This is the ArcheAge fan community. We're writing to you in the hope that you'll pay attention to us, but we're not placing any bets on that actually happening.
Is that too negative of a thought? Perhaps, but can you blame us? Most of the ArcheAge fan community have been fans of other MMOs published by companies who ignored their opinions and concerns.
The community hivemind has decided that if ArcheAge is to be successful, it'll need to be launched with more finesse than any other MMO in history. Whichever one of you publishers gets the rights to our favorite game is going to need a lot more than luck on your side. You're going to need a miracle.
The ArcheAge fan community is that miracle. (That sounds cheesy as heck but whatever.)
We're here, we're active, and we've been talking about ArcheAge for longer than you publishers even knew it existed (probably). ArcheAge-Online.com got its start in 2010 and the ArcheAgeSource.com forums used be be located there, so this site is technically that old too. We have great people from all over the world participating in our discussions.
Publishers, do you want to make some money? Then get the rights to ArcheAge and then read the rest of this article. It contains the results of a survey that involved a couple thousand of aware, engaged consumers. They want to play ArcheAge, but only if it's launched correctly.
1. Who are the ArcheAge fans? (Who is the target audience/market?)
They're mostly dudes, but there's some ladies in there as well. Most of them are older and poor, but probably pretty smart. They may not have a ton of money to spend on games, so they're selective with their spending. They can also spot a deal from three miles away.
2. Where are the ArcheAge fans?
ArcheAge fans live everywhere! If you have to generalize, there's a ton of 'em in Europe and North America, but don't underestimate the amount of fans in Oceanic regions as well. You'll probably want to have some beefy servers in internet hubs around the world, but not too many so these gamers don't get split up into tiny cliques.
3. What do ArcheAge fans want?
It looks like the ArcheAge community wants as pure and unique a game as they can get. They don't care too much about culturalization/localization. They'd probably take a quick and dirty translation of the game if they could get it, too.
What's more important than explaining a Korean in-joke to Canadians? Getting the game right; getting the content, the combat, and the game systems in working order. It doesn't have to be perfect upon release, but ArcheAge needs to be functional.
4. How much will the market pay for ArcheAge?
Depends on how you sell it. Will you make ArcheAge a subscription MMO? Those don't appear to be doing so hot lately, but maybe you can swing it. Try having a cheaper subscription fee than the competition!
Want to make ArcheAge buy-to-play? Then you might have to offer different tiers of service at different price points (standard boxes, deluxe editions, collector's editions, etc.) and probably also sell expansions.
Thinking about going free-to-play? Not many people in the ArcheAge community seem too excited about that prospect, but you might be able to pull it off if you do it right by only selling cosmetic items. Lots of cosmetic items. Try not to make them too silly, will you?
Here's an idea, though: why choose one? Why not offer all three options? Let people choose how they want to support the game and you'll probably see much higher revenue, just like the Humble Indie Bundle helps indie games' sales explode.
5. When should ArcheAge launch?
Sometime in 2013 would be nice. If you stall too much longer, other MMOs are going to steal ArcheAge's thunder and it's never going to get the chance to shine. Don't waste this opportunity.
What follows is a video I personally recorded a few days ago outlining the exact results of the survey we publicized a few months ago. If you want the full results of the survey for your own research purposes, let me know in the thread below.
I'd like to think this video sounds pretty good, but I doubt it actually does. Hopefully the nice ArcheAge-themed background music makes my monotonous monologue a little bit more listenable.
Have any more questions, prospective publishers? Get in contact with us! You can establish private communication with the ArcheAge community by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can publicly post on these forums (and others, of course).
We're patiently waiting, for now.
The ArcheAge Fan Community