Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nations in Atlantica Online

Having a 50 player cap for guilds can be problematic when it comes to getting the numbers to run endgame content. Except for the most hardcore of guilds, you will usually have a wide range of levels and playing times. Getting enough high-levels together at a certain time for a Guild Dungeon might not happen right away.

This is where Nations and Nation Dungeons come in. Nations are alliances of up to 10 guilds and the Nation Dungeons are endgame challenges which scale in difficulty. If Guild Dungeons can be run with a maximum of 50 players, Nation Dungeons can be run with a theoretical max of 500 players. Access to the B grade mercenaries (currently the highest grade in the game) relies on drops that can sometimes only be found in Nation Dungeons. So if you want a Spartan, Pirate, or Elementalist in your formation, you would be wise to seek out a Nation that has access to and can successfully run Nation Dungeons. Once you join a Nation, you gain access to Nation chat and can share info with Nation members as easily as with guild members.

The leader of a level 30 guild can go to the Caesar NPC in Rome and start his own nation for a fee based on the number of starting guilds. The roster of 10 allowable guilds allows for a wide variety of member guilds and the Nation leader has to seek out like-minded guilds with a decent amount of high-level players in order to grow his Nation. There's a considerable amount of diplomacy involved and the reputations of players and guilds go a long way towards convincing others to join your fledgeling empire.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Guilds in Atlantica Online

It shouldn't come as a shock to most readers of this blog that being in a good guild can lead to more positive experiences in a MMORPG. We all have our different ideas of what makes a perfect guild and also what the ideal guild activities would be. Guilds come in different shapes, sizes, and compositions but I daresay most of us feel more comfortable with a smallish but close group of people rather than being an anonymous cog in a giant-size superguild. On the other hand, smaller guilds rarely get the chance to engage in end-game activities which usually require a goodly number of players to complete.

At level 20, any player can go to a guild office in any town to create their own guild for a fee of 20,000 gold. Like WAR and EQ2, there is a guild level system that determines the maximum size, number of officers, permanent guild buffs, and susceptibility to deletion by inactivity. Guilds are eventually capped at 50 members. This is the reason why you see so many guilds listed when you use the Guild Ads feature. Anyone who has ever been in a guild before will know this number will not take long to reach especially with multiple alts per guild member. This cap on guild size, rather than being onerous, leads to a more intimate atmosphere in my opinion.

Guild levels are gained through regular player XP and activities. But guilds also generate guild points which can fuel a large number of guild activities. Guild points are generated by many means: individual players completing guild or town quests, Training Center, Guild Dungeons, guild crafting, and player attendance. These guild points can be spent by the guild leader at the Pointry NPC in Rome for Guild Dungeon keys or rare crafting supplies. They can be converted at a loss into Guild Operation books which can be used to add guild points. These books are usually sold on the market to beef up the selling guild's coffers and the buying guild's stock of guild points. Lastly, guild points are used to bid on and retain control of the towns in Atlantica Online.

For the guild leader, having control of a town leads to a SimCity-like minigame. You can set the fees that town agencies charge the players that make use of them in your town. Different towns charge different rates for using services like the Market, Bank, or Travel Agency. If you find the town you are in is charging you a rate you would rather not pay, your best bet is to port to Rome where the minimum is always the going rate. You can also build and place buildings to attract and keep satisfied the NPC population that dwells in it. Funds generated from service fees and taxes on the NPC population go directly into the guild funds so owning a town can be quite lucrative for a guild. Some towns even allow access to exclusive Guild or Nation dungeons for the guild that controls it. As you can imagine, there can be a lot of competition for the finite amount of towns amongst the numerous guilds on the same server.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

For Pony!

My guild, Hunters on the Argos server, gifted me with a couple of surprises recently. The first is pictured above. There's several ways to score this particular mount but the most common way is by spending some real cash on the Item Mall for a Mount Box. For around $10, you can buy the box for a chance at a rare mount. The vast majority of the time, however, you will end up getting this pictured mount which comes with no stats and a 10% movement bonus. Like most Item Mall purchases, the mount can then be sold or traded ingame as desired. Currently, this particular mount is going for around 20 million gold on our server.

