Asheron’s Call Celebrates 10 Years

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Asheron's Call 10th Anniversary10 years ago, I stepped through the portal into the lands of Dereth. As a beta tester, I remember spending hours chatting with friends, watching sunsets/ the virtual sky, and adventuring forth into the unknown.  Asheron’s Call (AC) marked my first introduction to the world of the MMO.

In the years following AC’s launch, much has changed in the virtual landscape. EverQuest is no longer the reigning MMO champion, the Warcraft universe has expanded into World of Warcraft, and the sequel to Asheron’s Call, dubbed Asheron’s Call II, has come and gone.

With all the changes in the MMO landscape, Asheron’s Call is still the only game—to my knowledge—that features an allegiance system. This system introduces the unique concept of vassals and patrons. In this system, a vassal swears allegiance to a patron. The patron then acts as a protector, item giver, and basically a guild leader. The reward for being a patron equals a daily award of experience points based upon a small percentage of experience that the vassal makes while playing. The allegiance system ultimately encourages the formation of miniature kingdoms, much like guilds found in today’s more modern MMO.

Unlike a fine wine, MMO’s do not age well with time. MMO’s are all about refinement. Each new MMO takes (hopefully) the best ideas from what has come before and melds them together with new ideas. Sometimes this creative process works on an epic scale (World of Warcraft) and other times fails tragically (Star Wars Galaxies). In the end, I think we can all thank Asheron’s Call and developer Turbine for helping to blaze the trail to bigger, better, and more forgiving online experiences.

Happy 10 Years Asheron’s Call!

May ye die eventually and honorably.

Amen.

Have a memory from Asheron’s Call you’d like to share? Post in the comments.

To MMORPG Or Not To MMORPG, That Is The Question: Commandment 1

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To MMO or Not

Saying you’re thinking about trying out a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) is akin to saying, “I think I’ll start a crack addiction today.” Well, maybe its not all that bad. Certainly the media has overblown the woes of ex-Everquesters and WOW (World of Warcraft) fanatics who flushed their jobs or marriages down the toilet for more “raid time,” but there are a few things to consider before getting knee deep in all the virtual hack ‘n slash fun.

Being an ex-WOW addict, an ex-Everquest 2 addict, an ex-Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) addict, and a casual user of a myriad of other MMORPG’s has instilled in me certain commandments that should always be followed before shelling out that monthly fee…

.: The MMORPG Commandments :.

Commandment 1. Know Thy Parent Company and Its Track Record…

I don’t care how flashy the graphics are, or how much “phat lootz” may be attainable, if you don’t read up on the company that is producing the MMO, you are doing yourself a major disservice. Case and point: Star Wars Galaxies.

What started out as a wonderful rock solid “sandbox” type MMO became an uber turd fest within three years of its initial launch. Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) realized it couldn’t support the innovative character classes, and instead of doing something logical (like hiring more designers and developers) they simply ditched half of their professions. Instead of listening to the growing tide of criticisms for this move on their official message boards they deleted and locked posts. As expansion packs were added, more and more bugs crept into the basic game play, many of which are still unresolved, and then right after their last major expansion, The Trials of Obi-Wan, they reworked the entire combat system and nerfed the remaining classes. These nerfs were given official names like “Combat Upgrade” and “New Game Enhancements.” When asked about these changes, Jon Smedley (henceforth known as Satan) simply replied, “We went for more iconic and Star-Warsy game play and characters.” Nowadays SWG is a wasteland only occasionally frequented by level 1 Jedis and retarded Wookies.

I’m not saying SOE is the worst online gaming company in the world but their less than stellar customer service and short term vision for games (i.e. little to no work being done on any IP except Everquest) has lost them many a customer. Reading up on the forums can save you a headache later on. Try, for fairly unbiased reviews.

Continue to Commandment 2