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News & Features Discussion  » Asheron's Call: Asheron’s Calling for a Hip Replacement

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57 posts found
  shakermaker0

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/25/09
Posts: 198

10/13/11 11:50:56 AM#41
Never written about Star Wars and neither do I have plans to
  ruhelos

Novice Member

Joined: 4/05/08
Posts: 1

10/13/11 11:57:28 AM#42

 



You can call me a "fangirl" or whatever you like, but this is a terrible review.  How long did you play, an hour?  Was your first MMO World of Warcraft, and is that the only game you are able to wrap your head around?  Are you completely unable to put aside your biase for "grind-masked-as-killtasks", and just focus on the real nitty-gritty of what gaming USED to be?  Of what it has strayed so far from, because someone said that something should be a certain way, so no one else has been able to dig out of that hole?


AC is out of that hole.  AC is an unparalleled skill and adventure game.  The graphics are not great, but graphics do not a game make.  Or in this case, actually the graphics are a BENEFIT to the game.  Name to me another MMO where you can take on a literal legion of mobs, 50 or 100 creatures at once, down them with your sword and at the end, bask in the wealth of loot you have access to.  You will never find the same peice of loot twice (unless that is, you are on a quest for a specifc peice).  Unless you intentionally do so, you will NEVER look like everyone else.  You are unique.  You are a snowflake.


The graphics and physics engine also allow for the most skill-based and interactive PvP in the genre.  Slide-casting, dodging missles, using jump to your advantage, strafing, open-world slaughterfest.  It's terrifying, but damn it's fun.


You also seem to have entirely missed any quests.  Did you make it to level 10 even?  At that point, there is an amazing hub that you have access to, which will guide you from 10 to about 50.  Also if you TALK to any of the NPCs and I dunno, read the text, it is perfectly clear what to do.  There are also NPCs that sell "contracts", which get placed in your quest journal, and you get led by the nose (people seem to like that) to the area and are told very clearly what to do.


You seem to have completely missed the core of the game, which is exploration.  It's dying, making mistakes, smashing baddies, collecting weird colored armor, standing around in the Marketplace doing nothing, changing the game economy, joining fellowships and clearing dungeons, and ultimately, if you lived in a fantasy world, all of the things you would actually do.


On top of all of this, I just got a guild mate of mine (we're in a multi-gaming guild) to come and try the game for the first time.  Without me holding his hand, he found NPCs to talk to, figured out the easy coordinate system, went into a dungeon, got quest items, made it out of the dungeon and back to town, figured out who to sell to, figured out how to put points into skills, and generally would have been just fine if I'd left him alone.  But I did  come help eventually ;)  He is actually going to at least stick with the 2-week free trial.  That's more than we can say about YOU, Mr. Reviewer.


So, what sucks about this game?


- The UI


- The buffing system - seriously, every skill and attribute has it's own buff


- The grind for "stuff", namely the "perfect suit" of armor


- Not being able to sell everything to just one NPC


- The world map needs an upgrade


I've played every major US release of an MMO to date (and some Korean ones, and some non-major titles).  I always spend the time to sink into the game, look into it, read up on the community. That's the level of research that people reading your reviews expect, Reviewer Man.  You don't have to like every game, but you have a responsibility to at least be able to give it a fair chance.   Any game sucks if you only play it for 10 minutes.  


I challenge you to do the full 14 day trial on Frostfell (not my server, but is the most populated), seek out an allegiance, read up on the player-made wiki (ac.wikkii.net), and actually try to play the game.  Then come back wi th a real review.


-----


To answer the F2P question: presently, AC is $9.99 to purchase and $12.95/month.  While Turbine did consider Asheron's Call to be their flagship F2P game, it simple was not feasible with the way the UI is coded.  It would have to have a complete re-write, which they simply to do not have manpower, time, or money for.  It, of course, is not ruled out for the future, but it won't be happening soon.


-----


 



  User Deleted
10/13/11 12:42:26 PM#43

Asheron's Call is about one simple thing: grind. Whether this is through combat or crafting, the game harks back to that most central of themes, and does not coat the issue in fetch quests or collect X of Y objectives. In many ways this simple and honest approach is refreshing almost a decade into the facade of mission based MMOs, and yet at the same time, a startling revelation of how we got where we are with the genre now.