Now I had enough gold to throw away on this mount and, ordinarily, I would've paid the market price for the convenience as in other games. But Atlantica Online isn't like other games in that it comes with the highly convenient auto-move feature which takes much of the drudgery away of traveling from place to place. Drudgery that mounts with increased movement speeds used to alleviate. Happily, there are other reasons to get mounts in this game aside from aesthetics; most will come with stats that will increase you main character's survivability immensely. So I was saving up my gold for one such mount when my guild leader surprised me by giving me this one bought with our guild funds. Many thanks for the fine gift and now I don't have to look like a complete noob running around everywhere on foot.

The other surprise was their announcement that I had been promoted to guild officer. I was a little surprised in that I had only been playing this game for a few months and still considered myself an AO noob. But I guess my attitude and regular playing schedule impressed the ones who had to make the decision. Either that or there was nobody else that wanted the job. Since I am now on the cusp of level 87 and the AO endgame, I decided to accept to have some influence over upcoming decisions on how to move our guild into the endgame.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

VINPC's of Atlantica Online

Atlantica Online doesn't have the standard vendor you can sell your trash drops to. Probably because there is no such thing as a trash drop in this game, per se. Every single item is useful in some way with the items most often associated as trash in other games being used in some crafting recipe somewhere. Sure, there are NPC's stationed outside the newbie starter towns that will buy anything off you for a flat 10g price but you can get much more than that if you are patient and place your items on the Market for others to buy.

This doesn't mean there is a lack of NPC's to interact with in order to acquire more wealth and power. In fact, you will become very familiar with these NPC's as you play the game. Which is more than you can say about anonymous regeant vendor #43 in WoW. The following is a short, but by no means complete, list of these NPC's.

Name: Livingstone
Can Be Found: Outside of Bucharest.
Role: This is the NPC stalker and the guy to come to when you don't know where a particular NPC can be found at the moment. For a 1000g fee, he will give you the whereabouts of every other NPC of note in the game. Very handy for tracking those NPC's that like to wander around.

Name: Goncourt
Can Be Found: Wandering Around
Role: Converts useless books into boxes which can hold more useful books or more useless books you can then trade back to him. The fee depends on what you are trying to convert but for regular skill books it is 1000g. Depending on your luck, he can be a great source of income especially for newbies. Trade useless book for book that sells for several millions on the Market. Profit and repeat.

Name: Howard
Can Be Found: Wandering Around
Role: In your travels, you will sometime come across Cultural Boxes, which contain random Cultural Treasures. Take them to Howard to appraise and, if they turn out to be real, he will offer to buy them off you for 200-400k gold. Take his offer as you won't be able to cash them in anywhere else.

Name: Columbus
Can Be Found: North of Lisbon
Role: Will buy armor and weapons for half the market price from you. The caveats being that he won't buy anything enchanted over +1 and Ghost Warrior level and above. He also has business hours from 9 to 18 ingame time. Check the ingame clock on the lower left hand corner of the UI to see when he's open. Very handy for unloading gear that is currently selling for less than half of the normal market value.

Name: Pointry
Can Be Found: Bazaar in Rome
Role: There are points to be accrued for various activities in this game and he's just the man...er...rabbit to go to when you want to convert them into something substantial. There's a great Pointry guide to be found here. If you ever find yourself wanting to try this game out, do me a favor and roll on the Argos server. Then set Warrender as your referrer so I can rake in those glorious Referral Points. Muahahahaha!

Name: Volcanus
Can Be Found: Bazaar in Rome
Role: You can improve your gear in two ways. You can use enchanting stones as well as an identical sacrificial copy of the item to be improved or you can go to Volcanus with just your item as well as enhancing stones. The caveat being it's not a guaranteed process like the first method and there is a chance of losing the item in the event of failure. Enhancing, especially with the use of Item Mall-only enhancing stones, is the preferred method of upgrading your equipment to endgame levels.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Atlantica Online PVP Video

This video was taken quite a few months ago and the build and strategies involved are outdated. Specifically, Xargrr's Seth Will build has been reduced in potency and the days of Oracles Sething Spears to wreak havoc on the front lines and beyond are gone now. But it does give a taste of what to expect from a typical Free League match.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Atlantica Online PVE Video

