Legacy Of The Xan
This week I decided to try and tackle some of the direct questions and concerns concerning the soon to be released booster "Legacy Of The Xan", the Engine Upgrade, and the future of Anarchy Online. I was a little surprised at the sheer number of requests. If I did not get to your question I apologize and I will try to get through more next week.
Q - Is there any eta on the engine and how is it progressing?
The new engine is coming along well. We are slowly being able to strip out the work done by the old engine and soon all basic/core functions will be provided by the new engine entirely. The removal of the old engine means a complete removal of the old effects system...and the re-creation/improvement of all the effects in game. This is of course a very significant amount of pure time consuming work. At the same time work will be done to improve the look of the game where possible...things like character model alterations, new trees etc are all adding to the time required to get this done...and get this done right. We really want to take our time with this to make sure it lives up to all of our expectations. Our current goal is "Summer 2009". I'd like to promise it will be ready...but all I can really promise is that I will not release it until I am certain it looks amazing and is well optimized to ensure excellent performance on the vast majority of systems.
Q - Since you were previously one of the people directly responsible for change in Anarchy Online, that is to say, the guy who gets its done, rather than the guy who orders it done, and now you're the Game Director - do you find yourself taking on both roles in the team, or are you just the man in the throne now?
I definitely find myself trying to function in both roles. Making decisions and following them through on a corporate level has definitely been more time consuming than I ever could have imagined. Merely maintaining Sil's exceptional level of contact with the player base is a significant commitment...but one I will absolutely be maintaining. Hosting issues have been occupying my time lately, a permanent solution is in the works and I am certain we can all look forward to better performance in the near future. I am lucky to be surrounded by an excellent staff...one that has been hand-picked over a long time from the player base and knows what and how to get things done. Being surrounded by people I can trust has been a lifesaver during this period of transition. I have not had as much time as I would like to "get my hands dirty" as I used to. That being said I have been very impressed by the work done by the team and I look forward to seeing all the new challenges hitting the live dimensions.
Q - I'm really looking forward to the playfields but will they require the same amount of organisation (regarding gathering people) as the DB quests and instances?
A great deal of the new content is made for solo style play. It will not be necessary to organise teams for the majority of the missions. That being said there are two new team instances and a final raid instance that will definitely provide challenge for group play.
Q - How much will the booster will cost?
There are a three different price options for the booster, based around the idea of rewarding long term subscription players for their loyalty and support through the paid points system.
19.99 USD / 19.99 EURO
14.99 USD / 14.99 EURO + 500 Paid Points
9.99 USD / 9.99 EURO + 1000 Paid Points
Q - Will we be able to order the booster pack early & if so, will there be a 'reward' for doing so?
A pre-order is currently being organised and I hope to see it out inside the next week. Players who pre-order will receive the new social Hoverchair. Useable anywhere, comfortable and stylish at any social occasion. I want one for the office.
(links to renders of the Hoverchair are at the bottom of this post!)
Q - Why is this content coming out as a 'booster' & not as a normal 'update'?
This booster is significantly larger...much much larger than any normal update. The resources spent on producing this booster were significant..significant beyond what we can safely produce as a business for free. At the end of the day I have to be able to afford the amazing talents of talented coders like Enno and Macrosun to make us the new engine/features we have all been waiting for. The previous 8 significant updates made to the game have been free... we'll try to keep up that pace and pricing as long as we can. There are elements of 18.0 that will be free for all users...ie: pvp toolset updates for many professions.
Q - What can avid PVPers expect from 18.0?
PVP toolset updates and powerfull Xan Artifacts will spice up pvp in 18.0.
These are some of the basics we are working to implement in 18.0 (Available for purchase from Ofab Vendors, NOT dependant on purchase of the booster.)
Martial Artist - Single Target Fears
Engineer - AOE Knockback Mines
Fixer - Fear Immunity - NCU Cleanser
Agent - FP other's nanos
Trader - Single Target Shotgun Knockback
Crat - AOE Fears
Enforcer - Knockback Stun and Single Target Fears
Doctor - Fear Removal from Friendly Targets
Nanotech - AOE Knockback
Keeper - Fear Immunity Aura
Q - Will all the new instances/playfields and its loot be requiring to have the booster pack to enter/use?
You will need the booster to access the content of this booster.
Q - Combined Combined Combined Combined?
Not in the booster, not in a future patch. No No No. The last thing we need is more overpowered armor. Alien armor was originally concepted as something players would have one or two pieces of. The original designer of these items did not understand you guys at all.
Q - So are shades finally getting QL 280-300 Spirits?
Q - Have you at all considered making new maps for the Battlestation, given the enormous amount of time most TL7 players spend in it and since it is the only reliable easy to get to and take part in player vs player even of the entire game?
We will be looking into other pvp alternatives in the new year. Free for all arenas, team events etc. There is a great deal we can do to spice this up...I'm looking forward to it. At all level ranges.
Q - Fix for Parry/Riposte soon'ish?
Adding parry and riposte was tried 4 years ago with horrible results. It ended up making life harder for melee classes. If anything life will become easier for melee classes in the near future.
Q - Will the booster pack have new personal/global research goals?
No. It is possible later...but not in this booster.
Q - Will there be new playfields a la Pandemonium/Sector 42, which will provide guilds (and hopefully not bots) with encounters that need a higher level of organisation/skill than your average APF/DB instance pick-up-team?
There are two new team instances included in this booster and a 12-man final raid instance. The new raid interface has really opened possibilities for more guild-raid style content. I look forward to implementing some evil ideas in the new year.
Q - About pets. Mps are getting 2hr pets and what about crat? Pinetti will be still 30 minutes long? Better don't tell me your home adress, if the answer is yes.
Carlo will also be 2 hours. I live very near Oscarshall in Oslo. My dog is huge and not friendly. Better call first.
Q - Can we expect to be have fr00b Org Members allowed into our HQs?
Hopefully soon. I keep hoping we'll get this done in the near future. 18.0 is a maybe...depending entirely if we can find time.
Q - Pandemonium instance, when?
Very carefully early 2009.
Q - Old entrance hall back to game, yes or no?
Never. This area of the game represented a huge drop-off point for new players.
Q - You or one of your developers been to Croatia/Bosnia lately?
Yes. One of the new playfield names is inspired by a real world Croatian location.
Q - When will we get some solo AI content?
A great deal of the new Alien Quest line is meant to be done solo and should help significantly with AXP.
Q - Do you like puppies?
Yes. I am a dog person...My dog is currently on vacation in Sweden with my wife and kids. I miss my dog :P .
Q - Is it possible to implement an option where a sound plays anytime we get a /tell ? Sometimes I'm not paying attention or in the other room and it would be nice to hear a sound if I get a tell.
I'll think about it...but only as an option. Otherwise when I play it would sound like a slot-machine.
Q - Regarding Symbiants, do I have to redo the 2 month of twinking that took me to wear a EOE 300 again?
We have plans to significantly reduce the time spent in perk reset. This should also arrive with 18.0.
Q - If you came to Philadelphia would you come visit me to view my Powerpoint Presentation on Roleplaying's Significance to the future of Anarchy-Online?
Sorry, I would be too busy running up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and doing the Rocky dance.
Colin "Means" Cragg