At its core, grinding enemies for the goal of levelling is fundamentally boring. We know this. We knew this in the late nineties, and the guys at Blizzard knew it when they added a questing system. While many complain that the genre has gone a little too far in making the experience more linear than was ever meant, the overall tools for progression Asheron's Call show that the genre has developed and refined ultimately for the better. Killing monsters within Turbine's game will give you skill points to spend on a palette of wide and varied skills, but after a while you will begin to question the point of it all. While simple missions can be tedious, they do give a certain reason for doing so and as such give a layer of immersion and purpose, and sadly this is where Asheron's Call now fails.

While the game still has a number of servers, the player base feels relatively thin. Aside from the occasional shout in the trade channel, the population of the game seems to be thinly spread about the world, and a lower level community is all but non-existence. The remaining community is that familiar selection of entrenched veterans and helpful players, resulting in any shouts of help to be answered by both offers of gold and insults of WoW pampering.

Throughout my time in the game I couldn't help but feel that the genre has simply progressed too far. While Asheron's Call will feel beautifully nostalgic and traditional for its veterans, for anyone coming to these lands anew it will simply feel outdated. In almost every way Turbine's original MMO has been outshined by newer titles, and while I can see its varied charms, I cannot truly recommend anyone seek it out as replacement game. Time is a cruel mistress, and while Asheron's Call has out lived its offspring by several years, I can't see many more years for it. These are truly the twilight years for a father of the genre. MMORPG.com salutes it, but it doesn't encourage you to try it. Leave memories where they are, and leave old legends shrouded in mystery.

 

Firstly let me say yes I agree AC looks dated, because it was built in the mid 90's and released in 1999.  However it does have its charm and I promise you once you give it a day or 2 for the game to grow on you then the gfx become moot because the superior gameplay takes hold.

 

Now with that being said that is all that I agree with you about your post, the rest of your post is trivial, juvenile, and reeks of

condescension.

Yea the servers for the most part are "thin"  but what the population does within itself with 600 at primetime is infinetly more helpful and rewarding comparing to any other game I played.  Never do you hear Chuck Morris Jokes, nor do you hear about political viewpoints or the like, in fact 99% of the chat in game is directed towards the game and that is a breath of fresh air sir.  I would take AC's 10k over WoW's 11 million any day of the week and twice on sundays.  One last thing I might add, I have played AC since 1999 with a 6 year break for WoW, but im back to AC again and let me tell you I can go to any area of the map in AC and stand there and within 20 mins I am guarenteed to see an adventurer run along looking for something to do.  For reference I can do the same in WoW and I will rarely see another player out i nthe wild.  Give me AC's 10k in a MUCH lareger world and it feels alive, yet WoW's 11 million cant make a world that is twice as small as AC feel alive.  Instancing and capitol cities destroyed the genre so much.

 

You never even played past level 10 yet you say the game is a grind grind grind.  you sir are wrong on so many fronts.  There is absolutely zero grind in AC, because the ultimate goal of the game is not to level it is to adventure. 

 

I feel that the MMO genre regressed to far, as I would rather have AC's gameplay over the hand holding, bread crumbing, hell kitty land adventure of the current crop pf MMO's.  WoW with no freedom vs AC with tons of freedom, how can there even be a choice.

 

Lastly shall we talk about questing in AC in comparison to questing in a themepark MMO such as WoW or Rift.  hers the latters idea of a quest.  See a yellow ! mark and talk to an NPC and go fetch him 10 rat tails, or kill 10 rats versus:

 

