The Soapbox: Asheron's Call is dead, and Turbine killed it

You'd think recent news about Asheron's Call 1 and AC2 would be easy to swallow. After all, we'd already been warned that Turbine was becoming a mobile company. We lived through the end of AC1 updates and a desire to give players the chance to host their own servers. Heck, AC2 had died and resurrected. We've been living on borrowed time, but anything seemed possible. Despite the fact that Turbine's games were squeaking by (when not getting cancelled), I thought that fan power would lead the company to see what it'd done right (innovating MMOs) and where it had failed (straying from monthly updates and GM lead content).

Clearly I was wrong.

knightsofpwyll

The revolution

People often ask what was so great about the Asheron's Call series -- it was early, and most modern MMORPG players missed out on the game entirely. Although the sequel gets a lot of flak, there are some key ingredients that bind them together:

Now, that doesn't look like much, but those are things modern MMOs still largely miss the mark on. For example, the allegiance system, where players swear fealty to each other, gave high levels a reason to seek new players. New players gave the person they swore allegiance to experience without losing any themselves, and this in turn would be passed up from the bottom of the pyramid to the top. It wasn't perfect, and there was still ganking of lowbies, but what system is? Imagine how much the survival genre would change if, say, players who swore loyalty to another passed up a portion of their supplies to leadership's storage area automatically: Suddenly newbies entering the game aren't just easy fodder for a gank but a potential positive resource.

The monthly updates made subscription fees, well, make sense. You weren't just getting access to a digital Disneyland but to new rides and attractions. I remember months after World of Warcraft's launch wondering why I had to pay a monthly sub when I wasn't getting any new content. Yes, the game launched with a good amount, but AC1, AC2, and even Istaria (then called Horizons) did it. That, combined with Game Masters taking over lore characters and interacting with normal players, made the game feel truly alive. Revival planned to do something similar, but sadly it's been cancelled with only a possibility of returning.

PvP is a hot topic, so I'll stay light on this, but the Shard of the Herald event the game is so famous for was in fact a PvP scenario. What's important to note, however, is that it was optional. Non-PvP flagged players (like me at the time) could do things to help the effort. Later, Turbine would add a "PK-Lite" option to AC, while AC2 was largely PvE. While AC2 did initially force players to sometimes run through PvP territory, this was later changed. Again, the system wasn't perfect, but as someone who was involved in that community and other PvP communities, I can say that it had some of the easiest issues to manage. This was a big change from Ultima Online's rampant PK launch state and EverQuest's token PvP server bunt.

Game lore, while probably a lesser advertised feature, has its uses. As a kid with a parent who tolerated games but constantly questioned anything beyond puzzlers or kart racers, I always had to prove the value of my hobby. Chris "Stormwaltz" L'Etoile (whom you'll recognize as a commenter here on Massively OP), wrote a ton of the early lore, combining so much real-world culture, language, and mythology that I spent summers from middle school to college investigating some of the games' inspiration with the help of the local library and internet. I frequently had the highest grade in the class in my high school mythology class despite being one of the youngest students because of Stormwaltz's creative but logical inclusion of reality. When my eccentric, old fashioned teacher found out my "secret," she was silent for a moment (a very rare thing) before admitting that if games could help me learn mythology, they couldn't be all bad.

Finally, non-instancing. While I feel modern gaming may need this in some sense unless the whole world is procedurally generated, it can be heavy handed, and Turbine was one of the first MMO studios to do this. Non-instanced dungeons could be swarmed and the battle "narration" lost, but it also helped make it easier to stumble upon friendly help.

Still other gamers will point to AC1's lack of classes, spell economy, and Darktide in general. There's no shortage of reasons to appreciate this franchise -- I've only scratched the surface here.

asherons_call_reclaim

Evil empire

Unfortunately, Turbine's always paired up with not-so-great partners. Microsoft rushed AC2 out the door with a broken chat system (among other issues), which honestly caused the game a lot of its early woes. While a lot of people complain about factors such as class trees, the fact that the game had a lot of quests to help you level (rather than requiring players to grind monsters - and long before World of Warcraft did it) also frustrated gamers. Players who returned to AC1 often missed basic differences (basic trees often allowed for unique hybrid specs, like tank-archer-healers), and their arguments to me would end with, "Well, if the chat system had worked, maybe someone could have told me that."

