asheron’s call

Official Site: Asheron’s Call
Studio: Turbine, Inc./Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Launch Date: November 2, 1999
Sunset Date: January 31, 2017
Genre: Classic Fantasy Sandbox
Business Model: B2P (Maintenance Mode, One-Time Fee)
Platform: PC
See Also: Asheron’s Call 2

Asheron's Call fan project saves as much info as it can

Now more than a week following the closure of Asheron's Call, the fight to save the game might only be heating up.

Over on The True Saviors of Asheron's Call, a non-sanctioned fan effort to preserve and restore the game via emulator has taken its first big step by backing up as much info as possible before the shutdown.

"Thanks to the MASSIVE amount of data that was collected over the last few weeks, our developers now have the means to hopefully re-create AC as close as possible to what we once knew and loved," the site posted. "In the end, our valiant data miners were able to capture over 131 million packets containing over 224 million total game messages."

Warner Bros. and Turbine previously stated that it could not discuss Asheron's Call until February 1st, but a hoped-for announcement has so far failed to materialize.

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Recapping the Asheron's Call sunsets

Just before Christmas, we learned the sad news that Turbine would not be transferring Asheron's Call and its revivified sequel to Standing Stone as part of its Daybreak deal. No, Turbine planned to sunset both games on January 31st along with their forums, which provoked outrage, attempts to save the games, and open distress from players and developers alike.

But now it's done, and no last-minute reprieve or sale has materialized.

While it's still fresh in our minds, I wanted to collect our streams, retrospectives, and community efforts all in one place. Enjoy.

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The Stream Team: Asheron's Call 1 & 2 ride into the sunset

It's never a good thing when a game goes away, and today the MMOverse loses two. In a double whammy, both Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2 are riding off into the sunset. To celebrate and commemorate all that the games were, Massively OP's Andrew and MJ spending the final moments in both games. Tune in live at 10:00 a.m. to join them in bidding the games a final farewell.

What: Asheron's Call & Asheron's Call 2
Who: Andrew Ross & MJ Guthrie
When: 10:00 a.m. EST on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

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The Stream Team: Mount questing in Asheron's Call 2

Massively OP's MJ really enjoyed her first foray into Asheron's Call 2, but there are so many more places to explore. So what better thing to do before everything goes away than a mount quest so you can try to see even more of the world faster! Massively OP's Andrew convinced MJ that there's a doable quest for a mount that mostly likely doesn't involve many deaths. We think. Join us live at 9:00 p.m. as the two hoof it through more AC2 adventures.

What: Asheron's Call 2
Who: Andrew Ross & MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 30th, 2017

Enjoy the show!

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Ten life lessons I learned from the Asheron's Call series

As Asheron's Call 1 & 2 are going offline shortly, I thought I might give it a final send-off with a list of things I learned from the series. Maybe it's cheesy, but I really did grow up in Dereth. Some kids get their life lessons from sports, girl/boy scouts, farm life, church life, alien abduction camp life, and so on, but I learned a lot with the help of the AC series and the people I played with. I'll focus on 10 life lessons learned from the Asheron's Call series, but trust me, it's more than that.

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Asheron's Call appears to be suffering DDOS attacks

If you've been trying to get into Asheron's Call this weekend for one last look ahead of its sunset -- and failing -- you're not alone. Multiple readers and writers have confirmed for us that some of the servers have been suffering outages this weekend. Based on threads on Postcount (not safe for eyeballs, let alone work), it appears to be the work of one or more players who've decided to trollishly DDOS what's left of the game and community. (We won't be linking directly to the related threads on Reddit as the ensuing doxxing is not something we support.)

This isn't the first time the game has suffered these kinds of player-induced outages, though it's likely to be the last; in the fall of 2015, AC was offline for several weeks following a dupe-related server crash bug that players were exploiting for their own benefit.

Sigh.

Source: Reddit, official forums. With thanks to Gylnne and Wakkander.

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The Stream Team: A newbie's first look at Asheron's Call 2

Yes, we know Asheron's Call 2 launched a long time ago (and even more than once, really). But Massively OP's MJ has never played, and she doesn't want to miss the chance of seeing the world before it shuts down. So for her, it is a first look. Luckily, Andrew will also be there to help keep her safe/get her killed as she explores this unfamiliar realm. Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. for a first look from a newbie's eyes.

