I feel like it's my fault that there's no oxygen in outer space .
Then he put the peanut butter on from RIGHT to LEFT, not left to right. Can you guys see how that would infuriate me? Honesty, it puts into perspective all the other cruel things he has done to me! I'm not taking this too far am I? Right guys? ***WALL OF TEXT Disregard after this **** AO is set 30,000 years in the future, (mostly) on a planet called Rubi-Ka. Nanotechnology has been advanced far, far beyond what we can do now, of course. The game was released back in 2001 and has remained a fairly "niche" game. If graphics are a primary motivator in your game choices, AO will probably turn you off. Back when it was released, the graphics were very good for an MMO, but of course that was 9 years ago and a lot has changed. EQ2, EVE, Vanguard, Aion, and so on, all have more up-to-date graphic engines and thus much higher quality graphics - but as the old gaming saying goes "flashy graphics do not make a game good." That said, Funcom is planning to give AO a graphics engine upgrade "soon" - I'm assuming they'll use the AoC client, which of course has insanely good graphics capability.
Character creation is pretty standard fare. You select a "breed" which in other games would be called race, a "profession" (class), play a little with your character's appearance, give your character a name, and then you're on your way. That might give you the impression that AO's character development system is simple and/or shallow. It's not. In fact you can easily, truly, gimp your character. In fact, AO is the first MMO where you could really gimp your character, and is probably the reason people still fear that state of gimpiness. There is no easy, ubiquitous "respec" capability, so if you gimp your character, it may be a long, long time before you can fix - if you can at all! But more on that later.
The professions are many and varied. You've got for example the gun DPS oriented Solider and the melee tank oriented Enforcer. The pet and buff/debuff oriented Meta-Physicist. The control oriented Bureaucrat. The stealth and other-profession-mimicking Agent. The list goes on - there are a lot of professions and there's something for everyone.
The character development system. It's based on "IP", short for Improvement Points. Every level (and there are 220 levels!) you get a certain number of IP to spend - on anything! You have a few "abilities" - Strength, Stamina, Sense, Psychic, a few others - these are what other RPGs call "stats." And you have a lot of skills. Ranged Energy, Matter Metamorphosis, Nano Casting Initiative - the list goes on - there are several dozen! Each skill is affected by one of more of the base abilities, and increasing the abilities will "trickle" down and slightly increase the skills that depend on it. But to really make a skill useful you've got to spend IP on it. Everything you can increase has a certain IP cost per point of increase, and these costs are color-coded. Green means a skill or ability is very cheap to increase. At the other end of the spectrum is dark blue, meaning it's going to cost a lot of IP to increase. There's several steps in between green and dark blue - giving you a wide range of IP costs to increase things. So that's the primary means of character development. Sort of.
Your breed controls the IP costs of the base abilities. The weak, but super tech-oriented Nanomage breed has green Intelligence - meaning INT is very cheap for them to raise. But their Strength is dark blue, so STR is extremely expensive to invest in. The "big-but-dumb" Atrox have green STR and dark blue INT. The fast and agile Opifex have cheap Sense and Agility. And the "plain vanilla average" Solitus have middle-of-the-road costs for all of the base abilities.
Your profession controls the IP costs of skills. So, the nano casting oriented Nanotechnician has very cheap IP costs for his nano skills - he's supposed to raise them. But his gun and melee oriented skills are expensive. The ranged combat oriented Soldier has cheap ranged skills, a few sort of cheap nano casting skills, and so on. But you see... just because something is expensive to invest in, doesn't mean you can't! You can make a gun-using Nanotechnician. You have to plan things very carefully and know exactly what you're doing - or you end up, as mentioned before - gimping your character. But you've got the freedom to do all kinds of cool things!
