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Thread: On the nature of the AO setting

  1. #1

    On the nature of the AO setting

    A new article written by Game Director Gaute Godager is out.

    "This article will tell you something about the direction of the game, and how it will evolve through the setting and the story. First a bit of a disclaimer: I am by no means a literary or movie expert. There must be many of the players of Anarchy Online who know more than I do about literary genres and their definitions, or the trappings of Hollywood. Please forgive me if I step on any toes here."

    Discuss, discuss, and discuss some more here.
    Earn free game time and play with your friends[/b]

    Anarchy Online Community Representative

  2. #2
    Sorry, but there would have to be a storyline before you could make comparisons to any literary genre or title. As a very long gone poster was always fond of saying: AO has as much storyline as Tetris. It was true a year ago and it is still true now.


  3. #3

    Question Sorry to be harsh but what utopia you live in?

    Quote starts:

    From being a "simple" story about the conflict between two sides (the clans vs. Omni-Tek), we're turning on the heat and expanding our scope. With the Shadowlands, we're going to build on this platform - making AO a game with a setting where the battle will be for the future of humankind, body and soul.

    With future expansion packs, we'll be doing even more challenging changes to the rules. What is the point of rules if we can't break them a little?

    For marketing purposes, that's completely unfeasible, but it would be nice to have a distinct title more indicative of the territory we're approaching - rather than describing the one we're leaving behind. Anarchy no more!

    Quote ends:


    You are turning up the heat? How about having heat in the first place?! There wasnt heat to build on and still isnt. Building on zero is well.. building still but quite hard.

    Multiplying 0 (your current heat) with x (your future heat) is still 0.

    Translation: You can still toss a dice for deciding what equipment/nanos/skills you will optimize and plan your character for. We will continue to throw dice here too to keep things exciting and promise even more complete swings of character power from one extreme to another! We will continue what we have done this far because frankly, we still dont have a clue...

    Anarchy!??! WHAT ANARCHY? Should have been ORDER ONLINE. With 100 to 75% gas level on most of the places where clanners and omni can walk anywhere with little or no risk and there is NOTHING you can do about it. What Anarchy? Only anarchy I see is the random way you make rule changes and additions...



    This all sums to:

    Sorry, OT vs Clans was fubar and didnt work. But hey, buy this cool addition and you will get a semi-working game that you should have had in the first place and perhaps we can even ****e it up with some conflict. Woot! Arent you happy now?

    Zarch and da chars

  4. #4


    I agree Scorus.

    I was thrilled when the storyline mpeg's came out a while ago, then they just suddenly stopped. That was a major downer for me.

    There is nothing that "drives" us anymore. All we do is missions, day in and day out.
    I am so tired of missions (team/solo, whatever) that it almost makes me puke.
    And if it's not the missions, it's spending hours up to days camping mobs for rare loot.
    I have every single item I will ever need in AO, I cast all nanos and I have more credits than I can spend (on ordinary things, not shirts that cost 150 mill each .....). All selfmade, mind you.

    I don't think that I speak for myself only, when I say that I am really going to look into Star Wars Galaxies when it is soon released. I hope (I almost know it) that they will offer something more. That little extra that AO seems to miss.

    I don't think that a simple expansion pack with some new worlds and breeds are going to solve anything.
    Even worse, FC are most likely going to charge top dollar for the expansion, something I know I will never ever pay.

    They can't fix pet pathing, they now force namechanges and the list of "complaints" grows even bigger as we speak.

    I don't know what to think of AO. It was fun a year ago when we all started out. But now ?
    Best Regards,


    4ever seeking ULTIMATE POWER

    Samuz - Lvl 155 - the original Blackshirt of Zuwadza nipple twistin' MP (RK1)
    Alphaville *4 ever young* - Lvl 112 GAMKII smurfy' Fixer (RK1)
    Digitize - Lvl 50 Solider (RK1)
    Samuz - Lvl 29 Beam whippin' Enforcer (RK2)
    -= Played AO since the Beta days =-

    Timezone ; GMT+1

    ** Re-activated AO on May 1st after being gone and playing other games for the past 14 months - I feel like the total n00b **

  5. #5

    Wink we're all fanboys, not all happy, but still...

