The rumors of a “secret beta” going on inside Funcom HQ are just that, rumors… in fact, the secret beta is available to select groups of testers who have performed admirably enough to warrant Funcom’s attentions. Why not to the general testing public, you say? Well, word has it Funcom isn’t willing to drop the dime to send the new build to the majority of users. Willing, or perhaps “able”, more accurately.
What are the floggers still bumping heads in v9.x missing out on? Quite a bit. Major town re-vamping, zones with more mobs, gui tweaks, “wandering” AI, essentially a new game world. PvP? Well, no loot, no exp… no point. Carebear a-go-go.
With June 27th rolling down the pipe, the crunch is on to bring the volunteer ARKs (advisors of rubi-ka) up to code. The goal? 500 finely-trained, knowledgable and skilled helper monkeys by the 27th. Of June. Of 2001. Keeping in mind the current server population is 300 during height, and you sort of wonder where the hell they expect to get these people. Keep in mind, that’s 300 of the 6000 or so beta passes currently floating about out there. Current descriptions of the ARKs knowledge and skill could be described as “less than flattering”.
Possibly something a little disturbing is the boosting of 10.x testers to lvl 200 to essentially search for “visual bugs” and ignore all others. The reasoning? Well, E3’s not too far away, is it? This must be the elusive “gussy up for the press” quest.
The long and short? A bumpy ride in store for both the players and the creators of Anarchy Online in the near future. The North American market has been rather harsh and unforgiving towards Funcom’s previous efforts (The Longest Journey selling a grand total of 300 copies in US stores last year), and in all likelyhood, Anarchy Online will suffer the same fate.