December 13, 2006 marked the launch date for Anarchy Online’s either third or fourth expansion pack Lost Eden. So, what does it do? Well, like any game out these days, it has to rip off some element of World of Warcraft. Since AO has always been an attempt at a pvp-centric game, they introduced a “battlestation.” Yes, a rip off so obvious Funcom didn’t even change the name enough to make it seem like it was anything else but.
Regardless, it’s actually fun. Along with the Battlestation, research was added to the game. Research is simply a poor-man’s rip off of Everquest’s Alternate Advancement system. There are two types of research, personal and global. Personal research is the little additions you can add to your character like nanoskills, weaponskills, and procs.
Global research puts a little spin on the system. With Lost Eden, Funcom introduced Mechs and Turrets in order to spice up PvP. These are usable both in the battlestations, and on the original world of Rubi-Ka in order to PvP for Notum Towers. In order to get these mechs and turrets, each side has to come together and put experience into the item they want to research.
Strangely enough, these mechs and turrets actually seem to balance out AO’s broken PvP system. Since The Shadowlands expansion pack went live, and they skewed the entire game by adding 20 levels, that actually amount to another 200 levels following the game’s normal level progression system, PvP has been ridiculous. Several professions are virtually unkillable by other players. In fact, since I hit 220 recently and tried out some of this Battlestation action I’ve found that my Atrox Adventurer requires about 7-8 people in order to have any hopes of killing me, and that’s on dial-up induced lag…. Regardless, this is where the mechs and turrets come in. Turrets have two kinds: Anti-personnel Turret (APT), and Anti-Vehicular Battery (AVB). APTs tear apart players on foot; AVBs counteract Mechs trying to take out APTs. And Mechs are both good at taking out turrets and other mechs. In addition to this, sometime down the road, the Rocket Launchers for infantry are supposed to be introduced in order to help counteract AVBs.
Meching up in order to take out some APTs while watching infantry battle it out under your feet for control over control points, all while watching your back for other mechs and AVBs adds a real element of fun and excitement to something that would otherwise be pretty boring due to broken PvP system. Hey, even the “boring” job of sitting in a turret providing defense to a control point is exciting and fresh in the PvP realm of AO. It’s a lot of fun to be up in the battlestation working together with your side and fighting for the benefit of yourself, as well as the rest of the players as a whole.
It’s a slightly different take on the rock, paper, scissors balancing method, but it really seems to help balance out the godly professions in PvP that are nigh unkillable. And all the while, it adds some flavor and tactics to be used in the mass PvP situation. Originally I thought that this battlestation would be a poor-man’s attempt at adding PvP back into a game that was all about mass-ganking, but it’s actually turned out to be fun.
Lost Eden also introduced Alien “mothership” missions. These missions are a way for people to get Alien experience by simply having a group going into these missions instead of needing a guild to own a city to spawn aliens. Also, these missions are where the upgrades for the new armor and weapons drop. This is good, since you no longer need to use credits in order to buy the new weapons or upgrades – you need victory points. Victory points are gotten by doing the Battlestation, a win now nets you around 1160 points, a loss about 350 points, and a tie about 700 points. Victory points can also be gotten from drops in the alien missions.
That about sums up Lost Eden. It’s not really an expansion pack in many ways, hell it was a 300mb download that cost $30…. That’s right, $10/100mb of data. Woot. This “expansion” took two years to develop and we get very little out of it as a result. Does it add some interesting and possibly fun elements to the game? Sure, it changes the PvP mechanic and gives us research to continue to progress our characters. It’s been fun so far, and has put new life into a game I could barely log into once a week.
Oh, and yes, it wouldn’t be Funcom without it’s more than fair share of bugs and mess-ups. But since this is one of a few actual praises Funcom gets from me, I’m not going to mention them right now. Regardless, Lost Eden works and does what it’s intended to do quite well.
I would provide pictures… but uploading to web photo albums takes forever on dial-up. Sorry.