Adventures in Rubi-Ka
In the past month or so a majority of my MMO time has gone into Anarchy Online. I have definitely been sucked in and enjoy playing it, even though it certainly has a number of rough spots and it is not really newbie friendly (as in real newbies, not low level alts or second accounts).
I reached kind of a milestone this weekend with my Meta-Physicist, who I created now when I started playing again and who is now level 50. This is about as high that some of my old characters had reached before I left the game in 2002. Of course, in Anarchy Online terms level 50 is still a lowbie character – initial game had 200 levels and added another 20 with the Shadowlands expansion.
I have joined an organisation (i.e. guild in some other MMOs) and I have had a good time with a mix of solo play, some PUG play and also play with fellow organisation members. The general friendliness and helpfulness of a lot of player I think definitely makes up for many shortcomings in the game itself.
After playing the newbie island area a couple of times it strikes me that it is not particularly good in explaining a number of basics in the game. A completely new player will likely have some confusing moments. Reading some guides on fan sites such as AO Universe can go a long way to sort out some of the confusion, or even the game documentation. That being said, there may also be some guides that are out of date.
Having played through the games first 50 levels almost from scratch (did provide a bit of cash influx from other characters) one thing that strikes me is that it is easier to gain levels nowadays. Easier access to vehicles and the daily missions help with that. But the cash flow is not up to speed with increased leveling speed and I found myself needing to slow down my leveling in order to actually be able to gain enough money to afford upgrades when I needed them, even if I was somewhat restrictive with what I bought.
Most of my items were gained through mission rewards from mission terminals or loot drops in missions, which works pretty ok. But I also channeled some of the XP gained into research, which effectively improved a number of my skills while it slowed down leveling – without any research done I think I might have been a few levels higher. The daily missions give a full level of XP at these lower levels for each missions and some of them can even be as short as 5 minutes (like Gridrunner mission). But you do not get a level’s worth of cash flow with these, so you end up gaining levels too fast.
Still, a number of these daily missions are quite fun though and I definitely recommend trying them, even though I perhaps would not go as far as actually playing them daily.
Still, the game has a lot of character – NPC texts are quite enjoyable compared to a number of fantasy MMOs, weather effects and sound does a good job in setting the mood for different areas, as does the fact that areas are not completely crowded with mobs. You tend to take notice a bit more of the mobs when there are fewer of them. Also, various events and happenings also adds something extra – the alien mothership appearing for example, or run into an alien invasion attack all of a sudden when you enter a city area.
Even though I have played the game before it took me a while to remember a few things, like that I could use the Grid instead of the Whompah teleporters to get around – sometimes that is faster and provides better access to various areas.
This weekend also was the 10th anniversary celebration of Anarchy Online, although formally the game opened up on the 27th in 2001, so the actual anniversary day is on Monday. There were some added events and missions with fun loot drops added for the anniversary, which was fun to do. My Bureaucrat character picked up a red tuxedo, a monocle/eyepatch (for free…) and also a duck as a lantern (the yellow thing to the right of him). There were also lots of action figures and other neat things dropping – will need to set up these in an apartment.
Every player also have been able to pick up a free jetpack from the in-game store. I am not sure how long the jetpack is going to be there, but as the store text says – “you cannot beat free”, so pick it up when you have the chance. The requirements to use it us the same as for many other air vehicles (need 81 in air vehicle skill) and the speed increase also the same (+150 to run speed).
I have not been as much in the Shadowlands area as I expected I would be and I have mostly spent time in regular Rubi-Ka. The first zone Nascene covers pretty much up to level 50, but after doing a couple of the missions there which I was done with in the mid-20s I have not really spent any time there with most characters. My Meta-Physicist dipped his toes into the next zone Elysium when he was around level 40 and managed ok with with the level 50+ mobs he ran into (such as the Eremites in the picture below), but I had not figured out where should go and look for things, so I decided to wait it out until I got a few more levels – now may be a good time to visit the area again.
Overall I very much enjoy the game time on Rubi-Ka, even though there may be some rough spots. The community and character of the game makes up for that though.
If you have read this post so far, I can offer a bit of game time for anyone interested. With the anniversary email that Funcom sent out there were 5 game codes included; these are for 30 days of game time including all expansions. Note that there is currently no way to revert a full/paid account to a free account, using this code would require creating/using another account if one would want to play the free option after these 30 days. It is possible to merge multiple accounts into a single master account and I have seen reports that it may be possible to transfer characters between accounts, although I do not recall that I have seen this option in the account pages.
The game codes also do not work to extend the time of already paying accounts according to reports in the chat channels.
Anyway, if you would be interested in trying out the full game for a month despite the caveats above, use the contact form on the blog here to send a request and include a valid email address I can send it to, first come fist served. When all 5 codes have been sent out I will update this page here at the end to tell you that.