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I found that it was a good game until you hit maybe 80+
I liked the stun system, hit once each turn 3 times, stun on 4th hit (or was it 3rd?)
The front line tank, mage / archer backline concept
More exp for grouping with players
Simple auction system, many ways to make money
Cool jackpot system for farming one item
As soon as you hit level 95? or 90, the game slows down ALOT - So you won't progress as fast as you think you should be (with the level cap being what, 140 when I played?)
Gearing up takes a VERY long time.
New mercenaries and upgrading them gets very expensive. The numbers go into billions maybe?
The mercenaries aren't balanced at all, every time a new mercenary is released = instant OP / I win button
The enchanting system could be sped up for multiple items, Same applies to opening boxes
Generic quest line that is MANDATORY also put me off. I was a grinding kind of player lol
The titan championships were really fun to watch as a newer player
Whenever a game has PvP, and you see certain characters 100-0 "too fast" it means the game dev's didn't think it through very well. Archers / Gunners died in 3 turns if they got focused down.
Some "main" characters were weaker than others, Ex : musician used to be super overpowered, then it was archer, then it was cannon, then it was swordsman, axe main, spearman (when guan yu was released). Pretty much whenever they release a new mercenary, it comes with a broken unbalanced spell that one of the main characters can "learn".
The ranking system was. . 1 to 15 depending on the server population, I think I hit rank 7-10 before I bumped into the "standard" PvP compositions. Meaning - cash shop gunner, druid (late game mercenary - super expensive), vampire (cash shop musician that can row heal).
I think rank 4 and above you saw every "late game" mercenary, guan yu, athena, and the spartan tank (forgot his name), and druid for the front row root. Most players in 3+ were HEAVILY geared and skill didn't really matter at that point because of how much damage they did.
When players were equally skilled / farmed, luck played a huge roll in AO's PvP. Multi hits x4 pretty much easy win lol
I came for the PvP, spent a decent amount of money for mounts (some of them you can sell for a few billion), made good friends but left because of the frustration of higher ranks.
My guild leader was a guy that stayed at level 120, because he said his gear was stronger than the 130 sets LOL
The second time I came back to AO - they made TBS more "mainstream" - and I felt that they rushed the development of it because of how long it took to even finish one TBS. Gear requirements etc were annoying to deal with in TBS, also the annoying playstyle it had of individually moving one character, hitting okay, accept, cycling through 9 mercenaries lol
To sum what TBS means - it is fire emblem with Atlantica online characters. .
To sum it all up, my main gripe about AO was the difference between player gear. Gearing up took way too long, there really wasn't a "cap" so someone playing for a year+ compared to someone playing for 3-5 months was huge.
Kind of like how PvP was like in WoW, when you had to farm marks and honor for every piece of gear, except in AO you have 9 characters lol