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Anarchy Online: The Notum Wars Review
We take a hands-on look at Funcom's recent booster pack incorporating a new form of gameplay, land control.
- By the year 29,475, the human race has achieved much technological advancement and has extended its reach far beyond Earth and the other planets of its home solar system. A huge number of worlds within the Milky Way have been located, explored and colonized, both for the simple purpose of discovery and also in search of resources to support continued progress and expansion. Among these is Rubi-Ka, a seemingly insignificant speck situated on a far frontier of the galaxy. However, because it is home to deposits of Notum, the rare and greatly coveted substance that is essential to nanotechnology, this remote globe is actually critical. For that reason, the massive and powerful Omni-Tek Corporation began terraforming operations thousands of years ago. However, many regions are arid and inhospitable regions, and even today, humans inhabit only a few limited areas.

Omni-Tek's operations are centered around its stronghold of Omni-1, which is the world's major city, its capital and the primary point for the authorized Notum trade. In the outlying areas however, the corporation's regime is under constant challenge from rebel clans that have banded together in a somewhat loose alliance, and as a result, Rubi-Ka is ravaged unremittingly by the continuing conflict that plays out in Funcom's Anarchy Online. Earlier this year, the company announced an expansion, Shadowlands, and then a "booster pack" called The Notum Wars. Launched on November 29, the latter implements a major feature addition, a new type of gameplay built around a land control system that allows groups of players to claim existing areas, thereby gaining access to their deposits of Notum. We take a look to see how this has enhanced the game.



 
 
 
Anarchy Online is a notable massively multiplayer online role-playing game that has been out for about a year and a half. Set in a futuristic science fiction atmosphere on the distant planet of Rubi-Ka, Funcom's game allows players to take sides in the battle over the planet and its valuable resource, Notum. For years, war has raged between Omni-Tek, which controls official trade in the precious substance, and the rebel clans that are upset with the corporate giant's treatment of the planet and its people. The recently released booster pack ups the ante in this clash, opening mining rights to private organizations and pushing the conflict over Notum even further.

 
 
 
Anarchy Online: Notum Wars brings a new dimension to player versus player (PvP) fighting. Organizations can now control land via towers and set up defences. Should any such areas be attacked, players can rush to protect them through the grid, a form of rapid transportation. Since this can only happen during a few hours each day, and because the assaulting players need to purchase a shield disabler, this system avoids the possibility of a constant free for all. Another intriguing and perhaps surprising aspect is that during a short period of time, one hour a day, anyone not in the controlling organization can attack the tower. In other words, Omni can attack Omni, clan can attack clan, and neutrals can attack neutrals. These innovations in team-based combat are not only interesting, but fun. PvP isn't mandatory and is short-term. Overall, Funcom has crafted a rather novel approach to the concept.

 
 
 
Obtaining a piece of land is not easy. First, players must either find a location that is free for the taking, or attack another group's tower and destroy it. Areas are restricted by level, so all players can have an opportunity to control land and engage in PvP battles. After finding a suitable site, a tower must be constructed. These may be purchased already assembled or may be crafted by players. The latter can be of much higher quality. After that is placed, defences are erected. Area of effect buff and debuff programs can provide benefits to supplement the basic protection, giving all friendly players in the area benefits or harming all enemies. As well, so-called "advantages" give all players in the organization that controls the land area augmentations like increased speed or strength, no matter where in the world they are. Side bonuses are given faction-wide based upon the number of towers each controls. For example, at the time of writing, all clan members currently were receiving about 9.5% additional experience. Naturally, this figure varies as land blocks change hands.

Anarchy Online Vault

Anarchy Online Item Sales Interview
Game Director Craig Morrison talks about Funcom's addition of this revenue stream to the game's business model
Anarchy Online: The Notum Wars Interview
Game Director Gaute Godager gives us the goods on Funcom's booster pack for its science fiction online world.


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