Dev Diaries

Anarchy Online Developer Journal #1: Introductions

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(Editor's Note: As the first graphically advanced massively multiplayer sci-fi game to hit the market, Anarchy Online has a long and storied history in our industry. To learn more about the ground-breaking game and its current development stage, we've given Nina "Aythem" Sund, Content Designer/Writer for Anarchy Online, an open forum to discuss her thoughts, background, and connection with this long-running game. As a continuing series, Nina will disperse these developers journals on a regular basis for you - the Ten Ton Hammer readers - to enjoy!)

By Nina "Aythem" Sund, Content Designer/Writer for Anarchy Online

Greetings from Rubi-Ka!

My name is Nina and I have been given the opportunity to write an ongoing developer journal for Ten Ton Hammer. Why did I decide to jot down my thoughts, you ask? I work for the Norwegian game company Funcom and through my updates here on this site, I want to give you a little insight into our life in the game industry.

Let's begin with some background. I am one of the quest designers for Anarchy Online. That means I get to come up with ways for our players to discover the world and gain experience, rewards and learn more about the continuing story of the game and finding ingenious ways to test, challenge and otherwise torture players!

So how did I end up here with such power at my hands? I've been here for two and a half years and started out in Quality Assurance before moving on to become a designer. It's been a bit of a longer journey getting here though. Five years ago, I would never have imagined I would do this for a living. Like many of the people who work here, I started out as a player. The funny thing is that Anarchy Online is the first MMO I ever played, way back in 2002. Now, a few years later, I am lucky enough to work on the continued development of the very same game that got me interested in the game industry in the first place, and I positively love my job!

Those who play games on their PC or consoles usually understand what this job is about and generally what kind of tasks you would have. For anyone not used to playing computer games or MMOs, explaining what my job is can be a little difficult. For the most part, I end up saying "I make computer games" when asked by random people I don't know.

Now that introductions are over, I wanted to share a little about what kind of games I play and like. In this article, I'll talk about how I was introduced to Anarchy Online (or more commonly called AO).

It's been almost 6 years (…six years?!) since I started playing AO. I have to admit that at the time I didn't even know what an MMO was and had no idea it was even possible to play a 3D graphical game online! My only online game experience was a little browser based game called Planetarion, so when a friend recommended me to download a trial for AO, I thought it would be pretty much the same, just with some highly basic graphics in addition. I was very sceptical.

Wow, was I blown away. There were people, other players! Walking around! And I could see them! Before then, I had never heard of Ultima Online, Everquest or Meridian 59. I wasn't prepared at all, and I was completely smitten with the rich backstory of the game, how it looked and how fun the massive multiplayer online experience was. I was in love.

Since then I have, of course, played many other MMOs, but there's just something about your first game in this genre. It's like your first kiss. You never forget it, and it had a big impact on your life.

To this day, my own amazement and journey the first few months of playing remains a huge inspiration for me, something I want other players to experience through doing the quests I make and reading the stories I write. It's a thrill, every time.

So that’s me, I hope that you guys (and girls too of course – I know you’re out there!) will enjoy getting a little bit of an inside view of what it takes to put together a modern MMO even if it means putting up with some of my more inane ramblings!

Did you enjoy Nina's inane ramblins? For future developers journals, what would you like her to discuss with you? Tell us more on the forums!

Ten Ton Hammer is your unofficial source for Anarchy Online news and articles!

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