Getting access to IPs like Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings may have brought Turbine money, but it also stifled creativity. When you work with someone else's IP, you play by his rules. And while I'm sure teaming up with Warner Brothers has helped Turbine financially through the years, changing it into a mobile company is a bad move for Turbine. The current official site has one launched game, one in development game, and the remains of Asheron's Call, which as we know isn't long for this world. I don't hear anyone talking about their Batman game, and Infinite Crisis -- well, Eliot made some good points about it before it shut down. The business decisions haven't been good ones.

turbine_powered-by-our-fans

Failing fans

Hindsight is 20/20. Maybe looking back, the Turbine heads could see where the genre was changing. Maybe that's why some of them have been jumping ship for awhile. Jeremy Gaffney left early to move on to EA and NCSoft before his stint at Carbine. Johnny Monsarrat, who founded the company with the help of a personal injury payment, went on to some fancy schools before making his own consulting company. David Bowman left to work on Istaria before the name change and now works for TellTale Games, one of my favorite game companies. While it's a bit complicated, both Eric Heimburg and Sandra Powers of Project Gorgon have... aw hell, you see how much the MOP team loves what those two are experimenting with. My point is, they all had their own talents and have left a mark on the industry, but it seems their spirit left with them.

While Turbine may still have some good people there, and now splitting off to Standing Stone, it's hard not to take their recent history personally as a fan. When we first broke news of AC no longer getting patches, we, along with the rest of the industry (and then somegave the studio kudos for wanting to hand the game off to the players. It seems we were too generous, too trusting, because that isn't happening now.

The rational side of me says that something happened. Maybe someone else owns the rights to something Turbine can't hand over. Perhaps there's a legal issue Turbine's lawyers can't kill off without keeping the company liable even if they aren't officially running the game. Heck, for all I know, someone accidentally deleted key code while trying to pass data to the new company, then coffee was spilled on the machine holding that data and a hamster, having learned to make fire, then burned down a key building holding the backup data. There really could be an explanation as to why Turbine isn't following through on this.

What's happening here is wrong, and our genre is poorer for it.
But the problem is we can't always be rational. This is a series that means a lot to some of us. The original lore, still based on real world culture and languages, feels like a global product that, in the right hands, has so much potential. The features are things other companies are still trying to recreate in modern games, even if modern Turbine has spurned them. As a player and a critic, I feel in my gut that what's happening here is wrong, and our genre is poorer for it. When games that help define a genre, that set precedent, that still can't be recreated, can not only fail but wholly disappear as an IP, it's heartbreaking.

Realistically, many fans have moved on. I barely have touched either game myself after the revival, in part because the monthly updates and GM events stopped. I did, however, try to keep up with the lore and the community. Across other games, I actually bumped into not only other AC fans but even players I once fought against (hey Crags!). The series is more than just another game; they're virtual worlds we were part of: We lived in Dereth, had homes on it, had ancestors remembered on its pillars, maybe even had major lore characters speak our names, ask us to swear to them, or even bow to us. It wasn't just roleplay; it was virtual living.

If what's left of Turbine (and the former Turbine people now at Standing Stone) really wanted to make this right, they'd try to open up more to us. Hint better at what's really going on. Hint that anyone who wanted to carry on the torch could do so without worrying about lawsuits. Hint that they're going to try to build something with their new mobile emphasis (take my idea and make it less crazy). Just give us more hope than producing another company's lame IP-based mobile game. Asheron's Call is what Turbine started with. It's what attracted many of us to it as a company. If this is the end of its MMO days, giving AC to the fans is what it should end with.

