We all know that Funcom has a nasty history of not keeping their promises. Fact. However, say what you will, I am rather impressed with last few months: stuff like pvp gear or pvp events (never mind what I think about the quality of those) got promised and then delivered at speedy pace. Furthermore recent patch 4.3 class changes (and more to come) gave me that warm feeling that maybe, just maybe, AOC might be in the right hands for once.
So I will let my guard down (a guard of an asshole sceptic) to daydream about the features that were already promised and are in the works.
New Conan movie Arnold
This is a pie with a side dish of pizza: not only we are getting new Conan movie (have you seen pictures of Arnold lately? Bro must be lifting), but also in-game movie tie-in. While Game Director Joel Bylos mentions that the thing is not set in stone I think Funcom would be stupid not to cash in on the release of CTB movie. However I won't be disappointed if nothing comes out of it since there is a lot much much cooler stuff to be looking forward to.
Cross server PvP and PvE queues
I will be honest: I am eye-balling Crom server from time to time because a lot of cool stuff is happening there simply because of a very high population. Furthermore the idea of queuing up for dungeon in AOC is just awesome (yeah I know that it is a MMO industry's standard for some time now, AOC is old!). Nothing drives me away from PVE more than time consuming LFG/LFM and then getting everyone to the dungeon. It feels so dated.
Unchained PvP Revamps
I don't really care about it (probably because I am on top of minigame pvp food chain), but if it got more people back into game or introduce them to pvp (chances are it would) then bring it on. Not on top of my "zomg" wish list but it is out there.
To quote the letter: "This is probably the single most anticipated update from the players". QFT! Its been so long since I have crafted in AOC that I forgot that it is even in game anymore. This is my #2 thing that I am looking forward to the most and, from what I understand, it will change pretty much every aspect of AOC. I have always enjoyed this type of activity in MMOs and if I could...*gasp* PVP and craft at the same time? No more content is needed then.
Palace of Cetriss
As of now we know that POC (see what I did there?) will be a tier 5 raid content. I am planing to REALLY get into raiding when next tier goes live. This will be the first opportunity for me to participate in discovery & progression parts of raiding. Until now when I was raiding (T3 and T4) it was with an experienced team that knew the fights like the back of their hands. Because of this, even if I was contributing DPS, I felt a little like I am being carried through the encounters. I never had to "figure out" Zodiac and train for taking him down, the knowledge was simply served to me on a golden platter. New raid gives me a chance to enter the unknown with the rest of the guild and figure stuff out with them. I might like it or it might be a horrible experience, but I will certainly try it.
New minigame map
So the letter says that "Palace of Cetriss and the new minigame map which are being developed in tandem.". Kind of forgotten stuff, eh? Since I don't really need tokens or pvp exp anymore I am usually just rotating two maps: HV and LT over and over and over again (and I am not even slightly bored of them, such a good design). I don't really feel a need for new minigame in a rotation...unless it is something unique like 3v3 or new type of map setting (deathmatch!).
This is my #3 on the "zomg" list. It seems to be combining all the things that I already love in AOC: lore, exploration and vanity items. PvP achievements are only sweetening the deal. Coupled with crafting system achievements are a feature that will add a long lasting content to AOC even if it means merely re-visiting old stuff (Mitra is my witness I will go back and complete all quests in Tortage just to get an achievement!)
The Great Hyborian Race
I will pass on that and I am glad that it got put back on a shelf. AOC already has too much stuff for new characters to do and merely not enough for seasoned veteran's maxed out toons. I want to finally have some sort of progression and creating new character from scratch and then re-doing old content as fast as possible seems like a nightmarish idea to me.
Tier 4 PvP gear
First of all I am so glad that strange and alien concept (at least to the previous team) of PvP items > PvE items for PvP got finally fully implemented in AOC. I don't really feel the need for even more power in PvP (especially since it was made clear that T5 POC raid drops will not upset the pvp balance) and the power gap between fresh lvl 80 and PvP T4 veteran will get even bigger but... well I don't care, I just want more goals in PvP and this is certainly a powerful incentive for me to look at PvP as something else than just getting more kills. What I am worried is that T4 gear will be hard-locked to PvP events which.. I am less than ecstatic about . There has been a talk that T4 pvp gear will be more about choices than flat power increase but lets face it: gear for pvp is about getting that max crit rating + combat rating values. Unless we get some hard caps on stats or diminishing returns (which I am a big proponent of) there is a very little room for pvp gear optimization (and by little I mean none).
Slithering Chaos as 12-man instance
I have always loved the concept of smaller scale raids as pulling together 24 people can be very challenging for smaller guilds (or just damn impossible). It can also be a great second choice for those raid night when not everyone shows up but there are still a bunch of people ready & willing to take on something bigger than 6-man hardmode
New Alternate Advancement Abilities and Loot Progression in Tier 5 raids
New AAs? #1 spot on my "this is fucking awesome" list. I am a little worried with the implementation because many peoples (me included) are already capped on their AAs and are accumulating every day more and more AA points (I think I have something like 150/120/160 to spend). There is something else that is also intriguing: "New Alternate Advancement Abilities and Loot Progression in Tier 5 raids - these two are intimately tied together and we have a solid idea of how we are going to build player progression through Tier 5 raids and new content. I’m saving all the details for a future game director letter, but new weapon combos, new items and new ways to play your favorite class are all on the table!". So new AAs are exclusive to Tier 5 raiding? One a one hand it addresses my main woe "not enough content for veterans", but also seems like a very small player base would get their hands on new AAs if it meant that you had to be in T5 raiding guild. If new AAs are purely cosmeting (and something tells me they will) then new AAs will be just more e-peen0r to weave around (I am more than fine with it).
PvP streak reward system
What I like about it is that "there will be different types of streaks covering both the regular minigame level and the tournament mode". Tournament mode! Holy crap how I wish we could have "group" back in "group pvp" (another wild concept that couldn't be fully grasped by old team). To actually group up with pvp buddies for pvp....like I used to back before freaking 1.6 (yeah 2010 called and they want their group pvp back).On the other hand I am a little afraid that PvP steak will be, again, a simple "more tokens more pvp xp" type of deal which PvP events turned out to be. I don't need that.
Unchained T1 raid will be first encounter in Tier 5. This is smart move by Funcom since, as far as I know it, majority of T4 raiders are done & bored (TM) with the Citadel and are looking for a fresh challenge and progression. Since I have NEVER done a T1 raid (imagine that) this is something that I might want to explore a little further. I also hope that unchained T1 will provide raiders with T4 tokens (it should since its part of T5) so I could complete my T4 set.
That is about it, all the major and exciting promises in one place. Without being overly negative about it this looks pretty awesome.