Anarchy Online Knowledge Base

Welcome to Anarchy Online! The group of guides found on this page and linked into this page are meant to serve as a guide to your first experiences on the game to help you get oriented with how the game is played and how the different systems work.

Creating a Character[]

The first step when playing Anarchy Online is to create a character. You will find official instructions on how to do so in the chapter about character creation in the online manual. Note that you can store eight characters on each game server (or dimension) on your account at once, and delete characters to make place for new ones. Don't be afraid to experiment a bit.

Each dimension is separate, and because of this, character names can be the same on all dimensions. Deleting your character on one dimension does not delete it on any other dimension, even if it has same name there. Once deleted, you can use the same name again on the same dimension you deleted it on, as long as no other player has created a new character using the same name of the character you deleted.

Through this guide we will make an example character to walk you through many of the low level quests and events found early in the game.

Choosing A Breed[]

Main article: Breed

After starting the character creation process, the first choice you need to decide on is the choice of a breed. A breed is similar to a 'race' in other games, although all the breeds in Anarchy Online come from the same groups of human ancestors, and many are genetically engineered, but they are all essentially 'human'.

The choice of a breed effects several things in game, as well as just the physical appearance of your character. The first thing it influences is your base abilities, some breeds favor certain base abilities like Strength or Agility; on the other hand, those same advantages come with abilities that are disfavored.

However until much later in the game, there will be no significant differences in the maximum of an ability each breed can have, instead, as AO uses skill points, and not a fixed increase as in other games, abilities will just cost more to improve, and improving an unfavoured ability will make it more challenging to keep up with other skills. At endgame, each Breed has a concrete maximum on there abilities however, so this should be kept in mind if one intends to play their character to endgame. The table of these limits can be found here.

For newer players, it is recommended to choose a breed that compliments the desired profession (or classes) skills, and this will be covered in the sections on professions. More experienced players however may prefer the challenge of mixing less compatible and less common professions and breeds.

The second thing that breed has an effect on is the amount of health and nano pool (similar to mana in other games) a character gets for each point invested in the skills for these pools (body development, and nano pool respectively). These two pools are improved in the same way that abilities are. A comparative table is found here.

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Choice of sex has no influence on game mechanics, it is purely aesthetic.

  • Solitus are a direct descendant of humanity and are balanced in all of their basic abilities, their health and nano pools recieve equal improvements per skill point.
  • Opifex have been bred for stealth and speed, as such they favor Agility and Sense but disfavor Strength and Stamina. They also recieve equal health and nano pool.
  • Nanomages were created as Nanotech research assistants and as such they favor Intelligence, Psychic, and gain more nanopool per skill point because of their greater command of nanobots. They are more frail though, and do not favor abilities like Strength, Stamina, Agility, they also recieve less health per skill point. Nanomages are considered harder to play at high levels due to their lower health, but they are also able to cast their nano programs (equivalent to spells) at lower levels as, their nano abilities cost less and they possess more nanopool.
  • Atrox were specially created as mine workers and are sexless (though most identify as male). They are large hulking beings that favor Strength and Stamina over Intelligence, Psychic, and Sense. Also, Atrox are much heartier and recieve greater health per skill point, but less Nanopool. Atrox can be easier to play for beginners because of their high health but suffer as casting professions.

Here is a basic overview: You can find more in depth information on the breed page. When you have decided on a breed and gender for your character by clicking on the model you want, click on the button labeled 'next' While some of the options can be very interesting, for a first character a Solitus is suggested, due to their even support of all abilities.

Choosing Appearance[]

The Appearance screen does not effect the way a character behaves in the system of the game, and is entirely for aesthetic purposes. A smaller character can however provide an advantage in better view in crowded dungeons, where a larger character may take up too much space on the screen.

Each of the different breeds has a different set of faces based on its gender and rolling the mouse over the face arrows will zoom your view into the face of the character. Height and Weight change the model in similar ways for each character.

The choice of how your character appears can be important though, since it is quite costly to change it once you have decided in character creation.


Choosing A Profession[]

The choice of a profession is very important in character creation because it determines what skills will be supported by your character and what your list of abilities (nano programs) will be, such as heals, damage dealing and tanking, as well as support skills such as buffs, teleports, summons and crowd control.

