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.
I do think that this games first 15 levels are stellar. This is evidenced by the fact that I keep making new characters. I have a couple bigger players, but if I can’t find a group I go play some smaller ones I have in hopes of being able to adjust to whatever situation is needed. I think though, that the first 15 levels are so good because you feel progress and you can do the quests reasonably alone.
They grouping dynamics of Asheron’s Call 2 are actually quite good for the most part. Some quests are a pain because you need each member to get kills, even though some are clearly designed towards groups, but otherwise there are a number of quality group quests that do work and also once you hit 20ish there are a number of good hunting spots for groups to just get xp. The problem is that when you have a game that is so group oriented and the population dwindles, the grouping aspect becomes difficult to bear.
The early rumors are that Asheron’s Call added 75,000 new subscriptions for the return of AC2. That is an astounding number for a game that has been dead for 7 years. During the initial couple of weeks, it was great. There were people all over the place and it was easy to get a group for anything that you might have wanted to do, almost regardless of what level you were. But people started leaving for a number of reasons. Some refused to play unless there was PvP, some got tired of getting kicked out all the time, some got tired of having to relog every couple of minutes because they limited how many could log in at any one time, some just got bored and moved on.
I hope some of these people will return once the game moves out of beta and what not. I’m not really sure if PvP people will ever return really, Turbine has already stated they will not open a PvP server for a game with such few numbers playing and good for them for making that stand. Why split up the few who are here? They will eventually get the PvP and KvK areas going, but will this be good enough? I somehow doubt it. In order to get those players back I think that Turbine would have to invest in adding some extra PvP systems and I’m not really sure if the return on investment is there.
I do think that some who were frustrated by the constant crashing will actually come back at some point in time. Even though there is not crashing right now, I think many people are just waiting for the beta to be over because they learned their lesson and they don’t want to chance it again. I hope so, just because I made a lot of friends early on who just kind of disappeared and I didn’t see them as not enjoying the game, though many were not enjoying the crashing. The difficulty of course is out of sight and out of mind… It’s too bad if these types don’t return.
Grouping is an issue in some levels right now though. I think that people are constantly restarting characters like me so finding a group at 30-45 is actually quite easy still. But for some reason once you hit 45, there is a fall off of groups until you hit around 55. Your mileage may vary depending on your allegiance. We had a really good group going with 6 or 7 solid players including debuff, tank, heals, and one damage. But all of a sudden, I find myself alone as the heals at 51, and unfortunately there seem to be few opportunities for me to find something. This causes me to go play an alt which seems able to get groups quite easily, though he is about to hit that 45 landmark so I’m concerned that neither will be able to get anything and then it will be onto the next.
This drought is so bad that it is entirely possible that I myself decide to leave if something doesn’t change. I know one of our former allegiance members gets back in a couple of weeks and I am hoping others will come back because he was the dynamic super friendly that everyone liked. Even so at least we will have the base heal/tank going and hopefully can fill up the rest easily enough.
And this, unfortunately is a problem for the devs. This was basically a treat for AC1 players. Not really meant to survive on its own. I’m pretty sure they just had some spare bandwidth and why not throw it up? But if they can’t fill the population somehow enough to get people to group, all of a sudden I feel that they need to have something else to sustain people with smaller groups or none at all. It actually may be out there for all I know, Knorr was never properly explored and documented. But unfortunately with a healer, solo just is a no go.