Conceivably the first 3-D Sci-FiMMORPG, Anarchy Online is likely noteworthy for being one of the first MMO's to be able to produce content on demand in the form of missions the players can pull and run through. Still alive after 12 years and 4 expansions, and set on the desert planet of Rubi-Ka, where 2 factions fight for control of the planet and its resources.That's the short tagline, the longer story is that Anarchy Online is a game that has managed a few firsts from when it was launched in 2001. The first game to have 'on demand' content (we'd call it instancing these days), the first MMORPG that allows for control of more than one pet by the respective Petmaster classes, the firstsecond to step away from the traditional mold of what skills any given class is allowed to use: You have access to every skill, your only limit being skill points allocated upon leveling up. Also suspected to be the first game to survive the launch, notorious for the numerous bugs that abounded at the time.Survived and thrived, apparently. Two booster packs (Notum Wars and Legacy of the Xan) and three expansions (Shadowlands, Alien Invasion, Lost Eden, thought to be Vapor Ware) later, despite cries from the trolls that the game is dead, lo, it lives and breathes still.
This game provides examples of:
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: While not the Trope Namer, epitomizes this trope, with player-driven inflation above and beyond what any given character or 10 can hope to earn (or even HOLD) just for an item only usable by one player. Thankfully mules are allowed.
A.K.A.-47: The Desert Reet, the game's answer to the Desert Eagle.
Cool Shades: In the old days of the game, the Fixer profession was known for wearing these at all times, supposedly because they sucked so badly that there wasn't any point to wearing armor instead.
The class specific "magic" armour, only allowed wearing it with certain items. Enter the shades...
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: While the early game truly averted this with having various penalties for dying up to and including losing items you hadn't saved recently as well as credits and experience, all going to whoever killed you if in pvp, later patches slowly but surely removed all the various potential ill effects of dying barring only resurrection sickness, where your skills and abilities are lowered for a short period, being the only ill effect of dying, and any experience lost goes into a pool that you can regain as you gain more experience.
Elite Tweak: The game uses an implant system to buff skills on top of whatever buffs are available, and almost any skill can be buffed in this way with limitations. What this winds up with are some of the most grossly overpowered and impressive 'twinks' to walk the deserts of Rubi-Ka, single-handedly capable of wiping the floor with platoons of lesser characters.
Recently heavily nerfed by implementing "soft" level limits - utilizing equipment or pets of significantly higher level causes them to operate at reduced effectiveness, depending on how far they are above you, and simply not function at all if they're too high.
Fan Nickname: Usually called Aimed Shot Online (after a special attack), Alpha Online (for how people tend to pvp), and Arithmetic Online (for how much you'll be doing while 'twinking' your character out. Also Atrox Online (after the unisex race available that is a very good... anything) and Adventurer Online (because Adventurers are just that powerful).
Guns Akimbo: The Adventurer profession has the option to wield either two swords or two pistols as their Weapon of Choice, and yes, this means the Adventurer also is lucky enough to have Dual Wielding, but not one gun with one sword...yet!
King Arthur: A lot of the Shadowlands and some parts of Rubi-Ka have motifs that draw right from Arthurian legend, despite the fact that the events hinted at in various flavor texts happened at the very least several thousand years before the 'real' King Arthur was around. Commonly drawn motifs are: Merlin, Arthur as the Fisher King, often hinted at as being the Beast, the final boss of the whole dimensional area you're in, and the Redeemed Lord Galahad and Unredeemed Lord Mordeth (Mordred) as the final sided leaders before the blasted hell of Pandemonium.
Leet Lingo: Leets are actual NPCs in the game, small, furry and very rodentlike, but can speak and usually speak exclusively in Leet Lingo. Boss NPCs have leet-based names, while there's also a series of unique low-level boss-type NPCs that have names based on leet lingo, best example: Pwnz the Leet.
Megacorp: Omni-Tek. Whether or not they're evil is up for debate, but Shadowlands threw a wrench into the "both sides are morally ambiguous" thing via Keeper Fury skills, at the very least. Oh wait...
Money Sink: This game has been an interesting experiment on how to get people to spend billions of credits while not giving them so much of an edge over normal players that game balance would be trashed. Examples are:
The Clinique Plastique, where you pay 25 million credits to change your character's features, height and build.
IP reset points, costing 250 million, with the release of Lost Eden.
Special orbital apartment, only 989 million, of 1 billion credits.
Nanomachines: Pretty much everything under the twin suns of Rubi-Ka has something to do with nanomachines — either built by, maintained by, destroyed by or recycled by nanomachines. Nano Programs are used to tell the nano bots in the air around you what to do and how to do it. Much of the flavor text on many items also goes into how nanomachines are applied to the item in question.
PVP Balanced: While in the beginning this was the case, through 2 expansions pvp has been very unbalanced, only recently becoming rebalanced (to the woe of the former lovechildren) with Lost Eden.
Product Placement: One of the ingame bars plays music recently released in Real Life. Justified by the fact that although the game takes place over 27,000 years in the future, Rubi-Ka is on the far side of the galaxy from Earth — over 90,000 light-years away; thus allowing the presence of the music to be Hand Waved as having been found in "broadcast signals still echoing in the deepest regions of space".
Shapeshifting: Mostly voluntary (with very rare exceptions) the Adventurer profession is considered king of this particular domain, being the resident Animorph.
Shooting Superman: Characters, especially after Lost Eden and recent patches, are practically bush-league gods on earth and have enough power to casually ignore most any pvm play, but the Meta-Physicist profession and Soldier profession both stand out with their unique flavors of Deflector Shields.
Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Penumbra replaces the "Slippy Slidey" part with "will freeze to death without the proper gear", but otherwise qualifies.
Take That: a subtle one, from the devs to the players: after months of complaints from the Meta-Physicist forums about their summons being underpowered, the devs finally gave them an adequate endgame summon called "The Rihwen" rearrange the letters and you get "The Whiner"
Tarot Motifs: The various glyphs acquired in the Shadowlands to upgrade professional Tier armor falls right into this motif.
Variable Mix: The game's music consists of hundreds of possible short clips, designed to flow into one another depending on the character's affiliation, location, and (if in battle) how well the fight is going.