Anarchy Online came out after the trilogy of Ultima Online / EverQuest / Asheron's Call. It learned from many of their mistakes and right out of the gate presented a fun, immersive world.
Other MMORPGs featured varying levels of customization - maybe the skin, maybe a hairstyle. Anarchy Online went full tilt into this fun and let you customize just about ANYTHING. Choose which race you want to be. Choose from a wide range of classes, each with its own skills. Choose skin color, facial details, and much more.
As this is a future world, there is "nano-technology". This means you can enhance your abilities both by using the skills you want to do better in, or enhancing yourself the scientific way.
The training missions are good and get you involved in your world. There's no "hunting for friends" - you are already starting as part of a big team that has a clear agenda. You can then choose to work on missions to help your team out, or just wander around and do what you want. You can form groups within your team to take on special challenges, or you can go it alone.
The graphics are great, from the wildernesses to the big cities to the swamps and marshes. There's both the high-tech of a future world and the low-tech of the planet you're on. The monsters are really great, and in the training area you run into "L33Ts" who spout off hilarious L33T-Speak!!
While other MMORPGs tend to have lots of people who are in it for "gaining lots of points" and don't care much about actual roleplay, Anarchy Online is great for its level of roleplay. People really do get into their characters, and talk about the aims of the group and the missions involved instead of going on "experience point quests" to "get my character to the next level."
We've played every MMORPG that has come out to test it and get screenshots, Anarchy Online is one of the few that we actually kept an account for and continued to play. We still find it great fun, and the constant improvements make the world even better as it matures.
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