I have been playing AO on and off since about 2009. AO has never been beginners-friendly. It is a very complex game, with very little tutorial or information in the beginning.
I am not going to talk about the “noob-island”, in the beginning, but what comes after. I know many of these are well known “problems” about the game, and probably something that has been overlooked by FC for years. Although some of the things I come with is very easy to change, so I thought i just write them here - just in case. Feel free to come with comments on what you think =)
1: Make a universal subway.
All subways across AO should lead to the same instance (zone). This is because of the drop in population. Now the subway is basically empty all across AO. By this I mean that it does not matter if you enter Subway in Rome, Athens, Newland, Borealis - whatever, you all enter the same zone.
2: Make implants cheaper
Implants are expensive. After the rework of the implant-store in Borealis, now all clusters are ql 200 and cost about 1 million credits. So basically a lvl 25 beginner would need more than 1 mill for each implant piece he wants to put in. This is ridiculous pricing. I know that implants are less expensive in sided cities, like Rome or Athen, nevertheless they are way too expensive for beginners.
We also need to take in account that implants need to be created in the first place. If you do not have a high lvl toon making implants for you, you have to run around asking for someone to create all your implants. This makes “twinking” basically a hassle next to impossible. The pre-made implants you can buy from the shop are trash. There should also be a “general-implant” shop with pre-made implants of Treatment, Comp lit, Agility, Stamina, etc.
My suggestion is to make implants a lot cheaper and more accessible for new players. They should remove the implant assembly clinic, and rather have that clinic stationary inside shops, not requiring any skills to use. Knowledge of implants should also be mentioned in a tutorial/beginners guide in the game, since it is so essential for literally every aspect of the game.
3: More places for froobs to level
There have been little changes to AO over the years (no surprise there). Although they have managed to make it harder to level up for froobs. In the claw-camp, which was like “low lvl hecklers” for froobs, they have removed the fence and spawned hard-hitting slayerbots. This used to be amazing xp from lvl 30-60. Now the fast-running-heavy-hitting slayerbots have made this a deserted area as well.
Furthermore after Totw froobs need to go to formans, which is a instance with terrible XP. Where is the alternative here? We really need a place for froobs to be able to NT-kite, or an alternate area with better xp. You could at least bump the xp in foremans a bit, to not make it the most boring area ever.
Mort and PW has also been changed for froobs, removing fences that made froobs take advantage of the Cyborg-running-glitch. Cyborg could run towards the fence, while you could hit them, while self being left unharmed. Is this a game breaking bug? No. The XP was OK for froobs though, and was really the only area for them to level 100+.
Now after lvl 100 froobs really have no where to go. I guess all they have to do is dailies day after day. Boring as hell. It seems like FC are removing every OK place for froobs to level, making them only do dailies. What is the point of this? You make so little changes for the game, and the only ones you do makes the game less fun? Rubika is a giant deserted map, and now because of the changes it is more deserted than ever.
4: Low level battlestation
The battlestation is the same as it has ever been. I have been playing som 220 bs lately, and it can be fun. The bs is often running. Although we could use a new bs, just a new layout or something different would be lovely.
The problem about the bs is that only the 220 bs is running. All the other bs are bascially empty wastelands. A fix to this would be to lower the player minimum count. In my opinion, all bs below 151-200 should only requie minimum of 6 players instead of 8. It also would have been better with a smaller battlestation area, but I know that is never going to happen. Lowering the minimum req of players from 8 to 6 would hopefully get it to run more often.
5: More open GMI
The GMI is currently only available for paid players. This makes it a lot harder for froobs to get items that they require, even though they might be inexpensive. One argument against making GMI “free for all”, is that its going to lead to a lot more credit sellers. Well my suggestion is not to make it “free for all”, but you should be able to BUY of GMI, even if you are a froob. This means you can buy items, but not sell anything. This would make it better for both paid players and froobs in the game, and would also not lead to credit sellers on the GMI.
6: Less expensive subscription
This is a no-brainer. If you consider any other game-subscription up against AO, you get the least bang for the buck with AO. Take a look at XBOX Game pass, with houndreds of games open to play for the ammount of $9.99 a month. Look at other big titles coming out with new, and exciting content every month - still way cheaper than AO.
I just dont understand AOs business model. Of course if you lower the price, more players are gonna come. AO players have multiple accounts and are probably gonna spend money on multiple accounts as well. Paying 15$ a month is a crime. If you want 2 accounts you need to pay 30$. People in my org, including me, are not willing to do that. If you would have lowered the price to something more reasonable, like 5-10$, more people would start playing again, and you would actually earn more than before.
I really hope that in the 20th anniversary of AO in June 2021, they have great offers in price. 1 free week with huge discounts in price might bring AO back to life.