  1. Speak to Roderick in Mite Maze, where Harlune the Misanthrope used to be (take the first right at Alfrega the Reedshark, the room with the apple tree). He will give you the Diplomatic Message from Harlune (speak twice if you get A Crabbed Note at first).
  2. Use the Portal to Bur at 67.4N 30.5E. Stick left until you come to the portal to Kor-Gursha.
  3. Go East to the Collector Golem and keep going East from him to Scout Leader Tmauruk(speak to him) and the Guruk Kill task guys. Then take northern most East Tunnel From here. To the Southern Catacombs.
  4. Stick right past Guruk and use ROCK next to Temple of the Three, Ritual Chambers portal to enter Upper Catacombs.
  5. The statue Roderick mentions is in the fourth room from the south in the east hallway on the right (east side of hallway running north to south). The statue will teleport you into the Falatacot Visitor's Alcove.
  6. In the first dungeon, head right at the T-junction. Use the second door you come across and follow through. Do NOT jump into any pits, you will not be able to get out. You go down once, then up twice. The second door going up, stop and clear the spawn if you can.
  7. Eventually reach a big, empty room. There is a floor lever just inside the room. Use this plate to spawn the statue and about 10 guards. After a few minutes you will receive a message that the statue's eyes have lit up and you can now use the statue to portal onto the next dungeon. You MUST hit that level to spawn the statue. Depending on where the guards spawn, you may be able to close the door and wait outside for the statue to charge up. If not, you can run around inside the room for a few minutes, dodging spells, until it is good.
  8. In the next dungeon go right and down at the junction and follow it through to the end. When you reach a door, behind that is the empty room and the statue. As you go in seven Blood Priestesses and an Elite Zharalim Agent will spawn -- retreat into the hallway and close the door until the statue charges, or run around the room dodging them.
  • NOTE: The far wall behind the statues can be used to be avoided by the casters, and eventually even the melee types will get tired of you. If you die, you can run back quickly, and both statues might still be up.
  • NOTE: You must have the Diplomatic Message on you to use the statues.
  • Note: It is not necessary to use the corpse of the Elite Zharalim Agent (a yellow dot, NPC corpse) to use the statue.
  1. Get to the end of the last dungeon and talk to the Falatacot Herald. He will take your Note...IMMEDIATELY run up and around the platform behind him! Several very tough monsters* will spawn. Tip: If you are an archer or mage, perch from the platform above the mob. Be careful the Laisu Sclavus casts Poison Health (20% lower health for 5 minutes) and there is no shortcut back.
  • Your job is to kill the Blood Priestesses. One of them holds the Trinket you need to give to Roderick. The Blood Priestesses are IMPERIL VULNERABLE to COLD. If you can Imperil them, they go down to cold weapons incredibly fast. If you are a mage, Yield them (Magic def is over 500), and do the normal fire undead slayer beat down.
  • If soloing: talk to the Herald and quickly jump up to the platform and wait, after a period of time the spawned creatures will ignore you allowing you to vuln and pull the Priestesses over one by one.
  • If running multiple characters: Only 1 character in 3 needs to give the message. Pick the one with Lockpick, so he can easily get his next time. Note that if you talk to Roderick before giving him the trinket, he will replace your message, even if you gave it already (he's assuming you died).
    • One of the Blood Priestesses will drop three Falatacot Blood Prophetess Trinkets that you must return to Roderick for XP and the title "Expendable". (If your fellowship is more than 3, the Herald respawns very quickly).
  1. Recall Last Portal. If you went to Bur right from Roderick, this brings you back to the Mite Maze. Head back up to Roderick for your reward.
  2. If you speak to the NPC a 2nd time, he will give you a ride to Teth ;)
 
As you see almost every quest in AC is of the latter, and I would take that every freaking day of the week over the kill 10 rat BOOOOOORING quests that litter the MMO genre now.

 

 

 

 

  GunnJD

Novice Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 5

10/13/11 2:02:07 PM#44

AC was an incredible experience for those that really tried it, especially on Darktide. 

PVP made the game for me, it otherwise was lackluster. 

I've never had a better experience in any other mmorpg though. Theres nothing like patrolling a town guarded by your guild and spamming the chat box to them when 5 Blood members pop up on your radar.

PVP fights were super intense with everything on the line. Your rep, your guild, and the stuff in your bags. Really good fights would go along for awhile, and theres nothing like chasing someone down across the continent. And it is super satisfying when you finally get the best of them and get some mad loot from your troubles. 

In terms of the questing, I recall large token quests. Things like the sword of the lost light and shadow armor were really good moments. 

Despite the bad graphics the world felt completely dynamic and interesting to me. Exploring really felt like exploring. What you found you could fight to make yours. 

  Classicstar

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/02/04
Posts: 2501

10/13/11 2:38:30 PM#45
Originally posted by Ozmodan

Well to start with, there are a bunch of add-ons that really help out the UI.  Without them it is rather awkward at best.

You did not even discuss combat which has no auto targeting and no auto attack.  You can actually dodge magic and missles.  There are several sites that have tons of info on the game, you really need to read up on them before playing.

