Friday with Means - July 10th, 2009 - Stims, Neutrals, Content and Vacation
I am on vacation this coming week with my sister here in Oslo for a visit...so next week's update from me might perhaps be a little "thin"...but anb in-game update should be arriving next week to address some of the recent issues both from 18.1 and earlier.
To start off this week let me say this about the "Stims": A few people get some more XP than others...or some pay market value credits for the priviledge. Fine. If this was the biggest issue we had at the moment and was deserving of all this attention and drama...then I think AO would be in fantastic shape. I however am going to take this more as "symptom" of problems within the game...the effort required to level through 200 regular levels, 20 Shadowlevels, 30 Alien levels and 70 lines of personal research is enough that it has become essential to "shortcut" this as much as possible. Making this long leveling issue less painfull is the real issue that needs to be addressed...not these stims. We have been discussing this issue for quite some time...some action will need to be taken in the near future.
After long thought and discussion with both neutral and sided players alike I am preparing to move forward with some actual action on this issue. This will consist of two separate actions:
1. High-level side change forms will become available to neutral players.
These forms will require significant sided faction to use (meaning the work to establish faction as a sided player can not be skipped.). Once the neutral player has chosen a side, they will receive their sided token board and will be able to obtain tokens in exactly the same manner as a sided player. This is fair.
2. The current power gap will be "Narrowed".
It was always intended that neutral as a side should, as primarily an RP choice, not be an equal power to the two main factions of Omni and Clan. The existance of a third alternative makes for interesting politicking within the population and leads to unforseen changes in the immediate balance of power. This will continue to be true in the forseeable future. However, the "gap" between the sided factions and neutrals in terms of individual character power has widened over the last few years with the addition of certain neck items. Neutrals who wish to remain Neutral will have the opportunity to obtain items that will narrow this gap to the previous reasonable levels.
Both these two actions will be included in the very near future...though unfortunately not in next week's planned update...the one after that should be reasonably certain.
While next week's update will consist almost entirely bug-fixing here is what you can expect to see very soon after. (Despite most of the team on vacation in the near future.)
- The first new nightclub in many years will be opened with appropriate fanfare and an event on the new space station.
- The new 150-200 instance style solo/team playfield is nearing completion and is currently beginning testing on the test realm.
- The first of a network of daily missions to speed up leveling and add variety to the journey.
- More balancing changes.
Next week will not see the +500 Full Auto issue fixed unfortunately. It has proven to be a larger change than originally thought to get this band-aid type temporary measure in place. We have been having discussions regardling the larger changes required to return fixers to what makes them special and hope to include the fixer community in these discussions in the very near future. We all want to see the fast moving hacker/slicer type class working the way it should and standing apart from the other choices....what makes fixers special seems to have been lost along the way...we need to find it again and bring it back.
With numbers the way they were in the survey I fully understand that some of you are unhappy with our decision to make efforts to revitalize the server and not immediately enable methods of leaving it. We will be making efforts over the next three months at increasing the populations/activity on this and all servers...should our efforts not succeed in bringing activity up to a reasonable level and increase player satisfaction then we will consider other options and move forward with a plan. The efforts or the german server to ease the experience of new players is commendable...the new player private chat channel is an excellent idea. Character Transfer or other options might have to be executed at some point in time...I just do not believe we are there yet without ever making a specific effort to alleviate the issue. Closing a server is a big decision and not one to be considered lightly. Allowing "some" players to leave easily would have disasterous effects on the population that decides to stay. I refuse to open the parachute before jumping out of the plane.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Colin "Means" Cragg
This friday with Means can also be found in the Anarchy Online Forums.