Over the last few days, I’ve been trying to think of something decent to write about in my usual beginning of weekend blog entry. I had a couple of ideas, but then Thursday, Turbine decided to blow up the MMO world and announce that they are returning AC2 back into action. Wha-What? This makes Asheron’s Call 2 only the second MMORPG to return from the grave, the first being Meridian 59 obviously. How could I not make a post about this game!!!
So let’s get this out of the way. While I was playing AC2, I had some fun but the game was extremely shallow. The devs concentrated almost solely on creating the graphics, look and style of the world, but there weren’t many quests in it. If you wanted to level, you were relegated to doing the few quests that there were and then grinding. The fact that quests were largely on timers so that you could repeat them every day (or week) shows how bad the situation was.
That being said, Asheron’s Call 1 didn’t really have official quests so it was progress. There were quests, but it was always free form, no NPCs gave them out, you just kind of discovered that there were awesome drops in random places or by doing things like combining motes and turning them into people for other things. That was the quest. So it’s not like AC2 was far off.
Asheron’s Call (both of them) was really a game about discovery anyway. Not a game about leveling or firsties the way that EQ was. This was always a key to the game play. If you didn’t like exploring, this really wasn’t the game for you. I for one miss exploring in MMOs and has been a primary reason why I have been turned off to the genre over the last couple of years.
The return of AC2 really is the return of some old school game ideas and I personally relish the though. Yes the game is far from perfect, but there is enough there to warrant playtime. 1
To me, the larger question becomes… What does this mean? Is it just a ploy for Turbine to get some extra moneys from Asheron’s Call 1? (Which is required to play AC2). Do they plan on supporting AC2 once it is out of its “beta period”? I could see it go either way and am sure the answer to this largely has to do with how many people start playing it. Are they doing it with the intent of later going Free to Play with it? Or are they using it as a method of promoting a franchise that is pretty much dead in order to bring out AC3?
This last one I feel is the most likely of candidates. When Turbine was bought out by Time Warner a few years ago, the developers at Turbine hinted at the possibility of a return to the Asheron’s Call franchise (sorry no linky). This isn’t at all surprising after all, they own the IP and why let it flog when they invested so heavily to buy it back? Also, Turbine hasn’t actually put out anything new since LotRo which came out in 2007 (Not including expansions). Turbine is clearly working on some new MMO because when 38 Studios went out of business earlier in the year and laid off their entire staff, the biggest beneficators of that was Bethesda and Turbine.2 I did find an article that they may have hired upward of 110 new employees this year. That my friends, is a ramp up for a new game.
At any rate, even if there is no new Asheron’s Call game on the horizon, I for one am going to go and renew my ages old AC1 subscription and begin downloading AC2. Giddy with the idea of going back to the world I have longed to play for the last couple of years.
- For instance, I never really had an opportunity to play the Legions expansion pack, I bought it towards the end of the AC2 lifespan, but I was in school and very involved with EQ2 at the time I believe. I wouldn’t mind checking that content out at all. ↩
- And I could be wrong but I feel like Turbine signed people on first which tells me they likely got who they wanted before Bethesda showed up. ↩