Articles - Inside Anarchy Online #10
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this editorial are the views of the author alone and are not representative of the views of AO Universe.
Hello again fellow gamers!
My name is Luis Odicio, mostly known as Windguaerd among the roleplaying community in the Atlantean Server. If you don't know who I am, then read my first editorial at AO Vault in which I introduced myself.
This editorial is Part 2 of a review on the changes that have taken place since my editorial in November of 2004, in which I shared my thoughts and ideas on how to improve Anarchy Online, some of these ideas were sent directly to Funcom back then, some where implemented, and others were not.
Part of those suggestions were sent even before Alien Invasion was part of the game, some were obviously from the time right after SL went live, other ideas were related to AI and the classic AO. what they actually changed since I wrote it and a few additional suggestion to improve our gaming in AO be it through gameplay changes, design or otherwise.
Anarchy Online - Winds of Change
Suggestions for "Lost Eden" Expansion
Possible Expansion Theme:
A spinoff from Alien Invasion, which could give the 'space' ideas a reason to exist. The idea is "Virus". The aliens have been trying to land unsuccessfully due to all the factions fighting them at every turn...so they decide to create a biological weapon. There is a quest right now for a stim to counteract the 'Daring Syndrome' debuff that alien generals in the dropships sometimes execute on players, which could be used in the story as a 'prototype' virus. While fighting in one of the dropships information is found about the development of a new bio weapon to eradicate all life on the planet. ICC then approves the use of space ships for battle, while before it was illegal and impossible for anyone not associated with a corporation to purchase much less bring bring ships to RK...now such laws are changed to allow rubikans to pool their funds and purchase ships to stop the aliens from continue their plan to destroy all rubikans.
Note: I believe FC considered the idea, but did not use it entirely because creating a 'virus' would not push the main clan vs omni storyline which they have worked on from the beggining of AO. However if you were to change the 'space ships' part to 'mechs'...half of the idea is in 'Lost Eden'.
When you switch to 1st person view, in theory you SHOULD be looking from the inside of your vehicle...but, you're looking at the nose of your yalm...I don't know how hard would it be to code a 'cockpit' for each vehicle (old and new) to give the players the 'feel' that they're inside their new ride.
I think that the new mechs which people will use in the upcoming expansion would have cockpits (at least that is what it looks like from the outside. If they can manage to make a believable mini-enviroment for the inside of the mech it could also be used for the already exsisting ground and air vehicles. Of course if people want to see 360 degrees they can change camera angles, but it would add a more realistic view to the vehicles.
There are enough Shops in each town, but almost everything is either combat or tradeskill related (except some furniture for your apartment). My suggestion has been to add some new social shops. A mini-mall with shops that cater to organizations, custom-made shirts or items with letters of an org or alliance. (I would guess a minimum of 2 letters on shirt/item) . And how about new food courts, restaurants, holo theaters (movies), toy shops, candy shops? One in each central town (Tir/Omni-1/Newland) on RK would be nice to visit and shop at. ANYONE should be able to access the mini-malls, however only those who bought the expansion should be able to get the most wanted items (custom-made shirts or items and the most expensive stuff).
Note: Yes, the veteran awards give a custom shirt with ONE letter, which is ok...for a freebie award. But a better and more customizable shirt/item would be more fun for many.
Bank & Transfering:
One of the reasons people play alts is to change pace, try something new (another breed/profession/gender) even if they've been with AO since it went gold in 2001.
However there always have been a problem when a player usually wants to 'transfer' items from his main character to an alternative character. If it's late at night, few people may be available, also handing someone 10 million and a backpack full of custom made/shopped armor and weapons is a risk which the EULA and the rules regarding trading do not cover, anyone can take it saying they will give it to you, and steal it.
My suggest was the possibility of creating a "Parcel Terminal" in RK, with the ability of ANY player able to send something (up to 10 items, possible even credits) to another charactet (an in-game credits fee should apply here, for the sender only, after all nobody will expect this to be a free service). If FC was able to create player shops which were safe for trading, then I believe this can be done by them.
A player can use his main, send 10 items to his alt through the new terminal, log off, log on with the alt and get it safely without any risk of losing anything. Also think of other posibilities...if the same terminal can be used to send 'greeting cards' (from a pre-made list) so that a player get a message "You've got a greeting card waiting for you at your local Parcel Terminal", and able to pick up a greeting card! (very social), it could be happy birthday, thank you for being a good friend, happy aniversary, congrats on your ding!, romantic, business like, there are many posibilities.
