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Anarchy Online Journal One

Would you like some game with that Lag?

My first release character in AO was an adventurer named Gigglesnort. I went Omni-Tek faction because I heard the starting grounds were fairly stable and people enjoyed a decent frame rate. The character creation process in AO is a novel idea. It's basically a bit of a mini-game, where you go through a labratory and slowly build your character via in game terminals. Basically character creation process done in an in game way. Its a clever idea, but when you have 50k people all trying to build their characters around the same time, you experience a wee bit of lag. It took me about an hour and four attempts to finally get my character created. Creation was made all the harder by the horrible camera set up in the laboratory areas.

Once I had freed myself of the character creation torture, I spawned inside one of Omni's many holographic training areas. It was a small outdoor area that newbies could fight in and gain 5 levels or so. In contrast to the character creation process, the training areas were a good idea. It meant that even though there were hordes of new players, the newbie areas were not overcrowded. For the most part the framerate in this area was decent, and my hopes rose a bit. I put on my Omni-tek shirt and Omni-tek neck board and ventured out beyond the blue laser court yard fence. The guards were a bit too helpful, but what they lacked in courtesy they made up for in stupidity. They would attack my target but yell as if they were going to kill me instead. This was disconcerting at first to say the least.

I spent about a couple hours killing leets and ereets. I also did the newbie mission. I was finally ready to leave the Omni High Rise and see what the world had to offer. With a wad of credits burning a hole in my cyber pockets and armed with a smelly, petrified worm carapace I entered the Omni-Trade district. The first thing to hit you is the Out of Character(OOC) spam. Everything that was wrong with AO was being echoed with extreme hostility in OOC. As a veteren gamer though, I am use to the standard whining and bitching. This time though, death threats and calls for Funcom to be strung up by their short and curlies had merit.

It should be noted that Omin-Entertainment layout is designed like a pyramid. The zone is square and it gradually slopes up to a plateau. Players coming out of high rises start out at the bottom, where there isn't much player traffic. There are about 5 tiers before you reach the top and each tier has various shops or places of interest. Stupidly I headed straight for the top of Mount Lagrest. Honestly, I did not expect what would happen when I ran into a crowd of other players. And I've been playing games for nearly 2 decades. I had played UO and EQ and even a bit of AC, and nothing ever brought my computer to its knees like AO did. Because I was jogging along oblivious to the peril before me, it wasn't until I was completely trapped at the top that my computer's harddrive began to grind like a Concord Jet going full speed and landing belly first on the runway. There was no escape, no saving throw, not even a tear from Baby Jesus. It was an explosion of red LED lights and ugly sounds of a hard drive squealing for mercy.

So now I'm in Omni-Trade getting a new frame literally every minute. The buffered movement commands are now controlling my character, eventually I wind up trapped up against a wall with no way to regain control of my character. My poor Gigglesnort has just entered the Nth Plane of Hell and has been condemmed to spend an eternity humping a park wall in Omni-Trade, never to recover. I am forced to abandon my doomed adventurer to his fate. Regretfully I have to hit the restart button on my computer, and hope theres been no permanent damage done. Of course it wouldn't be the last time AO savagely raped my hard drive with constant accessing. To make matters worse, I even had 256 MB of RAM on my computer, and at the time it was considered the right amount. Friends of mine who were playing had 512 MB of ram, and even that wasn't enough. I like to think that somewhere in the world, some despondent AO player just kept adding ram until finally when he reached a figure that only God can comprehend, he got AO to run.

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