Neutrals are the third faction in Anarchy Online, and represent people who have, for one reason or another, not made a commitment to either Omni-Tek or the Clans. Neutrality is the smallest group of players in the game and could be considered to be the most unique faction since the benefits and detriments of being neutral are not based on a mirror of the opposing side as Omni-Tek and the Clans are. Neutrals are also very diverse in motivations since there is no one unifying philosophy.
The history of the Neutrals is divided into Story events that happen as a part of the official storyline of the game and Community events that happens as a part of the game system or player community.
In 29250 the first Neutrals appear after the end of the First Rubi-Ka Civil War, as members from both sides abandon their ties and move into non-political areas of the Terraformed Zone. It can be suggested that the war had disillusioned the new neutrals and they desired to avoid more conflict.
29301: A group of Omni-Tek scientists defect, but instead of joining the Clans they use their expertise to create a flying city that drifts far above the conflict of Rubi-Ka, this city becomes the city of Jobe.
July 4th, 29470: The Tir Accord is signed and slightly later it is amended to include a clause that the Clans will surrender Newland City to Neutral control at the end of 60 days from the signing of the Accord.
August 29479: Elections for the mayor of Newland City are started and in an unprecedented move the voting is not just opened to the residents of Newland but all Neutrals.
The history of the Neutrals from the standpoint of the game system has been one of a continuously evolving place in the game. When the game first went live, Neutrality was largely considered to be a temporary state from which one could choose to side with either Omni-Tek or the Clans. Due to this philosophy, Neutrals could not create organizations, did not have public chat channels, and could not initiate Player vs Player (PvP) fighting.
Early on, Neutral leaders on RK1 decided to get together and create a chat bot for neutrals to function as their OOC channel, this effort resulted in the NeutVoice Bot which is still in use today as a open social channel.
Early patches reorganized the Whompah system and made a 'neutral' whompah network that include Newland City, Borealis, Last Ditch, Hope, and Stolt's Trading Post. This inadvertently cut off other neutral cities like Harry's and 20K.
While there are many things that can be claimed to be a benefit or detriment of being a part of the Neutral side, these features are indisputable.
- Neutral characters can go any where on Rubi-Ka without being harassed by sided guards. There is a one notable exception to this: Tir. The Sentinel guards at Tir gates attack anybody who is not Clan. Guards inside city of Tir and the urban patrollers do not attack Neutrals though.
- Neutral characters can listen to all public chat channels that are not level locked or locked by organizational position.
- Due to the diversity of the Neutral position, they do not have token boards or gain any benefit from tokens because there is no unifying body to define them.
- Neutral characters can perform many sided quests and use many sided items that state a requirement for not being a side, such as 'Not Clan' or 'Not Omni'.
- When traveling in the Shadowlands, Neutrals can gain access to all the sided gardens and sanctuaries allowing them to travel many places with ease.
There are many other game elements having to do with being Neutral that relate to the participation of Neutrals in areas. One of these that is notable is that the Side XP Bonus for Neutrals is always much lower then that of the Clans or Omni-Tek simply due to a lower population of Neutral players and less of an interest in Tower Wars. Additionally, this low population leads to less Neutral maintained Raid Bots, so many Neutral players must join a sided focused raid bot to gain benefit from higher level raid zones. Ironically though, the low population of Neutrals has made it much easier for them to engage in Lost Eden global research, and has made them a leader in such research.
Issues and Positions
Its only natural that since Neutrals have a lot of flexibility to act in different wys that they would have to confront certain problems relating to the question of who any one neutral supports, or even the side as a whole. These issues have brought forth many different philosophies about how to act not only in Role-Play but also generally in the game.
Neutrals who hold the bystander position believe that Neutrals should hold true to the strict definition of Neutrality and avoid any confrontation between the other two sides. They wish to withdraw from the sided conflict as much as possible. Bystanders believe that Neutrals should not be involved in Tower Wars or Player vs Player Combat because it suggests that one has taken a side by fighting against somebody who does have a side. Bystanders are also called 'True Neutrals' and is a position that is generally taken by many older Role-Players but very seldomly by avid Gamers.
In Role-Play, Neutrals who are Bystanders are often portrayed as being tired of fighting in the war and want to avoid all conflict. Alternately, there are a few who have characters who believe in Neutrality as a philosophical truth in its own right.
This outlook is taken by people who are Neutral because they have a commitment of some kind to a person or an organization. People with this outlook generally ignore rationalizing their actions in terms of a sided conflict but instead phrase their motivations in terms of their friendships, organizational connections, or loyalty to a cause that is non-partisan or outside the scope of the war. This position is common to many Gamers who are either new to the game and join a Neutral organization or to people who make Neutral characters because of friends they have made, but have no particular ties to Neutrality as an ideal.
While it is more common that Gamers take the loyalist approuch, Role-Players also use it to characterize characters that attempt to transcend the barriers of side and simply act from their personal connections and friendships.
As the name would suggest, a Neutral who has a Mercenary outlook does so because it gives them some sort of benefit to be Neutral. This is a very common position to all sorts of players who find that the Neutral side gives them flexibility in their Role-Play, economic pursuits, or leveling. When asked about their motivations or justifications, Mercenaries will often talk about the benefit they gain or how an action serves their purposes. So a Mercenary could support a side when it gives them benefit to do so, and support another side when that benefit is gone or they are pursuing a different goal. Mercenaries are sometimes considered untrustworthy because they avoid commitment to a side even though they will often act on a side's behalf. While many Neutrals are derogatorily referred to as "Fence Sitters", Mercenaries are more likely to be called this.
Neutrals who Role-Play the Mercenary position could either be a merc working for profit or they could simply be criminals or businessmen that jump at chances to gain, regardless of who it hurts.