Anarchy Online: Shadowlands

Anyone here going to be snagging this? I will be picking up copies for myself and my wife at GameStop after I leave work tonight. My wife and I tend to hop around a lot between games, so we don’t have a guild or anything, but it would be neat to explore the new stuff with some other people. If any of you are interested in checking it out with us, send me an email at LOKUST at ACD dot NET. We have level 100ish characters, level 40ish characters, and will probably try the new classes, so we can play with a pretty broad range of people. We play on the Rimor server.

For those of you new to AO, the AO Shadowlands box comes with the original game, the Notum Wars PVP add on, and of course the Shadowlands expansion, with 1 month of free play, for a very reasonable $30 price point. If you don’t want to drop cash without checking it out first, there is a 7-day free trial that you can download, but it doesn’t include the expansion pack. I’ll be happy to help out any people new to the game with advice, and a little cash and gear, within reason.

I played to level 154 NT last year in AO and stopped when I couldn’t bear it anymore (a good guild kept me going for longer than I would otherwise have played.) No matter how good Shadowlands is (and I doubt I’d like it because it messes up the otherwise interesting sci-fi milieu with lame fantasy and religious elements) Funcom lost me as a customer by just not providing any good content for an entire year of grind-it-out play.

Still, I do hear that AO is much better now than it used to be, so if I hadn’t sworn off Funcom I’d probably try it now if it was for the first time.

My next MMOG will be E&B for the second time (I cancelled 6 months ago) to which I will resubscribe for a while at the end of the year if they still exist. I really like the high-quality of the content in E&B. The problem with E&B is there isn’t enough new content from month to month to justify a continuing subscription to me, and the gameplay not associated with the content is extremely tedious.

Oh yeah, I will also be trying Uru at launch. I just got accepted to the expanded beta, but had to turn it down when I saw the NDA clause saying “you’re not affiliated with a game company.”

well, certainly play whatever interests you, but I have to choke back a laugh when I hear about high quality content in E&B. Some of the quests that get you your basic abilities are fantastic (jenquai warrior-type comes to mind) but the game seemed to be the worst of all to me in terms of meaningless grind. 20 minute traderuns where all I do are set the warp coordinates just don’t do anything for me.

I’ve not heard of Uru…linkage for us unwashed masses?

A lot has been added for the end game players in AO, in terms of both PVP and PVE content. the new high-level dungeon is supposed to be pretty awesome, but my 103 fixer is too low to try it out. Shadowlands is supposed to be a more backstory driven experience, and I’m interested in seeing how all of that will play out. New classes are always fun too.

I don’t understand the point in bashing fantasy elements. The main difference I usually see between sci-fi and fantasy is that technology takes the place of magic. Typically the underlying themes are very similar. But again, it’s your preference. I have friends who won’t even try AO because they don’t want to play a sci-fi themed game. I kind of see the backdrop of shadowlands as being a story that comes full circle, fantasy turning into science fiction with the advent of technology, and then taking that technology back into the fantasy realm. To each their own, I suppose.

Uru is that new Myst online game. I’m definitely keeping an eye on it, but it sounds incredibly ambitious. “Incredibly ambitious” meaning that if they do what they say they will do, it will roxxor, but I have a healthy amount of skepticism that they will pull it off.

You can find their webpage with two seconds of Googling.

I believe they scaled back their ambitions dramatically from the original Uru concept. Or possibly the website people for the prebeta website got a little overexcited.

Anyhow, the idea now I [i]think[/i] (not entirely sure) is that you subscribe to monthly single-player Myst-like ages to play with by yourself, and you can also go connect to a general MMOG arcade age which has connections to private ages created by the players for social purposes, so you can design your own space and invite people to it. In some ways this is still quite ambitious, but it basically involves no online gameplay per se. Take this capsule description with a grain of salt, it might be quite different from this at launch; I haven’t talked to anyone in the beta.

I sent off for their free 7 day trail CD ('cos 600Mb on my 56K is too much to bear) a couple of weeks ago, still hoping postie comes to surprise me. They did say worldwide delivery, but I think it’s coming over the ocean on the back of a turtle. See you in-game (perhaps).