Nano casting - yeah. This in other MMOs would be called spells. All professions can use nanotechnology to cast spell like effects. Your profession controls which ones you can learn and use, and there are a few "general" ones that everyone can use, though those are mostly very simple ones like tiny buffs to abilities and skills. The profession-specific ones are all themed after the profession. So Nanotechnicians get a lot of nukes. Doctors get heals and DOTs mostly. Meta-physicists get a lot of buffs, pets, nukes, debuffs, things like that. And Bureaucrats get things like "Blizzard of Red Tape" - which is a snare/root. Some of the names are very cool and very "in character" for the profession.
Gear! Everyone loves gear, right? The gear system is a little interesting too. You've got your basic armor and weapons like any other game. Armor requirements are set by abilities - certain armor requires a certain level of STR/STA or maybe INT/PSY, and so on. It's always a pair of abilities. This sort of skew armor choice to certain breeds, since the ability IP costs are controlled by breed. But again... you can do anything. Weapon requirements are set by skills. So for example a submachine gun will require a certain amount of SMG/MG skill and Burst skill to wield. And so on. But on top of that, you've also got your NCU belt and deck slots. An NCU belt is an item you equip, that hold chips, which in turn control how many NCU points you've got - which allow you to maintain buffs. NCU belts and chips all require a certain skill level in Computer Literacy, making CompLit a very important skill. Every buff in the game requires a certain number of NCU points. If you don't have enough free, you can't get the buff, unless you free some up by canceling a buff, or by equipping chips with more NCU points. Your first NCU belt will likely only have one slot for one chip, which will likely only grant another 2 or 4 NCU points. Eventually you'll have a 6 slot belt and chips equipped that give you 300 or more NCU points! Then there's implants... Heh.
You've got a number of implant slots. Head, chest, right and left arms, right and left hands, and so on. These implants can buff abilities and skills. As you can imagine, they are very important. Implant design and creation is an extremely advanced metagame and I won't go deep into it here; suffice it to say they're very important - and I'm not even going to mention symbiants. All implants have two requirements - the first being in Treatment skill. Usually they require a very high treatment skill - but treatment is easy to buff. Then there'll be an ability requirement. Some abilities are easy to buff, others not so much. The ability requirement will vary based on what ability/skill boosting clusters have been installed in to the implant.
Ok, you'll notice in the gear section all these ability/skill requirements are to equip. Once you get something equipped, it stays equipped until/unless you specifically unequip it. Are you following me? If you were to find ways to get stuff equipped, via buffing items, implants, and self- or outside buffs... you could equip things way, way, way over your current skills/abilities. And that's exactly what people do - that's one of the main cool things about the game. There's a number of fairly easy to equip low level items that buff certain things, that will then allow you to equip better stuff. Outside buffs can help. Implants can help - and you can "ladder up" implants to get even higher level ones in. The only caveat is with weapons and armor - you have to stay within (I believe) 80% of the requirements, or they lose effectiveness rapidly. But that still gives you a lot of leeway to equip absurdly high level stuff.
This metagame also applies to nano formulas ("spells"). Each nano formula will have certain requirements in order to "upload" (learn) it and to cast it. So for example, my MP's current attack pet spell requires 532 in Matter Creation and Time and Space in order to upload and cast it. I don't have 532 MC and TS. But I have self buffs that get me there. I haven't tried very hard; I'm only self-buffing to cast this pet. With outside buffs and with better implants I could cast a MUCH higher level pet. But, this pet is level 101 - and I'm only level 89. My pet "cons" red to me, and thus it can kill mobs than con red to me.
PvP. I haven't gotten into AO PvP. It's very popular, though. PvP is controlled by "suppression gas levels." 100% means no combat of any kind is possible. 75% allows aggressive mobs. It goes lower and lower down to 0% which is free for all - but there are very few FFA areas. Most PvP is done as "political PvP." You see, there are two factions vying for control - the huge mega-corporation Omni-Tek, and the rebel "Clans." You can also choose to stay Neutral, but from what I've heard you lose out on a lot of content and life is harder. All my characters are Omni-Tek. Anyway, there is PvP and people like it - a lot! I just haven't done it. Yet.
