Although I am still an avid fan of AO, I no longer play the game, but during my AO career I played it to the max, daily sometimes for more than 8 hours a day. It was my first MMORPG experience and I really loved the game.
I stopped playing around about the time AOC came out, I realized that Funcom didn’t care much about AO anymore and instead were chasing their dream of having a WoW clone with better graphics hoping to pull in players from ‘That other game”. Only it didn’t quiet work out for them, but that is a whole other story.
This post is about AO, an epic original sci-fi game that originally captured the hearts of gamers and had a massive following. When AO launched it was revolutionary and captivating, but as the clock ticked things got progressively worse for this game, as the people responsible for guiding the games direction made massive mistakes essentially ruining a good game.
The first major blow to the title was introducing the shadow lands (SL Expansion). Up until SL all the game content was Sci-fi related making it one of a kind and really enjoyable to play. So how exactly did SL make it into AO? The answer is pretty simple, somewhat disappointing and perhaps a bit shocking. SL was actually a whole other game, which Funcom decided not to launch. SL wasn’t supposed to be a sci-fi. It was a fantasy style game, that did not get completed and rather than waste the content they pulled it into AO.
This rift caused the game to wonder of the path. SL actually has some amazing content, but my point is – it isn’t sci-fi content!
The next major bad decision by the product team was not enough devotion for upgrading Rubka. Once SL launched vast sections of Rubka became obsolete. Froobs could still benefit from the original playing experience, but paying players found richer pastures for levelling and game enjoyment elsewhere.
The final straw is the situation with the graphics update. It has been promised to players for around 8 years now, and all they’ve managed to muster up is a few preview videos. I’ve been checking the situation now for 4 years, and each year it’s the same old promises and no delivery. During this time the game has had 3 different marketing managers, the servers have mostly been combined, and perhaps 80% of the player base has left.
Also interesting to note is that in the 4 years I’ve known the game the website hasn’t been updated – same old shitty dated website. This is proof that the game isn’t getting the love it deserves.
Why do I care? Because AO has game elements not found in any other game, and I fear never to be found in an MMORPG again. The game is epic on a gigantic scale, and it is a shame seeing it all getting flushed down the toilet by idiots who don’t know how to manage the game. It really is one of a kind. The original game design team did a fantastic job. I wonder how they must feel watching their master piece year by year just fading away.