I really tried.
I really, really tried to get into Asheron's Call. Casting my mind back to when MMOs were new to me and having dial-up internet access at home and viable, I remember looking at Everquest (EQ) and Asheron's Call (AC) and thinking how great it would be to play them. I was never really that interested in EQ, but AC appeared to have a much more interesting set of ideas behind it. The Allegiance system. A more skill-orientated, less class-based system. Anyone could cast magic spells. And so on.
However, it was never viable to play a US-based online game via dial-up from Australia and, frankly, I didn't have the money (which conversion rates would have seen me have to pay about double the US price per month in $AUS anyway). So I never picked up AC. AC2 was a possibility... but we all remember what happened to that MMO. Given I was interested in it, trialling AC seemed like a fantastic idea to possibly pick up what I missed out on.
Unfortunately, it seems that there ain't no going back. As I said, I tried to enjoy AC. But the distance of time and experience is too great. While I can get over the graphics, the repetitive auto-attack combat left me bored and watching the screen for extended periods. Not having any idea of where to go for the quests I found was a problem (I love you, mission markers!) while entering shared dungeons saw other players sweep all opponents while I trundled along behind. Combat was such that it was either a cakewalk or I died.
So I'm not completely negative, I really enjoyed the item drops I got, especially the equipment. Finishing the tutorial and arriving in Dereth to find a chest full of magic armour was a nice touch, especially when the spells activated. Also, getting weapons that were on fire / dripped acid etc to reflect their magical ability also added a lot to the game. If I squinted, I could really see the potential of AC. but then I'd look again properly and realise I had no idea where to go or what to do. The server I was on (Verdantine) was also pretty empty, apart from silent characters who wizzed past me with the determination of someone who has done it before.
I unsubscribed from the trial after a week. AC was just too dated - or I was too familiar with modern MMO design, take your pick - for me to want to continue. Also, I found it incredibly cheeky that Turbine is still charging $12.95 for this title and that if I hadn't actively unsubscribed, the trial would have flipped me into full-payment mode automatically. For a game as old as AC, that really isn't acceptable. AC still gets respect from me for the continued updates, but I see $13 a month as too high for a seven-year-old title - something in the range of $5 to $10 a month would seem much more appropriate.
Anyway, I tried.