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Letter from the Game Director: 5 October 2007

A message today from Game Director Craig 'Silirrion' Morrison going over the new paid points system, new player recruitment, Halloween, and other game developments.

Hello again, it’s that time when you get to listen to me explaining a little about our most recent efforts and what we have in store for you all. I enjoy doing these letters to the community and hope that you guys are enjoying reading them!

The New Paid Points System

Next week will see the release of the 17.6 Update that brings with it the new vehicles and the paid points system.

I am really pleased with how the team have made these items look and work, they really have pulled out all the stops in terms of pushing what’s possible with our game engine and giving you all some amazing new vehicles. We are all really looking forward to seeing how they are received. (The days before an update are always a nervous time for the dev team!)

The paid points will be available for purchase once the update hits the live dimensions and will be priced at 1$ / Euro per 100 points and will be available in multiples of 1000 points. When we go live with the update you’ll be able to get your hands on the points in 1000, 2000, and 3000 denominations.

These points can then be transferred to the characters on your account, so that each character can then spend the same number of points independently (i.e. each character gets all the points to spend), so if you want to try different items for different characters you are free to do so!

There will also be the opportunity to purchase the previous pre-order exclusive items directly from the billing pages. These are exclusive items that many loyal players hold dear and we most definitely appreciate that. However there are also many players who joined after they were available so giving them the option of paying for them if they want to have them is something that we thought was a suitable solution since people do keep asking if these items would be available again.

At the top level, this kind of system is designed to allow people to take as little or as much of the content as they like. There will also though be a series of special bundles available that allow you to get savings on the items by buying them. These bundles will give you a collection of the items at a cheaper price then buying them all individually. As a special launch offer there will also be an extra special bundle that allows you to pick up every single one of the new vehicles for just 2000 points. This pack will be a ‘time limited’ offer for the 17.6 update so won’t be in the vendor forever, so if you want them all make sure you take advantage of it while it’s there! (We will of course give good notice of when it will be removed!)

I’ve read various threads back and forth on the forums asking why these vehicles aren’t stat increasing items or give actual game-play benefits. We have said from the outset with this particular project that we didn’t want to create a situation where gameplay was affected by the size of your bank balance, and that has been a vital part of the development. These are purely social items, designed to look cool and be a little fun addition. Sure, they won’t be to everyone’s tastes, and that’s fine, after all we wouldn’t ever know for sure if it’s something people appreciate unless we try it.

We feel that it’s an area that life on Rubi-Ka lends itself to very well. We have always strived to find new and innovative ways to keep the game thriving and running on it’s own steam and we think this adds a nice optional element that can provide some cool new additions for players while also providing some additional revenue for the game which always helps us in continuing to add more updates and additions to the game.

Getting into Anarchy!

On that theme the new paid points system is not all that has changed with the launch of the new billing system either! We have also introduced some great new offers to enable players to upgrade from free accounts that have generally made it easier to join up and start experiencing everything that Anarchy Online has to offer. If you are a free player you can log into your account page and check them out, there really has never been a better time to dive in and explore all of Rubi-Ka!

Game Updates

So moving on, what are we working on for game updates at the moment?

The last week or so has seen us polishing up the new items and content for the Halloween events. Halloween is always a very special time on Rubi-ka, and I personally hold many of my favorite AO memories from my time as a player. This year we will have a great selection of new novelty and social items as well as some of the old favorites and even a new variety of our Halloween visitors that will be out to cause some havoc during the holiday! Hopefully there will be some fun to be had whatever your tastes!

With that complete and waiting to go out the team are busily working on the 17.7 quest series that will be based on Rubi-ka. It has been really fun to get back to the original game world and make content for the older zones again. It’s actually a nice challenge for the designers as it makes us think about the original locations again (and finding spots to send people can also be a challenge in itself with the tower fields, player cities and unique spawns to consider!)

Some of these quests will also roll into the ongoing mysteries that have been revealed through the Shadowlands quests, the continued alien presence in the Outzone and also from the recent re-emergence of the Dust Brigade, a threat to Rubi-Ka is looming and we really think you guys are going to have a lot fun piecing it all together.

I am also very pleased to see that people seem to appreciate the focus we have put on resolving many of the older smaller issues in each of the recent updates. I think its an important element in each update that we can go back and take a look at some of the older items and abilities and fix some of the older inconsistencies and errors. These are often the things that always got pushed back due to other tasks, but with the new team onboard and a slightly different structure then we had before it has allowed the designers to go through and address some of these things. It helps tremendously that virtually all of the development team are now ex-players who we have recruited from the playerbase. We all care passionately about the game and I am very proud of the effort they have all been putting in to balance creating new content with also looking back at the older stuff.

Lastly, one area we are looking at for the 17.8 update is reworking some of the PVP title systems and how they work. We are currently throwing ideas about and the coders and designers are going through seeing where we can change and improve these systems with a couple of goals in mind.

Firstly, we want to move away from the gameplay element where always avoiding death is paramount to the dedicated PVP players. Death should of course have some consequence, but it shouldn’t be the overriding consideration when you engage someone as it has become today.

Secondly we want to introduce a system that rewards both solo and team PVP so that teaming isn’t seen as something unnecessary (or even worse detrimental!) in PVP. We might also look at improving the system for ‘dueling’ so that we can have true duel options without outside interference. It’s early days at the moment as we go through a few initial designs, but it is coming together piece by piece so I wanted to put the thought out there so that you folk know that we are working on it as it’s something that has been mentioned time and time again as something the players would like to see us address.

That’s it for now, there are exciting times ahead and we hope you all join us for the journey!

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