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Reader Comments (35)

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 11:43AM Enkiel said

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people often says that AO had a very bad launch.... but worst? not so sure...

Shadowbane.... I remember rubberbanding 10-15 minutes at a time... and it eventually died, despite some of the most interesting idea ever (such as thief being true thief, stealing good from people and corpse)

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 12:11PM (Unverified) said

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Just as a correction, player housing (apartments) have been available since the game launched. Shadowlands just happened to add the fancier Jobe Luxury Apartment!

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 1:49PM Equillian said

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To all my old peeps on RK2 that were in Pandora's Wrath - I salute you!

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 12:39PM Nottom said

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This article fails to bring up one of the most significant aspects of AO which is that it was one of the first MMO's targeted at adults. And I think the social clothing and clubs among other things made it a RPers dream. Name another game that has lingerie in it.

I would also point out that Shadowlands was in many ways a sort of "betrayal" of the game's original concept as it was far more fantasy than Sci-Fi.

It did add some cool new features but I think many people were turned off by it's setting.

I'm regularly tempted to restart my AO account but then I remember how overwhelming it was the last time I did that and I change my mind.

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 1:05PM Nepentheia said

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Anarchy Online was not my first "MMO love", but it certainly was one of my dearest and most intense "MMO loves".

Anarchy Online was a very special MMO, the game world was amazing. The social atmosphere was one of the best I've ever experienced in a game (Gridstream Productions and Reets Retreat, for instance).

I LOVED exploring Rubi-Ka (and Shadowlands). Certainly some of my very best memories I've had in any game was exploring every nook and cranny of the playfields in Anarchy Online.

My favorite class of all time in any game was the Fixer (super fast with HoTs!).

And... THE most amazing, awesome element of ANY game... LEETS! Leets are the best thing to EVER happen, in fact! Pure unadulterated joy and happiness--that's the Leet! :-D

But yes, Anarchy Online was a wonderful and intense experience for me for many years and I'll always have a great appreciation for those experiences. :-)

Posted: Sep 14th 2010 5:27PM Nepentheia said

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I would be greatly remiss to not also mention the amazing soundtrack and atmospheric music (and music system: http://www.gamasutra.com/resource_guide/20020916/lagim_pfv.htm) of Anarchy Online. No other game has ever presented such a rich, mood-setting, atmospheric soundscape. The music and ambient sounds of Anarchy Online created a deep and intense immersiveness into the game world like no other music in a game has ever done.
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Posted: Sep 23rd 2010 1:29AM (Unverified) said

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I had played a fixer back in the day. I also agree 100% on everything you've mentioned about AO, even the music!

AO will forever be one of the best MMO experiences I've had!
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Posted: Sep 7th 2010 1:31PM (Unverified) said

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< "back in the day"

I beta tested that monster, and while we (my friends and I) dealt with the technical issues, we were so heavily excited that even running out to the middle of the desert and trying to swat an old gofle with a gofle prod entertained us as it beat our little beta-clan-martial artist to death swiftly.

Later I would be apart of the Omni-Pol police force (RP'ers) lead by Gencop, Twink, UKblizzard and the gang, and we would do our marches, in our uniforms, with our Div 9's.

Ultimatelly, I found the grind at 210+ to be too much as the game offered an experience gain rate of about a level a month at 214 :( then again, that was at my playrate. The server lag was fesicious and quests in general were a hastle, for example getting the Enhanced Pads of Dedication took me 14 hours, and my best friend 3 months (of camping the Trash King!)


I loved the game, I loved twinking characters with interesting and often underpowered weapons they are not supposed to use. I loved the pvp in the tarasque dungeon 100 vs 100, or defending towers with my agent, a black pebble in the distance on my opponents screen, flickering into existence just as you fall to the ground. I love LOVE the class mechanics, Fixers, Agents, Keepers, just basically twinking/tuning your character to be a godlike behemoth of which cannot be stopped. Enfo's for being tall as city buildings, Agents swapping classes to be enfo sized flying robuts.

I loved the instances, TOTW, Foremans, Tarasque, Innersanctum. I loved the shadowlands and the linear leveling process, however the game was often called "Hecklers Online" by my friends at the time.

