Articles - Inside Anarchy Online #11Hello again fellow gamers!
My name is Luis Odicio, mostly known these days as Windkeeper (Windguaerd was my old main for those who remember him) 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.
In my previous editorials back in 2005 (yes, it has been a while), 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 Shadowlands went live, other ideas were related to Alien Invasion, Lost Eden and Classic AO.
This editorial is a review on the current state of the game and the recently announced upcoming changes to Anarchy Online.
Alright, from the release of LE things have gone uphill, the game has improved drastically specially after Silirrion became Game Director. Before you say "well you used to work with him" I must say that my view of his work is not based on the years we worked together back in AO Vault but on what he did as Community Manager and now as GD of AO.
Let's take a look back since LE was release shall we?
17.1 Update Series
Well, I think we can all agree there was a massive drop of jaws in the community when we saw the notes, there was more fixes in the 17.1 series than ever before (that I can recall). And the new Scheol quest enhanced the gameplay of the SL expansion. They rebalanced the battlestations for a more even battle between clan and omni which is something players were asking for that some today still point out. Unfortunately FC can only rebalance the number of players entering a BS, and not the number of players in the same timezone on one of the factions. There are times during the afternoon (EST) where there are more clan than omni and of course the omnis will be at a disadvantage and vice versa at other times.
Adding bazookas was a great addition to LE gameplay, even though I personally dislike when my mech gets taken down by 2 omnis and I can't get away fast enough in my scout mech, heh. But it's fair, since I could do the same to an omni mech if I wanted to use a bazooka myself.
I would say the fixes and rebalancing related to LE specifically was well done in 17.1 overall.
February 20th, 2007
Craig "Silirrion" Morrison is appointed as the game's new Game Director, picking up the torch passed on by previous Game Director Morten Byom. From here on, things got interesting.
17.2 Update Series
I must say that I had mixed feelings the first week, because so many guilds (including my own) would get teams of players camping the new bosses for the new uber gear. There were some disagreements between players and guilds but that eventually went away as people got what they wanted.
The new Dreadloch weapons and items were a good compliment to the LE expansion. It may sound silly..but in a way, they expanded, the expansion. Some players complained that LE was too small, it wasn't a real expansion and just easier axp grind and forced PvP. 17.2 brought more exciting weapons and items to enhance the PvP/PvM aspect of LE without actual PvP involved in acquiring them, it just required teamwork (who don't like to pwn a mob with friends huh?).
The new terminals to BS access helped a bit on the lag at the Unicorn Landing Pad near ICC due to having level 20-220 in the same spot. Now in 5 different locations, 9 terminals helped spread out the PvP'ers a bit. New OFAB helmets and nanos were added to enhance and balance PvP even further.
Now comes the big one. The Beast timer change. One word: genius. Right before the LE expansion there was a change in the amount of SK (shadowlands knowledge) experience allowing for players to reach higher levels a bit easier. The number of level 220 players increased drastically which meant that more people wanted the uber phatz from Pandemonium, specially The Beast. The original 18hr timer was fine before LE, but after so many 220 would reaching enlightenment left and right the high level players were wondering when FC would change the timer to reflect the change in high level player numbers.
17.2 was a good series for the high level players, specially if they also PvP'ed.
17.3 Update Series
I got to admit, I didn't think FC could actually do something of this nature with AO. New huge specific instances for teams with NPC's and spawn on-demand bosses inside them? newer games have that...but AO?...of course when it came out it was very hard to get to the final boss. Spawnable boss crystals, new phatz and an entire new challenge for high level players.
New tradeskill items from the new Albatraum team instance were introduced (the new NCU's were sweet!) and made Inferno once again the place to be for level 220's.
More new nanos from the Victory Points vendor for several professions, OFAB rings and MA attacks enhanced PvP and PvE again. Being able to purchase IPR points was something the community asked for a long time, and this series delivered just that. Reducing the cost of plastic surgery clinic to 25 million credits was also something players requested for a while and it was made a reality in 17.3
And last, but not the least. Bank terminals added to player market buildings, I believe the thread requesting this at the official forums was over 50 pages long since November 2005 and Funcom finally implemented it.
17.4 Update Series
40+ new quests in Adonis (with new rewards and items) and the introduction of Sector 10 to fight the alien threat brought some love to the mid-level players.
The new quests and missions inside Sector 10 brings new armor and items from the aliens and the new bosses within. I know many players who have mid level character that they keep at certain levels for PvP and all the new content gave even more reason for players to log in their mid-level alts for some fun.
