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Old school hooked

June 5, 2011

Lately I have almost exclusively played only one MMO – Anarchy Online. The only other game that have received a bit of time i Star Trek Online and my Klingon captain. But the other games; Rift, City of Heroes, Black Prophecy etc have not had any gameplay.
I have had a number of incidents that perhaps would not happen in the more modern MMOs:

  • debuffed myself so I could not use any skills on my hotbar, because my nano target was aimed at me rather than the enemy
  • temporaily lost most of the XP for a level when dying
  • picked and recieved missions really out of my league – initially
  • chased across an entire zone by one or more mobs – sometimes with a successful escape, sometimes not
  • tried to run past enemies much too high level for me that were next to a mission location

but I have also:

  • enjoyed some really witty NPC and mission dialogue
  • have had help and buffs from really nice and friendly fellow players
  • seen some really fun outfits
  • explored some neat scenary and good music for setting the mood
  • travelled and explored across big land areas
  • played some fun and enjoyable missions
  • played some fun professions

Many of the things on the first list are in some way negatives, but have also done something more positive. I have learned to be more aware of where I have the two targets (fight target and nano target). The zone chases have been kind of a rush when I successfully escaped and also memorable when I did not escape – I learned a few things from the experience and saw some more views I would not have seen otherwise 😉

Enjoying the scenery of The Brawl and its Lovecraft-inspired inhabitants, while being chased by a group of Weavers of Decay (I died in the end)

The XP loss can be annoying, but is not permanent – everything is pooled and added back as extra XP when going at it again. So while one has to start from an earlier stage the leveling speed is increased though, which is kind of a nice pat on the back compared to an XP debt which slows you down after death. Since you can at most lose what you earned during the current level and the levels are fairly quick, there is not necessarily a big deal.

Since the experience is not so smooth and streamlined like some more modern games, the leveling experience can vary quite a bit. I was on a mission to hunt Shy Eremites (no shy old men in desolate places, but rather sandworm type creatures) and were placing thumpers on the ground (very Dune-inspired) to attract them. Initially fighting one of these eremites were a bit daunting – it took a couple of bites of me and I was pretty much done. And I had a mission to track down and kill 5 of these – and my nearest resurrection spot was not close.

My Meta-Physicist pets - Donald the damage dealer, Harry the healer and Marvin the mezzer

A helpful player gave me a HoT buff which lasted enough time to kill 3 of them. With two left I looked more on my character set-up, where I have put skill points, what armor I had, what buffs I were and could run, as well as debuffs etc. That in itself was a small little project and I worked on that to do some improvements. Tried again, managed to kill one eremite witha sliver of health left and failed on the last. Then I did some additional updates and tried again and this time the final eremite was killed.

So from a mission with kind of a cool setting I had some challenges which I failed with, but both with help from others and doing some improvements myself I managed to overcome the challenge. This is a session I will not forget easily – a good gaming memory. Kind and helpful people in-game also contributes to good memories here.

My bureaucrat Dorfl and his aide Bob, outside Baboons nightclub

For characters to play I have pretty much decided to focus on 3 different characters; two new ones – a trader and a Meta-Physicist and and old one, my Bureaucrat. The trader is pretty much a debuffer/buffer, everything he does is a “trade” – debuff the enemy and at the same time buff himself; or vice versa with fellow players.

The Meta-Physicist can in a way to a few different things. There are three pets that can be used at the same time, a damage dealer, a healer and a mezzer. There are also a number fo nanos for debuffing, buffing, mezzing, damage dealing etc. Quite fun to play.

The Bureaucrat is somewhat similar, but yet different. He has his own mechanical pet, but can also charm enemies to use as pets. This is another profession which is a bit more involved than just hitting stuff and a great deal of fun to play, IMHO.

Leveling is quite quick – in the old days a lot of time was spent travelling. But once you have picked up a vehicle ( a flying one preferably) it gets significantly easier and quicker to get around, which certainly helps to speed up overall game time progression.

Even though there has been some set-backs in game the overall experience has been quite enjoyable. Lately it has not been so much about which MMO to play, but rather which Anarchy Online character to play. Will it last? I do not know, but as long as it does I will try to play when I get time.

Finally another video; this time one which some scenery from various parts of the game, created by AO player Perambur:

Categories: Anarchy Online
  1. June 6, 2011 at 12:14

    The five negatives points all sound like positives to me. Wrangling yourself is just must-do frustrations. The rest are the kind of stuff that makes playing an MMO just so much fun. It really makes you feel you are part of a world. Maybe I am just looking for posts that like this, but I have the feeling more and more people realize that the genre has gone a bit too far in the action/progress direction and we lost the reason why we like playing MMOs to start with. It is a joy to read your posts.

    • June 6, 2011 at 21:31

      I am not sure if it is a trend, but certainly playing something that perhaps is not so streamlined works well for me. There is a huge world to explore and it is not obvious what will be encountered where. Most of the “negatives” are things that have been removed from more modern MMOs – there are no surprises in level ranges, you cannot really apply something harmful to yourself except if it is explicitly designed for that. Mobs have less attention span than a goldfish unless you poke them and you see in bright colours directly if they may mean you some harm – you cannot avoid detecting it.

      There is no adventure in finding things you want for building stuff – everything is located in level-appropriate locations so you can’t miss picking up these things if you are in the neighbourhood anyway – the whole idea to come up with your own quests/missions to accomplish something is not really there. Instead you may have a list os things to can make and wear at a certain level and a shopping list what to grab , which is a s easy as going to the supermarket.

      One thing I like about the Anarchy Online tradeskilling/crafting is that you do not have to make a specific item at a certain level. Each type of item covers usually many quality levels – it is up to you and your skill points what and when you do stuff – some of it is very easy and some of it may require some adventuring to get what you want.

      There are people that twink their characters to the extreme, but just taking your own time and pace works fine also. I like it that trying to level as fast as possible is _not_ the way to do it – you will gimp yourself because you do not have the cash to support your character – unless you already have a sugar daddy character to support you.

      In short I think some less streamlined gameplay opens up for more variation int he gameplay itself also and that is a good thing.

      Losing your XP completely is not a particularly good thing, but the pooled XP approach that they included in Anarchy Online is something I quite like. Your effort was not wasted, just slightly delayed. So you feel the pain of failure but there is also a positive re-enforcement that comes with it.

  2. June 7, 2011 at 12:11

    Having a sugar daddy is spoiling a big part of fun/drive of the game. Hunting down the lvl 24-ish computer skill cluster in 10 different shops so you can create that level 40-ish shotgun implant. Only then to find out you need 5 more points in stanima for which you have no implant nor money. So you will have a very solid reason to go out and gain a level or gain some money. It is not a drive to get to level asap. Leveling is just a motivation to try out new goodies.

    I think you need a clan for some financial and implant support once you pass level 100. At that point the clusters and implants you need can’t be found in the shops anymore. You will need to try to get them as mission awards or drops. But the items you really want are 20 or 30 levels above you, and those missions are deadly. But this is just my worries. I actually never made it passed level 101.

    I have died a few times on purpose just before levelling. It is a great way to get that extra money for that snazzy implant or weapon. And then a few levels with double xp to look forward too.

    • June 7, 2011 at 18:23

      Yeah, with the XP pool on death that approach is certainly viable. Also if one has the Lost Eden expansion one can also put the XP into research – the character improves, but you can slow doen the leveling so you do not outlevel what you have use. The levels themselves become secondary to the progression.

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