ArcheAge is my first MMO, which strikes me as very strange, but it’s true! A friend talked it up enough that I was eager to check it out, and the early verdict is “I’m addicted, but!”
We’re not going to debate paying players versus F2P (I’m F2P right now, fyi); we’re not going to debate dwindling land resources; we’re not going to talk about the extremely long entry queues. We’re going to talk about how women are represented, because everything was pretty great, and then, well, Wednesday’s session happened.
I’m playing a Firran, which is yes, a cat. Meow. She’s fantastic and growing fierce. (I also dabbled with an elf for a bit, but didn’t run her as far along as I’ve run this one.)
You begin with very basic weapons and armor; the introductory outfit was surprisingly not hideous, but did place the character in leather shorts, which seems slightly impractical in a universe where you are battling monsters. But, given this is your start point, I was okay with it, eager to see what the quests would make of her.
As I quested on, however, I grew very eager to cover her legs up. She needed protection. She was getting cut down left and right — leather shorts don’t have a super high armor class, as you might imagine. So when I finally acquired long pants, it was something of a relief! She also gained a more protective top, and I felt more at ease taking her into bigger battles, even joining parties because I knew she would be able to help, and wouldn’t just lie there like a dead thing. Did the leather shorts actually cause me to hold back, knowing she’d just be cut down? I don’t know, but that’s fascinating if so!
The idea that I could improve my armor without having to shell out money was great; I began to pay better attention to how armor works — naturally, if you have a complete set, you get benefits from wearing all of it. So when I acquired a set of plate… That was exciting.
Her heart isn’t remotely protected, you’ll note, but the rest of it is bang on, and it was so great to run around feeling like I could actually take some hits and survive.
It only gets better from here, I thought.
Then I went on Wednesday’s mission. I dispatched some ghosts and came back to the person who sent me out. I eagerly collected my case of new armor and opened it up. Better plate! I compared the stats to the stats of what I was wearing and it was loads better. I put it on and —
Are those —
Thigh-highs and a thong?
How fantastically humiliating! This actually makes me want to put the lower armor class leather pants back on, because I don’t want to run around in armored thigh-highs. I’m going to guess that male armor doesn’t turn into thigh-highs at this level, but I cannot confirm. I haven’t seen men fighters running around in armored thigh-highs, however.
Unfortunately, this ties into another aspect of the game, the quests you’re sent on, and sadly, this didn’t entirely register with me at first.
You get quests from men and women both, and at first they were balanced, but then a woman asked me to retrieve the laundry which had blown off her line. So. I ran across rooftops, collecting her blouses and her underwear.
Then, I was asked to find a kidnapped girl. I was asked to find a girl who was dead. I was asked to find another girl who was dead. Then I was asked to impersonate a barmaid (in a quest called “Serving Duty.”). Then I was told acting like such suited me.
I can’t quite imagine male characters are being told to act like a barmaid in their quests.
At one point, I was asked to collect a man’s favorite book, and this is the text it gave me when I read the book:
There is so much awesome about this game, and there is so much headdesking. I get to ride around a beautifully constructed world on the back of a snowlion.
I’m addicted. But.