Lets all roll froobs and sit by a fire in the "Guardian of Tomorrow"s room until we all have his Tank armor

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 1:42PM FireMark said

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I was there when AO went live, I was amazed at the graphics and the gameplay in the starting area. Then I zoned out of the noob area and crashed, logged in and crashed again, and again, and again lol.

Took a while for the game to stabilize, but when it did it was a lot of fun, nothing like the feeling when you got your first Yalmaha (flying mount) and started zipping around the world. I haven't laughed so hard than when I saw an Atrox wearing a string bikini O.o

I've yet to play another MMO which has such a deep customization for your character than the implants in AO. Could be so frustrating when you first started learning it but when you did it was really cool. Nowadays its all idiot-proof skill trees.. yawn.

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 2:04PM (Unverified) said

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Anarchy Online offered one of the richest environments in which to roleplay. It was in this MMO that I really flourished as a roleplayer. I made some amazing friends. I would join the Omni-Tek intell organisation, SPARTA, and help flesh out several storylines enjoyed by both clanners and omni alike.

My true love in AO became GridStream Productions(www.gridstream.org). Becoming a part of this group of entertainers early on cemented myself as a Rubi-Kan for good. I've had a lot of awesome experiences, met a great group of people, learned so much about music in general, and seen many virtual smiles.

Still after all of these years.. 9 and counting, I still love Anarchy Online.

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 2:05PM (Unverified) said

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Ahh those were the days. The 1st, and only I might add, MMO I actually planned a week off work for!

Still, once the dust settled with the launch and the game was a few months old there was some awesome moments. What sticks in my mind most from back then was the soundtrack. The music kicked in, sun setting over the mountains, magical... :)

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 2:10PM J Brad Hicks said

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I waited until the worst of the technical glitches were over before joining Anarchy Online. I had waited out the whole fantasy MMO thing, waiting for a science fiction MMO, and Anarchy Online didn't disappoint. And contrary to my normal experience, even the backstory novel, Ragnar Tornquist's /Prophet Without Honor/, didn't suck, which shocked me, because in my experience, all novels based on game worlds suck, but not this one, making it really fun and easy to ease into the lore.

I also thought the lore was incredibly timely; the evil side was basically Microsoft and the good side was basically the Open Source movement, fighting over whether or not software patents would be enforced over the software that offered everything from instant wealth to eternal life.

You left out another "first" for Anarchy Online: years before City of Heroes, it was the first MMO to offer flight! I remember scraping the stores to find that rarely spawning low-level flying car and taking out a loan from my clannies to buy it, and (for all that it was oddly misproportioned and kind of silly looking, like almost everything in that game), it was a thing of great joy to me to be able to fly over zone after zone to get from a mission terminal directly to a mission instance without having to slog for hours to get there.

But I felt about Shadowlands the way I would later feel about the New Game Experience in Star Wars Galaxies: it completely ruined the game for me. All the ethical ambiguity I'd loved? Gone: the corporate side is now literally in league with the devil. All the science fiction flavor I'd come to the game for in the first place? Gone: Rubi-Ka is actually Eden, angels and demons are controlling the main NPCs, and we're fighting the battle of Heaven versus Hell. If I wanted to play a fantasy roleplaying game, there were dozens of them out there by then; why Funcom threw away their one best feature, I'll never really understand.

I also remember customer service at Funcom being the most unremittingly hostile I've ever dealt with. Even as a volunteer GM, I remember that any time anything went wrong in the game, Funcom's attitude was "well, it must be your fault." Any time anybody asked Funcom for help with anything, or to replace anything, company reps were not merely unhelpful, they were openly scornful of you for thinking you were entitled to anything they hadn't already given you. Customer service in Anarchy Online was so bad it poisoned me against ever playing another Funcom game.

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 2:31PM (Unverified) said

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I loved the intricacies of AO, I remember spending hours with a spreadsheet open on my laptop trying to get my low level fixer into her grid armor. It sounds boring but honestly once I was successful I had a strangely powerful sense of accomplishment hehe. Honestly I would still be playing this (and asherons call for that matter) if it wasn't for the graphics. Once you get used to faces that aren't squared off, eyes that blink, etc in video games you just can't go back!
If they actually do upgrade the graphics engine I will start playing again, I actually miss when MMO's didn't hold your hand and expected you to actually....well...think. Playing modern MMO's at end game always reminds me of dance dance revolution for some reason, stand here, push these buttons in this order, when this happens stand over there and push other buttons.

