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Reader Comments (30)

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 10:05AM KvanCetre said

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I remember beta testing this so long ago. It was my first MMO, I think. I'm really not sure how I got into the beta. Or why. It was really fun from what I remembered, but when I went back for some free event they were doing, I just couldn't get into it.

I just remember singing brontos... I hope those still exist.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 10:21AM Korvix said

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I played it a few years ago, stayed away from it for a long time b/c of the negativity surrounding it after its terrible launch and a few botched patches or w/e it was.

Found it to be kinda fun; got to level 12 I think and into the subway. I couldn't find anyone to mentor me or play with me so I ended up quitting. Pretty sure I was a 'spy'.

Been thinking about giving it a go again when the new engine / gpx update hits. ( but that has been in limbo for years~ ) If anyone is playing this a lot send me a PM and ill grab the free trial or w/e and I'll check it out again.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 10:24AM Beau Hindman said

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@Korvix You don't need a key or buddy pass to get a free trial, just jump in. Of course, you need to sub to get the expansions and everything, but otherwise play 'til you drop!

Beau
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 10:30AM Korvix said

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@Beau Hindman

Yeah I remember it being some sort of tier subscription plan after a certain level ( or after the base game ). Could pick what expansion pack you wanted to sub to for like 4 or 5 USD? I think it was 'shadowlands' I was told was the one most people pick if they want to play on the cheap... Again this was a few years ago and things may have changed.

Definitely willing to give it another shot if I can get some other people to join me.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 10:40AM Beau Hindman said

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@Korvix Hooler on the forums, and you'll find people for sure. Everyone I met had a lower level alt, or would hang out with their high level nearby giving heals, buffs or tips.

The daily missions (can be played every 18 hours) will give you a level every time, and some of them are out in the open wild so another player can help you.

Beau
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 11:33AM Ben E said

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Korvix, it's been several years since I've played AO, but if I remember, yes, there was a "reduced cost" subscription that gave you access to the Shadowlands and the base game only, for $5/month. That lets you get to level 220, play the two newer classes, and get perks (think WoW talent points). It is missing a few features from the newer expansions.

However, you can get by fine to start with on the base game only 'free' option, to see if you like it...

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 12:06PM Ariensky said

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Actually my org (guild) Argenteum Astrum omce in a while had swimming-competitions in the park in Rome..

Later I reset that skill though, but I used it to explore Rubi-Ka, swimming from one end of teh world to the other..
That was before I got a flying machine (Yalmaha, white thing in the 2nd picture), so it was a way for me to explore without meeting monsters, as they are (almost) all on land.

As Beau mentions there is a lot of lore.. and if you are the type that enjoys to get into a Ferrari and cruse the streets while the sun is setting over San Andreas.. then you can get the same feeling in AO.

In the start by water, later by kodaik(cheap ground cars; 16.000 credits), and finally by Yalmaha; those flying vehicles cost 5.000.0000 credits though..

Getting your first Yalmaha is a goal in it self for many, gives easier access to missions as you can fly over monsters on the way, but the feeling is also fantastic, and great for exploring.

In olden days there were funds, created by older players, where new players could apply for credits for their first Yalmaha..

If you have questions.. mostly you can get help on the starting island, meeting people; they will quickly spot you are new from your questions. Another thing is to ask in the OOC (Out Of Character) channel, and people will aid you.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 12:13PM Beau Hindman said

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@Ariensky Thanks, by the way Arien for all of you guys being so cool to me! You're going to be that nice to everyone that comes and checks it out, right? hehe

Beau
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 12:32PM Ariensky said

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We have two systems to ensure that: ARK (Advisors of Rubi-Ka), volunteers supported by FunCom..
The other thing is people liking to help out, personally I like teaching, I once had a job with that, enjoyed it, but now it is just a spare-time thing, secondly A LOT of people had a helping hand when they began, and they are just paying it forward.