What got the community excited wasn't just the new content...but the new gameplay features and changes. Two words: multiple hotbars. This was something players always hoped since the number of combat actions and nanos have increased past the original 100-slot hotbar (not including macro and emote shortcuts). Now being able to have up to 10 hotbars makes it easier for any kind of gamer to play be it in combat or roleplaying.
Reducing the PvP cap from 40% to 30% also added some balance to PvP due to the many PvP nanos introduced since LE came out.
From personal experience I have seen player cities blown up by people who abused their position (including the guild I used to lead from 2001-2006). The community also asked for a change of guild ranks/permissions in a thread in the official forums, which was 28 pages long. 17.4 delivered and I can say that this change made many guilds extremely happy.
The new ranking system reduced the risk of losing a city and allowed the leadership of guilds to grant players permission to start city raids without risking the loss of the city itself.
The new option for players to zoom in places when in first person wasn't much of a change personally for me, but I know it was welcomed by those who like to play in first person.
New OFAB back armor was nice, this also lowered the prices of old Rubi-Ka back armors which were pretty overpriced for too long in my opinion. New veteran items were added to continue rewarding customers for staying with the game. I love my new sombrero and foam finger (there is more, but for that you better check the terminal yourself, heh).
The new Nano Crystal (Insight into the Shadowlands) for the higher shadowlands zone and the new Rubi-Ka Recall Beacon enhanced the SL gameplay for everyone.
Upcoming 17.5 Update Series
40+ new Penumbra quests, I think this pretty much finishes the revamp of the shadowlands expansion and personally I don't expect Funcom to add much to it after this patch (they added dozens of quests already).
New Dust Brigade instance...many old timers remember the years when DB would attack clan, omni and neutral alike. Hit and run by DB greenies (controlled by ARK or FC) that would kill players left and right with a small (very small) chance of beating them without many players attacking them.
Well, it's payback time! and for newer players they will be more familiar with an old Rubi-Ka foe that has been a thorn in many players side during world events.
The VP adjustment for lower level battlestations is very likely going to be a welcome change and it may even increase the use of them.
I can't comment on the new OFAB items or the new unique drops from Rubi-Ka mobs since I have not been in the test server for quite some time but with all the changes, fixes and updates since the 17.1 series, I have confidence this series will also be a success.
Future of Anarchy Online
With the recent letter from the Game Director all the controversy over the "pay cash for credits" discussion at the official forums (which even carried over into the AOU team staff forum) died down a bit. Silirion clarified what Funcom had in mind and even answered several questions in the thread where the letter was posted.
Reading the letter myself has re ignited my interest in AO; new server, new hardware, new engine!
In our AOU interview with him not too long ago we asked "Will the devs consider making more use of video card ram rather than cpu and motherboard ram?quot; and his reply was "That would more then likely require an upgrade to a newer version of DirectX and that would be a major project that would almost certainly drag resources away from developing new content. It is though something that we have spent some time evaluating. I can’t say right now whether, or when, it might be viable. It’s definitely ‘on the table’ at the very least though."
Well, now we know it's just not on the table, but an active project.
The new approach of mini-expansions and "buy only what you want" or "buy the whole lot" option is welcomed by most players who have replied to the letter. I'm looking forward to the "New Vehicles" booster pack, the new hoverboards (Back to the Future anyone?) and jet bikes will be some new fun. Some of the younger crowd will probably are hoping to be able to do tricks on their hoverboard that they can do on their real-life skateboards and I hope Funcom can deliver that for all of us.
The fact that the hoverboards work in the shadowlands has been a bit of a concern for some players regarding speed of travel that may unbalance the game...but I'm thinking (this is just a guess) that if you get hit while riding it you probably will get knocked out and back on foot without being able to recast/summon your hoverboard until you lose the aggro.
The "Legacy of the Xan" booster pack will bring 5 new playfields for high level players and also answer to old storyline questions. Not much info about that yet but as we learn more be sure to check AOU regularly for new info.
My 2 credits
Well ladies and gents, don't expect AO to die down anytime soon. We're probably looking at a couple of more years of MMORPG sci-fi action and adventure (maybe we reach a 10th year anniversary, you never know). With all the changes to the game, new free content, new pay-for-what-you-want content and new engine there will be plenty of stuff for all kinds of gamers to enjoy in Anarchy Online. Sure there is always something that needs to be fixed or rebalanced after it's released, but I'm yet to find an MMO who doesn't have that issue and I doubt we will even find such a game anywhere.
Honestly I was losing interest in the game for the past few months but still logged in on occasion to say hello to my guild and friends. Now with all that is coming...you are likely to catch me in the near future on a nice white hoverboard/jet bike in the streets of Old Athen or killing some Dust Brigade Commandos with a team on Rubi-Ka.
And remember, don't drink and yalm peeps!
Article written by Windguaerd
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