    Thanks for the article Gaute. Many of us have read the AO novel, and we're hoping that the story would be played out to some degree in the dimensions.

    While this has been difficult (not going into all that here), I'm glad that the expansion pack will expand the game and, hopefully, it's story options.

    Perhaps the addition of some other antagonists (from the time period of the Shadowlands expansion) will help players get into a storyline/events?

    Thanks for dropping by irc too, sorry that most of the trolls are there. They don't speak for all of us.

    Ecce/Unarie/Abunari - rk2

  6. #6
    The Sci-Fi creative liscense is pretty expansive and the visual theme to AO is done extremely well, encompassing alot of good stuff. If the same art team is doing Shadowlands we are sure to be in for a treat.

    The hint at gameplay I've gotten from this article and Andrew Griffin's explanation on level requirements on nanos makes the expansion pack seem like a huge change in direction for the game not only in terms of conflict but playstyle including team mechanics.

    Risky, very risky. I'm interested to see how it turns out.

  7. #7

    no clue

    I am anxious of the expansion, but not cause of its story relations, more to get new items and content to take away the current boredom that has settled in.

    I have not been aware of a running story since the animated series stop. Even though I sa a few content patches, there is no story watsoever in my book, apart from a few player written articles.

    I played Asheron s Call alittle over 6 months and found more story there then I did in the last year in AO, even though FC told me a 4 year story.

    Tell me, what will be different in the expansion pack that will make a story for AO?

    Its one thing awaiting the patch for bug fixes and item content, but the excitment and suspense of having a story arc that is slowly release patch per patch on a regular basis is not there, as I thought it would be.

    If you cant tell the story ingame, if you can t produce videos or other mediums, maybe you could just send us a newletter on regular basis making the game evolve and adding story events in patches regularly!

    I must say, you made a great game that has alot of potential and I enjoy it very much, which is why I feel this way in the first place, I had so many hope for the wonderful world of anarchy when thinking of the SCi-fi genre and style you had put to it, alot of faded since launch, in some instance its outright frustrating.

    Its like watching 20 episodes of babylon5 and then just having a empty station for 10 episodes.

    Last edited by andertec; Jul 12th, 2002 at 15:53:20.

  8. #8
    Does the expansion make me as excited as you ? Not a single bit.
    In fact, it feels more like you're draining my soul.

    I looked forward to the expansion, but no more.
    First, no shades of grey ? I'm neutral. I'll be neutral till the end. I suffered from this, I'm at a disadvantage almost everywhere, and here you come and tell us we can't be neutral anymore ? We have our own community. You're just going to shut us down ?

    And adding spritual and mystical bits ? Battle for body and soul ? I don't like this one bit.

    Shadowlands has already brought many negative things. It looks to be bringing many more, and with what I know now, I won't be buying it.

    Change is good. But not in this direction.

  9. #9
    Well FC had their chance to get this mystic storyline going with Yxxil, but they bottled out.

    Go for it FC.

    I see little animosity between OT and clan players at the mo (I see them teaming, I see OT people buying med suits for clanners)
    I see no war, I see more inter-guild squabbles than OT against clan.

    I just hope that more mystic doesn't mean making MPs more uber.

    I hope FC can get AO going as the competition between Sci-Fi MMORPGs hots up, otherwise there won't be many people around to see shadowlands.

  10. #10
    I used to read the news articles on the main AO site everyday, so I could keep up with current happenings on Rubi-Ka. But a couple of months ago, I realised that every story was along the lines of "Clans attack some OT outpost. OT and Clans fight for a bit. Nothing accomplished." or "OT attacks Clan city. Some guards killed. Nothing gained."

    Since then, I haven't read a single news report. I don't see the point. Countless small, undirected skirmishes do not a grand conflict make. This game was touted as being a war between two idealogically opposed forces. As it stands, it's degenerated into small bands attacking targets they can subdue, but not actually capture.

    I strongly hope that the expansion can not only set the story in motion, but also give the game a point. I'm tired of missioning and leveling without any goal to work towards.
    Hukk [Gear] - Teh handsome

  11. #11

    Question Light vs. Dark

    Does "light vs. dark" just mean Clan vs. Omni-Tek or what?