While all professions can theoretically use any skill, nano programs are locked to the profession, with the exception of agents, which can use other professions nano programs, with the exception of there most core skills, at a cost to their performance.

Other features related to the expansions, such as Perks, which are recieved at set levels, and Research which provide an alternative place to use XP points; are also tied in to certain professions.

Some professions are more difficult to play than others due to a combination of monetary and skill cost and complexity of the characters role. While more in depth information can be found in the professions guides and in the discussion boards on the official forums, an overview will be give here.

When reading through the information given in character creation, keep in mind that Funcom may have made changes since they wrote the descriptions there, so you may wish to do a little background research on the forums and wiki before you commit to a profession.

Often the best way to make a decision about which profession you wish to play however is to try out the characters in the startup areas. This will give you a general idea of the character, without the complexity of nanos, implants and money that come later in the game.

If you do not have the Shadowlands expansion the options for Keeper and Shade will be greyed out and unusable since they require this expansion, you also will not be able to start in the Shadowlands startup area.


Choosing a Name[]

While the choice of a character name is usually personal, remember that you need a name that isn't offensive in any way. If you are having trouble finding the name you want, consider adding a number to the end of the name or using the suggest name feature for inspiration.


The User Interface[]

Main article: User interface


Well now we are on the beach, ready to kick ass and chew bubble gum but... We should probably give some note to the snazzy HUD we have going and explain how some of it works. The user interface in Anarchy Online is very customizable, not only in the form of new interface 'skins' but also simply by the sheer virtue that many of the interface elements can be turned off or moved around with a couple mouse clicks so that everything works how you want it to. We are going to review some of the basic elements of the default interface though, and how to use it to navigate the world.

Chat Box[]

The chat box is your main link into all the chat channels of the game, system messages, damage read outs, and news feeds. The default window starts with two tabs, one for chat, system messages, and news feeds (this tab will automatically add new chat channels) and a second tab for combat messages.

By default the channel you speak to is the vicinity channel (which is available to all others in the current area), but you can change that by either clicking on the name of the channel you want to talk to in the window, or when the cursor is in the text bar, pressing 'tab' to bring up a list of channels you can talk to. You may also open a private message box to a play by clicking their name in the chat box.

OOC chat is locked to the side (clan, neutral or omni) that the channel is named and is useful for asking questions to other players, (the newbie OOC is available only in the starter areas and is ideal for this purpose).

Trade chat is reserved for Sell and Buy offers, requests or offers for services, (such as dungeon runs and buffs) and requests or offers for trade skills.

Some useful shortcuts include:

/tell <player> <message> sends a private message to a player
/v <message> or just / <message> which talks to the vicinity without changing channels.
/t <message> sends a message to your team channel without changing your default channel
/o <message> posts a message on your organization channel without changing your default channel
Shift + R responds to the last private message in the chat bar

Right Command[]

The right command area is divided up into several parts. The first part is the menu buttons that activate menus and functions. From the top down: NCU (shows what buffs and debuffs you have running), Maps (gives options for the world map and the Mini-Map), Missions, Faction (if you have the Shadowlands expansion), Team list and Friends list (which shows your chat friends and people who have recently sent you private messages, as well as those people you have elected to ignore).

Below the menu buttons is the Agg/Def Slider which changes how you behave in combat, whether you are more defensive or aggressive. Full Aggressive mode makes you faster, at the expense of your defense, while full defense enhances your evasion skills slightly while slowing down your attacks. The equal point is around 88% that neither favors one or the other. More often than not, offense is the best defense, and so higher Agg/Def is more useful, but there is a point, often later in the game, at which you will reach the peak speed of your attacks, and Defensive mode becomes more useful.

Next to the menu buttons is the Right Target Control which allows you to change which target you are actively attacking, this can also be selected with the mouse, and toggled with the q button. You can cycle through the targets you can attack by pressing the arrows to the right or left of the target control, or by pressing Tab. Many players find it useful to remove the target control element since its often times easiest to simply use Tab and Q to find targets and start combat or to use the mouse. This can be done through the menu, F10.

