Information & Concerns for the Fresh Progression Server

Hey folks,

EDIT: The Server is live - it releases today without much fanfare or warning.

You can see the FAQ here - RK2019 FAQ, Read me!

Just a heads up, this is going to be a long one.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about - a Fresh Progression Server for Anarchy Online has been officially announced on Anarchy Online’s facebook. The information we currently have is from responses to that post and an hour-long stream of AO which can be found here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/387600500.

I’m equal parts excited and concerned about the announcement of a Fresh Start Progression server for Anarchy Online. My guess is a lot of other people are in the same boat but as of now, I haven’t seen my concerns voiced other than in chat. I wanted to generally lay out my concerns and invite other folks on the forums to do the same. The information we know currently is quite limited and while I know that there’s more information to come, I’ve never been of the opinion that it’s valuable to wait and see - so I’d rather lay out my concerns in advance.

The general information we have is as follows. If I’ve missed anything important, please let me know and I’ll be sure to add it. This was all written off of the top of my head.

  • The fresh server is for paid players only.
  • It will be a progression server (The expansions will release sequentially with only the base game being available at launch, not even Notum Wars at launch).
  • There won’t be a code rollback - meaning most modern systems will be in.
  • There will be a rolling level cap (As an example, though we don’t have real details on it - a possibility would be that in the first month of the server launch the level cap is 60, which then increases to 100 the next month).
  • Heckler Juice and Character Transfers won’t be available. All other shop items and paid services are unknown.
  • There will be a unique armor set (Serpentine Armor) available for people who play on the new server.
  • Arete Landing will be replaced by the Old Backyards which will be accessed through the original Landing Hall.
  • The server will work with either the new or old client
  • At the moment, there are no plans for name reservations on the new server.
  • Daily Missions will be disabled until a later time (Unconfirmed when).
  • There will be exclusive cosmetics on the new server to incentivize play.
  • There will be a daily login reward system to incentivize play on the 2019 Server.
  • The first Level Cap is 10
  • GMI isn’t available at the start

With all of that said, onto my concerns. I’m not suggesting that I speak for the community as a whole, but this announcement has left me with serious concerns regarding the implementation. This could be an amazing opportunity for Anarchy Online or, it could be yet another missed opportunity for AO.

  1. Subscription Fees - Subscription Fees for AO are among the highest on the market and for Europeans, they are by far the highest on the market. I love AO and have been playing it since January 2002, but it’s a hard sell trying to convince new players to spend this amount monthly for a nearly 20-year-old game. A fresh server will be reliant on a large retained population to thrive and the Subscription fees remaining as they are is a preventative for new blood being brought into AO. I appreciate that this is a tired complaint at this point, but I believe Funcom needs to seriously reevaluate the monthly costs prior to launching a fresh server.

  2. Exploits - Everyone who considers themselves an AO veteran knew this would be on the list. There are a large number of exploits with devastating consequences which need to be addressed prior to the launch of a fresh server. In particular, duping. The economy on the live server wasn’t destroyed due to years of ingots and S7 nodrops half as much as duping. Duping is what has destroyed the live economy and there need to be assurances that it will be monitored carefully.

  3. Botting - Multiboxing has always been a hot topic in Anarchy Online’s history, but regardless of your views on MBing - Botting is an insidious playstyle which destroys the game. There are currently automated bots for leveling, farming, and practically every other aspect of play. Preventing botting is an impossibility, but policing it isn’t. There need to be assurances made that bots aren’t going to destroy this server.

  4. Content - A Fresh Progression server will keep players occupied quite some time. The process of leveling up multiple new characters to max and getting the gear needed for an end-game setup could take a year or two depending on activity and the timeline for expansion releases, but the game has been lacking in meaningful content updates for years. For some die-hard fans, this is enough - but for new players, this is a mark of death on the game. If we know, in advance, that larger content releases are planned then at the very least this can appear to be a fresh start for the game and not a delay of death.

  5. Announcement - Anarchy Online’s Steam debut was handled terribly. I doubt anyone would or could argue this point with any rationality. There was no real announcement as to the date, there was no marketing push to get new players or old players to return, and it reeked to everyone who witnessed it as a cash grab. The new server needs to marketed properly. We need an official launch date weeks, if not months, in advance. There needs to be a progressive release of information and hype leading up to the launch. This needs to be loud from day 1 or it will fail. A lesson from Funcom’s development history is that there’s little to make up for a poor launch.


EDIT: I’m going to continue to add frequent concerns voiced that I see here, on the AO Reddit, and the AO Discord. These are not all concerns I have, but it seems more valuable to have a compiled list - so if it’s said often I’ll try to add it to the list and express the concern to the best of my ability.

  1. Names - It seems there’s a number of people concerned by the possibility that they could lose their names on the new server. A name reservation system or, perhaps, locking names to the account they’re currently on for the live server for a certain period (perhaps 1 week) would be a solution to this concern.

