After I watched the clip a second time, I realized not only that the cars fit neatly into the world that Jake Song and company have created but that they tickled my fancy in the same way that numerous other elements in the game have done over the years.
Additionally, let's not forget that this is a Korean MMO, with all of the subjective good and bad that that entails. On the one hand, it's a visual feast, with gorgeous animations, scrumptious environments, and a varied visual design palette that channels everything from Tolkien to Russian architecture to steampunk.
On the other hand, it takes itself a little less seriously than some Westerners might like. Korean games generally feature a bit more whimsy than their western counterparts, which in my opinion is a reflection of vastly different gaming cultures. Your average Korean MMO player probably games with friends at a local PC bang, whereas your average Western player probably plays alone at home. There's nothing wrong with either style, of course, but Korean gaming culture is inherently more social and thus more open to lighthearted stuff that's "fun" first and conformist second.
Aion also jumps my personal shark by allowing players to purchase giant weaponized utensils, chainsaws, and lightsabers from its cash shop. How NCsoft sneaked this last bit past the army of lawyers at
TERA, another AAA Korean import that's had some success in the west, has done so in spite (or perhaps in part because) of a loose application of fantasy convention. My TERA Sorcerer wears Ray Ban aviator sunglasses, for example, and I've seen other players slaying BAMs while modeling everything from bikinis and cocktail dresses to Santa outfits.
Assuming ArcheAge does add more silly stuff like this over time (it already features a casino with waitresses in sexy bunny costumes, for what it's worth), it won't be an automatic deal-breaker for me. The game world is pretty huge, and unlike your Aions and your TERAs, it has plenty of gameplay available outside of dungeons, raids, and other typical MMO tropes. What I'm saying here is that you can get lost in ArcheAge, literally and figuratively, so it will be very possible to immerse yourself in the game's fantasy world in spite of the inevitable legion of players who choose not to do the same.
If the ArcheAge automobile video turned you off to the game, maybe do what I did and take a step back, if only to see what else the title has to offer. Truthfully, the race cars on display in that trailer don't really need to be excused given the rest of the genre-blending found throughout the game world. I understand that they're not everyone's cup of tea, but they do fit neatly into the overarching ArcheAge lore that has been on display for several years now.
More importantly, and as you'll see in this column going forward, the game itself has so much to offer that it would be a shame to miss out on it because of a few flavorful, and optional, mechanics.
Jef Reahard is an ArcheAge early adopter as well as the creator of Massively's Lost Continent column. In it, he chronicles one man's journey through XLGAMES' fantasy sandpark while examining PvE, PvP, roleplay, and beyond. Suggestions welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.