We have lvl 9 toons on the starter island -dedicated- to helping others..
When a friend starts we get hold of that character and help out, or just hang out on that character to communicate with the DJs (GSP), and answering questions in the Newbie OOC channel as well.
People over lvl 9 do not have access to the newbie channel, so to spot those early questions you need a dedicated lvl 9 to listen in on the conversations.

Kind Regards
-Ariensky

PS. Again mentioning lore, even the ARK and GMs (Genetic Manipulators) have their own backstory, you can read it on the ARK webpage, here: http://ark.funcom.com/Public/ARKsite?page_id=58
And yes, that story IS canon, so while you can ask OOC questions to the ARKs, they are indeed part of the world..
Every Sunday they have a ritual, and they are broadcasting a "fluctuation in the notum field" each Sunday..
an org(guild) declared war on ARK for misuse of notum.. claiming the notum fluctuations gave them a painful headache..

..and that is possible because someone sat down and gave even the support function of the game a backstory.
(there were peaceful protests when the ARKs did their guided tourist tours of Rubi-Ka, and peace-negotiations on the sunday notum use were started.. all in all people had fun and a good laugh, interacting with the FunCom representatives, instead of "ignore them, they are GMs, not part of the story" as they are in other games..
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 12:53PM Vestas said

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Could a game like AO be made again? Certainly it could. Would it garner lots of subscribers? Depends on how you define "lots". It won't cap any of the caps established back then that's for sure. One thing people forget is AAA MMO's cost lest to build back then too. That was an era where the $20million MMO was a HUGE budget (before SWG busted it at $25 mil).

A $20million MMO can make half it's money back with 200k box sales and in the first year and a half be turning a profit at 90k subscribers. Numbers that would be mocked today as "unsuccessful". If you build it as a niche product, target a niche market and stick to your guns, you'll be fine. There's even a large player base that would play a more "open" old school MMO like AO if one was available.

From a business perspective though, most investors/publishers don't think that way and won't bother. It's go big, or go home. WoW has ruined the market that way. Not so much for its game design choices but for its business success. Investors/Publishers don't want to even look at you if you don't have a chance at taking a swype at WoW, they want you defining your business potential in terms of "percentage of WoW players" etc etc. It's a broken industry right now trying to find it's identity again.

If RIFT is successful, this will only hurt the model more. As Rift is a AAA title with a huge budget angling to release a polished product. On the same hand, if RIFT fails, it'll prove it takes more than a lot of money and polish to be successful and further hurt the industry and innovation within it.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 12:54PM Vestas said

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@Vestas I need to remember to proof read. Sigh.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 1:03PM Beau Hindman said

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@Vestas Yeh, I've seen the indie games that have done this type of game and done it well. Of course, you also have EVE Online that does a sandboxy type of game with success.

I guess for me it's a little shocking because I rarely, if ever, pass along MMO game generalities. When I stopped and really thought about it, though, and I took stock of recent "AAA" games that have been released or are being released, I really only see more of the same systems.

Not that this means they will be bad games, at all. I thought Rift was a lot of fun. And so is WoW.

But I am starting to believe that the majority of MMO players -- in the specific "AAA" subscription-based arena -- want almost nothing to do with a game that does not provide such "hand-holding." Maybe this isn't a bad thing, being that a smaller game that provides sandboxy goodness can stick out easier, since they are not competing with massive budgets/advertising from the big boys.

Thanks for the comment, sir! Good stuff!

Beau
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 6:03PM DancingCow said

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@Vestas

I don't think investors are that stupid. Profit is profit. They're only interested in the percentage return on investment.

WoW's development costs were somewhere around 50 or 60 million - i.e. only about double that of SWG - and WoW never expected to be anywhere near as popular as they are now.

Good game design, production values and marketing is what has made them so successful. I won't name names, but there have been bigger budget MMOs released since then which have flopped because they lacked these.