Everyone has opinions, and The Soapbox is how we indulge ours. Join the Massively OP writers as we take turns atop our very own soapbox to deliver unfettered editorials a bit outside our normal purviews (and not necessarily shared across the staff). Think we're spot on -- or out of our minds? Let us know in the comments!
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61 comments
Dread1313
Dread1313

I started playing MMO's back in 1999. EQ1 was the first game I played, and alongside that I snuck in some AC1. Maggie the JackCat and her site was fond memories of mine. Same with the Sweet Mary allegiance I was sworn into. I eventually moved on to other games as the industry grew, but from every once in a while id play AC1 for a few weeks to a few months depending on how much time I had. I just recently swore off Turbine and all their games after another game they have/had DDO:Stormreach, I had 2-3 accounts with multiple characters on each account. My main account, was gone. Totally gone. Invalid username and password. No record of it anywhere. Nada zilch.. nothing. I've never been hacked in 17 years of playing MMO's so I don't think it was a hack. Turbine has had issues in the past with double billing and account issues. So I attributed it to that. I tried going through the proper channels but in the end I just said fuck it, and moved on. If Turbine were a better company to its players (than they have been in recent times...) maybe they would have been more successful.

amazonius
amazonius

Goodbye to an old friend in AC1.  My fondest MMO memories came from this game but admittedly none of them were from the recent incarnation of it.  Thank you Andrew for your post.  You hit many of the important reasons this game was different - I hope that the game will not be forgotten.  Unfortunately I fear too many will look at it's best features as reasons for its eventual failure instead of placing the blame where it truly deserves.


I believe Turbine did irreparable damage to the AC1 franchise when it released AC2 - a sequel which was too alien to the established player base of AC1.  AC2 sapped away players, developer resources, press, store space, and excitement from AC1.  AC2 rapidly collapsed - it couldn't interest the player base of the more complex and polished AC1, it was too unfinished to draw from many other existing MMOs, and it was quickly followed by the Juggernaut of WoW which had much in common with it but was much more finished and expansive. The community did not come back to AC1 after this onslaught and the developer resources were never put back in in great enough amount to turn the tide.  I think that a number of bad decisions were also made to try and reduce the complexity of the game in order to try to appeal to the more mainstream audience - this only drove more players to leave.

As time wore on another problem grew - the monthly content which was a hallmark of the game was mostly aimed at the top level players in the game.  This created a widening gap between any new players and the content which was being developed.  This had to hurt retention.  I remember how much fun it was to feel a part of that ongoing story line in the early days of the game but as time went on and life interceded the story line passed my slower leveling characters by.  Stopping playing for a length of time to try out other games would also result in falling behind the content curve.


In the post WoW era Turbine made more mistakes - they stubbornly held on to a premium subscription rate comparable to WoW when the game was much older and arguably more dated looking.  When you count the monthly content production this seems justifiable but I think it was a barrier to bringing in new players.  They held to this for a long time until they switched over to a completely free to play model but had no method of generating any revenue - at that point the writing should have been on the wall for everyone.  The game therefore only could exist as long as Turbine had will to continue a money losing project and was making enough money on other ventures to offset its losses.  This also meant there would be no money for creating monthly content - one of the key differentiating features of the game.  I think they should have aimed for some middle ground before things had fallen so far - charged maybe $5 or $6 per month to hopefully draw more interest than a premium subscription rate but still provide a revenue stream to fund development and pay for operating costs.

JudgeDavid101
JudgeDavid101

The older, past times with MMO companies, including Turbine, truly were a golden age of MMO's. The next age of MMO's looks a lot leaner, much more streamlined or even privately emulated, which has its good points and bad points. But the golden age might never come around again, it was appreciated while it lasted, like good times in general are... R.I.P. Asheron's Call 1 and 2. A sign of things to come.

Robert80
Robert80

The Turbine of long ago was great.  The executives wanted to chase other projects for years now, and have been shifting focus.  Fine, goodbye Turbine.


I... won't see you in the mobile gaming community.  It's not ready, but more importantly, the design is a whale hunt.  I'm not interested in being a whale or plankton for said whales.  When it is ready, and developers aren't just aiming for whales, we may meet again.  I'll be different, you'll be different.  If you are good then, we might even get along again!

GiantsBane
GiantsBane

Turbine has been a [grotesquely offensive word deleted by mod... ahem] developer for a long time. I remember when AC2 was in its death throws and the community manager Jessica something banned myself and others for speaking ill of the dev teams design / business choices. Hopefully we'll get some good AC1 emulators going because anyone could run that game better then the [deleted] at Turbine. 

padreadamo
padreadamo

This article made me cry. The passion comes through comrade. This game taught me honor at a very young age. Azreal Lightbringer ,being my patron and mentor, taught me that honor and doing good in-game and life are what it is all about. God bless the dreamteam of developers that made this world that brought so many of us together.