Items that fall can have varied stats.  You don't get the same item from the same npc.

You did not even cover the fact that the game is skill based, while it has levels they really don't mean much, just more skill points to spend.  It has great flexibility on how you design your character, you can put skill points in anything you desire, but it does help to specialize in a few.

It still is one of the better games out there, but again it is a very grindy game. 

Pretty much a terrible job on reviewing the game because you left out the basic facts.  Where does MMORPG get such terrible game reviewers?

I agree 100% that where AC was unique in he did not mentioned at all he just gave review how ugly and grindy and outdated this game is..... YEH RIGHT 12YEARS OLD HUH...., insted of realy telling what kind of great game it was and still is.

But macroing was a part of its distruction im affraid:(

Realy bad reviewer, i even think they did it on purpose for some hidden agenda?

MB:MSI Z97XPOWER AC
CPU:Intell Icore7 4790k
GPU:MSI 2x AMD 290X
MEMORY:Corsair PLAT.DDR3 1866MHZ 16GB
PSU:Corsair AX1200i
OS:WIN7 64bit Ultimate

  KcebEnyaw

Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/09
Posts: 32

10/13/11 3:49:13 PM#46

Once again Tingle secures his thrown as the worst Game Reviewer of all time..


Way to state the obvious a hundred times man..


Maybe you should have, I dunno, look for a redeeming quality in the game?


Of course, nothing is more funny than the fact that the few compliments he gives in this review are things he Bashes other MMOs for implimenting.


What a joke.


  KcebEnyaw

Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/09
Posts: 32

10/13/11 3:50:56 PM#47

I suppose it doesn't help that this guy never actually plays any of the MMOs he reviews.


30 minutes isn't sufficient to review an MMO man..


  Odysses

Novice Member

Joined: 4/11/05
Posts: 582

10/13/11 4:22:42 PM#48

Wow I don't like to be to personally rude on comments, but the reviewer is an absolute moron and needs to re-apply for his old job at Value Village.  I love the comment the genre has progressed to far to far for AC to be viable.   This reminds me of Jay & Silent Bob and have the urge to find this guy and kick the crap out him for being clueless!!!

I think it was a little to rough to not have a shiny yellow "!" over npc's or quest guide arrows that point you to where your supposed to go.   The UI is old and the graphics are certainly not very good anymore, but one thing AC has is the most in depth gameplay and character progression of any MMO.  The genre could use a swift kick in the butt and return back to non linear classed based games.

  Wraithone

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 3559

If you can't kill it, don't make it mad.

10/14/11 1:09:00 AM#49
Originally posted by GunnJD

AC was an incredible experience for those that really tried it, especially on Darktide. 

PVP made the game for me, it otherwise was lackluster. 

I've never had a better experience in any other mmorpg though. Theres nothing like patrolling a town guarded by your guild and spamming the chat box to them when 5 Blood members pop up on your radar.

PVP fights were super intense with everything on the line. Your rep, your guild, and the stuff in your bags. Really good fights would go along for awhile, and theres nothing like chasing someone down across the continent. And it is super satisfying when you finally get the best of them and get some mad loot from your troubles. 

In terms of the questing, I recall large token quests. Things like the sword of the lost light and shadow armor were really good moments. 

Despite the bad graphics the world felt completely dynamic and interesting to me. Exploring really felt like exploring. What you found you could fight to make yours. 

 

Tried DT once and it was a total gank fest, so I quit that.  But I did play more than a year on thistle down(if I remember right, its been years and years).  Great game for its time, but I'm all done with corpse run games.  I put up with it at the time, because it was pretty much sop.  But I'd not wish to go back to it.  

At this point I really do not see WB allowing Turbine to use the resources required to update the AC engine, or to provide much real new content for that matter.  WB will likely milk what money it can from Turbines current IP, and then close them down, once they are of no further use to them. 

  Wraithone

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 3559

If you can't kill it, don't make it mad.

10/14/11 1:29:32 AM#50
Originally posted by Odysses

Wow I don't like to be to personally rude on comments, but the reviewer is an absolute moron and needs to re-apply for his old job at Value Village.  I love the comment the genre has progressed to far to far for AC to be viable.   This reminds me of Jay & Silent Bob and have the urge to find this guy and kick the crap out him for being clueless!!!

