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

The Journey through Shadowlands (Page 4 of 4)
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The Gardens: Refuge of Ancients
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Our next stop was within the personal havens of the Unredeemed and Redeemed: The Gardens. Ziana explained that each playfield has its own set of governors for each faction. The Gardens are their sacred places, aside from the temples found in each region. The Gardens were a place of refuge for these important beings, and as such, only the most devout are permitted to enter them. Resembling a small world onto itself, Ziana explained that each Garden had its own dimension and weren't reachable without the blessing of its master.

The Unredeemed Garden was a carefully pruned terrace inlaid with aging technology and a winding hedge-maze. As a lightening storm raged in the sky, I couldn't help feel like the place was in mourning. The somber contrast of an ancient machine swirling at the Garden's apex with the tight controlled "order" of the flora, gave the impression of a paradise lost. The garden was not without its keepers, as there were several Unredeemed acolytes who seemed to inhabit this place. "Gardens are also places of respite for players," Ziana informed, "they may chose to save their progress here as well as store their items and reclaim their belongings here if they fall in battle."

Our visit to the Redeemed Garden stood in stark contrast to the bleak beauty of the Unredeemed. This particular garden was overflowing with flora. The bright and natural tendencies of the Redeemed had made this a place of startling beauty. From the stairway carved out of the rock face to the overgrowth of plants onto their buildings, the Redeemed garden was a slice of Eden. There was a sense of harmony between Nature and the Redeemed here that just didn't exist in with the Unredeemed. "The Gardens are also a prime location for players to obtain important quests for their faction," Ziana noted.

Our next and final stop was to witness an epic fight staged by the Funcom Events Team, the staff responsible for all in-game role-playing events.

 
Conflict: An Epic Battle
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We arrived in a secluded forest den in what appeared to be part of a Redeemed Garden or city to find the battle was already engaged. I saw members from all the traditional 12 professions as well as the two new jobs: the Shade and Keeper. Both professions originate in the Shadowlands and represent the dark and the light aspects of this new world.

The Shade is an expert of piercing weapons and relies on her ability to slowly drain the strength of her enemies. Relying on stealth and cunning, the Shade protects herself with the blessings of enchanted tattoos and cannot wear traditional armor. As a mystic of sorts, the Shade is unable to utilize the cybernetic implants most other professions rely on for augmentation. Instead, she gathers spirits to enhance her abilities. Sadly, the Shade is one of the physically weakest professions, though the longer a fight lasts, the stronger the Shade will become due to her leeching abilities.

The Keeper is a more benevolent defender. Resembling the honorable knight of yore, the Keeper is an expert of large 2-handed blades and heavy armor. Their main traits are their aura abilities which can heal, defend and enhance the combat prowess of their companions. As he is well armored, he can take damage as well as delve out pain, though not as well as some of the more dedicated tank and damage classes. All-in-all, Keepers are a boon to a team and seems to be a well-rounded profession.

With this band of adventurers assembled, they engaged the hulking Unredeemed behemoth, Minion of Aegiel. As the fight raged on, a member of the party sent his pet dragon into the fray and made short work of the floating bag of flesh. No sooner had they felled the beast and posed for victory pictures, a dark shadow spread across the ground. A three-headed flying demon, The Lord of the Void, landed in our laps. The behemoth was immense, over twice the size of the previous enemy. Weary from the previous fight, our heroes pressed on relentlessly. We asked to join the fray but Ziana told us that we would not survive the encounter and that we should retreat before the beast turned onto the onlookers. With haste we departed the battle and headed home to Jobe.

 
The Journey's End
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"Home at last," I rejoiced, kissing the cold ground as we landed in Jobe Harbor. We thanked our host for taking us on a journey none of us would soon forget. The vastness of the world that awaited us, the silent horrors of the Unredeemed and the majesty of the Redeemed lay etched in my mind. I would return someday and uncover the secrets of the Shadowlands and find my own inner-being: my Shadowbreed. I wanted to find the resting-place of the super-computer ERGO, to learn of the downfall of the original humans and why they fled to the stars. So many questions swirled in my head, but our time was drawing to a close. There were Temples to explore, runes to decipher and power to harness. The grandiose nature of it all was enough to make me sigh wistfully and hang my head. "Cheer up Hyuga," Elleonal comforted as she patted my back and smiled. "We'll be back before you know it."

Before our final goodbyes, we enjoyed the sunset over Jobe while I finished the last bit of my bottle. "Ah well, I guess its time to cruise the bars in Omni Entertainment..."

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