Left Command[]

The menus found on the left are: the Action Menu (which is an extensive menu tree which shows emotes, combat actions, help menus, game setup, and others), Vehicle Menu (if you have the Lost Eden expansion and uses Shift + V as the short cut), Character Menu (Has submenus for Skills, Perks, and Research depending on your expansions), Nano Program Menu (opens in the scroll bar and has all your nano programs), Inventory (opens a free floating menu that has your non-equipment items you are carrying), and the Wear Menu (opens a menu that shows your worn equipment).

The bar under the the menus shows your Total NCU, (NCU is a piece of equipment used to hold buffs) with a number reflecting how much is used, and your total amount of credits which is the game currency (you can hold up to 1 billion credits on one character).

The left target control shows who you are targeting for nano programs and abilities which do not effect the combat target. Like the Right, you can scroll through the targets with Tab or the arrows, or click with the mouse.

Scroll Bar[]

The Scroll Bar is on the right side of the screen and it is where the vast majority of the menus open to, excluding free floating ones. The scroll bar menus are stacked one, on top of another, and can be scrolled through using the mouse wheel. Alternately they can be closed or minimized to save space. You can make menus free floating by right clicking on their name and then left clicking where you wish to place them, they are replaced in the scroll bar by right clicking the name again and dropping where desired in the bar.

Quick Bar[]

The quick bar allows you to store action, item, nano program, and special ability short cuts to use quickly from the number line. Each position on the bar is number from 1 (left) to 0 (right). When you press a number, you will attempt to execute the action placed in that slot. The quick bar has 10 screens, each with ten slots, and these can be scrolled with the mouse wheel. Only the current screen will work with the keyboard shortcuts however

By default there is a start combat action, a sit action, a run toggle action, a follow macro, and a logout action. When you upload new nano programs, a short cut for them will automatically be added to the bar. You can add your own actions by selecting them in the actions menus or Nano Program menu and dragging them to the quick bar. If you want an item to be in the quick bar just pick it up and drop it in a slot, it will stay in your inventory but make a shortcut to the item. Items in backpacks cannot have shortcuts, but you can shortcut the backpack in order to quickly open it. To remove actions in the quick bar just click and hold the action and drag it off.

Pool Indicators[]

These little bars on the left of your screen reflect your various active pools. The red bar is your Health, the blue is your Nano, Yellow your current XP. If you have a green bar it reflects your Alien Experience (Alien Invasion expansion). You can mouse over the bars to get the numerical total.


The compass shows you which direction you are facing and performs the extra function of marking the direction of the objectives of a quest or most mission sites. These markers show up as orange dots on the compass and you just need to move towards them to find the quest objective or mission entrance. Keep in mind though that some quests and missions do not have way points.


Your inventory of non-equipped items can be open and closed from the Left Command Area or by pressing I. This menu is free floating and allows to organize the things you have picked up. The inventory holds 30 items or item stacks, regardless of weight or size. If that is not enough space you can get backpacks that open up into 21 more spaces.

The main inventory has some special properties though. All tradeskill operations must be done with the items in slots in the main inventory. Some equipment, such as belt decks and NCU Chips, must be equipped from the main inventory and some items will only auto equip by right clicking on the item in the main inventory. Additionally, if you have all your main inventory full and some how produce another item in the inventory (such as through a tradeskill or rejected trade) extra items will overflow into a special window. This window can hold an infinite amount of items but all of the items in it will be deleted if you change areas and can only be obtained by clearing room in your main inventory.

Movement and Command Keys[]

Movement around the game is done in the traditional 'WSAD' manner, but the 'Z' and 'C' key allow you to strafe left and right respectively, while the 'X' key makes the character sit down. A list of available hot keys can be viewed in the game by press F10 and then select the HotKey Tab

Command Keys Menu Short Cuts
  • F1 - Targets yourself
  • Tab - Switches your target to the next, closest, hostile target
  • Q - Starts an attack or ends an attack
  • Shift + Q - Changes attacking target to the nano target
  • V - Reloads your gun
  • Shift + F - Opens the Team Search menu
  • Shift + P - Opens the Perks menu
  • U - Opens your Skill menu
  • P - Opens the world map

Further reading[]


Game Manual