What: Asheron's Call 2
Who: Andrew Ross & MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 27th, 2017

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In appreciation for post-apoc Dereth: The life and times of Asheron's Call 2

On the left in the screenshot above is a windmill in the town of Cragstone in Asheron's Call. On the right is, well, the same windmill, but in the ruins of Cragstone hundreds of years later in Asheron's Call 2's. The latter game's post apocalyptic setting is quite fitting, all things considered. The sequel was a mechanical departure from the original in many ways, but built on the same lore fans still crave. Not all Asheron's Call fans would come along for the ride, but the sequel did find fans who never touched the original. AC2 also is about to go offline twice, so, well, there's that. But there is a reason a sequel was made, and I'd wager the reason it went offline has more to do with the game's broken past than its innovations.

Join me today as I take a look back through the history and highlights of Asheron's Call 2. (The original game was the subject of a similar piece earlier this week, so don't miss that either.)

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The Daily Grind: Will Turbine announce something big for Asheron's Call next week?

Asheron's Call is sunsetting next week -- that much we know. But beyond that, we don't know a whole lot about the rushed circumstances of the sunset, which is a little bit odd to those of us who've now saluted as dozens of games have been lowered into the ground. Turbine's announcement was bereft of information. Standing Stone Games has refused to discuss Asheron's Call at all, which must be killing them as they're the ones who kept it going. It's left the Save AC community confused and infighting as some folks are racing against the clock to packet-log the game for a future illegal emulator and others are trying to negotiate and raise funds to buy the game outright -- or even just license it for player-run servers as was once promised.

One persistent rumor swirling around the MMORPG world right now relates to the day after the sunset. A leader of the Save AC movement told players last week that Turbine and Warner Brothers have formally told the group that they're "not able to keep the game running or entertaining offers to provide the game to a third party," but there's a suggestion that WB will be making some sort of announcement the day after the sunset.

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Massively Overthinking: Death and dying in MMORPGs

In March of last year, MOP's Justin wrote a detailed guide to the most common death penalties in MMORPGs. Last September, Gamasutra pulled seven game developers together to discuss the most effective gaming "fail states," several of which involve death. Both articles came rushing back to me this week when Crowfall revisited the subject of its own death penalty, which involves a brief ghost period and a fast-track trip to the temple for resurrection.

This week, I've asked the MOP writers to consider MMOs and non-MMOs and propose their own favorite death penalty. Is it an old one, a new one, or one no one's done at all? What's the best way to implement death in a modern MMORPG?

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The Stream Team: An Asheron's Call adventure in paradise

Should Massively OP's MJ be scared? Andrew has an adventure planned, an adventurous adventure! He said they are heading to a tropical island paradise, filled with hot native dudes, beautiful birds, bandits, mutants.... well, kind of a mixed bag! There may be a dungeon involved if they feel extra adventurous. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to see where the game's first expansion took place.

What: Asheron's Call
Who: Andrew Ross & MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, January 26th, 2017

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Turbine clarifies Asheron's Call sunset times

Turbine has clarified on the official forums the precise moment when Asheron's Call and its sister game, Asheron's Call 2, as well as the official forums will go dark.

"We've had a few questions about the forums and shutdown time, so I thought it best to make a fresh post," Turbine's Halistran told players today. "Asheron's Call will be shutting down at 12PM (Noon) Eastern Standard Time on January 31st. The forums will be shutting down on the same day and at the same time - January 31st at noon."

The company announced the twin sunsets just before Christmas last month following the revelation that Turbine had spun off Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online to a new and independent studio, Standing Stone Games, to be published by Daybreak.

Standing Stone, which is made up of apparently all the former Turbine employees, has refused to comment on the circumstances behind the fate of Asheron's Call and its sequel.

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In appreciation for Dereth: The life and times of Asheron's Call

Imagine a game where magic was actually rare, complicated, and often underwhelming in terms of time vs. efficiency -- a game where players actually needed to study a language to figure out how to casts spells and magic words were often kept secret.

Imagine a game with little to no fast travel, a game where you need to raise your jump skill in order to get into certain locations, where death meant losing your gear. Imagine a game where you might actually have to ask another player for help, not only retrieving your corpse full of lost items from a physical space, but to kill the monster that'd repeated gained levels as you futilely tried to do it yourself.

Imagine a game where quests start as rumors from barkeeps, scraps of paper found on corpses in the wild, or just something you stumbled on in a random dungeon; a game where lore knowledge was needed just to find a newly released quest; a game where the developers and game masters took control of lore characters and during monthly updates would interact with players to help guide them through the game world's narrative.

Now realize that this game existed, exists. That game is Asheron's Call, not just at launch but for months and even years afterward.

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