Richard Garriott Gets His Crazy Money

Note, this post is being dual-posted to RPGComplex.com as well.

It is like a car crash in the making. How can you not look? That’s how I felt when I saw Shroud of the Avatar go up on Kickstarter. I gleefully put in my $25 in order to get a front seat view at the wreckage that will surely follow. And now more than 22,000 other people have followed suit and given Richard Garriott more than $2 million dollars in order to ensure that this car wreck happens. So far, Garriott has not disappointed. Read More >>

AC2: Two Months Later

It has been a full two months since I picked up Asheron’s Call 2 for a second time, so I thought I would make a post rounding up what I am up to and what I continue to think about this game. Overall, I’m still loving it and still fairly addicted to it. I go home every night after work, log in and look for a group. Every morning before work I try to go kill a few simple tasks that I need to get done. It is a good MMO. A lot of the early issues have been fixed. The servers are stable. You can get past level 50. The whole nine yards. Continue reading “AC2: Two Months Later”

Minor AC2 Suggestions

Now that the servers of Asheron’s Call 2 have been stable for a few weeks, the forums are churning with things to fix and improve upon for this decade old game. I’ve had many of my own thoughts for a long time, but I didn’t want to really put them out until more important things were done. So here is my list of things to fix and things to upgrade, and hopefully most of them would be fairly easy to do (small features). Continue reading “Minor AC2 Suggestions”

Troubled Times in AC2

It’s been a difficult week in Asheron’s Call 2. And not just issues with AC2’s beta, though that hasn’t been helping. I’ve been having character troubles, allegiance troubles, and general burn out. When I only get to play for a week all day, I tend to do it!

First off, early in the week I discussed with my allegiance leader that I like to play characters the guild needs generally. He mentioned that they needed a tank and a sage. As it happens one of the classes I was considering playing was sage anyway, so off I went leveling that character. I sat and actually xp’d instead of explored, got rid of my crafting habit and ended up with a level 31 sage in just a couple of days. Not bad.

During this time, the guild leader had convinced someone else to create a Sage. This really disheartened me quite a bit and made me switch my mind back to a Tumerok and untrained my Zealot stuff in favor of going Feral Intendent. Again, went and got myself up to 29 in about a day, not bad but still annoyed that I had to.

And then one day when logging in, I noticed that my sage was completely naked in the login screen. I gave a wtf and went and logged him in and sure enough, completely naked, nothing in his bags or anything. I heard this happening to other people in server crashes, musta happened to me the last time I logged in with him.

Now one thing that this last experience has taught me is that Asheron’s Call 2 is NOT a game that was designed for the player to not have any items whatsoever. You can’t recall without items, you can’t fight (I actually tried to fight some little stuff with my bare hands and that doesn’t work) and there is no ability to craft starter items for free. (Though to be fair, I could have gone and found silver and crafted a scepter but that would have taken time). There are NPCs in Cragstone and Ikaris that let you buy weapons and so I traveled there and bought a moderately priced weapon to allow me to at least cast stuff and fight!

This led to another frustration… I am broke. That scepter cost me a full third of the money I had and no it wasn’t very good either. See the thing is, because he is a sage, he spends all his time healing. And I have found that many groups don’t like rotational loot. So it is a Free For All to try to get loot and people often sit and grab stuff before fights are done just to get stuff. Even if they wait for the fight, it usually takes me a couple minutes to make sure everyone is healed and by that time we are onto the next fight and I am healing again. No time for me to loot. So I am broke.

Which led me to whining to my allegiance about my woes and only one person in the entire lot (and the monarch was on) to offer to help me find more loot. I probably did actually whine a bit more than I should have but it was disconcerting that no one besides one of my better friends in the game offered to help. I mean what is the purpose of an allegiance if not to help when times are tough? And honestly I don’t think these guys help a lot, so now I am contemplating leaving the allegiance completely.

