I think that the bank limit on AAs serves a useful purpose. It ensures that abilities are largely gained as a result of actions taken by the character in or near the level the abilities apply to. The whole point of AA is that they are "alternate advancement", and not just a normal result of improving the level of a character. Obviously, the extreme example of this is someone sitting at the level cap and grinding out thousands of AA points, then rushing through the levels when a new level increase occurs and just spending the points on each level of ability as he goes along. But this applies to working up within existing content as well. The player is presented with a choice in terms of ratio of AA to leveling exp. If he levels up fast, he wont be able to get the AA abilities appropriate for those levels. A bank limit means that he has to apply this choice all the way through as he levels. If he choose to just plow through some levels, he may find it harder to stop and grind AAs because he doesn't have those AAs he may have gained along the way.
It's a play balance thing, and I think it actually works quite well as implemented. You're not required to gain AAs as you level, but you'll find yourself seriously underpowered relatively speaking if you don't. I suppose you could argue that this slows down the ability for new/returning players to "catch up", but honestly catching up in EQ has long since been about gear levels more than AAs and exp levels. It's not hard at all to catch up in terms of levels and AAs. Just takes time, but generally not so much time that you can't get to the top (and likely with multiple characters) if you want to. The real issue is gear, and honestly I'm somewhat happy with how they've managed tiered gearing in the last several expansions. It's much less an all or nothing affair for the more casual players, while still giving measurable benefits to those who spend the time/effort in the raid game.
For those of us who remember a time period where if you couldn't raid you were more or less stuck in terms of gear, this is a massively huge improvement. And by "stuck in terms of gear", I don't mean "couldn't get the best or near best stuff in the game", but "couldn't get gear sufficient to handle solo/group content well". They went through a phase where they tried to address this with trade skill gear, then they introduced defiant, which helped. But it wasn't really until they started introducing tiered gear, with the lowest couple being available via solo/group activities that they really "fixed" the problem. Today? You can play a group effective character all the way from 1 to 100 with nothing but gear you purchased in the bazaar. And that gear is sufficient for group play that can get you tier2 stuff as well. So plenty of possibilities and things to work towards without having to be a hard core player.
Dunno. I'm kinda happy with the changes they made. I originally quit playing precisely because it felt like I was stuck without any real objectives to strive for. That's not nearly as much of an issue today IMO. And as to AAs? I think they add a fun bit of extras to the game. It gives you something to gain along the way. It might take some time to gain a level, but I can always look forward to gaining enough AAs for that next ability. And that makes it good. The bank limit is fine IMO, since it forces you to make those decisions as you go along. Which is a good thing.
King Nobby wrote:
More words please