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Dreams of Anarchy - Social Features (Part 2)

This is the fifth of a series of articles based on my extensive game experience. I have written editorials in the past with suggestions to Funcom on changes that I would like to see in AO to improve the game (some which were implemented).

These articles will be on the same subject, but it will be detailing what would I change if I was a Dev, and I will be very thorough going through each area of Rubi-Ka. Not only will I cover what I would like to change/update about my favorite game, but also what I would like to add to it...expect to read ideas about new quests and locations that could enhance the AO experience if they were ever done.

Time for the second installment of my article, the first part covered current emotes and what I would add or change about them. Now is time to tackle a few things in general.

In-game Billboards

It is nice to see in-characters advertising, and org ads. What is something which paying players I believe shouldn't deal with is the fact that these ads are mixed with regular ads meant for fr00bs.

How about separating them? I think it would be nice if these were the option we had:

Show commercial billboards
Show non-commercial billboards
Show video on commercial billboards
Show video on non-commercial billboards

I recall seen a video about clan freedom, it was really nice...it added depth to the game, and then the next one I saw was for some TV show. No offense, I watch some of what FC advertises, but I think it should be optional to see them without taking away the ads which add depth to the game itself like the Council of Truth ads, the RUR ad (which is quite funny) and org ads.

Another thing that bugs me a bit, which I'd change if I could is the availability for guilds to send in an ad to be added to the rotation of ads (non-commercial of course). It was nice that FC ran a contest and allow 3 orgs to get their name out there, however I think it is time to allow all orgs the same opportunity. Give the same guidelines (1 per guild, JPG format with the resolution at 256 x 128) and perhaps allow a guild to change their ads once every 3 months. With the basic rules of course of nothing obscene or offensive in the ad.

Now what I think may be a problem is the mix of Rimor and Atlantean ads, showing in both servers but of course most orgs will only be in one. Perhaps a small (but visible) tag of which server the org is in may be added to the graphic requirement.

Furniture

The Alien Invasion expansion added GREAT furniture to the game (I love the 'This Means' line)...too bad we can't actually fully enjoy it. Have you tried sitting on a couch? it's as if you bought an agent's hologram...you end up on the floor with your head sticking out from the sofa itself. Same goes for everything else as far as I know (and I tried quite a few of them). The classic AO furniture is solid, you can't walk through it.

So how about it Funcom? want to make all the nice furniture you added solid so we can actually use it? you'd make a lot of customers happy, that I know.

Vehicles

I've mentioned this before, mostly about new types and modifications to current vehicles, but in this article I just want to point out one thing. Size.

How can a tall atrox get in a yalm which is 1/10 his size? Why does the agent nano Ruse of Taren reduces it's size or the enforcer Essence line increases a yalm to gigantic proportions?

Wouldn't it make sense to have yalms to a realistic size and not be affected by nanos that change their size? I think adding a few flags to the item would prevent making it microscopic or the size of a small town.

In other words...you give us a beautiful vehicle...the size of a toy. Yalms are one of the most precious and appreciated items in the game, I'd make it a respectable size.

Social Clothing

I've said this before, and I will never get tired of saying it. Remove the quest for social clothing and add the clothes to Miiir or just open a new shop. 197 pieces of clothing were added with the Alien Invasion expansion, and a LOT of it can be used for social occasions, but then you need to do a quest for each piece, I know only of ONE person who was crazy enough to spent quite a bit of time to get them all. I haven't heard from her since, probably lost her mind in the process.

My personal opinion is that it was a mistake for the clothes to be available through a quest, which must be repeated dozens of times over and over to get complete sets of nice new clothing. How many people do you see wearing more than 1-3 sets of clothing when they could enjoy a lot more of them?

Bars & Clubs

Bartenders, a few quest NPC's and a few that all they do is dance 24/7 without a word to say. How about adding some NPC's which are not quest-related to add some atmosphere? a drunken soldier, a retired trader, a sneaky smuggler, a widow, an officer off duty, someone waiting for a delivery of coffee, etc.

Also it would be nice if these places were more heavily advertised, many new players have no idea what Baboons or The Cup are, or where they are located. Perhaps adding some ads in the billboards would help.

Player controlled NPC's

Well, this is a concept which I have hinted before, but never really nailed down, so here I will be more specific. If we can add furniture to apartment, why not...a maid, a butler, a bodyguard, a greeter. A terminal to 'hire home service' would allow you to get a 'worker' to be placed anywhere you want in your apartment. Each would have a function, maid would walk around cleaning, a butler would offer refreshments, a bodyguard would have a mean look at everyone entering the apartment and scanning them, a greeter to welcome you home or welcome guests.

And of course you'd have to spend credits to keep them every week, 'payroll' to be exact. 2 NPC's per character (not per apartment), ability to 'reset' NPC's so you can re-hire them and move them to another apartment.

Benches

Yes, this topic was brought up here at the AOU General Discussion forum (you can find the thread here= http://ao-universe.com/viewtopic.php?t=635).

Now benches would be nice for people to hang out, after all how many people do you see sitting on the ground in the middle of the street in any real city? The trick of course is to place the benches in areas so that they are not too close to heavy traffic (like near grid access, global market terminals or whom-pahs), yet close enough for people to notice and use them.

Take Old Athen and West Athen for example. OA has a lot of players usually sitting on the ground, mostly near the shops on the southwest side, placing a few benches around that area would be nice. The bridge that connects OA and WA sees light traffic day and night, adding a few benches on the bridge would add some character to the bridge itself. WA has a picnic table slightly north from the outpost...however since only vets have ever hang out there many new players just miss it. The solution is either to place new benches closer to the outpost (outside wall on grass) or just make a sign that says "Picnic Area" pointing north and add a few more tables.

Borealis is super crowded, and the layout doesn't leave much room for benches, however the west gate seems to be a good place to perhaps add a sign for a picnic area. I don't hang out much in neutral or omni cities these days, so I think perhaps neutrals and omnis can post in the thread I mentioned and share some ideas and suggestions regarding their cities.

Conclusion

I think Anarchy Online is one of the best MMO communities online, and it does show in the social in-game aspect of the game. People asking nicely for buffs, how to do a quests, where a place is, etc and the kindness of vets (and froobs) answering questions and offering assistance to the new players. The social in-game atmosphere in AO is pretty good, but there is always room for improvement (otherwise I wouldn't have anything to write about, hehe).

Please remember these are suggestions based on what I would do if I was an AO Dev. Maybe one of them will read this and use an idea or two, I can only hope. Anything can happen in AO, trust me on that.

Last updated on 12.07.2011 by Khuri
Article written by Windguaerd
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