Is ArcheAge's Call to Restrict Chat the Right Move?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Is ArcheAge's Call to Restrict Chat the Right Move?

Recently I spotted a new development out at Trion that left me thinking. The comparatively new RPG the studio released, "ArcheAge," made the call to restrict chat functions to higher-level characters only. While the decision only affects characters under level 15, the idea has both some rational purpose behind it and some deeply concerning effects in play as well.

When "ArcheAge" players reach level 15, under the new system, they'll have access to faction chat functions, trade, shout systems, need party, and complete nation chat mechanisms. The recent changes that brought the shift in chat functions also brought healer weapons for quest rewards, improvements to warehouse size, and a tougher Kraken fight. But it's the chat functions that represent the biggest change, and the most notable idea.

On the one hand, "ArcheAge" players will likely have to put up with a lot less spam chat going on, between the reduced number of chatters overall and the fact that more of the players will really only be around to play the game. Of course, it won't kill spam chat entirely; some dedicated spammers will play to level 15 in order to get access to the potential market. But it's going to be much more difficult to get in on the action, and only the most dedicated spammer will be willing to put in the effort required to reach the level necessary to engage chat systems.

But on the other hand, is this a move that's going to inherently limit new players? Is this ultimately a move that will slit "ArcheAge"'s own throat? It's not exactly a great move to tell new players, oh, by the way, we're going to treat you like spammers and keep you out of a substantial portion of the game until you get to a certain level. But then, by like token, it's not necessarily a bad move. It does limit spammer access, and it encourages players to build their own skill sets up before joining parties. That makes players inherently more valuable to the process, and more likely to have fun at the game.

I'm seldom in favor of measures that limit a player's experience, but this one might be the right move after all. While some players will be put out by the heavy-handed limitations, others will welcome the opportunity to build skills in solo play before being part of a party and getting that side of the experience as well. There are indeed certain advantages to Trion's strategy here, and "ArcheAge" might well be better off for the experience. Only time will tell, naturally, just how the market responds to this move but it's actually a fairly safe bet it will come out well for the players in the end.

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