I think it was a little to rough to not have a shiny yellow "!" over npc's or quest guide arrows that point you to where your supposed to go.   The UI is old and the graphics are certainly not very good anymore, but one thing AC has is the most in depth gameplay and character progression of any MMO.  The genre could use a swift kick in the butt and return back to non linear classed based games.

At which point, the majority of the massive modern player base, takes it time and money to another activity.  Given that these games take millions and millions (of other peoples money...) to create, do you really think that the investors and/or business types are ever likely to do something like that? 

A "return back to non linear classed based games" ISN'T what the vast majority of the gaming population wants these days.  It wants WoW type theme park games. As much as certain types will howl about it, the fact that WoW has made Blizzard (and its share holders/investors) *billions* over the last almost seven years, is hard cold REALITY. 

Do I personally like what WoW has become under Ghostcrawlers reign of error? Mostly no. But there have been good points. I really liked Dungeon Finder for example.  For the first time in years, I was able to get semi decent gear for my characters, just by running dungeons and collecting drops and tokens.  I didn't have to spent most of my limited time spamming chat endlessly, in the vain hope of finding a group to run with. 

In AC I was in a good guild, and that helped a LOT. These days, unless one is in the Guild Masters inner circle, you can pretty much forget doing much beyond basic things. It happened then as well, but not nearly as frequently as it does today. 

Bottom line, AC was a great game. But its time has passed. It would take WAY too many resources to bring it into the 21st century, and its limited appeal and player base just do not warrant such an investment.  One of the only ways I can see this changing is if some very wealthy type took it over and funded its update from their own pocket.  Other than that, its a game from the past, and will continue to fade until eventually the plug is pulled. 

  nuififun

Novice Member

Joined: 4/27/06
Posts: 126

10/14/11 6:15:58 AM#51

I created an account and installed AC last week and could not get it working.. the game uses and archaic network connection system that simply does not work on some routers.. shame.


  Akais

Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/07
Posts: 267

10/17/11 11:32:21 AM#52

I'm inclined to load this game back up... It's been years, but the thought of just going adventuring appeals tons.  Playing Dragon Nest now for a similar reason, even though that's just a dungeon crawler.

  Wraithone

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 3559

If you can't kill it, don't make it mad.

10/17/11 5:51:42 PM#53
Originally posted by Akais

I'm inclined to load this game back up... It's been years, but the thought of just going adventuring appeals tons.  Playing Dragon Nest now for a similar reason, even though that's just a dungeon crawler.

 

Good luck to you then. I went back a year or so ago.  I spent more than a year in AC, a long time ago. I just couldn't get back into it.  I ***REALLY*** hate corpse runs, and the graphics are WAY too dated.  I've played Dragon Nest up to the level cap (24 at that point), and its a fun game, but I moved on, because every time there was a patch, it broke my install.  

The patcher keeps throwing a C++ library run time error (unusual termination), and I have to uninstall and download the new client and re install.  Once is just one of those things (happens), but every time the patcher runs is just sloppy. Never have that on any other app. 

  Akais

Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/07
Posts: 267

10/17/11 10:38:26 PM#54

Corpse runs never tended to bother me (famous last words...).  I can "never really go home again", but for nostalgia's sake will try and experience one last romp through Dereth.

Dragon Nest is a fairly decent game, just shallow. I haven't had update woes yet though.. That might change my mind.

  Kantriakhor

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/22/11
Posts: 1

10/21/11 10:58:30 AM#55
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

Actually there are probably over 1000 quests in asheron's call. There is also no grinding necessary to level in AC anymore. Most low level quests give you over 1 level worth of xp.


 


http://ac.wikkii.net/wiki/TaoMagicDragon_SC%27s_Leveling_Guide


Take a look at that, it is a leveling guide that only uses a fraction of the in game quests and gets you to level 150+ very quickly.


 


Does AC put exclamation points over NPC heads? No, thank god.


Does AC force you on one starting path the way games like WoW do? No, thank god.


Does AC require you to think for a moment before randomly running off into the woods, killing a creature, saying there are no quests and saying that the game is a grind and shouldn't be played? Yes, thank god.


 


Asheron's Call provides a better experience than any MMO out there today, and I've played them all.


 


And the landscape textures look great. Uncheck the landscape detail textures button. Some video cards now cause the ground to grey out with that checked due to changes in graphics hardware.


