The Alien Invasion expansion pack for Anarchy Online adds what seems like a lot of intriguing new content, but in practice, it’s mostly for advanced players who have already spent lots of time with the original game. Yes, Anarchy Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, which means that you create a character and then go off on adventures in search of better weapons, better armor, and advancement for your character by gaining experience levels. And, yes, Anarchy Online takes place in a persistent online world inhabited by thousands of other players. But unlike other such games, this one takes place in a futuristic world that consists of both hardcore science fiction and Star Wars-like mysticism. And the new expansion does add all-new features to the game in the form of player cities and armies of invading aliens that can attack those cities. But since player cities are hugely expensive, and because these attacks scale with character strength, you won’t be able to get much out of these features if you’re not already a veteran.
The premise of Anarchy Online is fundamentally the same as it was at launch: A futuristic mining colony known as Rubi-Ka is disputed by major political factions–the evil Omni-Tek corporation, the rebellious clans, and an independent group of neutral parties. However, since Anarchy Online’s launch, this feud has been enhanced by the addition of Shadowlands, a previous expansion pack that introduced an alternate dimension and an all-new set of experience points (Shadowlands experience), quests, armor, and items. Alien Invasion doesn’t add a new realm to explore, but it does add an all-new type of character experience (“alien experience”), along with a full set of new weapons, armor, and quests. And since the expansion adds a full-on invasion of Rubi-Ka, it also features a new low-level starting area for non-Shadowlands characters. Instead of starting in the backyard of Omni-Tek, the clans, or the neutrals, new characters instead crash-land in a neutral area that’s overrun with low-level monsters from outer space.
This starting area acts as a slightly better introduction to the game, since it features brand-new explanatory quests that are given by somewhat helpful characters. However, Anarchy Online remains a dense and highly complex game. Your character still has many different attributes, statistics, and skills to keep track of, which means there’s still simply a lot to know (and a lot to not know). So if you’re new to Anarchy Online, the latest expansion won’t do much to really introduce you to all of its intricacies. The same can be said of the expansion’s two major additions: player-built cities and alien attacks. Player-built cities are just that. They’re huge city areas that can include various types of shops and new sets of housing, which can grant special bonuses. Player cities are available only to guilds, which are long-standing player associations. If you’re part of the upper ranks in your guild, you can actually purchase items and add them to your guild’s city layout by using a simplified graphical interface.