On Wednesday, October 31, Funcom began the storyline arc that is intended to provide additional substance to the anticipated four-year life span of its massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Anarchy Online. The introduction to the game's storyline was unveiled in a number of animated shorts produced by the Anarchy Online live team and written by Ragnar Tørnquist. The teaser and storyline movies can be downloaded from the official Anarchy Online community Web site.
Entitled Tricks and Treats and including a secondary holiday theme, the first storyline movie began with Omni-Tek CEO Philip Ross offering amnesty to all Clan members, who are now free to travel safely in Omni-aligned cities. This move unites a formerly separate and constantly warring pair of groups that together form 95 percent of all players. The animated movies introduced players to a cast of important characters, including Philip Ross, Council of Truth chairman Henry Radiman, and a pair of adventurous types named Eleena Oak and Joshua Kahn. This first entry in the Anarchy Online story should allow players to take part in a setting and tale that is reportedly dynamic and constantly changing.
To fit in with the Halloween theme, the skies on the planet Rubi-Ka were particularly overcast, and the night was noticeably darker than ever before. A new monster type, resembling a ghostlike grim reaper with a prominent pumpkin-shaped head, was introduced in the movie. These monsters hold the key to a new static dungeon in the Omni Forest, the Steps of Madness. The monsters that inhabit the new dungeon bear suitably themed names like "figments of imagination" and "betrayers of memory," and there is a boss enemy that drops unique loot. The first storyline episode also introduced other several unique monsters to high-level areas to complement the new items and notable class changes that have been implemented in the most recent patch.
Despite the unveiling of the new content, it appears that the player count in Anarchy Online has fallen dramatically recently, and cities are not nearly as inhabited as they were months ago. Many players have been holding out on moving to a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game in anticipation of the storyline, and it will remain to be seen if they are suitably appeased and will continue to subscribe to the $12.95 Anarchy Online monthly service.
The storyline will be revealed more fully in the first novel, penned by Ragnar Tørnquist and titled Prophet Without Honour: Anarchy Online Book One. Those interested in previewing the prologue and first two chapters can download these portions in PDF format from the Anarchy Online community site.
Anarchy Online was developed by Funcom and launched in June. For more information, take a look at our full review of the game.