    Not that it makes all that much difference with the current lack of storyline and roleplaying activity in the game, but I would be disappointed if that is the interpretation applied to the Shadowlands concept.

    In the game world as we know it today, Omni-Tek is not evil, nor are the Clans good. Omni-Tek as a corporation has performed various brutal and savage acts in the past, but those are presumably mostly the fault of particular individuals in charge, mostly (I think, not sure) predating Ross's chairmanship of the local subsidiary. On the other hand, OT has the law on their side. Presumably any sensible (non-nanomage ) person who felt that they were being oppressed on Rubi-Ka would emigrate; evidently the majority of current OT staff are loyal and reasonably satisfied employees (not counting OT players who are pissed off at Funcom and who express their annoyance by associating Funcom with OT). As portrayed in the animated series, Ross appears to be genuinely interested in reaching some kind of accommodation, as does Radiman, but the series also portrays Clan or at least non-OT terrorists and villains; while in-game the dust-brigades and their friends though perhaps enemies of most of the Clans somehow appear to be more aligned with the Clan side than with OT.

    Certainly, just as one of the mission descriptions mentions, it is obviously within OT's power to utterly annihilate clan centers of opposition with simple bombing runs, yet they don't do this nor do they bring in any substantial numbers of military units or in fact any military vehicles or weapons heavier than rifles that I am aware of, which presumably indicates some sense of restraint and desire not to harm civilians.

    According to the game timeline, the Clans arose from revolting oppressed OT employees. Their original motivation might have been justified. At present it appears as if clan factions supported presumably by Sol Banking are waging a semi-covert war for control of the planet, a war which has no moral basis or justification apart from greed over notum production.

    Anyhow, regardless of whether OT or the Clans are secretly conspiring to achieve some vast evil objective or are deluded dupes or are gallant freedom fighters or whatever, the point is that the players have been led to believe that the conflict is not based on good or evil being inherently associated with one side or the other.

    I hope therefore, that whatever good/evil/archetypal/spiritual or other manifestations which occur in Shadowlands are not associated simply with OT or Clan affiliation, but are based on some other factor, for example, which profession perk variations are selected, or in-game affiliation (by player choice) with some department, faction, organization, cult, or some other positive choice made by the player within the game.

    IMO the presence of polarizing good/evil influences within both the Clans and OT would be far more interesting than simply maintaining the current boring binary relationship. It would be kind of interesting if in the "real world" PvP was based on Clan vs. OT, but in the Shadowlands it was based on an independent moral alignment variable.....
    Strycker, OT NT
    Member of AOR RK-1
    Mundus vult decipi, decipiatur

  12. #12
    This reaffirms my belief in whats going on. All the people who are frustrated with the game now, I advise to temporarly quit. Save your money go play other games, have fun. This is all in wait for the future of Anarchy Online. Funcom started the game, but it didn't wrk out to well. So now they are focusing on fixing and adding content to the game. What I'm telling you is to wait for when the games story that everyone wants to start again. The reason there is no active story right now is because they want to do it right. Thats the impression I got from all messages from game developers. It would be nice if all you guys stayed, but I know you are all bitter.
    Last edited by Myers; Jul 12th, 2002 at 16:05:26.

  13. #13
    Nice article, and I'm looking forward to the story being started again. I do miss the animated series and, although I never did involve myself before, look forward to being able to be a part (any part) of the future story events.

    I certainly do hope (from the sound of the article I see this coming) that the moral lines between the Clans and Omni will be more defined. I honestly chose Omni to give my characters that moral conflict, being a good person while still doing bad things. Perhaps they would choose t switch sides, or find that they were indeed not 'good' people on the end. With Shadowlands, I hope that I can go deeper into that part of my characters.

    I'll be looking forward to what you all have planned. I will say, ignore the story-whinners and keep plugging away until you have both a storyline that you think we will enjoy and until you feel it's right to get it going. I'll "drive" my own characters, my own personal character stories, and fun in this world using my own imagination (since some of us have that skill) until, and even during, the return of the official storyline.
    Tuxx - Grid Freak and Closed System Poison Pill, Black Sheep of SRS and Proprietor of The Neon Zebra
    Domu - Lotus on Water, Member of House SRS
    Neon Zebra: A gathering place for the roleplaying community.

