ArcheAge's Labor Points Are A Good Idea, With So-So Implementation

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor


ArcheAge has had its share of problems, but while many of them are technical in nature – queues, hackers, botters, DDoSes, etc. – some are tougher to address. It's one thing for players to be upset at technical issues; those are present in every MMO launch and can usually be overcome. But when they take issue with a fundamental game mechanic, something that can't be changed without a major overhaul of how the game works, then you have a bigger problem, one that can't be addressed with a simple patch or additional servers.

Labor Points in ArcheAge are unpopular with a large portion of the population. To recap, you need LP to do most of the PvE “sandbox” aspects of the game, such as crafting and performing trade runs. (PvP, as far as I know, is unlimited.) You have a limited number of LP, and they regenerate slowly when you're online and even more slowly when you're offline – and if you're not a patron (i.e., subscriber), they don't regenerate at all when you're offline.

Let's set aside that last bit for now. Suppose that LP did regenerate at a suitable rate for everyone, but that you would still be limited in how many of the aforementioned activities you could do per day. Is this still a good system? Is restricting how much you can craft per day a good idea?

Many people would say “no.” MMOs are about doing what you want, when you want, and a system that artificially restricts how you can play is an abomination. It's a travesty! It's some plot by the devs to artificially slow down our process and/or steer us toward the cash shop!

The only thing is... virtually every MMO does this.

ARCHEAGE 2014-05-05 15-03-15-41

The most commonly encountered such system is raid locks. Many MMOs only let you do top-end content once per week. Why? If I want to raid every night, why can't I? This MMO isn't letting me play the way I want to play!

The primary reason, naturally, is to draw out the play experience. If you could raid every night, hardcore players and guilds would have all the top-end gear in a month. This was obviously a bigger issue when every game had a subscription and the makers of the games wanted to keep you in the game longer to keep collecting that monthly fee, but even with free-to-play games being the norm nowadays, companies want to keep you in the game longer so you're more likely to spend.

Another reason for raid locks is to level the playing field a bit. Most people don't have the time to raid every night of the week. But some inevitably would, and if they could, they would gain a huge advantage over their “casual” counterparts. Again, with things like open-world PvP being all but gone these days, the only “advantage” the super-hardcores would get is bragging rights, but it's still some sort of issue.

You might make the observation that “top-end raiding” in most MMOs isn't the same as “crafting and trade-running” in ArcheAge – or is it? What's the end goal of a typical raiding MMO? I'd argue it's acquiring the best and shiniest loot, typically through raids. As that's the primary reason for playing, it's restricted, while lower-end gameplay, like crafting and PvP arenas, isn't.


So what's the end goal of ArcheAge? Some could argue it's similar – acquiring goods and gear and gold – but that's done less through raiding than it is through the sandbox-y elements of the game: crafting and trade-running (at least in theory). If you could earn as much income through those activities as you pleased, you'd likely master the game in a month and not feel the need to play again, not to mention how quickly the game's overall economy would be fubar-ed. Thus, just like the raids, it's restricted.

Of course, you can buy Labor Potions in the ArcheAge cash shop to replenish your Labor Points, which also rubs some people the wrong way. In my analogy, it would be the equivalent of being able to spend money to reset your raid locks – which at least one Free MMO does. This also makes a certain amount of sense for a F2P game. Instead of keeping you on a strict weekly raiding schedule to draw out your subscription dollars, it lets you play for free – but you can do more raids by paying. In essence, if you normally would pay for three months of a subscription to do 12 raids, they're OK with letting you do those 12 raids in a month or less – as long as you pay something akin to a three-month sub to do it.

To wit, I think Labor Points are a reasonable idea – that restricting how much you can perform the core gameplay of an MMO is something we've always had, but it's usually been in the form of locks on raids and other high-level content. How Trion Worlds and XL Games is implementing the system, with heavy restrictions on free players and limited or no offline regeneration, is much more debatable – and the solution isn't as simple as this – but the overall system makes a certain amount of sense. In a way, it's not limiting you any more than any traditional raiding MMO does.

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In this article: Trion Worlds, ArcheAge.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

More Stories by Jason Winter

Discussion (20)

Todoran 9 years ago
close this shit down and make more expansion for RIFT -_^ ..Trino.... wtf?

vasili111 9 years ago
The best MMOs are:
FPS Planetside 2. Massive fights, some time more than 100vs100. You can fight as trooper(engineer, heavy assault, medic, light assault, infiltrator), MAX (more powerful trooper), on vehicles, aircrafts. And you Don't Have to grind!! You have very good initial weapons, and you get necessary certs for upgrades while playing. You don't need leveling!!!!
MMORPG Guild Wars 2. You can participate in main PVP action which is called WvW from level 1 and you are upscaled to level 80. So I personally dont need leveling in Guild Wars 2.
I think leveling is worst thing in MMOs.