Denngar
Denngar

@padreadamo Dude, bring it in. My patron Lysis ended up being one of my best friends (and first boss!). I was 13 years old and Hulk-angry, and she helped me refocus those feelings into fuel for my passions. I'm seeing a bit of this in Pokemon GO, and helped some kids in Darkfall and World of Warcraft, but that last option and similar MMOs feel so... safe in terms of socializing that good or poor behavior can really go unpunished/rewarded without GM intervention. 

padreadamo
padreadamo

@Denngar @padreadamo So sad man. This was my home within my home and it allowed me to bond with so many people that i ultimately met in real-life and am still friends with as I watch them and their children grow up. Asheron's Call was the MMO "Sandlot." I don't care if it was buggy, according to some posters. It was a world with people who built genuine relationships around a world that is unique as the humans on this planet. 

Ripsnorta
Ripsnorta

I'm just hoping someone will buy the AC IP from Warner. 

I don't think they necessarily need to buy the code and the server data, but what I'd like to see is someone take the name, the lore, and the model of the original game and do a remake. All new art, assets and code, friendly up the UI a bit, but keep the rest as close as possible to the original.


I don't support kickstarters as a rule, but I'd put money on that.

Wakkander
Wakkander

WB is likely to not sell it. The franchise is far from its peak and even then was a third place contender. Add to that the fallout and bad blood generated by the sequel and you don't exactly have a winning IP. Anyone who would be willing to buy it probably wouldn't be willing to match what WB would ask. It certainly isn't worth the 10 million turbine paid Microsoft for it, back when it was at its peak and the sequel was about to launch.

I say that as a huge fan who found the mixture of sci-fi and horror elements to a non traditional fantasy setting to be well done and frankly ahead of its time. Even now there is nothing remotely like it terms of lore. I would love to see it developed and expanded upon. Both in terms of an mmo and other places such as single player game or even a table top adaptation. It's a rich world, I just don't see it ever being utilized again.

Wakkander
Wakkander

@Ripsnorta @Wakkander I don't think Warner would want 10 million for it, but I don't think they would part with it as cheaply as an indie company would be willing to pay, especially when they can create their own original IP for free*. 

If anyone would be willing to take it on, it seems like it would have been Standing Stone Games, I'm not sure who else would outside of the fanbase. Giving it to the fans would have been a great gesture, but then you also lose the likelihood of a company making something of it. (If it cannot be protected and anyone can use the IP, there isn't much business sense in reviving it.) I just imagine it will eternally collect dust.

I mean, if I had the money I'd buy it in a heartbeat, but I have a lot of nostalgia for the setting.

bluemanjoe
bluemanjoe

If WB doesn't want to sell why are they shutting it down? What's the point?

Wakkander
Wakkander

@bluemanjoe Keeping it running would require resources. Before it was just taking up space in the lotro datacenter and monitored by spare members of the dev team. With SSG spinning off WB no longer have the dev team nor datacenter. They would need to set up a new one and have someone to keep it running, an added expense for a game they make no money on.

They might be able to sell it cheaply, but for a company as large as WB it would be chump change, may as well hold on to it just in case they might need it somewhere in the future.

bluemanjoe
bluemanjoe

But if WB doesn't want to sell now, why do they think they can make more later after it has no users? Right now is the high point for selling where there is demand and it's still fresh in people's minds. Who is going to want to buy an IP that has no subscribers and no one playing.

Wakkander
Wakkander

@bluemanjoe I don't think it is a case of them thinking they can make more selling it later, but rather its an IP they could exploit later. I mean assume you are right and now is the high point, and the most likely group to be interested, SSG, weren't willing to pony up whatever WB wanted. (Or maybe they just didn't want the added costs of keeping AC running as a start-up, especially if they didn't have the funds or plans to make a sequel.)

Now Turbine could leverage the IP to make a mobile game based on it, WB could create single-player game based on it, saving the time and resources to make an entirely new IP from the ground up. None of that requires keeping the servers running.

You might say why would any AC fan support either after the servers are shut down, and ultimately they don't matter to WB in this scenario. They seem to be getting out of the MMO business as a whole, so they would be more interested in getting new players anyway.

