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Anarchy Online

Legacy of Xan Interview

Jon Wood Posted:
Interviews 0

Anarchy Online: Legacy of Xan Booster Interview

MMORPG.com's Jon Wood asked some questions of Anarchy Online's Game Director Colin Cragg about the just-announced Legacy of Xan booster for the seven year old title.


Can you give us a quick overview of what Legacy of The Xan is all about and what it adds to the existing game?

Colin Cragg:

Legacy of the Xan is a content focused experience for our higher level players that adds significant end game challenges to explore and defeat, both solo and in organized teams. So, in terms of what players will actually get to experience - the booster starts from a central hub area, the newly discovered ruins of an ancient Xan civilization deep in the unterraformed Outzone of Rubi-Ka. As players explore the ancient architecture carved from the rocky chasms that have hidden the ruins for centuries it branches off into two large adventure areas. Those areas take the players through two distinct story driven quest arcs. There have been many questions posed by the storyline we have developed down the years, and this booster was an opportunity to answer some of those questions, and of course pose a few more! Following the story through to its conclusion will take the players through confrontations with both the Dust Brigade and the Alien invaders, and allow players to discover more about the origins of both factions. How exactly does the ancient Xan civilization still influence events on Rubi-Ka to this day, and what is the significance of this newly unearthed area?

With a wealth of new quests and encounters, these outdoor areas combine the storytelling that we have always built upon and some great new opponents and encounters to create a really compelling and coherent experience. The player will know why they are there, and what they are trying to achieve as they battle through both story-lines seeking at least a glimpse of the ultimate truth behind the ancient Xan. There are also a number of side-quests and other tasks that further flesh out the areas and provide additional story elements and activities if the players wish to do them.

Playing through the outdoor experiences and completing the various quest lines will eventually lead players to two new challenging team instances and then ultimately one final twelve-man raid encounter with the dark presence that has risen from the ancient Xan. These instances follow on from the type of game-play experiences we have been adding to the game over the last few years, with a real focus on dynamic, interesting encounters that keep the players on their toes! We are very proud of how the team here has been able to create these wonderful challenging events and encounters and those added will hopefully keep up that tradition and be encounters that the players remember and enjoy playing. I think the whole experience will be one our players really enjoy as it plays on all the major factors that make Anarchy Online such a unique experience in the first place.


What is the difference between an expansion and a booster?

Colin Cragg:

This is of course subject to opinion...but mine would be that the difference between and expansion and a booster is a question of scale and scope. Expansions often offer new game mechanics, levels to achieve or enormous land mass to explore. In the case of Shadowlands, an area significantly larger than the original game was added along with twenty new levels and significant new player actions and mechanics. Legacy of the Xan, while containing large areas and rafts of new content, is not on this scale and is meant to be supplementary to the game as an alternate path through the Anarchy Online end game experience. This is an end game experience designed for our veteran players and as a booster it is priced as such. Long standing members of our community will find this priced down to as little as 9.99 /$ when supplemented with paid points awarded free with their subscriptions. We feel this is excellent value for the fun this adds to the game.


How many different expansions and boosters have been added to the game in the last seven years?

Colin Cragg:

Notum Wars, Shadowlands, Alien Invasion and Lost Eden have been enormous additions to the Anarchy Online world over the past seven years. This time has also seen numerous free content updates for our subscribers on a regular basis. The Anarchy Online world is constantly growing...and I like to think improving all the time. New players can start the game with an "All-in-One" pack that includes all Anarchy Online expansions and boosters, including the new Legacy of the Xan booster for only $19.99


It says in your press release that the expansion can be paid for using combined points and currency. Can you tell us about this please?

Colin Cragg:

Legacy of the Xan is available for three different price options. (Not including relevant taxes.)

  1. 19.99 /$ simple currency transaction.
  2. 14.99 /$ plus 500 paid points.
  3. 9.99 /$ plus 1000 paid points.