  2. Serpentine Armor - A large part of the Anarchy Online experience is cobbling together the best gear you can manage with the limited supplies you have. This is especially true on a server free of the economy of the live server. If Serpentine Armor scales too well and is consistently the best or even simply the easiest option, it will invalidate a large number of alternate gearing options.

  3. Cash Shop - Even with Heckler Juice confirmed not to be available at the start, there are a large number of benefits available in the Item Store which could lessen the gameplay experience of starting from scratch. Anything which offers character progression opportunities certainly fits within this category, but going even further - something a large number of Veteran AO players remember is the struggle for their Yalm. If flying is as simple as spending a few dollars on the Item Shop it could diminish a portion of the experience to many. Clarity on precisely what will and won’t be available in the Item Shop will allow people to comment further on their individualized concerns. There are way too many options in the Item Shop, so it really needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

  4. Veteran Points - This is something I realized in parallel to the Item Shop concerns. If Veteran rewards persist on the new server a large number of aspects of play will be invalidated. Vehicles, Token Packs, and or even available Healing Labs.

  5. Multiboxing - I was reluctant to add this to the list given how troublesome a topic it is, but the reality is that regardless of how you feel about it - there are significant concerns being voiced by many in the community that hostile multi-boxing could/will have a substantially negative impact on the new server experience. Perhaps clarity on abuse cases would be valuable - in particular by aiming to alleviate concerns that multiboxers with 6+ accounts will lock down massive aspects of the open world, given that for RK, in particular, a significant amount of gear comes from open world bosses with lengthy spawn timers and low drop rates.


These are my big concerns and I’m sure they exist for a lot of other players as well. As there isn’t currently a thread for this purpose, please respond with your thoughts on the Fresh Progression Server as well as your concerns. The optimist in me wants this to work, I love Anarchy Online and being able to play in a living world for it as opposed to the husk the live servers have turned into is unbelievably exciting - but it would be all too easy for this to be the last note from Anarchy Online. A fresh server is risky, especially when it requires a paid subscription. We’re going to be tearing the community apart, so if this is going to happen (which it is, there’s no going back from their announcement) let’s try to come together and provide as much information as possible in the hopes the FC listens.

Who knows if they will, but at least I’ll know I’ve tried.

Regards,
Ryahask

9 Likes

Good job with the bullet pointed list of information, there should be an official post with that info in it! lol

While I don’t agree completely with your list of concerns(multiboxing, botting, and exploits are a part of MMOs, an uphill battle that the devs can only react to with their limited resources, and subscriptions help keep out trolls and cheaters) I do 100% agree about your last concern, “The Announcement” part. While I enjoyed the stream announcement they also need something here on the forums, something on the main AO page, an update on the steam page, and maybe advertise it on the launchers for all their other games and maybe even push some press releases to mainstream gaming sites. Most mmos suffer from lack of advertising/marketing, especially AO! Marketing it as the oldest/longest running/best scifi MMO all over the web and the population could explode. If you go to google and search “anarchy online” and go to the “news” tab, the last piece of real news after this new server was from 2015! i th ink advertising the game more would go a long way because there is definitely demographic out there wanting scifi MMOs who have still probably never heard of AO who would give it a shot in a heartbeat if they knew about it.

Also. Hire that Callos guy to make official advertisements and intro guides!

Yeah, it kind of blew my mind when I heard the news. I questioned whether it was real or not at first because I didn’t see any formal announcements anywhere.

And it’s totally okay that you have a different view of the concerns. We’re a pretty diverse bunch who play AO - I just wanted to try to put together a thread where we clearly can all come together and comment on what we see as the likely pitfalls.

I do want to make a quick point on Subscriptions. I realized I wasn’t clear on my views on them. I totally support them having them, I just hope they reevaluate the cost - at the very least for our Euro players who have been paying 15 Euros for far too long.

As for your last point, I totally agree - not specifically on Callos (Not that I would mind him being involved), but more in the spirit. They should be wrangling in community support to help spread the word and they should be keeping active engagement high with the new release.

I was extremely excited at first and ready to open old acccounts from left and right and then B L A M !!! cash shop completely kills it.

maybe next year ,real fresh start please,pretty please ?

-Still mongoretired-

One thing that I am concerned about is if the progression is too fast. Personally I want to experience all the endgame froob content, such as mercenaries or biodome as froob-only, something that would be entirely impossible on the live server. However I do expect that most people probably won’t have the patience for this, so perhaps progressing faster than most people could get to level 200 as froob (for example) is for the best.

I am generally really excited for this server though. I am a bit concerned about the armor set that will be given out, as it will probably make farming most armor completely pointless. Outsite that I do not think cash shop items will ruin the experience very much. Also, seeing a lowered sub cost with some more advertising of the event would surely make this a success :smiley:

2 Likes

Great work on that list @Ryahask, nice compilation of all the info we have so far.