Merkadis 9 years ago
How come Tera doesn't need any labor points and shit and yet still played a lot by many people and releasing updates and stuff?
I'd say their marketing skills are at fault here the most, AA don't need any labor points to prosper neither it needs raid resets... (Why on earth you thought that this was a great idea i'll probably never know).

View 1 reply
mallocs 9 years ago
Well after i playd AA for some time and i have my 150$ pack i foubd my self getting board of the game to wait for labor or getting plot for my house so i decied last night to quit the game , and i wish trion good luck with the game

LividRacoon 9 years ago
ArcheAge is the pole and the players are the girls, while grinding in and of itself is not entirely bad ArcheAge sure goes out of its way to make it feel extra dirty.

Razer 9 years ago
Labor Points are no better than the rest of the contrived systems that MMOs use to artificially inflate the play time without adding anything meaningful to the experience. It's like how supermarkets tend inject water into their raw meats to drive up the price because they charge by the pound.

Padsoldier 9 years ago
Solely based on this article (haven't played the game) - this system looks too similar to the "energy" system Facebook "games" have, except for the fact that in those games you regenerate while offline. The problem is, those are pretty hard to consider games due to their extreme limitations on the time someone can play and progress in a gaming session.

View 2 replies
phreeak 9 years ago
The LP is a good feature to slow down certain pve stuff but they failed to make it right. Like someone above said, everything cost LP and as a f2p player you are restricted everywhere and u cant enjoy much.. only hardcore quest grinding, make some lowlvl tradepacks with your LP (chicken eggs and trimmed meat.. from Solzreed to Two Crownes gives ~ 5gold. You can make mats for 6-7 packs within a day) in hope to farm enough gold for Apex but this feels so "getting forced to do this".

But the LP regen isnt Trions fault. AFAIK Trion wanted to changed it but they need the permission of XL Games and they said no (because its "unfair" to the other AA versions like russia)

View 1 reply
Jambock 9 years ago
Well, whats a good or a bad idea? What are the MMOs for anyway? I would answer "for people to have fun" but these days they seems like a second job (for those who have one). It drive me away more and more from the MMORPG games. I want to play when i can and do what i want during this time. Obviously it don't means that the game need to "give me?" everything immediately; but the restrictions, the "grind" is excessively big now... When i log in WoT i look to the weeks ill have to grind my next tank and i log out; the same happens with WT... AA? I don't even bother to login anymore... So in the end i'll not spend any $$ in these games; I'm with Firefall for now; they don't give everything to you but you can achieve a lot with 2 hour per day; in a month you have one maxed battleframe and some cool equips, specially if you have a army to play with. People remember to put the grind to keep the players, to "force" them to spend money, but these days they forget to add the fun to the game too; if the game is fun to play you'll not need the grind to keep the players spending money in your game..

View 1 reply
Dilan 9 years ago
The only decent F2P MMORPGs right now are Rift, Neverwinter, and if you're into the anime-style RPGs, Aura Kingdom. Everything else is a joke, including ArcheAge. TERA had the potential to be decent but the only thing they did right was the combat - they failed in everything else.

View 2 replies
NobleNerd 9 years ago
Seeing in most of your MMO raiding games about 15-20% of the population actually raids hardcore or regularly it is not as big of an impact on the gaming experience for most. There is other fun and entertaining options for those who do not wish to do the monotonous grinding of the same raid and boss over and over and over.

With AA they restrict even the common, core elements of the game to ALL the population wanting to enjoy what entertainment the game offers. I see this as completely different features and should not be compared. You need to spend LPs to even open loot boxes, mail, report exploits (you do get the LP back if it is found to be a true report) and so much more!

In my personal experience with LPs I can understand why they implemented the feature, but it just makes the game feel extremely restricted and frustrating. I was a Patron and wanted to focus mostly on crafting when I first jumped into the game. Got into a great crafting focused guild and then after about 1 week realized how frustrating, restrictive and a chore managing my LP was going to be to accomplish much. Not to mention how crazy the crafting system was for some crafts.... having to make a ton of lower level potion to use to level the next tier to use to level the next one and so forth until you actually could make a high level one was ridiculous!

sdasd 9 years ago
dont even like the gameplay

not willing to do goldfarming chores to progress in a game i dont even enjoy

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