 


All of the above is also easy to figure out if you simply ASK OTHER PLAYERS IN GAME. Click the chat button and change the channel to General Chat (the same way you can in every other MMO) and then say "Hey I'm a new player and need some help." AC tends to be the most helpful community out there. (You can also just do /cg).


 


Maybe put more than 3 seconds of effort into a game before calling it "A review". If all you've done is grow up on WoW and WoW clones that hold your hand every step of the way. Highlight every NPC, every quest location on the map and every mob you need to kill, well better get ready.... you might have to finally use your brain.

I'd like, firstly, to echo these sentiments.

Secondly, as a player, I have to point out some inconsisitencies that at best are lapses of memory and, at worst, complete fabrications.

1 ) The picture you used to show how dated the graphics are was taken years and years ago, prior to the retexturing and model-changes. While the game isn't WoW or Guild Wars in terms of graphics, the picture you chose does not represent the current look of the game or the character models therein. Below is a link to the same character depicted (Asheron) and how he looks like today:

My character being the one waving.

2) Your story about your first moments playing as a Viamontian (blue-skinned character) has a mistake in it. In it, you said that after you died you were brought back somewhere in the wilderness. This is wholly incorrect as a character, when they die, would be brought back to either their Lifestone (The one near the location you started being within eyesight of the town) or, if you didn't use a lifestone, the point your character arrived at upon leaving the tutorial dungeon; in your case, as you chose Sanamar going on your description of being the northern-most locale, would be right at Sanamar's town gate. This shows that either you are going off of older memories of playing before December 2001 (the date that starting at an outpost was removed and, instead, you started in the tutorial dungeon and ended up in the town of your choice) or are going off of second-hand accounts from that same era. Neither case shows that you yourself recently played the game unless you intentionally fabricated this account which still shows that this review is inaccurate and that the journalistic legwork just wasn't done.

Asheron's Call isn't game for everyone, but then again no game is so it's not that your review wasn't glowing that seems odd to me, it's the fact you seemed to use little-to-no facts, or ones that are out-dated and do not reflect the current state of the game that makes this review seem suspect.

  Pynda

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/20/04
Posts: 682

10/21/11 6:49:18 PM#56

AC1 also has a very complex damage type and vulnerability system (slash, pierce, blunt, fire, cold, acid, and hollow - lower damage but ignores buffs; as well as physical vs. magical versions of all these) that make you think long and hard about how you are going to equip yourself for any particular upcoming adventure. But I guess strategic thinking is out, and nonstop action is in these days. In fact, playing modern MMORPGs sometimes reminds of being in an extremely loud, stupid and obnoxious Jerry Bruckheimer movie. But many people do seem to love that kind of entertainment.


And as for those who complained about travel and body runs - well - I actually enjoyed having to earn my way into a new area by facing great danger and using my wits. Or carefully planning what death items I would carry (generally useless items most likely to drop if you died), and then taking my chances. But if you always need a reset button and zero real risks, I guess today's MMORPGs have you covered.

  maxtlion

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/03/09
Posts: 79

You don't stop playing because you get old - you get old because you stop playing.

3/08/12 8:20:18 AM#57

I was so unhappy with the article that I was compelled to write a detailed rebuttal:


Opening paragraphs regarding graphics:

Yes, it's old. Yes, there are vastly prettier games out there, which have been visually polished to the point of perfection. AC does not compete with newer titles and it's extremely unlikely that a graphics overhaul will ever happen.


 


"From an extensive selection of races to the application of attribute points in to certain areas, Turbine’s original MMO harks back to that old tradition of you know, thinking about what kind of experience you wish to have from the game.  It is kind of refreshing in a way."


- I would argue that this is more than refreshing - it forms the very foundation of why we play these games. If I wanted to start MMO life as a replica of every other Elven Hunter that had ever started the game, there are hundreds of choices out there. Right from the opening credits, AC gives you the choice and flexibility to be exactly who you want to be.


 


"Everything looks dated and ugly, and while the game is of an age, it feels as though it has passed the point of playability."


- Amazing insight here from someone who has just spent their first 5 seconds in the game world. How dare you label the game like this before you've even started playing.


