Anarchy Online is a 3D Sci-Fi MMORPG originally released as a subscription-based game, but it’s now available for free. Anarchy Online has four playable races and a whopping fourteen different classes to chose from. While the core game is now free, playing through the expansion pack content still requires a monthly subscription.
Pros: +Large game world. +14 classes & an in-depth skill system. +Player run economy & cities.
Cons: -Dated graphics and gameplay. -Expansion pack content only available to paying members. -Limited Sci-Fi elements during the early stages.
Anarchy Online Overview
Anarchy Online is one of the oldest MMORPGs that’s still around and still shows signs of growth. The Sci-Fi theme set it apart from the competition during its original release and continues to be a source of strength and originality. The sheer level of detail when it comes to character growth and available classes is breath taking. Even though it was released 8+ years ago, Anarchy Online has a much more complex skill system and far more professions (14) than most games being released today. Unfortunately, the graphics and combat system have not aged well. Those looking for a fast-paced game with exciting fights may be disappointed. But if you’re looking for a deep game with a player driven economy, be sure to read the full review.
Solitus - Direct descendants of humanity. Solitus are balanced in all of their basic abilities.
Opifex - Bred for stealth and speed, Opifex value their agility over strength and stamina.
Nanomage - Originally created as Nanotech research assistants, Nanomages have more Intelligence, Psychic, and nanopool than other races. They are the most frail race and depend less on physical abilities like Strength, Stamina and Agility. Nanomages are considered harder to play at high levels due to their low health.
Atrox - Designed as mine workers, Atrox were made genderless. They are large hulking beings that favor Strength and Stamina over Intelligence, Psychic, and Sense. Atrox are much heartier and have greater health, but less nanopool than other races. Atrox are the easiest race for beginners to play because of their high health, though they make poor casters.
Adventurer - At home in the wild, Adventurers resemble rangers in many ways. They use both ranged and melee weapons and even possess healing abilities. Preferred weapons: 1H edged & pistols. Preferred breed: Solitus
Agent - The masters of the shadow, Agents focus on concealment and subterfuge skills. Their weapon of choice are snipers which can deal heavy damage from a safe distance. Preferred weapons: Rifles. Preferred breed: Opifex
Bureaucrat - Though weak in combat, Bureaucrats can build robots to fight for them. They make natural leaders in group situations. Preferred weapon: Pistols. Preferred breed: Solitus
Doctor - The primary support profession that specializes in healing. Doctors can also use biotoxins to slow down and weaken opponents. Preferred weapons: Pistols, SMGs, Shotguns, 1H edge, Martial Arts. Preferred breed: Solitus
Enforcer - Close combat specialist. Physically superior to other professions, they bear the brunt of enemy attacks while relying on others to heal them. Preferred weapons: All, though they excel with 1H or 2H blunt & edged weapons. Preferred breed: Atrox
Engineer - Like Bureaucrats, Engineers shun direct combat and construct battledroids to fight for them. They also have powerful abilities to support their droids. Preferred weapons: Pistols, Launchers, Shotguns, Martial Arts. Preferred breed: Solitus
Fixer - Fixers are the only profession that can access ‘The Grid’ and teleport themselves and their team across the world at the speed of light. Fixers are difficult to hit and have abilities that limit the maneuverability of their opponents. Preferred weapon: SMGs. Preferred breed: Opifex
Keeper - Close combat specialist who uses 2H edged weapons. Keepers have the unique ability to share life and diverse powers with nearby allies. This profession is only available with the Shadowlands expansion. Preferred weapons: 2H edged.
Martial Artist - The best at dishing out raw combat damage, Martial Artists rely solely on unarmed combat. Martial Artists can also use healing spells and abilities. Preferred breed: Opifex
Meta-Physicist - This profession can summon material entities and use them in combat though their own combat skills are low. Preferred weapons: Bows, 1H blunt, Pistols. Preferred breed: Nanomage
Nano Technician - The premier casters of Anarchy Online. They possess powerful area-of-effect spells and other offensive abilities. Their use of physical weapons is weak, however. Preferred weapons: Pistols. Preferred breed: Nanomage
Shade - Shades are a sneaky profession that relies on stealth and concealment. They suck the life and energy out of opponents rendering them defenseless. Shades cannot wear armor but have high natural defense. Available only to those with the Shadowlands expansion. Preferred weapons: Piercing. Preferred breed: Opifex
Soldier - The premier offensive profession, Soldiers rely on armed combat and defensive skills to stay alive. Preferred weapons: Assault Rifles. Preferred breed: Solitus
Trader - The businessman of Anarchy Online. In combat, they have the ability to drain opponents of skills, energy, and health and transfer it to themselves or allies. Preferred weapons: Shotguns. Preferred breed: Solitus
Anarchy Online Screenshots
Anarchy Online Featured Video
Anarchy Online Review
By Erhan Altay
Released way back in 2001, Anarchy Online is one of the oldest 3D MMORPGs still in service. The game broke new ground as the first Sci-Fi game in the genre, but like all MMORPGs at the time, Anarchy Online required a monthly subscription. Starting in late 2004, Funcom (the publisher) started offering the original game content for free but still required players to pay to access the content in the expansion packs. This means free players can’t pick two of the 14 professions and have a level cap of 200 rather than 220. It’s not really a big disadvantage and if you’re a fan of sci-fi games, Anarchy Online is really one of the only few out there.
