Anarchy Online: Shadowlands Journey
Anarchy Online: Shadowlands Tour Synopsis
by Stephen Harris - 08/25/03
The Journey Shadowlands Commentary Tour Gallery

The Journey through Shadowlands (Page 1 of 4)
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Jobe: City in the Sky
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Our journey begins in the city of Jobe, the mysterious city floating high in the skies over Rubi-Ka. Founded by some of the greatest scientific minds to ever leave the Omni-Tek Corporation, Jobe now stands as the portal into a brave and dangerous new world. Upon first glance, Jobe's design is utilitarian, but also extravagant in its simplicity. Build across three floating islands, the settlement is an architectural marvel. First, there is Jobe Harbor - point of arrival for all inexperienced visitors with a wide assortment of basic shops and services. The second tier of the magnificent city is Jobe Market, a bazaar of more intermediate stores and a gathering place for the more rugged adventurer. Finally, towering over these two islands is the political and scientific center of the city, Jobe Plaza. Only the most skilled explorers and trusted civil servants of the Jobe scientists will spend much time in this plaza.

Scattered around the city were portals that lead to various locations within the Shadowlands. Sadly, some of them would only allow the most experience explorers to journey to the other side. There were also teleportation rings for access to the higher levels of the city as well as the route back to the planet's surface. It was here in a discreet alley in Jobe Harbor that we met our guide, Ziana. She was quite a host, bearing gifts including a box of chocolates and a jug of booze. Her hospitality was enough to make me smile, but being the bad-assed Keeper I was, I just smirked and bowed. As an ARK (Advisor of Rubi-Ka), Ziana's very presence drew a crowd of curious onlookers. The stress of so many curious people poking at my armor was enough to drive me to drink. After introductions were made we took a sneak peak at one of the penthouse-style apartments nestled into the side of the highest apex of Jobe: the Plaza. These select homes were reserved for the very first explorers of the Shadowlands, the patrons who chose to pre-order the expansion.

Jobe Penthouse: A Home for the Elite
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Memories of the padded cells they called the apartments on Rubi-Ka were washed away as we saw the opulence of these new abodes. The model penthouse was enormous in size; featuring a spartan kitchen, Japanese-style dining area and an airy living room. The breathtaking view of Jobe from the open balcony was amazing. The full-sized roman tub in a tiled bathroom was also a pleasant surprise. For added convenience, owners of these particular apartments will get their very own Grid terminals (portal into the digital "highway" in Anarchy Online) snuggly nestled in their entryway.

The bedroom itself featured a Queen-sized bed with an extravagant view of the city through bay windows. The presentation was so impressive that I kept looking for The Hilton embroidery on the sheets. After oh'ing and ah'ing at the heady view, dipping our feet into the tub and jumping on the bed, our tour guide took us into the earliest of areas in the Shadowlands.

Nascence: Paradise Lost
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The very first area in the Shadowlands players will encounter is the bountiful Nascence. Overflowing with flora and fauna, this overflowing garden stems into a steppe plateau of enormous size as well as a murky bog filled with terrible creatures. According to Ziana, thus far there have been over 40 unique breeds documented to inhabit the Shadowlands, with several dozen variations. Literally, thousands of different creatures were to be found throughout this dark side of Rubi-Ka - much more than were available when the original Anarchy Online was released.

After observing combat between the swamp natives and other explorers in the area, we noticed that each creature seemed to behave very differently to each member of a team. According to our guide, the development of Shadowlands meant a complete overhaul of creature A.I. Weaker enemies will run from a stronger explorer and if they successfully escape, the range of their cry for assistance increases. After enough time, the creature may return to stalk the hunter on their own or with much stronger friends in tow. Ziana stated that creatures in the Shadowlands will not only behave more intelligently, but they will be privy to many of the abilities of players. "Monsters are now humanoid, they have professions and behave like players," she stated. "They will have their own nano programs (spells), special attacks and Perks." "They will also take into account the groups that attack them, and will target those players with factions they hate the most," she concluded.

With that said and a few poses for the camera, we were whisked away to the next location on the tour, the vast coasts of Elysium.

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