Releasing this year are Earthrise and The Secret World, neither WoW-like. Earthrise only needs 70k subscribers to be profitable.

Rift will do well, just as Aion did. The EQ style of game is very accessible even to non-gamers who probably account for most of the subscription market. Rift is WoW+. Their only major handicap will be higher system requirements.

@Beau Hindman

I think the one to watch in this respect will be The Secret World. Its game design appears to incorporate both WoW-like hand-holding and open sandbox. The PvE is very story-driven (ala SWTOR) but character design is skill based and completely open and there's a large sandboxy PvP area.

That kind of game design could be successful in broadening the tastes of the MMO masses.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 1:21PM Dagget said

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Very nice article!

It does sound like you would have been a bit better off choosing the 'Agent' profession instead of 'Soldier', given your combat style. Agents are the masters of long range sniping, though soldier are very competent with any sort of ranged weapon.

As for just 'jumping in' to play without regard to profession choice, I have to disagree a bit - most ppl prefer one sort of playstyle or combat style over another and I would really advise that they at least read the 1-2 paragraph description of each profession before making a choice. Otherwise you end up with a lot of unhappy ppl who find their char is not very good at the sort of thing they wanted to do. Whether someone likes melee/ranged/support/pets/healing/tradeskilling is usually a choice ppl have at least some general preference for when they come to the game. While you -could- make something like a "shotgun-toting-and-tradeskilling-nanomage-Shade", your ability to progress thru the game would be far more difficult and frustrating then had you read just a bit in the character creation section and made a couple of informed choices to start.

I'm not sure I would call the house 'wonderful' - it is adequate for those who like to have housing and roleplay some, but it's a far cry from something like the housing in SWG or even LoTRO.

Again, a very nice article, and it was fun to meet you in the game!

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 2:46PM Nepentheia said

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Actually, what makes Anarchy Online awesome... are the Leets.

Never, ever underestimate the Power of Leet. *nod nod*

One may really never fully understand that until they experience Pronouncement of Greatness (Leet form)--once that happens, there's no denying the awesomeness of being Leety. :-D


I absolutely adored exploring in that game--to the point I spent quite a bit of time creating a huge map for the game (this was some years back). There were so many things about Anarchy Online that I really loved and have yet to ever experience in any other game world--its a very special game. :-)

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 2:50PM DancingCow said

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Without a doubt the best free to play game around - because the original game (i.e. minus 2 expansions) is 100% free to play. You just have to put up with some advertising in the cities.

But I get what Beau means by "confusing elements". The game design isn't intuitive and players do need to take to the internet to research certain things.

It's also almost essential for players to use third party software like ClickSaver - which I think should never be necessary for a properly designed game.

But once you get past those hurdles it is fun and one of the few genuinely free-to-play MMOs.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 3:29PM MastaAO said

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Nice article :)

Also, great to see you taking a look at Asheron's Call... I've always kind of wanted to try that one out and it sits with EverQuest as the only oldschool MMO I haven't played :| Will be sure to check back, this is an excellent column and I'm glad the AO community linked me here :)

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 3:31PM YogiFYG said

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I had so much fun playing this game over the last week or so. It really is a lot of fun once you get used to the visuals. Community is really helpful when you ask questions and I like the encouragement to group. I think I will be playing this for awhile longer. Can't wait till my fixer actually gets the points to use the speed enhance programs. Then I can zoom zoom all over.

Also if you are having trouble with the map system in game, there is an add on map called CSPmap v1.23 that gives you a much clearer view of the world, warp station paths (think they are called Wompahs), and important characters/points in each area. Ive not needed to buy a map yet. Look it up on google it really helps.


Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 4:47PM Dblade said

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They did make a game like this today, it's called Mortal Online. Same technical problems at launch. Didn't work so well.

Posted: Jan 23rd 2011 4:47PM crystaleth said

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Only a week. Did you at least get to experience the joy of the Temple of three trains....er....winds?

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