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Anarchy Online

Anarchy Online is a 3D sci-fi MMORPG originally released back in 2001. Anarchy Online is one of the longest running MMORPGs and, though it originally launched as a pay-to-play title, the game went free-to-play in 2004. There are 14 featured classes and 4 races.

Publisher: Funcom
Playerbase: Medium
PvP: Duels / Guild Wars / Open PvP Areas
Release Date: Jun 27, 2001 (NA/EU)
Pros: +Excellent variety of races & classes (4 races/14 classes). +Great character customization. +Varied skill builds. +Good soundtrack.
Cons:  -Some late-game content requires purchase. -Dated visuals (Long-awaited visual update should launch soon)



Anarchy Online Overview

Anarchy Online is a sci-fi MMORPG set 30,000 years in the future from Funcom. It is currently one of the oldest running MMORPGs, with a solid story and a very in-depth character customization and itemization system. It has a great soundtrack, and while the graphics are a bit dated, developers have promised a visual update soon. With 4 races, 14 classes, and plenty of end-game PvE and PvP content, Anarchy Online is sure to keep players hooked.

Anarchy Online Key Features: 

  • Large Variety of Classes and Races – choose from 14 classes and 4 races to create a character that fits your playstyle.
  • Customize Your Character – while the options for the physical appearance of your character are limited, the skill trees to customize stats and strengths are deep.
  • Play with Large Parties – join up with other players to take down mobs and bosses in the PvE Raids.
  • Control the PvP Setting – players can choose the extent to which they want to allow PvP (anywhere from NONE, to completely fair game).
  • Great Story, Loads of Content, Awesome Soundtrack – experience great storytelling in a sci-fi world with tons of content to play through and an awesome soundtrack to match.


Anarchy Online Screenshots

Anarchy Online Featured Video



  • Adventurer – the rangers of the future, Adventures are at home in the wild. They have both ranged and melee capabilities, with some healing abilities on top of that.
  • Agent – masters of the cloak and dagger, Agents are expert snipers.
  • Bureaucrat – Bureaucrats are natural leaders, building squads of robots to fight for them.
  • Doctor – Doctors specialize in healing allies and poisoning enemies using biotoxins.
  • Enforcer – Enforcers are the toughest profession in the game, specializing in close-quarter combat, where they can protect their allies from enemy blows.
  • Engineer – Engineers share the Bureaucrats’ disdain for close-quarter combat, preferring to use droids to do their bidding.
  • Fixer – Fixers specialize in accessing ‘The Grid,’ which allows them to teleport themselves and their allies throughout the world. They also rely on evading their enemies’ attacks and limiting their maneuverability.
  • Keeper – Keepers are close-quarter combat specialists that can share their life and various powers with their allies. They are only available with the Shadowlands expansion.
  • Martial Artist – Martial Artists specialize in dealing massive amounts of damage using their bare hands. They are also capable of healing and buffing themselves and others.
  • Meta-Physicist – Meta-Physicists specialize in summoning ethereal entities to do their bidding, thus avoiding direct combat.
  • Nano Technician – Nano Technicians are masters of dealing out damage by casting ‘spells.’
  • Shade – Shades work in the shadows, draining the life and energy out of their opponents. They also rely on reflexes rather than heavy armor for defense. They are only available in the Shadowlands expansion.
  • Soldier – the classic ranged DPS in the game, Soldiers rely on powerful, ranged weapons and strong defensive abilities to deal with their enemies.
  • Trader – aren’t traders supposed to be NPCs? Not in Anarchy Online. These Traders have mastered their craft, allowing them to transfer health, energy, and even skills from their enemies to their allies.

Races (Breeds):

  • Solitus – Solitus most closely resemble humans and are the most well-rounded race in the game.  They have the greatest access to armors and implants, as well as access to the best defensive perks.
  • Opifex – an agile and slick race. They don't have high strength but more than make up for it with their cunning and evasiveness.
  • Nano Mage – Nano Mages are one of the most fragile breeds in Anarchy Online. They favor high intelligence and mental prowess over brute strength.
  • Atrox – Atrox are the strongest breed in Anarchy Online. They have the highest strength and stamina in the game, making them effective fighters.

Full Review

Anarchy Online Review

By Toan Layne

Anarchy Online is a 3D sci-fi MMORPG published and developed by Funcom. It was released on June 27, 2001 with a subscription-based model, and became free-to-play on December 15, 2004. It was the first MMORPG to feature in-game advertising. AO is still free-to-play, though players have to purchase expansions in order to have full access to all of the game’s content. Besides free content updates, the game has had 5 expansion/booster packs, and it is currently one of the oldest running MMORPGs, with over thirteen years under its belt since its release.