  14. #14


    Great stuff to see the team keeping un the more intangible parts of story development but i have 1 BIG complaint.

    I am reading Asimov's Foundation Series at the moment and NO i didn't know the whole thing was being controlled by a mind reading robot on the moon because I HAVENT GOT THAT FAR YET.

    Way to go spoiling the story for me. Please remove that little line just to stop someone else having their day spoilt : (
    Doctor Katrinex Clendennon MD

    Advisor & Master Surgeon
    Omni-Tek Corporation RK2

    Clanners! Farzens of em!
    Steady there lad, don't shoot til ya see the whites of their eyes.

  15. #15
    I still believe the true evil isn't Omni-tek, but the Dust Brigade. (I don't know why, but people ignore these guys when talking about story)

  16. #16

    AO story

    The only reasons I log into AO instead of other MMORPGs,

    -Skills based leveling
    -Sci-Fi theme

    -And the continuing hope that one day when I login, Rome will be under seige or Ross is leading a strike force into Tir.

    Please bring back the story...*whine*

  17. #17


    The last significant story event to affect the game was the collapse of the Tir Accords... and that was quite a few months ago. Since then, clan vs omni has been more of a cold war than any real conflict.

    Of course, actually implementing conflict in a game such as this whilst also trying to atract new players, and probably less hardcore players, is not easy. You'd have to draw battle lines, have few areas of 100% and 75%, and far more areas of 25%, you'd have to actually give players something to fight over (outposts?). And you'd have to do this without alienating the casual players... not an easy task.

    The current 'gas' system is probably inadequate for this purpose, being too inflexible. In fact, the current PvP mechanism is simply not up to the job. You'd need something much more complex.

  18. #18
    Originally posted by Myers
    I still believe the true evil isn't Omni-tek, but the Dust Brigade. (I don't know why, but people ignore these guys when talking about story)
    That's because they were put in as a quick and dirty substitute FOR the story. Go get the book that came with the game, look at all the interesting NPCs that we were going to be interacting with and getting direction from, look at the fascinating interplay that was set up. Now play the game and look for it.

    The Dust Brigade (and quests and dungeons) was set up so that Funcom could give content after failing to be able to give a storyline of any sort. The Dust Brigade 'storyline' has consisted of bored GMs and ARKs appearing in the middle of cities with green names and starting to lay waste to players. So, by extension of your earlier comment, I guess we can say that "the true evil isn't Omni-tek, but the GMs."


  19. #19
    "Does "light vs. dark" just mean Clan vs. Omni-Tek or what"

    That was the plan. Omni = Evil, Clans = Good.

    Unfortunately, people being generally too stupid or self-absorbed to pay attention to this, have "Good" people playing Omni, and "evil" people playing Clan, and neutrals who refuse to join a side and want, in fact, to be a "third side" to a two-sided conflict, etc etc.

    What they do with Shadowlands to straighten out the mess that _the players_ have made will be interesting to see.

    What they do with it to straighten out their own mess may be less interesting, but I am looking at the "expansion" as the first official release candidate for "Anarchy Online".

    Generous players financed the final year of development, and here comes the release under the guise of an expansion.

    It was interesting to see Gaute trying to explain that even though AO has a science-fiction "theme", there are a whole lot of things in the back-story (and thus eventually _in the game_) that are not "pure" science-fiction. This is something else a whole lot of people were either too stupid or self-absorbed to notice.

    beep. beep. beeeeeeeeeep. live, you learn die, you learn faster

  20. #20
    You guys have done a great job adding more content. Keep it up! But now, please add more story. There are huge rifts between ARK Events and GM Events, and no company driven story motives at all in the game right now. Please fix it! Running the story in "seasons" is silly because people play this game all year round -especially- during the summer. You're likely to gain and lose customers before they even get to see the story. And the story should be the best part of this game.

    Clan fixer, Fourth Title

    Director of Information
    Analog Myth

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