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

The Stream Team: Beginner's luck in Asheron's Call

There's still a huge world in Asheron's Call to explore, and Massively OP's MJ hasn't quite made it out of the tutorial yet! Time is a-ticking, so she's got to speed it up if she wants to experience more of the game. Luckily, Andrew will be joining in to help guide the adventure -- and keep MJ from getting sidetracked! Can beginner's luck also keep her alive once she starts facing real threats? Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. and let the duo know the best places to visit and best mobs to meet.

What: Asherons Call
Who: MJ Guthrie & Andrew Ross
When: 3:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Enjoy the show!

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The Stream Team: Trying out Asheron's Call before it's gone

If you wait too long, sometimes you will miss out, and Massively OP's MJ almost missed out on seeing the world of Asheron's Call. With the doors closing at the end of this month, MJ has to jump in now to try and experience a bit of it before it's gone. Join us live at 4:00 p.m. to share your memories.

What: Asheron's Call
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 20th, 2017

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Asheron's Call player preserves 50 towns in videos

Tick-tock, tick-tock. The countdown timer for Asheron's Call is running out, as the fantasy title has a half-month until it shuts down for good. The community has been stirred into action as a result, with some petitioning WB for the game rights while others are talking about their decades-long adventures in the game.

One player, Tzepesh, is attempting to document as many of the game's towns before Asheron's Call's closure. As of the writing of this article, the YouTube playlist contains an impressive 50 towns, all preserved for future generations that won't be able to play the game but might be interested in seeing what it looked like.

You don't need an AC account to visit these towns, so take a stroll through this long-running MMO after the break!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best races?

The other night I had the opportunity to play Asheron's Call for the first time (and most likely, the last time). It was a surprising blast of originality wrapped up in the visuals of a game from two decades ago.

One of the features that deeply impressed me was the game's imaginative roster of races. Absent were the boring stock fantasy races of Elves, Dwarves, and the like, and instead there was a wild assortment of well-thought-out species that included sentient bugs and a guy whose lower half of the body was magical smoke.

Maybe that's far from the best MMO when it comes to racial representation. If you had to pick -- and you do -- which MMO has the best races?

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Betawatch: Project Gorgon gears up with high-level content (January 13, 2017)

Is it fair to call Project Gorgon a spiritual successor to Asheron's Call? I'm going to go with yes, which means that this year is the year for the game to launch. And that's the goal, too; the game is adding in more levels and more high-level content for players to explore before the launch later this year. Let's go gaga for Gorgon, yes?

Of course, there's other beta news too. But that one deserved a header nod. Everyone else can sit here in list format, like so:

Did we get a list past the break? We did! It may contain a whole bunch of betas, or it might contain the ingredient list for almond-and-cranberry scones. If it's the betas, do let us know if something is missing or inaccurate down in the comments; if it's the scones thing, just cook some nice scones for your friends and family.

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Check out one of the oldest Asheron's Call players... in all senses of the word

The impending shutdown of Asheron's Call is outright sad news. It's an old title with a lot of strange elements, the likes of which haven't really been seen again. A new video by YouTube user We Sleep Talk shows off a subtle side of the human cost, however; it's a video of the user's grandfather, who has been playing the game since 1999 and now multiboxes two separate characters for the game.

Maybe you never played Asheron's Call, maybe you played it and didn't like it, or maybe you know next to nothing about it. It's still touching to see someone this invested in a game, a game that he's made distinctly his over the nearly two decades of its operation. It's a funny, sad, and touching tribute, and you can watch it down below.

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Asheron's Call players reach out to WB to save their MMO

Another player-led effort to save Asheron's Call from termination is attempting to raise funds from the community to buy or license the game outright. A GoFundMe has been set up to accept donations from those who would like to see the MMO have a fighting chance of survival before its sunset at the end of January 2017.

The players said that sent WB a letter of intent last week: "We spoke with Warner Bros today, and we are looking to hear back from them Friday! We made a base offer just to get a ballpark [...] All of the donations will be used for the purpose of lawyer fees and any other fees associated with the acquisition of the rights. We intend to return the game to the players as the first player-owned game."

So far the campaign has raised $1,500 from a handful of fans. There is also a Facebook page tied to the effort. The team said that it had been coordinating efforts with the Save Asheron's Call campaign, but both groups have since distanced themselves from each other due to disagreements.

