Articles - ArticlesIn this series I've suggested many possible additions and changes to the game to improve it. From dungeons to profession specific missions, emotes, furniture, social clothing, bars & clubs, player controlled NPC's, GUI features, quests, XP bonus days, new player experience, skill system, friends list and more.
Yet I still see more possibilities, things that could change AO to make it more mainstream without the "dumbed down" effect.
It has been in AO from the start, and as cool as it looks, new players get confused as soon as they enter it. Divided into three levels, all it takes is a lag spike to end up in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Also in the past people were stuck in it because they got a warp into the grid but did not have the computer literacy to get out of it (which is why the Emergency Exit was created a few years after the game came out).
The Grid can be simplified by making it part of the GUI. Add a "Grid Window" with all the exits listed and the Computer Literacy required to access each location. It would only pop up on your screen when you used the Grid Access terminals. Instant travel.
This would eliminate a playfield and the need to update any graphics to it whenever a new exit would be needed in the future. It would also make the Fixer Grid more unique since it would be the only "true" remaining Grid you could access since it's highly unlikely that it would be changed.
Over the years, there have been changes made. From new turrets, to hidden mines to add a "risk" factor since we had learned how to do them practically with our eyes closed. These days, we ignore mines, avoid cameras and kill turrets fast enough at any level that the danger is pretty much non-existent. Also we rarely even search for mines anymore, we ignore the annoying "beep beep" and keep moving.
A few slight changes and additions may spice things up. By removing the warning sound and making the mines visible (no longer having to search) it may add a more present danger. Always having a camera in the first room (we know that any place with surveillance these days have one in the lobby anyways) would keep a player on his toes as soon as he enters the mission.
Laser trip wire which when crossed (can be avoided by jumping over it), activate Security Droids! these mobs can easily be "cloned" from the ones usually a camera spawns (maybe change their color a bit), so the Devs wouldn't have to create a new mob from scratch.
This way, you enter a mission, and immediately are thrown into action. Take out the security camera and watch for others, jump over laser trip wires, go around mines, take out hostile mobs and get to your target.
Something else I would love to see changed, is the removal of rollerrats (and the annoying lizards) within missions when you either unlock a door or chest. It doesn't make sense. Instead have the player get damage from an shock or something like that.
Shadowlands Recall Beacon
The Rubi-Ka Recall Beacon can be used every 10 minutes, does not require anything for it. Yet the SL Recall Beacon can only be used about once an hour (50 mins) and it requires a garden key which you need to quest for. Both have the same cost in the Veteran Shop. I think it would be more balanced to have the SL Recall Beacon to have a shorter refresh, 15 minutes would be decent. Another option is to keep the current refresh but no longer needing a garden key, but limiting the possible gardens based on the level of the player using it.
Apartments & Furniture
One of the things which most MMO's try to highlight is player housing. However, advertisement for this is practically non-existent inside the game. I remember how people felt when they got their Luxury Jobe Apartment back in 2003 or the Sunrise Orbital Apartment from 2009, it was great. Right before SL came out, the Billboards had the Luxury Jobe Apartment in all major cities and every player wanted one.
The current advertisement in the AO Launcher does mention them on occasion as part of a bundle. What about the one froobs get? no mention of it in-game. The current options are, Rubi-Ka Apartment, Jobe Apartment, Luxury Jobe Apartment and the Sunrise Orbital Apartment. Each able to hold 30 pieces of furniture. This is a potential social "cred sink" and maybe even an opportunity to create limited edition furniture for Paid Points.
The current downside to a Rubi-Ka apartment, is that it has no bed. Since most furniture is not "solid" even if there was a bed available, it would be unlikely that you could lay on it. At this time you can walk through furniture which seems silly since adding a cool sofa yet not able to sit on it doesn't make sense. Make at least the larger pieces of furniture solid, the ones which a player is expected to /sit or /lounge on.
For years we wanted a way to send items or credits to friends who were offline, or to alts. In 2009, we got a great new mail system, Yet, like the apartments, they receive little attention. At the time the "recycling" of the old reclaim terminals was a good idea, however to any returning player... they do not stand out. Visually, it needs to be different, plain and simple. Maybe the Devs can look at current tech for inspiration, with the slew of new hand held devices where with the touch of your finger you can check your e-mail... in the 30th millennium we should be able to at least do the same.
A Portable Mail System (for Paid Points) could also be made.
Funcom seriously need to review the prices for some items. While spending $10-15 for a few nice things is reasonable. It's crazy that sometimes you get 2 items and you're looking at $100 even if those 2 items are account-wide because nobody in this economy will spend even a fraction of that for just one character. The bundle packs do offer a discount, but most are social bundles which are still expensive. The Homestead Pack sells for 3200 Paid Points, separately the items cost a whopping 15100. Buying 15k PP comes to a total of $125 (and you still would be 100 PP short) compared to the $30 you will spend to get 3600 PP to get the pack.
Social items are overpriced, no doubt about that. Where the most sensible would be 25-100 Paid Points, we're looking at prices in the hundreds, up to 1100. In comparison, the nano cans are priced correctly for their practical use and number of cans included.
Replica armor could use a bit of a price drop (20-25% would be fair), since they are of no benefit whatsoever, they are basically just social clothes. The OFAB armor set should be removed since they are being traded and sold in-game for a low price among players.
Vehicles are expensive, honestly... they should all be half the price they currently are. Experience Stims could use a 20% drop.
Adding a "Back Item visible" option similar to the Helmet one is something to be considered. One feature which the community has been waiting for a long time, is the ability to lock chat windows in place. We've all been there when we've accidentally moved a window. It is a pain sometimes.
For years any custom made Planet Map created by a player had to actually override the default map. It took FC years to change the client to allow us to add other maps and being able to select them in-game. Considering that it will be unlikely for the Devs to either create new or revamped music or sound effects, why not open a window of opportunity and allow the possible customization of the sound aspect of AO?
Allowing the selection of music/sounds from the Settings at the AO Launcher would mean that any player could change their sound/music preferences to even make their own. When the customizable in-game voice commands feature came with Notum Wars in 2002, several player-made packs were made (some even a few years ago).
I find that given the opportunity, talented AO gamers will make some wonderful stuff for the game. The more flexible the game is with player-made content, the better it is for the community.
With the departure of Colin "Means" Cragg not only from AO as it's Game Director but sadly from Funcom, we're left with the hopes that he, just like his predecessor, picked the right person to continue the work. On a personal level I think Fia "Lindelu" Tjernberg will do a fine job as the new GD. She has the experience, passion and work ethic that we liked so much from Means. With any luck she'll read this little article and maybe, just maybe, some of the things suggested may be discussed at one of the Devs meetings. You never know with Anarchy Online. While most MMO gamers thinks AO is dead year after year, we're still here, gaming, making new friends, having fun and meeting new players almost on a regular basis (at least I am).
If there is one thing AO doesn't lack, is veterans. Now Means... can I haz your stuff?