I stronly suggested that the terminal be faction sided (like the shops and insurance), meaning that players can ONLY transfer items to characters of the same faction, clan to clan, omni to omni, and neutral to neutral.
Arenas are for PvP, same with the AI Notum Silo for orgs...but what about something that is PvP that does not involved killing?
Think of the posibilities, Boxing, Martial Arts....also shooting ranges for rifles/pistols/bows. Sports have been an important historical part of humankind, and it would make sense that even in 30,000 into the future, there would be sports, be it played by humans....or machines for entertainment purposes.
Just a thought.
Clothing & Armor:
Allow players to dye their clothes, and certain armor (not all). Of course these would be great if they required not too high tradeskills.
New armor would be nice, you have been recognizing organizations and individuals by naming armor and weapons after them...keep doing that, players love to see that the Devs recognize the effort of people and guilds.
Some new thoughts regarding this subject. I mentioned social clothes that allows organization to have their own 'logo' or initials on shirts, as well as new armor named after them (like CAS Armor).
Now another thought that came to mind...IF the sports idea is used...there would be a need for sport uniforms. Also expanding the social clothes line...BUT without the questing...that was not welcomed I can tell you that (a timesink which was neither needed, nor appreciated by the RP community). The new clothing can be country themed...japanese ninja outfit, roman warrior, ancient egyptian outfit, african outfit, barbarian outfit, etc. Also adding more swimwear would be good, because of the new Swimming Pool which AI introduced.
With the conflict between humanity and the aliens, and even between the factions...sooner or later, someone had to come up with, a Casino.
I still think that Gambling is one of the things missing in AO, if well implemented it could be a moneysink and a new way of killing time and having fun when not leveling (or camping).
To avoid the abuse of the system for people to just use the billion they got saved and do 50 Mill bets until they hit it big and 10x their cash....have slots machines and poker tables with limits, maybe 1 mill tops.
Games like No limit Poker, between players. Now to avoid a possible exploit (which I foresee)...players who start a NLP game must ALL start with the same amount of credits on the table, therefore a player can't use their 500 Mill to just force another player who just has 5 Mill to fold.
For example a player can join a table where NLP has a set of 250k, 500k or 1 Mill as the start. Meaning that if he joined the 1 Mill table, the 'dealer' automatically takes 1 Mill from his bank, and gives him 1 Mill worth of chips.
Each table can't start a game until there is at least 2 players seated. Then the fun starts. I'm sure some of you know the rules of No Limit Poker and know that it's fun to play cards against a live opponent (Microsoft's The Zone and other online casinos got thousands if not millions of users). This would increase the activity in the game when people aren't leveling or shopping.
You can add the Casino Room in every shop, Basic would have the lower betting tables, Advanced the medium betting tables and Superior would have the highrollers tables.
Is it a moneysink? sure it is. Make the odds against a machine (not a player) on the house's favor. And there is plenty of Players with millions (some billions) that got plenty of everything and don't know what to do with their cash. This is a way to make that cash flow among players.
Sure there will be some who will go for broke, but that would be a new risk...after all, you want people to jump off their chairs right? winner or loser, the emotions for the game will be strong =D
Note: If the Devs watch cable TV, they will see the raise in popularity of Poker, with current shows/tournaments.
The following list is was what I had suggested to FC before they released the information regarding 'Lost Eden'. I was told at the time that the similarities of these suggestions were too close to the design of SWG's first space expansion and they did not want to do that, they wanted to do something more original than recycle something Sony had already done.
Space combat vehicles. This would have been sort of separate a game within the game. You go to a Shuttleport, make (tradeskills) or purchase (from shop or another player) a ship, get it fitted with shields/weapons/misc and then enter a teleporter that gets you straight into the pilot seat in your ship. This would have been like an 'X-Wing' with a twist. From the pilot seat you see your ship take off from the ground, and into space (zoning into the new space playfield). Once in space you fight the aliens head to head, either solo or with a squadron. For every alien ship you take down, you receive a certain amount of points toward your Piloting skills, which allows you to handle better ships, equip better shields and so on. The ICC also will pay for each ship you take out, based on the rank of the alien ship and your own ranking. Pilot Rankings would be like this: Novice Pilot, Apprentice Pilot, Adecuate Pilot, Learned Pilot, Experienced Pilot, Senior Pilot, Master Pilot.
I think you can make use of the Morning Star Spacestation. By making the spacestation as part of the setting...it would explain how new arrivals (new players) are able to safely pass through the spacestation...because it's being protected by rubikan ships (controlled by players). I see the Morning Star Spacestation...with windows like in the character creation process...from which new players see the Alien conflict in space...endless fighting to stop the aliens from landing their main fleet on the planet.
