What new games can learn from Anarchy Online.

This post at biobreak got me looking back at the history of mmos and how they have evolved, specifically Anarchy Online.  If you look at the games that were out during the time that AO was released you had UO, EQ, and AC. These were the 3 big ones during that time.

AO released with a very unique feature that solved the camping problem that existed in EQ and AC (UO really did not have this problem) their solution was instanced quests. This was the first time that I know of instancing was used. It was and still is a great system. You search through various missions until you find one that gives you a reward you can use, you accept it and head out and do it. It is completely randomly generated and offers a very nice quick way to get some xp.

Another thing that AO had that was unique was its very complex implant and spell system (I don’t remember the actual name for it) with this system and a lot of planning you could increase your stats in ways that would let you equip equipment that was above your level and it became a mini game trying to equip this piece of sweet armor. You would buff yourself so you could equip the implants so you could equip the equipment.

It was the most complex thing I have ever learned in a video game and am not sure I would have the patients today. But this gave you a way to customize your character that goes far beyond what is available in today’s WoW clones.

Looking back at these old games and what they had to offer I begin to think that the new games have less to offer than the old ones. The newer games may contain more quests but they do not offer the variety of activities that the old games did.

Look at Aion you get new spells every 3 levels! In WAR you can’t even craft your own armor. WoW comes the closest in features but still pales in comparison to the character customization that was available in AO, UO or AC. None of these have player housing.

A selectable random quest system would be a welcome addition to any of these games. It would allow you to log in and get a quick bit of xp and loot and log out. It could be added to any of the current games without much of a problem.

Housing while good on paper is not really needed with the current games. There is no reason to be in your home. In UO/SWG you could set up vendors display your rares and craft there. This has all gone away and been replaced with an auction house and central crafting hubs.

While I like the Idea of housing the way it is currently implemented in new games with instances is really lame. The houses need to be placed in the playing world and need to be limited. This will give the players something else to strive for and will help create a better player driven economy.

I realize that there are new games out there that have a lot of these features, DarkFall and FallenEarth are 2 for example that have a lot of the stuff that those games had. But these 2 games are not mainstream games and will never be.

Can a theme park game be created that also has all these old features in them? I believe that most games can take these features and make the game a better more vibrant world. I also think that the game that does kill WoW will figure out a way to merge all of these open world features with a theme park game.  This will let the game be accessible for the masses, yet deep enough to last past the month that most games last now.


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