Whew. So I came back to the game, and first logged on my L89 Meta-physicist. Back when I played, I did a lot of experimenting with various weapons on him. MP's have mostly light and dark blue (EXPENSIVE!) weapon skills. I wasted a lot of IP playing around. I mentioned before, there is no easy/ubiquitous "respec" option in AO. Every certain number of levels you enter a new "title level" and get an IP reset point. That allows you to reset the IP for ONE skill or ability. That's it. Every now and then Funcom has granted a full IP reset option due to profession changes. But those are once per character and you can't "save them up." All IP resetting must be done absolutely naked. No weapons, armor, implants, NCU belt/chips - nothing. Of course, most gear is equipped based on buffs, usually outside buffs... So IP resetting is NOT something you do lightly! I had a full IPR credit... so I stripped down and did it. It wasn't too bad getting everything back on - I didn't try very hard with his gear, and so I only needed two outside buffs to re-equip, heh. That done, I went and got a mission 10 levels above my own and re-learned how to play! It was cool - I got into trouble once and had to zone out to reset aggro, but I didn't die.
More details about professions? Well, I can speak in some detail about 3, and less detail about a few more. I play mainly a Meta-Physicist - mine's level 89. I have a level 42 Agent. My wife played a Martial Artist so I can talk about that too.
Meta-Physicist is a pet class, mainly. Big surprise that's my "main" eh? In AO there's 3 pet classes, and MP is kind of the "main" one. You can have up to 3 pets at any one time, but only one of each type: attack pet, healing pet, and mezzing pet. The cool thing is, in AO, pets are separately controllable. You can order your attack pet to attack something, the heal pet to heal the attack pet, and the mez pet to mez another mob. You've also got a lot of nano casting skill buffs - MPs are always getting asked for these, as you can imagine: those buffs are the primary means that other profs cast much higher level nanos than they're ordinarily be able to cast. There's also nukes, debuffs, and a few unique things such as "Quantum Wings" which allows the MP to fly. It's a fun class.
The Agent is a stealth-oriented ranged combat class...mainly. Most people play it as a "sniper" type due to the cheap to raise Rifle and Aimed Shot skills. The Agent also gets "False Profession" nanos - these allow the Agent to temporarily "become" another profession and thus use that profession's nanos! But... with a huge downside. All the FP skills carry a gigantic casting speed debuff. You cast around... 10-20 times slower while in FP. And the FP effect is classified as "hostile", so you can't just "click it off" at will - you have to wait it out, and they last 30 minutes. But it does allow you to do some pretty cool things nonetheless.
Martial Artists kick ass, with their bare hands. Usually. There are weapons they can use for cheap IP investment but most just use their hands. Their nanos are mostly skill buffs, some heals, and some crit buffs. Fun stuff.
Engineers have robot pets. Bureaucrats also have robot pets, and can charm - and can have a robot and 2 charmed pets (from separate charm lines - one "stable" and the other "unstable") at once. Fixers run really fast and spray people with lead from their submachine guns. Ummm, Soldiers shoot people. Enforcers smack bitches up. There's a lot of other profs too... Heh.
******End of wall of text********
Does anyone else feel this way?
Response> Yes ** goes off to talk about themselves **
Original poster> Omg you guys understand me, I love you!
*Cries* You are so mean. You don't appreciate what I say. What is wrong with you? You're the one with a cold heart because you don't know what depth means. *Starts to get emotional* You don't know the meaning of life.I hate this thread! I miss the old PerC :crying: You guys are so shallow! We used to talk about meaningful things, like the time I went to the dentist, and he bragged about killing animals, and I was so shocked! I mean, how could anyone be so cruel as to shoot a poor, defenseless animal, and be proud of it?! People are so evil!
(Post gets thanked by 4-8 people)