Of course this is just me spitballing what seems the most logical to me. There could be countless reasons they might want to keep or sell it, but to me I just don't see a future where things align for them to sell. Not the least of which is a lack of a motivated buyer with the funds to make a serious offer.

Ripsnorta
Ripsnorta

@Wakkander but if as you say the IP is not worth all that much, then it won't have that much value to Warner either and they might be willing to part with it for a smaller amount. Especially as hanging on to it as is won't bring them any return.

And it wasn't Warner who paid 10M for it back in the day. That was Turbine who would have at least made their money back on it by now. So the net loss to Warner is still zero.

I suspect the bigger problem would be finding someone will take the risk with buying it in the first place, especially since it seems the traditional western MMO genre is in something of a decline at the moment.

Dread1313
Dread1313

@Ripsnorta I was hoping the same thing when Chronicles of Spellborn from Acclaim/Frogster went belly up... Alas, that never happened and it went to the MMO graveyard with SWG and others to die. Last I heard Disney has the rights to Chronicles and now the server and code sits in an obscure warehouse collecting dust. :(

Suikoden
Suikoden

Great article.  I love the passion in your writing and the passion you have for MMORPGs.  Thanks Andrew.

ApathyCurve
ApathyCurve

The older you get, the more things, places and people will continue their existence only in your mind.  That's called life.  Move on.

Nordavind
Nordavind

@ApathyCurve "Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on."

Jnaathra
Jnaathra

Thanks for writing this. 

SallyBowls1
SallyBowls1

The pain and disappointment are real; condolences to all affected. 


However, I really don't get the SSG in 


" (and the former Turbine people now at Standing Stone) really wanted to make this right, they’d try to open up more to us. Hint better at what’s really going on. Hint that anyone who wanted to carry on the torch could do so without worrying about lawsuits. Hint that they’re going to try to build something with their new mobile emphasis"


SSG has no legal rights to say whether people who steal the IP/carry the torch could carry on without prosecution.  If the SSG people know what's going on in Turbine, then decorum if not confidentiality agreements would seem to dictate they keep quiet. People at SSG have no more control over AC1/2 than the people at MOP.

VasDrakken
VasDrakken

I would guess that with peter jackson defrauding the turbine estate by saying they did not make any money, forgetting that there is no net profit... finally is getting dealt with and warner brothers is getting rid of turbine before they have to explain their part in the lord of the rings ip... which is likely why peter jackson made such of an idiot on himself with the second and third movies since they never planned to pay anyone for the rights to use any of the ip they made movies and books based on the movie... which usually are copies of the books reprinted with a new jacket and sold quickly before anyone asks what the different of the two copies is. Or it couple be that Time Warner was Time magazine buying the Warner Brother company which was owned by a woman in 2010 when the game studio which was running out of money got bought by a Woman owned company which they made a big deal out of at the time, but if you search google for the old story all you find is grand father. 


Combined with the fact most of the red carpet is filmed on universal's back lot, which has a fake back drop of the street so they can control the people there. It is why you don't see people in Hawaiian shirts and drunks making faces at the camera's for the live events. I got to see it once or twice while driving tapes around and have been at the hard rock when the premier of more than one movie happened. Most people in los angles laugh at it. The odds are they are trying to distance themselves from all the stunts they pulled so no one asks if they were evolved in the body scan, and then rent the data of the people's images as new actors, to go after the rights of the real people. 


Or it couple be combined with all the bad faith contracts they lost the right to make any more MMO's based on the tolkien IP and don't want to admit it. So they simply are locking up any IP that is question as to who owns it.


skylatron
skylatron

"...what’s happening here is wrong, and our genre is poorer for it."

I honestly didn't expect to get anything from this article. There was definitely some "love lost" with Asheron's Call through the years - people with bad blood for new developers, the ever-changing community landscape, Decal fights, the removal of monthly updates....I'm used to my first love and my favorite MMO getting the shaft from journalists and people with, well, soapboxes.

But you didn't do that, and now I'm crying, again, for the 5th time in less days, because of what happened to AC. Could things have been different if they'd managed to figure out micro-transactions? If they'd never been acquired by WB? If they hadn't needed to leverage Microsoft as a publisher all those decades ago?