Personally I don’t really see the issue with the item store. It’s mostly a way for casuals to catch up with the rest so they can get tokens, a yalmaha and some average leveling gear without working for it. We can just ignore it if we feel it cheapens the experience.

I feel that this new serpentine armour should be a cool social armour and that’s it. I feel that the scailing armour will take so much away from the experience, no looking for nice bits of armour to upgrade to and make others think about there build/gear instead it will all just be shop food.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people and our greatest worry is our names, will they be safe or will people get them first just to troll other people ? We would like some clarification on that to make people feel comfortable about not having to be on the first minute.

most players seem to want legacy PvP system I know the geezer on the stream said they would look at it.

The major thing is the items store, we don’t want to be seeing tokens, breed changes, victory points and twinking cans in there yet at least untill most people have hit max LVL on 1 toon. Sure fc will need to make money but it will ruin it for a lot of us, maybe lowering the subscription to intise more new/returning players you would make more by lowering it than you would keeping it the same.

As for multi boxes we don’t want to see mb’s at the start of the new server monopolizing aspects of the game others hope to achieve and do with their orgs, I know fc probably can’t stop mbing on the new server just hope they look into what they can do to make it fairer.

As for sub only server I kinda feel for the froobs on this it’s like your forcing them to go paid, and all us paid players need froobs around. I can’t imagine not having people like deylaw to talk to and help us buff, its like you are segrigating a good chunk of the community.

7 Likes

I really hope that FC backs down on the scheduled progression. What we really want is a return to pre-SL RK, not a game that will end up where we are in a year and then close (if they do go ahead with closing the server, which would be a horrible idea - most of us have been playing for more than a decade, we aren’t interested in a short term thing).

Please leave the time to enjoy classic AO, not rush us to AI/LE. The fr00b experience is obviously something players LOVE right now. Understand that, build upon it.

2 Likes

I totally agree with this. I don’t know if the reason this paid account requirement is technical (e.g. because of how they plan to unlock expansions) or for some other reason like preventing cred sellers and multiboxers. If it’s the second, I’d love it if they would also allow froob accounts with a certain level main on the current server.

3 Likes

I totally agree, it would be good if they let at least 1 hour or even just 30 minutes of gameplay, and then say “If you enjoyed it and want to continue then subscribe” a bit like Blizzard does with WoW.

It would be an idea to block trading amongst other things to prevent people who want to abuse the game while staying Froob on the Reborn server.

I’ve added a few other concerns based on thoughts seen in the thread as well as others seen on Discord.

I completely agree that we need to make the transition as smooth as possible for the playerbase. I understand why FC wants it to be a paid only server, but if that’s deemed necessary - perhaps allow Froobs to be grandfathered in based on an account with characters of a certain level prior to ‘x’ date as suggested within this thread, or at the very least lower the subscription cost to try to incentivize the swap to a paid player as well as aiming to bring in new players. Alternatively, create a trial system specifically for the Server to at least allow a Froob account to try it out and see what they’re missing out on.

AO needs every active player we can get for the new server to work and I maintain a concern that the high monthly sub cost will act as a gatekeeper to many with interest, but who are on the fence.

1 Like

My main concerns.

  1. Exploits and item duplicating I have been told that item duplication still exists quite recently. This will destroy the whole point of the new server.

  2. Multiboxing - People muliboxing will have an extreme advantage in both pvp and pvm. This also destroys the whole point of the new server.

  3. The Reck and other playfields - Allowing access to The Reck straight off the bat is not a good idea. Dog of War and Skawts are extremely good weapons and do not accurately recreate the experience of old school vanilla AO. I personally believe even Inner Sanctum and Crypt of Home should be blocked for a little bit too.

I believe it is worth delaying the launch of the new server to sort out this issues as you only have one go at this and no one wants it to be bad.

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About them sub fees.
They are same for years right? Do you make same money for these years? I very doubt that.
I have been playing AO since 2005 and I remember that I was not sure if I should go from fr00b to paid because of the fee. 17Eur was a lot for me then.
I make three times more money than 2005 so basicaly for me, the game is three time cheaper than before. And I can tell you that in our country almost everything is two times expensive as it was at 2005. So I am actualy glad that AO fees are still the same. I am just saying how I feel it, I realy care less about monthly fees than before.

Demorya

My main concern is the monthly price, that I cannot afford, and the cash shop. Minor concern is what will happen to our characters in this new temporary server once/if it shuts down.

I agree with Tempzz that scaling armor & scaling weapons(new prototype ofabs?) don’t belong in this game. Why camp, farm or buy any gear when you cast just right click to upgrade your current gear and simply click it on because it has so low requirements? Just because other MMO’s have it doesn’t mean AO should.

