Anarchy Online, Tickling My Fancy

A few days ago I read an article on Massively about a potential graphics upgrade that Anarchy Online may be getting (after I did a little digging it seems that this new graphics engine has been in the pipeline for quite some time). Strangely enough, it stirred something deep down inside of me, tickling a dormant fancy, so to speak. Could Anarchy Online be getting a significant visual overhaul, enough for it to make a come back? I for one hope so.

Anarchy Online - New Graphics Engine

Anarchy Online - New Graphics Engine

I played Anarchy Online when it first came out in 2001 and, although it was plagued with problems, I enjoyed it for a good few months. It was, and still remains, one of the few online sci-fi MMORPGs on the market and that gives it a certain uniqueness that newer MMOs lack. Yes, I like the new features that games like WAR and Aion have to offer but at the end of the day they are part of a genre that I’ve been playing for years and, to be frank, am getting kinda sick off. Swords and sorcery can only entertain a guy for so long, after all, and I’m just dying to get my hands on some decent Sci-Fi.

The article was enough to get me thinking about trying out AO again. The basic game is free to play and, as I’m currently lacking a desktop PC, I think it’s old enough to run happily on my laptop. I actually tried going back to AO briefly not so long ago but found that I just couldn’t get past the poor UI and camera controls (it’s hard to believe that in 8 years no ones ever updated such basic features). If there’s anything that Final Fantasy XI taught me it’s that I need decent mouse controls and camera movements to be able to enjoy my gaming. However, I’m hoping that if I try AO again, I can get past those issues.

Regardless of whether I resubscribe or not, I love the idea of overhauling the engines in older MMOs and breathing fresh life into them. When you consider the countless number of hours that went into these games, both from a development point of view and a gaming one, it seems like such a waste to let them decay and slowly die off. I’m honestly surprised that more games aren’t updated, repackaged and re-released to new audiences. Everquest did it with the Shadows of Luclin only a couple of years after it came out and now World of Warcraft is kinda doing it (think flying mounts in Azeroth) with Cataclysm.

Well, I’m off to start download AO and see if I can resurrect any old characters and whip out my bald-headed Bureaucrat. And if you inferred any euphemism from that statement then the innuendo is your own.

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13 Comments

  1. Marchosias says:

    Yup – I’m very curious about this as well. I had an account ages ago, which I ended up selling to a friend that really got into the game. Then I went back for a little while when Alien Invasion came out and thought it had improved somewhat, but it still (like you noted) had a very clunky interface.

    AO is another one of those games I’m sure I’d LOVE if they could just tweak it a little bit – mainly on their interface. The overall gameplay seems fine, if it just wasn’t obscured so much by the clunky interface. Dunno that it’s going to get much attention with the engine update, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and I’ll def. be checking in on the game to see the new look!

  2. Aye, got to agree with you here – I’ve always wanted to give AO a try and thought about starting up a free account when my one month experiment with SWG was over. Now I’m still subbed to SWG and saw that they were working on the update, so I might as well wait.

    I’ve never played AO before, but it always seemed like such an interesting game. Hope you blog about it and how it currently feels. Also, the euphemism is stuck in my head now. Thank you.

    • Gordon says:

      I think I never appreciated it enough when it first came out. I was enslaved by EQ so I didn’t get very high up in AO or do anything truly cool. Still, it’s got a wonderful style to it and appeal that many newer MMORPGs lack now.

  3. Longasc says:

    I am quite sceptical if this will make AO better or worth a try, but well:

    Regarding graphics update -> I still wonder that WoW does not get a completely new graphics engine with Cataclysm.

  4. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    I was not a big fan of AO, but I will play when the new good looking version is released!

  5. [...] some interesting new takes on things with Global Agenda, Mortal Online, Jumpgate Evolution and an engine overhaul to that old classic, Anarchy Online. We’ll also see expansions for Everquest 2, Age of Conan, quite likely Warhammer Online and, [...]

  6. [...] in December I wrote about the upcoming graphics engine overhaul for Anarchy Online and now it looks like Asheron’s Call is set to receive one too. Surprisingly I find myself [...]

  7. hordemaster says:

    I just downloaded this game today and will be giving it a whirl in the next couple of weeks, probably after I am done with my trial periods for other games.

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