Jormungund is a level 107 Shadow Dungeon boss you will need to defeat in order to unlock the Lady Knight mercenary. Shadow Dungeons are designed to be tackled by groups of 2-3 players but it's entirely possible to solo one if you outlevel it by 10 or more levels. This video shows a 3-player party and is a good representation of what the combat in AO typically looks like.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spirit of 76

My character is currently level 76 in Atlantica Online and I'm in the middle of rebuilding my formation. When I turned 70 and became eligible to use the Prophet mercenary, I elected to change my build from a melee-heavy formation to a more flexible one by replacing my 2 Swordsmen and 2 Spearmen for some range/DOT/AOE options with a Witch, Archer, Artilleryman, and the Prophet. At first, this move doesn't make much sense as much of the Prophet's value is being able to buff and heal melee units with their passive Concentrate skill. But I'm counting on this skill to bolster my weaker tanks on the front line.

Joining the Beast Tamer up front to take the place of the Swordsmen are my Exorcist and my Axe main. It remains to be seen if my main will continue to be up front as he's still a bit squishy at this level without any accessories like an armored mount to increase his survivability. I can't wait to level these new mercs up to take them into Free League. My FL ranking took a dive from 10 to 11 as I've been concentrating on PVE to catch these guys up to speed. Depending on how this formation works out for me, I might swap a Swordsman back in to replace either the Archer or, more likely, the Prophet.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Atlantica Online Screenshots

By popular Saylah demand, you can find some Atlantica Online screenshots here. Naraka is one of the solo bosses in the main questline. You can also find pics of my first ever winning Arena bet. Arena allows you to bet on NPC teams that face off against each other. Also, the Cute Bunny Suit and fishing seems to be popular in AO.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

10 Tips For Atlantica Online Newbies

Atlantica Online probably has the most extensive ingame tutoring and help systems available in any game that I've played. But even with all that, there are still some tips left to pass on that you won't find so easily in the game. The following is in no particular order with apologies to David Letterman fans.

1) There is no need to beware of strangers bearing gifts. If someone wants to give you a gift of gear or gold, there are no strings attached. AO gives an XP reward based on the gold value of the gift for anyone level 30+ who sends a gift to beginners under level 30. It's totally random who it goes to but thanks are always appreciated.

2) Unless the item is specifically a quest drop, in which case it will have a letter Q on the item icon, you can always buy items needed for quests from the Market. An example is the Basic Training quest from Master Goh which requires you to get him 10 pieces of Rough Leather. Ignore the quest text that says you can get them from the nearby deer. The Market has plenty for you to buy and will save you some time and effort.

3) The Market is what is known as an Auction House in other games. But there is also an Auction in the game as well that functions much like a real auction. Don't get the two confused. If an item says it can't be auctioned, it can still be put on the Market for you to sell.

4) Read your Notes. If the note icon is flashing, chances are you probably want to check out what it has to say. Everything from tips on defeating monsters to email notifications can be found there.

5) Make your Mentor work. If you accept an offer from a player asking to be your Mentor, make sure to put that person through his paces. Mentors receive 200,000 gold upon your reaching level 30. The good ones will have imparted aid in the form of knowledge, monster info, craft info, and even gifts. The really nice ones will give you give you most, if not all, of the 200k to you. If your Mentor is slacking, you can get rid of him from the Mentorship menu.

6) Free League is available at level 1. You can start your climb up the PVP rankings at any time. If you don't mind losing a lot and to higher levels with more mercenaries than you, then FL is a great way to have some fun and earn gold at the same time. The coins you receive from winning and losing can be cashed in right away or held for a rainy day as their value appreciates over time.

7) There are quests that earn you titles and the NPC's that give them out are found outside Athens. More info can be found here. It's best to start working on the titles you are interested in as early as you possibly can.

8) Speaking of which, http://aop.muwing.com/ is a great site in the Wowhead/Allakhazam vein with tons of useful info and utilities about the game. There are also great wikis out there with additional info.

9) Pressing the C key (you might need to try this multiple times) when your mouse is over an item icon will open up the relevant item info giving you details such as what is needed to craft it if it is craftable or which mobs drop them if you have the creature's drop info.

10) You can find out even more tips in this great thread.