There is no word on this yet, but I don’t like if token packs are in the cash shop from the beginning. We’ll be stuck grinding RK missions for tokens and having those token packs in the shop feels like a cash crab. Maybe increase token gain from RK missions slightly?

As a side note, I think premade implant booths needs taking a look at. There are too much completely useless implants there. This would benefit both new and old servers and make the progression easier for new players.

I’m really excited for the fresh server, but these are some serious concerns they need to address.

How about officially banning multiboxing, and acting on reports of all multiboxers that are caught (Maybe be lenient with it and allow people to dual log up to 2/3 characters at a time, but no more).

Also: I’m really against ‘leveling armor’ that lasts more than just the early levels. These kind of easy-mode items completely take away the experience of equipping your character. Admittedly, armor choices pre-150 suck or are prohibitavely, and it would be nice to fill the gaps there, however please don’t make it as effective as standard choices like carb, predator armor, or reactive armor etc.

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My concern with the Item shop is people using that to boost their characters faster than everyone else and - this is the important bit in an open world game - monopolising outdoors content with untouchable characters gained through literally paying to win. Spawn-camping with stuff of much better quality, thanks to the shop, than players playing without dropping the cash can farm for themselves in the same amount of time. It’s not just about Heckler Juice.

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I find it somewhat strange that nobody’s concerned that the lack of froobs in the new server effectively means that there is no bots. Can you imagine playing AO without any basic org bot functionality or helpbot or raidbots to distribute loot? No bot keeping track on who’s online on your org? Friendlist is very limited in that function as it lacks the ability to keep track of alts etc.

If people is supposed to raid the RK stuff the oldschool way that requires a lot more than one team full of people for stuff like Mercs or HI etc. Doing that without any sort of raidbot-like functionality to distribute loot seems way too much drama for my tastes.

To me that’s one of the biggest concerns.

The sub fee is a twofold issue since i’ve almost always paid the 1 year sub thus the cost per month is not that bad, but i don’t think any new player ever is going to pay a year in advance to try out a 17 year old game. And the one month sub is over 17€ in most EU countries because of the VAT.

As a sidenote. I don’t understand the people who look the old pvp title system through rose tinted glasses and want that back. Don’t they really remember how completely discouraging that was? Everyone with a title avoided casual pvp like a plague out of fear of losing their precious title.

Pfffffft, one year of chat bot functionality is just 109.71€

But good point, when my old org chat bot went away in 2015 and we didn’t knew who ran it, I went to buy a Raspberry Pi 2 the same day and set up a bot on it, because having no bot is terrible.

  1. as for beeing one of those who started playing this game very early after release i have tons of vet points.
    And i personaly dont think we ned Vet points on the new progression server.
    there is no point to start from scratch if you basicly dont start from scratch if you can buy benefits such as yalm.
    i hope itemstore is block the first mounth or two to not ruin the point of equal start and to give us a struggle.

  2. my 2nd concern is that i dont think we ned a level cap, it will just make those players that is experienced unpatience.
    and it will just make chaos on certain playfields, let the people level up in the speed they want up to 200.
    with level locks you gonna have overcrowded zones and allot of drama with noobs vs experienced players fighting over and over for a kill and there will be no natural flow to the levling.

  3. the reck i hope to see closed untill notum wars release, becose it will bring to much broken items to the table that doesnt fit in a progression server when you want us to experience the old days all over.

This post is a mess. I’ll clean it up later.

Everquest is the gold standard for progression server models. I simply can’t remember all the variants on offer. They have time locked, voted locked, unlocked by flagging in quest progression(?). They never allow F2P on progression servers. They allow people to multibox but there are certain restrictions they enforce. Emphasis on enforcement. They didn’t have the broker/auctionhouse/bazaar until the unlock for that specific expansion launched which was cool - because that one thing made people interact on gear sales. It’s much harder to conceal a farming crew when they have to be logged in and selling stuff to other players real time.

I’m wondering:

People will multibox to get to whatever the level limit is - and those multiboxers want to get to Tarasque and RK unique spawns like PVH and McNugget and will those unique spawns be on long or short spawn timers? Because owning the timers is a huge bone of contention between multiboxers, power guilds and even small but very organized groups of friends. I remember Pax Romana owning the major unique boss spawn timers on RK2 for months and months and months. No one could get any drops outside of that org.

Multiboxing in RK team missions? Eh, I’m just not bothered by that sort of thing.

So many questions. Things that got nerfed in Everquest because they were deemed too powerful at the time were allowed back on progression servers for a limited period of time. Will the original crit scopes be back for a limited time? What about the newer weapons like Caterwaul and X-3? Those two weapons were added after SL was released. Will they be profession locked? What about comp nano’s? Will ICC be the hub?