Welcome to Rubi-Ka

Anarchy Online features an in-depth story, where players find themselves in the middle of a political and military power struggle on the planet of Rubi-Ka. Fans of the sci-fi genre will find themselves drawn into the universe of AO, simply based on the strength of the story. You have corporations, separatists, terrorists, aliens, and ancient civilizations, all fighting one another to control a planet that holds the source of all life. Of course, I’m not really doing justice for the game's story in this short paragraph. If you’re into mature sci-fi themes, definitely check out Anarchy Online.

Anarchy Online has 4 races and 14 classes. However, when it comes to character creation, the variety stops there. There are several facial options, 3 height options, and 3 weight options. Of course, this is understandable, considering that the game is over thirteen years old.

AO seems to hold up decently in terms of graphics, even by today’s standards. Sure, the textures are big, and the models don’t have a ton of polygons, but the world design makes up for it, which is interesting enough to keep players visually engaged. In terms of control, you have the classic WASD + mouse scheme, and while a little clunky, the controls are in no way a turn-off. Even the UI, which took all of 10 minutes to get used to, works decently. Tabs don’t take up a lot of space on the screen, and you can organize them however you want. One thing that surprised me is that the quest givers are not marked in any way. This means that players have to interact with all NPCs to find quests. Is it a plus, or is it a minus? Well, considering that the game’s story is one of its main features, it’s not that bad. Besides, if you are looking for a fast-paced, dynamic game, Anarchy Online certainly isn’t the game you’re looking for. Even from a gameplay perspective, characters aren’t made for jumping around, kiting, and running while shooting. It’s a very static game from this point of view.

The Skill Tree

Anarchy Online has a very complex leveling system. The first part of the system is comprised of abilities: Strength, Agility, Stamina, Intelligence, Sense, and Psychic. Depending on a character’s breed (race), these abilities have different point caps. For example, Atrox have an Intelligence cap of 600 points at Level 220, while Nano Mages have an Intelligence cap of 912 points at the same level. On top of this, the cost to level up each ability is inversely proportional to the point cap. So investing in a Nano Mage's Intelligence is cheaper than investing in an Atrox's Intelligence. Abilities are the backbone of the Skill System, with skills being capped by the number of points spent into an ability.

You then have skills, which are divided into 10 categories: Body, Melee, Misc Weapons, Ranged, Speed, Trade and Repair, Nano and Aiding, Spying, Navigation, and Protection. While players can spend points into any skill they want, there is a greatly increased cost for spending points in a skill outside of your profession. For example, building a Nano Technician that fights using an Assault Rifle is expensive to the point of making your character very weak. There is also a synergistic link between abilities and skills, with points invested in abilities raising the level of corresponding skills.

The skill system is another one of Anarchy Online’s main draws. Experienced players can do some pretty exciting things using the system. However, the downside is that it can be a little daunting for a noob. Thankfully, the game has the option to auto-spend points, and there are guides online to help you figure out how to make the most out of the system.

PvP, PvE, and other Features

Every zone in Anarchy Online has a Suppression Gas setting which determines the amount of combat allowed. You have: 100% Gas, which blocks all fighting, including PvE; 75% Gas, which allows PvE and flagged PvP; 25% Gas, which allows PvE and PvP against other factions; 5% Gas, which allows PvE and PvP against anyone except members from your organization (guild); and 0% Gas, where everyone and everything is fair game. The other PvP rules include the 50% rule, the 30% rule, and the level range allowed for PvP. The 50% rule states that your weapons do 50% of the damage they do in PvE. The 30% rule states that you will never do more than 30% of your opponent’s health in damage. The level range is calculated by multiplying or dividing your character’s level by 0.8 (e.g. at Level 100, your range is 80 to 125). Besides open world PvP, there are also Battle Stations, in which teams of players have to control four areas and gain points which lead to victory. PvP rewards include items and titles  however, these rewards are only available to players who’ve purchased The Lost Eden expansion.

When it comes to PvE, Anarchy Online features Raids and Missions. Raids are massive PvE events, where players team up to take down raid bosses, while missions are random dungeon areas which are generated from mission terminals, and certain NPCs in expansion packs. These missions have a specific goal in mind, and they are designed to help players train and farm for their characters. Players have a series of sliders which give them control over the final dungeon. The sliders are Easy/Hard, Good/Bad, Order/Chaos, Open/Hidden, Physical/Mystical, Head On/Stealth, and Money/XP. These sliders determine the mobs, rewards, mission types, and playstyle that players will encounter during the mission. The mission types are: Assassinate, Find Item, Find Person, Recover Item, Rescue/Repair, and Bring to Person.