Players receive paid points as a reward for long term subscriptions to Anarchy Online. Paid points are also distributed to the players on special occasions such as our 7th anniversary this summer where all paying subscribers received 700 free paid points as a part of the celebrations. Players are also able to purchase "Paid Points" in Anarchy Online through their account pages at any time. We feel a reduced price for the booster is an excellent way of rewarding our long-term and loyal community.

Legacy of Xan Screenshot


It sounds, from reading your promotional material that this booster focuses almost entirely upon existing users and end-game content. Is there anything here that is meant to draw in new players to the game?

Colin Cragg:

There is nothing specifically included in the booster's paid content aimed at new Anarchy Online players. This is content that all new players can eventually look forward to as the progress to the high levels of the game. That being said, in the same update there has been significant adjustment to the new player experience at the ICC Shuttleport based on community feedback. We are constantly working to improve the overall game experience in all areas and the starting area of AO can expect a more significant overhaul in the coming year with the release of the new render engine upgrade. Adding to the end game experience and improving the product in general is always good for attracting new players.


Given the game’s age, how many people are currently working on Anarchy Online?

Colin Cragg:

Despite its age Anarchy Online is still doing remarkably well. There are numerous MMO's that have never enjoyed the stable customer base that keeps Anarchy Online stable and profitable. Nobody would have imagined seven years ago we would be operating at this level today. The game is currently developed by a dedicated team of eleven (Not including dedicated QA and customer service personnel). We find the smaller team size allows us more flexibility, creativity and speed in the development process and I could not be happier with their achievements, even when compared to much larger project groups I have worked with in the past. A close relationship with the player community also helps to keep the content additions fresh and the direction the game moves in true. I'm already looking forward to the free content updates in production for this year with this exceptional team.


What happened to the new Anarchy Online engine that we were told about a while back? Is there an ETA on that, or has it been put on hold?

Colin Cragg:

The new engine is still currently in development and has not been put on hold in any way. Releasing the video when we did was definitely premature given the sheer amount of unanticipated work that was discovered later. I'm sure the entire community can imagine the deep dark mysteries held by the AO codebase. At the time we were so excited to see the future of the game that we wanted to share it with the community. Work is continuing well on the engine upgrade and as much as I'd like to give specific dates for testing and release the best I can do at this point is "When it’s ready.” The video preview gave me goose bumps when I first saw it, and the release will definitely do the same!

Below, please find the announcement press release:

Durham, USA – February 13th, 2009 – Funcom is proud to unveil `Legacy of the Xan' – the new booster pack for the massively multiplayer online game `Anarchy Online'. The new booster pack features end-game content tailored specifically for seasoned `Anarchy Online' veterans, opening up new areas of the world, introducing new items and bringing hundreds of new missions to challenge players. This content upgrade is the latest in a series of expansions and booster packs that have been released for the classic sci-fi MMO that launched 7 years ago.

"The `Legacy of the Xan' booster pack introduces new content for those who have reached the `Anarchy Online' end-game, by introducing areas, items, enemies and missions relating to the mysterious civilization of the Xan and their history on planet Rubi-ka," says game director Colin Cragg. "We are thrilled by the fact that `Anarchy Online' continues to capture the imagination of gamers even after seven years of operation, and we greatly look forward to be bringing players even more challenges, content and improvements to the game in the time ahead!"

The booster pack will be available on February 19th, but pre-order has already started. The booster is available for 19.99 US dollars or for a combined purchase using paid points and currency. Included in the purchase is an in-game virtual item known as The Phasefront Hoverchair – a unique, time-limited launch offering that allows you to cruise around on Rubi-ka in style! For those new to `Anarchy Online' it is also possible to purchase a complete package that contains the core game as well as all expansions and boosters previously released. `Legacy of the Xan' pre-order and the Phasefront Hoverchair is included in this complete package.


Jon Wood