"...a character growth system that's more free form than simply choosing a class and being locked to it for the remainder of the character's existence."
With games such as Rift, Defiance, and End of Nations under their belt, Trion Worlds is no stranger to massively multiplayer online worlds, regardless of the genre. One of their current projects is the localization of the Korean MMORPG ArcheAge, which was developed by XL Games, the creators of the Lineage MMORPG series. ArcheAge saw a Korean release this past January, and Trion Games hope to bring the game stateside for North American gamers to enjoy.
Liz and I had the opportunity to visit Trion Worlds at E3 to learn more about the game, and what we saw seemed promising. ArcheAge boasts a rather impressive character creation system, with four races: the human races of Nuians and Hariharans, who are split due to their allegiances, the elegant Elves, and the cat-like Ferre. Almost every aspect of the characters can be customized extensively, both in appearance and ability. Players can choose three out of a number of disciplines to train their character in, such as warfare, archery, or sorcery. This results in a character growth system that's more free form than simply choosing a class and being locked to it for the remainder of the character's existence. The free form progression play style extends into other aspects of the game as well, as players can train in various different crafting systems, engage in animal husbandry, and eventually gain the skill to build their own ships. Almost everything in the game can be crafted, and players are able to build a nation from the ground up with nothing but their skills and materials. Players can also gain control of mounts that include exotic animals such as shiisa, swimming donkeys, and galloping cows.
Of course, a MMORPG would be nothing without a meaningful method of interaction among players, and ArcheAge features large scale PvP and PvE battles both on land and at sea. Players can also enforce laws within the nations they build; a player that has broken the law can be put on trial to be judged by his or her peers, and those who are judged guilty too many times will be exiled from civilization. These players become vagrants toward whom law-abiding NPCs will be hostile and will have no choice but to turn to piracy.
Trion Worlds has not yet committed to a release date, but they are confident that the game will appeal to western audiences. They are working hard to localize the game well for North American release, and beta sign ups have begun for the game.