Saturday, November 27, 2010
Asheron's Call - A Look Back
It was just after Thanksgiving in 1999 when I took the plunge into MMORPGs via Asheron's Call, better known as AC. I ended up playing AC for six years before walking away from it. I've always thought it was a great game and look back fondly upon my time spent roaming around Dereth. Even though it was not as popular as EQ and UO, I thought it was the best of the bunch. Why?
1) NO ZONING! I tried EQ, and was instantly annoyed by the constant need to zone. Bor-ing. In AC, I could run from one end of Dereth to the other without zoning once. And that included entering towns. Adventuring outdoors in the wide-open spaces was a lot of fun for me over the years.
2) Monthly Updates! Well, it probably wasn't always monthly, but pretty darn close. It was always a treat to see what new content was added - dungeons, items, game tweaks, etc. It was these updates that brought "nerf" into my gaming lexicon. The moans and groans from various players over nerfs both real and perceived made for some great forum reading and debating.
3) Player-Crafted Items! To be fair, I can't tell you if EQ had anything like this in the game or not, but I seem to recall early on it wasn't available. In AC, players could do a lot, ranging from the mundane (adding dye to color clothes and armor) to the functional (crafting armor & weapons). I was even inspired to do a Covenant Armor write-up that is still live over on AC Vault.
My oldest and most favorite character was my Sho swordsman by the name of Sun Khat-Zan on the Leafcull server. Since I usually played late at night (Pacific time) I spent the bulk of my time solo. That might explain why it took me almost the entire six years of my AC career to reach level 126 on Sun. Shortly after that, I hung up my sword and walked away, never to return.
Despite my affinity for solo play, I met some great people in-game: Mahret, Wolfenstein, Grimbold, Suede Mage, and a host of other characters and players I am forgetting at the moment. Lots of fun in chat, the back and forth banter, and people helping each other out so everyone had fun.
The folks I never understood were the hard-core Red Dots, or PKers. They seemed to think that simply because they were PKers, they were better than everyone else. PKing can be fun, because no AI can replace the cunning and unpredictable human mind. I get that. I don't mean to disparage all Red Dots, because there were a few who were cool - guys who could kick ass in PK, didn't talk stupid amounts of smack, and didn't think they were better than Carebears. The rest? Good riddance.
So yeah, AC was a lot of fun. If I didn't move on to EQII with my D&D cronies, I'm reasonably sure I would have kept on ACing. I'm glad the game is still alive and kicking, and read that the August event was the 100th content update in the game - so a big grats to the devs for reaching that milestone.
I need to poke around and see if I can round up any additional screencaps. In the one above, Sun is sporting one of the first fad combos - the Mattekar hide coat and Olthoi helm (it's very purpley!). In that shot, Sun is somewhere in his early to mid 30's level-wise. The good old days, indeed.