Other features include implants, symbiants, perks, research, vehicles, mechs, and organizations. Implants are one of the most important aspects of building a character in Anarchy Online. With an implant, a character can become much stronger and equip items way above their level. The implant system adds another layer of complexity to the game, allowing for much deeper customization than you would have in other MMORPGs. Symbiants, perks, research, and mechs are available only with the purchase of expansions. Symbiants, perks, and research add a few more layers of character customization each by allowing players to add new abilities, attributes, and buffs to their characters. Mechs are PvP vehicles which can be used in combat. Organizations are the guilds of Anarchy Online and they offer unique bonuses to those who join them.

The Cash Shop

Besides featuring a cash shop, where players can find vehicles, consumables, boosts, cosmetic items, and convenience items, Anarchy Online also has a series of expansions, which have to be purchased in order to experience the full game. While this seems like a lot of content that can be accessed exclusively by paying customers, it’s worth keeping in mind that out of the 220 levels, 200 are available to F2P players. It's also worth mentioning that Anarchy Online was one of the first pay-to-play MMORPGs that went free-to-play. Anarchy Online added a free-to-play option as early as 2004! Since then, dozens of other games like Star Wars: The Old Republic, Lord of the Rings Online, and Tera have adopted a hybrid business model (free-to-play with optional subscriptions).

Final Verdict – Great

Anarchy Online is still going strong, despite its advanced age. Admittedly, it cannot compete with newer games in terms of graphics and combat/gameplay. However, it more than makes up for those flaws in terms of story, huge amount of content, and character customization. Anarchy Online is a solid game that, despite its age, is still quite fun. It’s definitely a game that’s recommended to veteran MMORPG players who are looking for a deep character progression system, and of course, to any fans of the sci-fi genre.


Anarchy Online Screenshots


Anarchy Online Videos

System Requirements

Anarchy Online System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows 98 / ME / XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Pentium 2 300 MHz
Video Card: Any 8 MB DirectX compatible GPU
RAM: 128 MB
Hard Disk Space: 1 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows 98 / ME / XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Pentium 2 450 MHz
Video Card: Any 32 MB DirectX compatible GPU
RAM: 256 MB
Hard Disk Space: 1 GB

Anarchy Online launched back in 2001, so practically any modern computer should be able to run the game smoothly. The system requirements listed here are the official requirements, but modern computers with more bulky operation systems like Windows Vista, 7, and 8 require more powerful CPUs and additional RAM than listed above. Anarchy Online does not officially support Linux or Mac, but can be run on both platforms via Wine / PlayOnMac.


Anarchy Online Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Anarchy Online Additional Information

Developer: Funcom
Game Engine: Dreamworld Engine
Designer(s): Gaute Godager
Closed Beta Date: May, 2001

Expansion Release Dates:

Shadowlands: 2003
Alien Invasion: 2004
Lost Eden: 2006

Development History / Background:

Anarchy Online was developed by Norweigan game developer and publisher Funcom. Development for Anarchy Online began in 1995, 6 years before its June 2001 release. Anarchy Online was the first MMORPG developed by Funcom, and prior to that, the company exclusively made games for consoles. Gaute Godager, the game's designer, predicted that the MMO market would rapidly grow and wanted Funcom to capitalize on the opportunity. Unlike other MMORPGs of its era, like EverQuest, Ultima Online, and Nexus: Kingdom of the Winds, Anarchy Online had a unique sci-fi theme, whereas everything else was fantasy. Between 1995 and 2001, the development team for the game increased to 70+ developers and the game was referred to as "extremely ambitious" by other developers at Funcom. Anarchy Online was first announced to the world at E3, 2000. The beta version of the game was available the following year at E3, 2001 with the full launch arriving on June 27, 2001. Anarchy Online has enjoyed a successful career in the MMORPG space and continues to operate even in 2015. The game originally launched as a subscription-based game but went free-to-play on December 15, 2004, making Anarchy Online one of the first pay-to-play games to drop their subscriptions and embrace the free-to-play model. Instead of micro-transactions though, free-to-play users were shown advertisements in-game, which reportedly generated $1 million a year in revenue for Funcom. Anarchy Online currently has a hybrid business model that supports subscriptions and free-to-play users. Given that the game has been in operation for 15 years, Anarchy Online has truly survived the test of time.