We never reached the critical mass of EverQuest, and that was always OK with me. Every time you hear someone talk about Dereth, you share a wink and a nod because you know something that other people don't. You know that Asheron's Call was a rare gem, one too largely undiscovered by the masses, but one with so much clout and creativity that the industry thrived BECAUSE of it. It paved the way for new ideas, new ways to live in a virtual world. We changed the gaming landscape, and people didn't even know.


I'll be spending the next few weeks in Dereth again with so many friends that have returned because of this. We are ready to give it a proper sendoff with quests, group photos, and just reliving the old days. The allegiances forged weren't just in pixels. We've made friends for life in this world, and we're ready for where ever the portal storm takes us next.


Denngar
Denngar

@skylatron The new developers tried some cool things. I can't fault them with that. Some of them even added some cool stuff (the royal wedding that even Isin Dule attended!? That was craaaazy!). 

Yeah, we never reached the stardom that other MMOs did, and that kind of disappointed me, but it's like any other cult hit. It helps you feel an instant bond with other fans. Dry those tears and go tip some cows ;P

A Dad Supreme
A Dad Supreme

If Jim Morrison was alive today, we'd be talking about how old he looks, how sad it is to see him pimping his music to the highest bidder and how desperate and how far he's fallen like we do with the Rolling Stones.

But since he died according to history's time, he's remembered with reverence.

Trust me, it's far better that Turbine put this tired, old game that wasn't getting new players out of it's misery to make way for new ones while at least one author still cares than to see it become a laughing stock, otherwise no one would be writing anything about it.

Turbine just handed Asheron's Call "martyr status", which is about the only thing it could have accomplished going forward, since everyone will now remember how "great" it was instead of all the actual problems which made it shut down and bleed customers in the first place.

Jnaathra
Jnaathra

@A Dad Supreme I really never cared for this sort of opinion and all the single player gems out there prove the opposite. GOG is full of relics and games lost to time. Yet every year thousands of young and new players get to experience games that they wouldn't have known about it not for GOG. What a shame it would be if we collectively tossed away our gaming history because... its old. Games like Commander Keen and Baldur's Gate live on. So should Asheron's Call. 

A Dad Supreme
A Dad Supreme

@Jnaathra @A Dad Supreme

Gaming history? It's just games, not the Declaration of Independence or the Roman Coliseum.

Games like Baldur's Gate translates well into age because of how it was made and the limited amount of players needed to operate. Asheron's Call was NOT made well and extremely buggy, but don't let me get in the way of nostalgia when everyone thinks it wasn't.

The past in gaming really serves no purpose except to future developers who draw inspiration, not from players who won't pay a monthly fee because everything about the game is outdated.

People don't want games to close not because they still have value (most old games don't), it's because it's sentiment but that gets in the way of progress.

People don't actually have to play Asheron's Call to know about it. Plenty of documentation exists for it's place in history, but just like dirt roads have to be plowed away to make room for asphalt highways, old games need to make space for the newer ones.

Jnaathra
Jnaathra

@A Dad Supreme @Jnaathra Neither is Jim Morrison. Your comparisons are all over the map. The article above did a much better job showing the value in this title, its technology and its community. If that didn't convince you, then I certainly won't either. Hopefully us true fans can keep it alive in one fashion or another. 

Vaeris
Vaeris

Turbine was the first MMO company for which I expressed the phrase "My favorite MMO dev is...". That was LONG ago. They stopped being so (and eventually relevant to my gaming) after the launch of DDO and the switch in direction from Middle Earth Online to LOTRO. I played both games hoping they would go back to the mentality and creativity they had with AC1, but they never did. C'est la vie in MMO land. Instead of iterating on what they did well and giving customers in house more of what they want, they go to left field with "something new!" or get new management that want to put their own stamp on the company to show they are doing something and demand/focus dev in a totally different direction to "bring in more players". Which usually sees an exodus of the old players and few, if any, new.