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 3:00PM (Unverified) said

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AO was my first official MMO, I dont count Ragnarok Online since it was free at the time. My favorite thing about the game was the crafting, I was an engineer and I loved going to the stores buying tools and patterns to make things or refine metals etc. Ive never played another MMO since that has had a crafting system that is anywhere near as fun or deep as what AO offered (even though I hear lots of people hate it, not me).

The main problem was I hated grinding in the game, the highest level I ever reached was 130 (even though I played on and off for 2-3 years), because I just didnt have the time and patience to keep up with implants and grinding. This was actually one of the reasons I picked a pet class, even though I was low level I could still fight high level 200 mobs without worrying about dying. But worst of all I hated tracking down people for buffs, its like a quest in and of itself. I signed up a few months back and pretty much every place is deserted, so finding buffs is basically impossible, I canceled the same day.

AO was a great game, before shadowlands ruined it. I loved the feel and atmosphere of the pre-SL AO, I never felt that SL fit the theme or purpose of AO. We went from steampunk tech to unicorns in the sky, it never sat right with me and I quit shortly after it came out.

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 3:23PM (Unverified) said

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I spent far too much time playing Anarchy Online but have to admit that it was a great game to have as your very first MMORPG. I loved the social guild side of it as much as the questing and levelling. I was in Free Souls and a better bunch of people you couldn't hope to meet. I still keep up with their antics and was proud to see my successor as President, "Docaholic" publicly acclaimed by Funcom for his tireless work in bringing new icons to the confused masses. Gratz doc, perhaps our paths will cross again some time.

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 3:50PM (Unverified) said

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Shadowlands was a big mistake, yet another in the long list of mistakes made by Gaute Godager while he was Game Director. Funcom's biggest mistake was giving him another chance with the release of Age of Conan, but since Gaute was a founding member of Funcom, I guess they couldn't shut him out completely. Well, at least until they seen him destroying AoC, at which time they "resigned" him.

Anyway, Shadowlands looks the way it does ( like a fantasy game ) because that's what it was to begin with. The world for the Shadowlands expansion actually came from a game Funcom scrapped called "Midgard". Gaute scavenged "Midgard" and created the Shadowlands expansion.

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 4:11PM Azzura said

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Azzura here from RK2 - Angels of the Night!

AO was my second MMO - Coming from Ultima Online - it was a nice change from fantasy to Sci-fi. It was more complicated than UO and had a steep learning curve, but if you asked questions and did some research, you could master your implants and stats. One of the fun things to do was get buffed and ladder your implants and armor off and on to get increasingly better and better armor and implants on. A puzzle game in itself!

It has a complex crafting system, questing could be linear in Shadowlands or slow and choppy on Rubi-ka. It did get very grindy...at least if you wanted to level quickly. And open world farming of bosses for items you wanted....GRRRRR - this is wear I wish they would have had Bind on Pickup. Waiting for a boss to pop while 5 others wanted them too was not fun, esp. if you NEEDED the item and the others were just there to get the item to sell it.

I enjoyed it so much I joined their ARK team - player based Customer Service which I think is a great way to keep info flowing from your player base to the developers.

Fond memories of AO....Heckler Trains! For all the people that never played AO...if you agro'd a group of mobs, and then ran away, they would chase you. If you ran past a person or a group of people...the mobs would turn and proceed to attack/kill the people you ran past, basically brushing off your agro to others to deal with. Fun days!

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 4:16PM (Unverified) said

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Anarchy was my second MMO, myself and a couple of my friends created a low level tower twink org called Project F Bomb. Nothing but good memories!

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 4:25PM (Unverified) said

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Omni-Tek is your friend.

Posted: Sep 7th 2010 4:25PM (Unverified) said

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This article seriously makes me want to play AO again. I have played as a froob before, but the game does feel very dated, mostly due to the graphics. I loved the setting, you really felt like you were a colonist on an alien planet.

I played for about 50 levels and then DAoC came out so I left since the performance of the game was so bad.

I would love to play again tho, I have always felt like I have had unfinished business with AO. Any recommendations on a good froob guild (clan?)

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