All in all, by the end of this debacle, I’ve been playing more of my third character and staying away from the power leveling. I like playing the game but I don’t see a huge reason why to power level and my current allegiance makes me feel like I have to given that they won’t play with anyone not doing it.

So if anyone is playing AC2 and has an allegiance that they think would suit me, I’m listening to options. To be honest, I’m not needy, I just like guildies to play together. I don’t feel like that is too much to ask for…

Expectations of a Game in Beta

Asheron’s Call 2 is in beta. It seems this is hard for many in the game to actually stop and remember. Maybe it’s the fact that the game actually launched 10 years ago and was already in live for 3 years. But do stop and consider, 7 years is a long time for a game to be gone. The team members who were on the game previously (both in development and live team) are gone. The servers? Completely different. My wager is that the AC2 servers are actually somehow sharing with the AC1 servers, which means there are a lot of modifications being done on a game that has been gone for almost a decade by people who never worked on it previously.

Yet people don’t seem to get it. I’ve seen people say “I can’t believe you have to pay to access a beta.” Well you don’t. It is not unheard of for MMO companies to offer beta access to current subscribers. I remember being in a couple of betas for EQ2 expansions that was available only to subscribers. That is exactly what Turbine did, they gave access to all current AC1 subscribers to a beta of their game. It is an added value to their current subscription base, if you didn’t want to pay for it, don’t. Easy as that.

Turbine didn’t even really advertise that they were bringing back AC2. They made a post on the AC forums stating that they are putting it back into beta. That info hit the MMO world like wildfire and before they knew it they had tons of sites advertising it and tons of people buying subs. I bet Turbine was slightly taken aback by the popularity of this choice considering 7 years ago they couldn’t even keep enough subscribers around to keep the servers up in the first place.

People also complain about the constant crashing of the game. And I agree, it can be frustrating. I did the Drudge Citadel 3 times before I got credit. And yes I mean I completed it fully. Every time i stepped out, the server crashed and I was out of a glyph and out of luck. The most recent time I tried with a second character, got the credit for the quest, not the xp, but I did end up with 87% vitae instead. No idea why or even how I came about that strange number.

Lastly is expectations on the future. People are wanting this feature and that. I have seen them from small things like “hey can we fix text in skill descriptions that were never fixed when they changed it in an update.” I have seen big things like “This game needs player housing!” I Have also seen ridiculous things like “You know that thing that was completely unbalanced and was fixed while the game was lived? Well now the game isn’t easy enough for people who have exploit it, could we please re-break the game? After all it’s people like me who pay for AC1!”

I gotta say, it is fine to have hopes and dreams of what is to come. In fact, I’m liable to make my own post of what I’d like to see come out of AC2 in the future. But is it right to expect this of a game in beta? I honestly can’t recall a time in previous betas where instead of fixing issues with the game, players were instead insistent on the future. It may be that it is different because the game has already been live, I kinda get it. Or it may be that the nature of beta testers is different. These days beta doesn’t mean testing. Usually the game is ready for live and everyone is let in in order to load test which means there is little for the players to actually do. But I think this is an actual beta going on here. Not just a stress test that also acts as advertising.

To be honest, I don’t even think that Turbine quite knows what to do with this in the future. I think they have a base purpose in mind. But I don’t know if they have an exact plan. The reason is that they likely don’t know how many people are going to be active players in AC2 and how many new subscriptions they will draw from it, and won’t for quite some time. They may gain enough additional subs to pay for 2 additional people on the AC live team, they may have enough for 10, or they might not have enough for any. Depending on how many people stick around we could end up with 1 content update a year, 1 ever 3 months, or just bug fixes from time to time and the capability to keep both AC2 and AC1 going.1

At this point guys, let’s concentrate on fixing the real issues to get the server up and going and stable. Let’s give Turbine a little breathing room to figure out how to handle this thing. And most importantly, let’s be happy that we are helping contribute to the continued of both Asheron’s Call 1 AND 2.