Stormwaltz
Stormwaltz

Thank you for the kind words. :)


Apologies if this was posted previously, but few months ago I answered some lore questions on AC for An_Adventurer at AC Wikia. They're probably incomprehensible to anyone who wasn't super-deep into the lore.

http://asheron.wikia.com/wiki/Stormwaltz_2016_Q&A

Denngar
Denngar

@Stormwaltz That's awesome stuff, Stormwaltz. I felt like some of the ideas built into AC's lore find their way into your other titles (mostly the Bioware ones). Since they've done pretty well critically, I always hoped Turbine would poke you if they decided to do an AC single player game, comic, or movie. 

Yerte
Yerte

@Stormwaltz, that was a great interview! Just like I said on the AC forums, you should write a novel with similar AC Lore (assuming an actual AC Lore book wouldn't be possible)!

Thanks for your amazing work on AC!

Medwardius
Medwardius

@Stormwaltz Stormwaltz, thanks for doing that Q&A. You wrote some awesome material for Asheron's Call. A lot of people love this game and it won't be forgotten.


edit: Also, somewhere recently I read about your ideas for AC2's lore & setting. Really fantastic stuff, I wish the game had gone more in that direction

bluemanjoe
bluemanjoe

Thank you for all the work you did with AC. Even as a kid 15+ years ago I knew who you were and idolized your work. AC lore is amazing and I've never been as interested in the story of a game since AC. I hope you will do more things like this in the future.

amazonius
amazonius

@Stormwaltz Thanks for the link.  What a great read.  I personally have sunk thousands of hours into playing this game and still read something like this and realize just how much lore there was that I missed and how much depth the game had that I never uncovered.

Xijit
Xijit

Daybreak is Standing Stone's publisher, so here is the real question you should be asking about this shutdown:

why the fuck would Deybreak have ever be interested in picking up the tab for 2 games that directly compete with EQ1 & EQ2?

breetoplay
breetoplay moderator

@Xijit They're not picking up the tab. Daybreak makes money from this deal.

Xijit
Xijit

The money AC 1&2 brings to the table is negligible; this is political.

Why would the producers of EQ be interested in prolonging the life of 2 titles that compete with EQ?

EQ already sees enough of an up hill battle to keep players in game, when they could be off playing something with modern GFX and combat ... EQ's only real weapon for staying viable is the appeal of "classic mmo gameplay, for classic MMO players."

Acheron's Call directly threatens that by offering an alternative title for that "classic play" ... On top of that, you just got done praising the ganes for being better than EQ: so why the hell would the makers of EQ be the slightest bit interested in perpetuating that?

Hell, in their eyes; killing AC 1&2 probably just equates to "more classic players looking for a new home ..... IN EVERQUEST!"

Denngar
Denngar

@Xijit Good point about Daybreak essentially picking up former competition. In fact, in high school, we got a few of the EQ players to try AC, and I don't think any of them went back. 

breetoplay
breetoplay moderator

@Xijit I don't think the competition is what you're making it out to be. I assume they can do the math and figure that they make more money publishing a game using infrastructure they already maintain than they lose by not doing so and risking that someone else would publish -- and someone surely would.

SOE was always about capturing as wide a net of players as possible, figuring that once you're ensnared in one game, you're an easier mark in another game -- that's why it picked up competitor Vanguard, in hopes of reclaiming the "EQ2 isn't the EQ sequel we wanted" crowd. Blizzard has done the same thing for a few years now too. I think it's interesting that Daybreak seems to be inching back toward it.

Xijit
Xijit

That was SOE, not Daybreak ... SOE was willing to see the the value in dominating the classic game market by picking up Vanguard & was willing to keep something like Planetside 1 online for years past its major viability.

... Where are both of those games now?

breetoplay
breetoplay moderator

@Xijit That was my point. Daybreak (SOE) was once known for that. It was a thing they did, often. They stopped. This could mark the start of a return to form. It'd be nice.

Beacon
Beacon

@breetoplay @Xijit EQII was my first MMO and I still love it, even though I don't play it. I started playing Vanguard in its twilight days in part because it was easy to play another SOE game. If DBG actually built up a studio of nice games and went back to charging a single monthly fee to subscribe to them all, including a cash shop currency allowance that worked across all the games, that'd be very compelling to me. 


Dread1313
Dread1313

@Xijit It was Verant Interactive before it was handed over to SOE, then handed over to Daybreak. I almost got a job at Verant, but didnt want to move cross country. Glad I didnt, because 6 months later Verant went belly-up.