The spacestation can also be used as a place for new players to hang out, before they actually start playing on RK, after character creation instead of being 'transported' to the Arrival Hall on RK...they would be 'teleported' to another part of the spacestation to learn about the AO storyline, and able to meet older players..yeah...allow new lvl 1 players meet lvl 220 in the same place?...you may think open to unbalance...buffs, items, creds....but in the arrival hall there is something that prevent a new character from doing certain things, like opening his inventory (which is empty then)...how about using the same sytem to disable the players from trading...that would stop any possiblity of exploits I think.
Another idea is...besides the individual single-player ships...rubikan crew ships, meaning a ship with players working with eachother to defeat perhaps a larger ship with the single-player ships cannot engage...you could take the concept of team effort to a new level...imagine 6 players working together...piloting, navigation, shields, weapons, tactical, maintenance.
Breed & Avatars:
We haven't had any new breed since the game went live in 2001, perhaps it is time for AO to develop a new species, maybe a genetic manipulation from alien DNA?...a sorth of humanoid green avatar? with light green skin and scales? just an idea, you could probably come up with something new and refreshing.
SL brought new faces for every current breed, which was refreshing. However I still thing that FC can make avatars better, and I'm not talking just a face upgrade...I mean a whole body change, more details, less looking like legos walking....yeah we look ok...but the look is 4yrs old, and other games avatars look more realistic, and pleasant.
I had suggested the addition of more emotes because we currently have too few, and only one (/lounge) is still, others make a movement and then people just stand there. Perhaps the concept of 'frozen emotes' would be a good description for this idea.
A guy can have a 'daring' pose to impress a lady, or slouching like he threw his back out, or appear to be leaning against a wall, or sitting on a chair (not legs cross, but legs on vertical position).
And adding regular 'moving emotes' would be nice, imagine stretching like you're about to excercise, or 'shadow boxing' like the pros practice before a fight, perhaps even some yoga positions? (well some are simple and look nice, at least for the looks).
Adding emotes to combat. For those who like sci-fi, action and martial arts moves like in CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON, HERO....all the 'wire' moves you see in the movies, all the ACTION...in AO.
I thought in the last editorial "how can people RP doing certain actions that emotes can only partially enact?quot;. Think a rplayers want to act as if he is 'scanning' something...the natural thing is to use /read and do /me is scanning the area or /me is scanning item X, but how about a player HOLDING an item, same concept as holding a drink/bottle from the bars in RK. Creating items for RP purposed which have NO stats or bonuses. Like scanning equipment, flags, tools, baskets (flowers or fruits), purses (for women), portable stereos, etc.
Note: Among the veteran rewards was a scanner and other items which are clearly meant for roleplayers and people who like to have fun with items. Perhaps they will take the rest of the idea into 'Lost Eden', I can only hope.
Another suggestion was the addition of more furniture like the Wonderful Marble Statue of the Goddess Buffy Summers which was introduced years ago, it was obviously based on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' TV series which I'm sure a Dev or Artist was a fan of...most people got the idea, it was a fun thing, still is.
So how about adding furniture with the same concept? Like RKWWE (Rubi-ka World Wresting Entertainment) workout dummy (who don't love WWE wresting? your american players will love it for sure), Chrichton's mini-bar (from Farscape scifi series), Harper's nanotool table (from scifi series Andromeda), Teyla's sleeping bunker (from scifi series Stargate: Atlantis), Arrakis desert rug (from the scifi movie and TV series Dune - by Frank Herbert-), Issac Asimov Robot Statue (you know the name, you know the books), Akira's Ancient Red Bike (red bike from the classic Anime Akira), Apollo 13 mini-replica (hey, it all started with NASA), PS 30 Gaming Console (hey, we all had a Playstation 1 or 2 in our gaming life), Akira Kurosawa Samurai Armor Replica (he was the famous japanese filmaker of movies like 'Ran', 'Kegemusha', 'Seven Samurai', 'Red Beard'), Francis Ford Coppola Award (self explanatory), Madonna's sexy Bed (if you don't know who Madonna is, you've been deaf for the last few decades), Einstein's Blackboard (got to show from where the Dev's got their genius, hehe), and so on.
Note: If it's ok for AO to have diet cola and movie advertisement in-game, why not use those product names in-game as items for roleplaying that people can wear or hold in their hands? Good for FC's advertising clients and good for the players because it ads familiar thing into the world, which are always optional (like the advertisement, if you pay for AO, you have the option of not seeing them).
Article written by Windguaerd
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