 


"After some time of wandering around mindlessly slaughtering the wildlife, I notice that I have wandered away from any discernable path, and am truly lost. Slightly panicked I head east for a short while, then second guessing myself, head south. Now I am truly lost. I stumble up inclines and head along shore paths, thumbing at the map key hoping for a glimpse of settlement."


- Interesting, the author knows how to open the map, but apparently cannot connect the player and settlement on the map, using the ever present compass to actually tell which direction to run in to find his way.


 


"Respawning in the wild, I look around again for any glimpse of settlement. Oh nuts to this, I am re-rolling."


- You don't respawn in the wild - you respawn at the lifestone which is....in clear sight of the settlement you started at. Maybe turning and looking behind you was a bit complex.


 


"Asheron's Call is about one simple thing: grind"


- UNTRUE. No other game out there offers the same experience of exploration, and while the quest system is not spoon-fed to you as with other games that assume you have the deductive reasoning of a colour-blind frog, there are dozens of quests available to people, from open play discovery, buying rumours from venders and chatting to NPCs


Every game - including AC - has grind. Whether a choice to accelerate advancement, gather components or simply because that's what you do in-game. The difference that AC offers is that the quests here don't feel like grind, unlike the "kidnap 10 squirrels" formula that the modern MMO has forced on us.


 


"At its core, grinding enemies for the goal of levelling is fundamentally boring. We know this. We knew this in the late nineties, and the guys at Blizzard knew it when they added a questing system. While many complain that the genre has gone a little too far in making the experience more linear than was ever meant, the overall tools for progression Asheron's Call show that the genre has developed and refined ultimately for the better."


- Really? Kidnap 10 squirrels repeated over and over in various themese and locations is "refined ultimately for the better"? Are we really that monumentally stupid or possessing such a lack of patience that we can't handle a quest that actually provides a mental challenge? There are any number of quests at any level in Ac that offers vastly more gaming and world immersion than this overused, scripted grind, un-cunningly concealed behind a golden glowing exclamation mark!


 


"While simple missions can be tedious, they do give a certain reason for doing so and as such give a layer of immersion and purpose, and sadly this is where Asheron's Call now fails."


- Now I'm getting truly vexed. Every single quest in AC offers the same, if not better background and "reason for doing so" than any I encountered in games like WoW, DDO, LOTRO etc. AC doesn't fail - it offers a challenge which modern MMOs feel we're unable to deal with.


 


"While the game still has a number of servers, the player base feels relatively thin. Aside from the occasional shout in the trade channel, the population of the game seems to be thinly spread about the world, and a lower level community is all but non-existence."


- Yes, numbers aren't what they were and can't compete with the modern 'giants' of the MMO gamespace. But even a little investigation will get you in touch with one of the numerous allegiances (guilds), offering support for new gamers, putting you in touch with other people starting a new character and giving you a very active gaming ecosystem.


 


"In almost every way Turbine's original MMO has been outshined by newer titles..."


- Argh! (Deep breath)...

Name one game with better character creation and flexibility? Didn't think so.

Name another game with more area to explore? Didn't think so.

How many other games offer the same sort of customisation around equipment and items. Hmmm, pretty short list.

How many other games reward you for adapting your combat techniques to the environment and opposition. Really that few?

Got many games which offer this level of control over your development through the game? Didn't think so....


AC is outshone in graphics - no question. In almost every way, modern MMOs have dumbed down the innovations that defined the genre to the point that you might as well be watching a movie - looks good and you know how it will end.


 


In conclusion

I began playing AC in 1999, eventually stopping when other interests took over in life (marriage and sport). I began playing again recently after several years of playing newer MMOs - WoW, DDO, LOTRO, EQ2, Fallen Earth, Rift and Perpetuum. I am happy that my $$$ are better spent each month, providing more satisfaction and enjoyment, as well as at least as active a social experience as most I've encountered.


I amy be doing Mr Tingle an injustice, but his article reads like he has logged in, died a couple of times through inattentive play, formed some instant opinions and called it a day. Games as bad as he makes out don't retain the paying player-base that AC has, especially for this length of time. Many of his observations offered are simply untrue, or are not indicative of the everyday circumstances in game.


I would encourage any gamer who can see past the graphics into the game to give AC a fair chance if the opportunity presents itself. It won't be for everyone, but just maybe, you'll come to realise what we have been missing since Blizzard re-invented the genre.


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