Still shaping a bold new future, Anarchy Online, one of the first massively multi-player online role playing games (MMORPGs), has released the fourth in a series of expansions: Lost Eden.
Since it was first released in 2001, Anarchy Online has weathered the introduction of prettier, flashier MMORPGs and maintained a loyal fan base by consistently expanding content and keeping the gameplay and rewards novel and gratifying. Lost Eden promised Anarchy's fans improved graphics, an advanced player vs player system and more interaction with the invading aliens - and what good is a future world without epic alien battles, we ask you?
For a game set in the future, the graphics, which have always shown Anarchy's age, are still clunky and out-of-date (that, folks, is what we call "irony"). Movement within the world is clumsy and not intuitive - as a new player, you may find yourself running into walls while the camera swings wildly about, or doing the hokey pokey around dead critters in an attempt to select them and loot their corpses. While we personally have nothing against the hokey pokey, frustration levels can certainly rise as we spend jerky, uncontrollable moments attempting to walk from point A to point B without feeling like we should be wearing heels and looking for a dance partner.
Introducing new PvP battles as well as a number of innovative missions, Lost Eden will bring older, semi-retired players back to Rubi-ka. Fresh missions and bosses allow people to group together in a more social and a less raid-oriented environment, expanding upon the end game and giving players new content to explore once they reach the level cap.
The Battlestations are level rated and no longer are they a last-man-standing event. While still glitchy and hard to log into at times, once we managed to join the queue, alt f4, log on, ctrl-alt-del, log on again, re-join the queue and then get into the Battlestation, the battle itself was a test of tactics and skill, not a mosh pit of insta-death for the squishier professions.
The ability to make a change upon the game landscape by supporting research - both personal and global - is genius. Players can assign a set percentage of their experience to go to personal or global research or both. By doing this they can unlock vehicles, weapons and other advances that assist global efforts.
While the graphics and interface make the world hard to interact with, the story and complexity of Anarchy make it worthwhile to put in the time - with pillow-punching breaks to release the frustration. Anarchy Online has always had one of the friendliest and most social communities of all MMORPGs, and Lost Eden invigorates that aspect of the game, allowing old fans and new players to forgive the occasional disconnects and hokey-pokeys. Available from Funcom as a download only, Lost Eden is $24.99, making it easy on the wallet even if it is sometimes hard on the eyes.