Anarchy Online is a sci-fi based MMOG where players control humans of various classes in an open, sand-box type world. Anarchy Online was the first MMOG to provide instances or content on demand. The game follows the standard grind experience to level system as most MMOGs. The original game, without any of the expansions, is available to new players free of charge. There is currently no monthly fee for players who are playing only the original game. Players wishing to enjoy the content in any of the expansions are required to purchase those expansion packs. Players enjoying the content of at least one expansion pack must pay a monthly fee.
Players using free accounts see in-game billboards featuring real-world advertisements. Paying customers are able to block these advertisements or replace them with game-related advertising.
Anarchy Online has been heralded as one of the more innovative titles of the first generation of MMOGs with Funcom's development of instancing and the various mission generators. Anarchy Online was also the first game to step away from the fantasy mold and truly explore the far reaches of space.