Of Horrible Launches

Did you know that Anarchy Online is still … online, 12 years later? Most current MMO players started after its launch, so they missed that debacle. It is polite of current developers to give us a nostalgic look back, acting like it is 2001 and wondering if enough players have dial-up modems to play their always-online games.

: Zubon

Engi Census

Playing the Steam free game of the weekend, I have come to wonder: how many games have an Engineer that builds a turret; how many games have an Engineer that does not build a turret; and how many games have a non-Engineer that builds a turret. (I think I will avoid counting Warhammer Online’s Magus and units/classes that “summon” rather than “build.” I’m unclear whether the Raven builds, summons, or do we count “deploy”?) Was there some first game that set the standard that Engineer = build a sentry gun? It feels like engineers and self-directed turrets have become a standard game item, but perhaps exploring some examples will reverse this. I keep finding near-hits, where perhaps they consciously avoided calling the turret-builder an Engineer in recent games. I wonder if non-builder Engineers are also intentional aversions? Inventory below the break, please contribute in the comments.

Edit: let’s see what happens if we add in enemies that do the same, some of which may mirror heroes. Continue reading Engi Census

Morrowind Singularity

I am reading Vernor Vinge’s Marooned in Realtime, the well-known book about people who missed The Singularity. Last night, a character explained how an intelligence explosion works. You find ways to improve intelligence; you use that enhanced intelligence to improve intelligence further; repeat as necessary. At some point, you figure out the fundamental principles of the universe and build your own using common household items.

Anarchy Online and Asheron’s Call players have their own recursive self-improvement. Cast your level 5 spells to buff your stats, which lets you wear better equipment, which lets you cast level 6 spells, which lets you wear better equipment… That process caps due to game design choices like diminishing returns and spell durations, as opposed to the intelligence explosion, which is self-accelerating.

Only this morning did I learn that Morrowind includes intelligence explosion as a mechanic. You can beat the game in less than fifteen minutes, starting with the step “Create and drink Fortify Intelligence in batches of 5.” It is like having a skill that grants you bonus experience every time you earn experience, where you improve that skill by earning experience.

And now I have the compulsion to re-read Godel, Escher, Bach.

: Zubon

Happy 7th, Anarchy Online

Anarchy Online turned 7 years old on June 27th. Happy (belated) Birthday!

May 3, 2001- Funcom proudly announces that the Anarchy Online release date for North America will be on June 27, 2001. Anarchy Online will be the first game in years to take up competition with the existing online worlds of Ultima Online (Electronic Arts), EverQuest (Sony) and Asheron’s Call (Microsoft).

The release of Anarchy Online will mark a milestone on the massively multi-player online gaming arena. Not only is Anarchy Online the first online world in a science fiction setting, the game also promises exceptional graphics and a gaming world that gives the phrase “dynamic gaming environment” a brand new meaning. It will also be the first in the upcoming second generation of 3D massively multi-player online games.

“Online games are the future of the industry, and a subscription based business model will in some years become a common platform for making money,” says Funcom president Andre Backen. “Funcom has been working on Anarchy Online since 1996 and considers this the most ambitious project the industry has yet seen with over 70 employees dedicated to working on this game.”

– Ethic

Launch Recovery

Reading some words about Vanguard, I wondered how many of us form an impression of a game/company at launch and rarely look back. Is there any conceivable chain of events that would lead to my paying for Horizons? I am surprised that I gave Asheron’s Call 2 a shot.

The games can be entirely different a couple of years later, with few or none of the original developers or producers still on the project. They may have fixed all the old bugs and put in great new content, but I just see World War II Online… wait, let’s try a longer one with lots of swearing: World War II Online. A failed game launch is like a failed shuttle launch: all I see is a fiery explosion, and I don’t want to be the next passenger after you have duct-taped it together.

: Zubon

I hear WWII Online is doing better these days.

Month ‘n a day.

December 13, 2006 marked the launch date for Anarchy Online’s either third or fourth expansion pack Lost Eden. So, what does it do? Well, like any game out these days, it has to rip off some element of World of Warcraft. Since AO has always been an attempt at a pvp-centric game, they introduced a “battlestation.” Yes, a rip off so obvious Funcom didn’t even change the name enough to make it seem like it was anything else but.

Continue reading Month ‘n a day.

Funcom delivers

For those interested in looking at the 16.3 patch notes, you can check out the link here.

And since I enjoy keeping abreast of Funcom’s mishaps, I’ll keep updating this post as I see more and more issues pop up. And today’s issues are some good ones.

Today’s patch 16.3 did… something special. The faction system introduced with The Shadowlands managed to get broke. Mobs of one faction are giving their opposite faction. Excellent. The servers were up probably for 2-3 hours, and then taken back down. (No exact time, as I was at class when this all happened.) As the title states, Funcom delivers.

Continue reading Funcom delivers

Three years and patch 16.3

Saturday, August 26th, turned out to be my three-year anniversary for subscribing to Anarchy Online. Yes, I freely admit that it’s not that much. Nor is it three years of consecutive playing time – I’ve taken several extended breaks from the game. But it’s still an achievement. It’s even more interesting to think that three years prior I didn’t even know what an MMO was, much less any other acronym that I know freely throw around these days.

Continue reading Three years and patch 16.3

Another Breath of Life

During the last few weeks, when I wasn’t busy at work, a friend managed to indirectly convince me to roll an alt in AO. I’m sick of alts. I love twinking, but I hate leveling up, going through the same dull content I’ve gone through for three years now… all that. But this time it’s a bit different. This time around there is a little bit of competition.

Continue reading Another Breath of Life

So why do you still do it…? (Part 1)

*Opens the bible of MMOS.* Quote from the book of Jealousy and Anger, chapter 37, section 13:

“The keyboards of Jealousy and Anger’s followers were sent asunder as a divine hand came smashing down in anger. The hallowed and sacred word ‘Twink’ followed a string of holy expletives uttered in praise from the lips of their followers as their cult was smote by the unholy and pixilated avatar.”

Continue reading So why do you still do it…? (Part 1)