded entirely dead on.
In my opinion being able to fly in an MMORPG, while fun and convenient, shrinks down a game’s world considerably and takes away most sense of exploration. Thoughts like ‘Can I somehow cross that mountain range?’ and ‘I wonder what lies beyond’ don’t even come up when you know that you can just fly there in an instant.
All gliders in ArcheAge do have the ability to catapult themselves upwards a couple of yards every thirty seconds though, which helps getting farther without an elevation to launch from. Also, if you do launch from one you can get very far indeed.
Here we’d just crested the aforementioned mountain range, which we wouldn’t have managed to do without our gliders’ help either. Quite a view, isn’t it?
A look around revealed that we were actually soaring high above the game’s public airships’ routes.
We then realized that we hadn’t quite thought this through properly. Most gliders can’t just descend at will, and maximum flight time is three minutes. Suffice it to say, it was a long drop down. Tristron actually died from the impact and we had to go and rez him. Fortunately we all have the balloon you see in the topmost picture by now, which can descend straight downwards.
Of course gliders are also used in a PvP-context all the time. Sometimes to avoid it…
…or to take the enemy base by storm…
…or maybe just to watch things unfold from a safe distance.
So yeah, everything Syp said about gliding in GW2 applies to ArcheAge too, and to me it’s a very important part of the game. This mechanic in conjunction with how the world is designed and laid out contributes a lot to its virtual world feel, and I wish more games would go this route.
Blapril 2020 post count: 5