There are currently three live servers: two catering to the US and the other to the EU. The character creation process is a real delight, a short cutscene with voice acting introduces players to the Rubi-Ka transfer station where they chose from one of four breeds (races) and one of fourteen professions (classes.) There are few games today with so many available classes but games like Anarchy Online and EverQuest were pulling it off nearly a decade ago! Of course as the number of classes goes up, game balance moves in the opposite direction. Luckily, the difficulty of playing each profession is clearly labeled. The spectrum of play styles is broadly covered – there are several tank, support, caster, damage dealer, and hybrids to chose from. Be sure to take a look at the overview tab, which goes into more detail about each class. Appearance customization is not nearly as in-depth, unfortunately. Players pick from three height options, three weight options, (does anyone really create overweight characters?) and several face styles.
Hurray, Another Tutorial Island!
If you’ve played as many MMORPGs as me, you should be familiar with the concept of the tutorial island. These are special zones where new players are thrown so they don’t get in the way or pester the veterans. The tutorial area in Anarchy Online is mostly open-ended, meaning players can leave without having to complete all the content. This allows those who want to take things slow and learn all there is to know to do so while not holding back more adventurous players. From my experience the starting zone is much easier to navigate and level up in than the main world, at least for the first 7-8 levels. Anarchy Online was developed before the ‘ ! ‘ MMORPG cliche was coined by Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, so it isn’t noticeable which NPCs have missions available. This means you’re better off talking to every NPC you meet when entering a new area. The missions on the tutorial island are all quite simple. The first has you simply target several of the small island creatures nearby, the next has you kill them, and the third asks you to deliver a belt to someone. All three won’t take long and after completing them I suggest you stick around and just grind off some cargo droids for a few levels before leaving for the mainland. The game does a pretty good job explaining the controls and interface, but that won’t help since both are so ancient. The mini-map is next to useless since you have to acquire ‘map packs’ before making sense of it. The rest of the interface just feels old and takes some getting used to for those who haven’t played a game this old before. There is one silver lining to the menus, though, and that is the improvement point distribution screen.
Each level (and there are 200 levels to gain), players receive improvement points to spread among seventy-five different skills. There is a button that automatically places points into suggested skills, but most pros consider this a quick way of ruining your character. There is no rush to spend points, its fine to just let them build up, so if you’re uncertain what weapon you want to specialize in just yet, don’t allocate points. Everyone who really gets into the game should go online and read a detailed guide about their profession, but I’ll try to quickly explain the skill breakdown here. Seventy-five skills may sound daunting at first but the way they are broken down makes them much easier to manage. The first six represent the six attributes: Strength, Stamina, Sense, Agility, Intelligence, and Psychic. The rest are broken into nine categories; body, melee weapons, misc. weapons, ranged, speed, trade & repair, nano & aiding, spying, and navigation. A soldier, for example, who specializes in assault rifles can completely ignore entire categories which makes skill management much easier. Take the time to study the skills and it’ll start making sense to you.
Blast From The Past
Anarchy Online’s greatest fault is aged graphic engine and sound effects. Players do have the option of playing in either first person or third person, but either way the graphics look boxy and pixelated. The monster designs are quite pathetic, you’ll be fighting small creatures or indistinct droids for many levels. In terms of music, there is some odd background noise punctuated by weird sound effects when you fire a gun or are attacked by a critter. The best way to describe the whole presentation is outdated. Even fans of the game would be hard-pressed to claim the music and visuals as a plus. As mentioned earlier, the interface is similarly crude. When looting corpses I really had no idea what the items were supposed to be. However, even with its poor packaging, Anarchy Online manages to offer more content and features than many recent MMORPGs.
It’s Time to Organize
Organizations, commonly known as guilds in other games, can be organized in a variety of ways. The creator can choose between six governing systems: Department, Faction, Republic, Monarchy, Anarchism, or Feudalism. Additionally, organizations can purchase plots in mainland cities and construct buildings which can be used to hold meetings, conduct business, or serve as entry points to large scale PvP events. Open world PvP is handled in a creative fashion; all zones have a different percentage of ‘suppression gas’ active. Areas with 100% suppression gas allow no PvP, 75% allows dueling and fighting among those who are PvP flagged. 25% suppression gas is open PvP among players within their level range while 0% is unrestricted open PvP. You have to hand it to Anarchy Online for creative wording, not only with the PvP levels but also with terms ‘nano’ for magic & ‘genetic manipulators’ for GMs. The end-game content consists of mostly of raids and PvP battles for control of special zones where organizations can build towers that provide skill boosts. Unfortunately, free players will be at a severe disadvantage in this regard since players must pay to have access to vehicles and to increase the level cap from 200 to 220. But anyone who gets that involved with the game will likely already be a premium members.
Final Verdict: Fair
The large number of professions and other interesting features don’t save Anarchy Online from its dated graphics and limited free content. Those looking for an old-school MMORPG that favors open-ended gameplay over linear progression should give this game a try. If you’re into sci-fi games, RF Online, Ace Online and Megaten are also worth checking out.
Anarchy Online Videos
Anarchy Online Character Creation
Anarchy Online Tutorial Video
Anarchy Online Gameplay Trailer
Anarchy Online PvP Footage
Anarchy Online Official Trailer
Anarchy Online Links
Anarchy Online System Requirements
OS: Windows 98/ME/2000
CPU: Pentium II 300MHz
HDD: 2.6 GB
Graphics Card: 8Mb video memory
OS: Windows XP or Vista
CPU: 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 or better
RAM: 512 MB
HDD: 3.0 GB
Graphics Card: 32Mb video memory
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