I was traveling down a dusty road in ArcheAge when I happened across two trade packs lying in my path. A strange occurrence. Presumably someone had de-spawned their cart leading to the loss of their packs. They had been created in Silent Forest and I was in Falcorth, a tidy distance. I could have shouldered one of the packs and walked for a few minutes to hand it in for some tidy gold, but then I pondered the possibilities of transporting it across the ocean for many gilder starry stars, and I shouldered one of the packs and hauled it across to some land I own near the City of Towers.

In short, I got greedy. The pack lay there for days until finally I got around to it. I trucked it down to the coast, launched my clipper ship, and sailed across to the enemy continent. My destination was Cinderstone Moor, a hotbed of PvP bedlam. Just the other day I had been witness to two green tradeships belting into its harbor, pursued by a gigantic pirate ship and what seemed like 50 red players, (just to clarify, a green is an ally, and a red is an enemy). I got caught up in a massive PvP battle as every man and his battle-kitty fought over the trade-packs on offer.

Back to my adventure. I made it unscathed across the seas. Then I ran my clipper up the beach just south of the harbor. My plan was to stealth and sneak in the back-door, so to speak. Creep up the beach and around the back of some buildings and then I could pop the gilda merchant without fear of being discovered. I had already done this many times before. But this time, over-confident in my success rate, I got lazy. Creeping past the airship platform I noticed that my stealth had only 8 seconds remaining. The prudent thing would have been to wait in a corner, reboot the stealth, and then make the creep across the open area to the safety of the buildings. But like I said, I got lazy. My stealth dropped halfway across, I restealthed, and just at that moment a red rode by on his mount. He couldn’t see me, but he had seen me restealth and he had seen I had a trade-pack on my back. I made for the airship platform, my heart pounding in my headphones as he jumped around looking for me.

And then he caught me. It’s pretty hard to effectively fight as a kiting class when weighed down with a load that drops your movement rate by 70%. I died, and then I watched him shoulder that pack and hand it in himself for the reward. It was the first trade-pack I had lost in the game thus far, but I know it won’t be the last.

The trade-pack game mechanism is a stroke of genius on the developer’s part because it allows for and encourages meaningful open-world PvP. Players muster their resources to craft the materials to make the packs. Then they have a choice; play it safe and get an average reward, or roll the dice and try for a run through territory flagged in conflict? If you really want to get lucky you could load 20 packs onto a trade-ship and hope that you make it across without being attacked, boarded, plundered, and generally wiped on the ocean floor.

There is always something to do in ArcheAge, but more importantly, there is the constant opportunity to generate meaningful game content that results in genuine events. I’ll remember that little trade-pack adventure for some time, as will the lucky bastard who ultimately profited from me finding a pack that fell off the back of a cart.