Source: FacebookGoFundMe

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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.

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Don't miss The Game Archaeologist's histories of Asheron's Call

The impending loss of Asheron's Call -- and Asheron's Call 2 again -- hit the MMORPG community pretty hard when the sunsets were announced yesterday, even though a lot of us saw it coming. The late reveal that WB/Turbine won't be releasing the servers to the community was salt in the wound... powdered quartz in the vitae, if you will.

We thought those of you feeling all the feels might like a trip down memory lane -- thankfully, our very own Game Archaeologist can help. Justin's penned several long-form pieces over the last year covering the history of the venerable franchise. Enjoy, and remember.

The Game Archaeologist: Asheron's Call - It's hard being the youngest child -- you get the hand-me-downs, suffer through swirlies by older siblings, and eventually develop such a neurosis that it requires seven different brands of…
The Game Archaeologist: Asheron's Call 2 - MMO sequels are funny animals. Sequels (along with prequels and "reimaginings") are ingrained into the entertainment industry so deep that it makes sense that MMO studios would follow suit. And…

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Asheron's Call and its sequel will sunset as part of the Turbine/Standing Stone split

I'm sorry to report that Turbine announced today that it will be sunsetting Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2 as part of the transition revealed yesterday that will see Turbine's other MMORPGs migrated to the new independent studio.

"It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the end of our support for Asheron's Call and Asheron’s Call 2, and will close both services on January 31st, 2017. This decision did not come easy, and we know this is disappointing for many of you. This game is a labor of love, and it's not easy for us to bring it to an end. We have had a phenomenally long run; one of the longest in the world of MMORPGs, and that in and of itself is a spectacular feat. We are proud of our legacy, and the entire Asheron's Call team has been honored to adventure with you for nearly twenty years. We thank you very much for being a part of it. It’s been an amazing run. You’ve done Asheron Realaidain proud. Between now and January 31st, 2017, the game will remain available to play, completely free, for any player currently with an account. New account creation will be disabled."

Players will recall that this is not the first time Asheron's Call 2 has sunsetted; Turbine originally closed it in 2003 due to poor reception but reopened it in 2012. Classic Asheron's Call has been in maintenance mode alongside its younger sibling since 2014.

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Massively Overthinking: FOMO and time-limited events in MMORPGs

Earlier this week, Daybreak told players it wanted to get back to time-limited events in DC Universe Online. "Events make logging in every day that much more special," the announcement quotes Jack "Jackster" Emmert, now ensconced as the Austin studio's CEO. "I know that I've got to complete that event before it ends!"

While the specific event Daybreak is cooking up actually sounds fairly fleshed out and nice -- a new zone, new quests, and a raid -- I start to fidget at the idea that the content will be time-limited or temporary. Sure, I understand why studios would want to funnel players to a central but dynamic content stream and get us all to pony up. But exploiting players' "fear of missing out" -- FOMO -- seems like a crappy way to design game content for the long-term, and it bugs me. Am I alone?

That's the topic I've posed to our writers for this week's Massively Overthinking. How do you feel about time-limited events in MMORPGs? Are they a waste of resources or a necessary evil? Who does them right, and who does them wrong?

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Massively Overthinking: The many 'NGE' moments across MMORPG history

Eleven years ago this week, the New Game Enhancements patch descended on Star Wars Galaxies, forever changing the trajectory of the game, SOE, and maybe even sandbox MMORPGs in general by completely uprooting the character development process of the MMO and gutting beloved professions, not to mention breaking essential pieces of the game's crafting economy. The ensuing fallout caused a mass-exodus from the game, tarnished gamer trust in SOE, and guaranteed that we'd still be talking about it more than a decade later. And though I've long argued that the game that sunsetted in 2011 was as far removed from the NGE as the NGE was from the game that launched in 2003, I'm first in line to declare that the NGE implemented in 2005 was an unmitigated disaster.

For this edition of Massively Overthinking, I don't want to talk about Star Wars Galaxies' NGE. I want to talk about all the other NGEs in MMORPG history -- all those other massive patches and updates and expansions that shattered or altered an MMO so fundamentally that gamers never looked at it the same way again and indeed considered it irreparably ruined. What's the most brutal NGE (that wasn't that NGE) that you can think of? That's the question I posed to our writers this week.

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