Anarchy Online

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Anarchy Online
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Anarchy_Online_box_art.jpg
Anarchy Online box art

Developer: Funcom
Publisher: Funcom
Designer: Tommy Strand
Release date: June 27, 2001
Genre: MMORPG
Game modes: Multiplayer
ESRB rating: Teen
Platform: Windows
Media: CD
System requirements: Intel Pentium II CPU, 64 MB RAM, DirectX 7, Internet access, 700 MB hard drive space, video card
Input: Keyboard, mouse

Anarchy Online is a science fiction MMORPG released in June 2001 by Funcom.


Anarchy Online stands out as being one of the few popular MMORPGs that makes use of a science fiction setting, as opposed to the more common fantasy setting. The game is set in the years following June 29475, primarily on the harsh desert world of Rubi-Ka and its extra-dimensional twin, the Shadowlands.

Contents

The Story

The story of Anarchy Online revolves primarily around two factions, the hypercorporation Omni-Tek and the rebel worker caste, the Clans, who are fighting for control of the distant desert planet Rubi-Ka. In addition to these two factions, there is a third faction of Neutrals, people who have decided to take no side in the conflict. Unfortunately, this conflict has been waged, on and off, for centuries, in addition to larger conflicts between the hypercorporations over the control of Rubi-Ka.

Rubi-Ka, the seemingly useless desert planet that led to so many wars, is of such tremendous importance because it is the only known source of notum, an economically precious mineral, in the universe. Omni-Tek, having been granted exclusive ownership rights to the planet, controlled the notum for many years, and benefitted tremendously when it was discovered that notum would revolutionize, and eventually become the key component of, nanotechnology. Eventually, this mineral leads the way to the development of technologies that seem very like magic, including programs that create, among other things, fire and ice, programs that can heal injury, shield a person from harm, affect their physical body, and even resurrection. Notum even makes its way into the very genetic makeup of some sub-breeds of humans.

Because Omni-Tek had managed to get unfettered control of Rubi-Ka, they were, mostly, free to do as they wished with their colonists and the planet. For most of the early years, Omni-Tek did its best to treat its people well, even to the point of receiving commendations for its treatment of workers. However, over the centuries, Omni-Tek's policies began to degrade, until, finally, approximately 500 years after the planet was first settled, a significant number of the colonists opted to rebel against Omni-Tek following poor treatment and conditions, and began to secretly trade stolen notum to a rival corporation. This led to a series of wars between Omni-Tek and the colonists, and between Omni-Tek and rival hypercorporations.

Content

Players must choose whether they wish to join either the Clans, Omni-Tek corporation or the Neutrals. In addition, a breed and profession must be chosen. The available breeds include Solitus, Opifex, Nano (also known as Nanomage) and Atrox, while the professions include Adventurer, Agent, Bureaucrat, Doctor, Enforcer, Engineer, Fixer, Keeper, Martial Artist, Meta Physicist, Nano Technician, Shade, Soldier and Trader.

Each breed and profession has its own strengths and weaknesses which combine to create a unique character with its own special abilities and short-comings. A player must decide what type of character is desired and create the character accordingly.

Release

The release of Anarchy Online went poorly, with the game becoming known for the massive number of problems and bugs that nearly ruined it. Most of the major problems were fixed within the first month, and players were given a free month of playtime to make up for the nearly unplayable first month. However, even though today's Anarchy Online shows no trace of its problematic launch, the game remains best-known for its original bugs.

Expansions

The Notum Wars

Anarchy Online received its first major upgrade, labeled a "booster pack", by Funcom in late November 2002. This expansion introduced one of the major components of the game's PvP system, the towers. In this expansion, players and their organizations (AO's name for player guilds) became capable of building towers on specific land areas across Rubi-Ka, for the purposes of mining notum. These towers included a central controller and a vast array of defensive towers, which typically conferred bonuses to individual players or their organizations, or which conferred penalties on invading players. These towers would regularly become open to attack by players of the opposing factions, who, after successfully destroying the towers of their enemy, could claim the land as their own.

The Shadowlands

Perhaps the most well received of Anarchy Online's expansions, the Shadowlands presented a tremendous new world, collectively called the Shadowlands, which is the last remnant of the world Rubi-Ka was before it was wrenched apart by a dimension-breaking cataclysm in ages past. Enriched in notum, this diverse world is inhabited by vestiges of the ancient races that lived on Rubi-Ka, called the Redeemed and the Unredeemed, as well as a giant, world-reaching computer, named Ergo, who recognizes humans as descendants of the past and whose motives in propelling players through the Shadowlands are ambiguous at best.

Released in September of 2003, the Shadowlands expansion was very well received critically, though there were concerns that it had too strong a fantasy bet to mesh completely with the AO universe. In addition to the tremendous world the expansion added, it also introduced significant changes, improvements, and additions, to virtually every aspect of the game, from music, to character development, to interface, enough that some players considered it a wholly different game than the earlier versions of AO.

Alien Invasion

Building on the storyline introduced in The Shadowlands, Alien Invasion was the next major expansion to the Anarchy Online game. This expansion introduced player-built cities, new social interactions, including clothing, and, most significantly, a new threat to the world of Rubi-Ka, in the form of an alien race that has suffered tremendous pain and death because of human interference in the Shadowlands. It was released in September, 2004.

Other Notes

The background of the game is described in greater detail in the book Prophet Without Honor: Anarchy Online Book 1 (http://www.anarchy-online.com/content/game/story/past/novel/), by Norwegian author Ragnar Tørnquist. A detailed timeline of events, from the discovery of Rubi-Ka until 29479, is available at the official Rubi-Ka Timeline (http://www.anarchy-online.com/content/game/story/past/timeline/) page.

The original game, without any of the expansions, is part of a special promotion, in which new players can register an account and download the core game free of charge, with all monthly fees waived until January 15, 2006. Any players wishing to use the content available in any of the three expansions would need to make a separate purchase of those expansion packs, at which time subscription fees would begin.

External links

de:Anarchy Online fr:Anarchy Online no:Anarchy Online sv:Anarchy Online

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