Since ArcheAge's North American and European launch on September 16th, a storm of excited gamers have downloaded ArcheAge only to see long, agonizing login queues reaching well past an hour.
The Trion-managed version of ArcheAge launched with only 6 servers for players at first, which quickly became full to the brim with new adventurers. New servers were added in an act that seemed to anticipate such a flood, but player demand quickly grew beyond Trion's hardware capabilities. Even with new equipment, players can expect an hour-long queue at peak times for their region.
Does it matter? Login queues and server problems are hardly surprising with new online games, but there is one specific feature of ArcheAge that has added a boiling rage to even the more experienced online gamers.
ArcheAge is a sandbox game, which means it highly values free exploration and flexible gameplay styles such as questing, monster grinding (killing nothing but monsters without bothering with quests), crafting and player housing. The last feature, player housing, is at the top of the ArcheAge queue problems.
Unlike many player housing games, ArcheAge's housing is open world rather than instanced. Player houses, farms and gardens are part of the open world where every can visit. As of this writing, the available land for housing is very limited despite being located across every region in the game.
There is an understandable competitive angle towards ArcheAge housing. Land is finite, so rushing to get what little bit of land is available can become another form of adventure. The economy can thrive as players sell land and housing, and many players can develop teamwork and camaraderie by sharing land via the guild or family system.
The login queue has complicated the housing land grab process. Instead of being based on player adventuring as fast and as far as possible, the login queue has created false expectations and long waiting lists for players who may have been disconnected during server problems.
Combined with account problems at launch and the lack of subscription status for paying subscribers (which is required to own and keep land), a lot of rage has developed over the seeming unfair management of limited housing plots.
If you're a player housing fanatic, there are a few things you can do to get a home as Trion fixes many of the game launch woes:
- Have a map of housing areas available. There are many housing maps on the Internet, but if you're already playing ArcheAge, open the map and take a few screenshots.
- Explore the areas to find what you like ahead of time. Don't wait for an opening to happen before shopping for a piece of land. Create a list of your housing preferences, write them down and think of efficient travel paths if your first choice isn't available.
- When a new server appears, join it immediately. Don't wait for friends or news about the most popular guilds to join. Log on as soon as possible and claim the first parcel of land available. If there's enough time and few players, you can search for ideal housing plots.
The ArcheAge queue problems will calm down after the first month of gameplay just like any other online game. Don't let the growing pains turn you away from such a wide and interesting game. In fact, embrace the problems and learn to make them part of your sandbox gaming experience.