Home > Asheron's Call, MMO, The Secret World > Wheels and ladders

Wheels and ladders

Two things.

First, this: Drakkashi’s Ability Wheel for The Secret World, shamelessly stolen from Sheep The Diamond on whose post I found it.

I haven’t logged into TSW in two weeks, for various reasons to do with work and other exploratory procedures (small world, since Dragonchasers seems to have gone through a very similar experience just recently). On the bright side though, I haven’t had that little Subscription Gremlin sitting on my shoulder telling me I should be playing to justify the cost of my sub. In that respect the lifetime sub is very liberating – I realise I’m still paying and that it’ll take a while to actually ‘pay for itself’, but psychologically I don’t feel any pressure to play simply because I need to justify the expense.

For me at least, a single (admittedly large) one-off payment has become a thing in the past and now I’m playing the game for ‘free’. Which means that when I can’t or don’t log on for whatever reason, I’m not feeling as though I’m wasting my monthly fee.

I still miss the fact that I haven’t had time to give the game I’ve waited so long for, but I also know it’ll be there when I have time to pick it back up. And of course the first monthly update should hit tomorrow, if they’re still on schedule. I admit I also haven’t been checking forums.

Second, this: Zubon’s post about Asheron’s Call allegiances and patronage. AC was my first MMO and I’m always interested in posts about it, but I think Zubon may have represented only one side of things. The comments section for that post is rife with “eww, this is creepy!” type reactions, and I’d like to show the other side of that.

In a nutshell: In Asheron’s Call, allegiances were pyramidal. Every player in an allegiance had a ‘patron’ (the player ‘above’ them in the hierarchy) except the ‘monarch’, who sat at the top and was effectively the guild leader, and any player could have ‘vassals’ (players directly ‘below’ them in the hierarchy). Vassals passed up a certain amount of experience to their patrons who would pass up some of that to their patrons and so on up the “chain” all the way to the monarch. There was an equation for it, so it wasn’t a simple 1 for 1 or even 10 for 1, but that’s the basic system.

The allegiance setup is odd, looking at it from the outside now, though coming in to my first MMO I had no clue and it seemed perfectly normal to me. Yes, there were allegiances set up explicitly to wring as much xp out of the system as possible for the maximum possible pass-through. But the vast majority of allegiances I knew were really bog-standard guilds with a different name and slightly different mechanics.

The guild I joined in Asheron’s Call is still the guild I’m in these days, even though we’ve long moved on from the game. Joining was about playing with like-minded folks and NOT about how much xp you could generate for the shark-like gestalt. Effort were made to match newbies with like-minded patrons if they didn’t already have connections, to make sure they’d be tied to someone whose playstyle and availability matched their own. It’s about as casual and laid-back as a guild can get, and even in AC there was no talk of having to produce xp or needing to do X, Y or Z to be considered useful.

In any case, how is this substantially different from raiding guilds who require their players to be online on certain days and for a certain amount of time in order to run certain raids and obtain whatever loot it is they’re after?

Personally I’d rather be passing up virtual xp to a virtual patron than have to give my guild my real-life phone numbers so they can make sure I’m adhering to my raiding schedule. Now that’s creepy.

  1. Winged Nazgul
    July 30, 2012 at 8:49 am

    http://www.tsw-builder.com/

    Makes all other decks builders obsolete. Just my 2 Pax of course.

  2. July 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I bought a Lifetime for TSW and feel the same way. For me it’s getting ready to move house as well as the exploratory procedure :) keeping me out of the game for now. But exactly as you said… I don’t feel that ‘pressure’ to play.

    And if the game eventually goes “F2P” then, unless Funcom is totally crazy, Lifetime subs will get some kind of tasty perk going forward. That’s been my experience in other games, anyway. Or at worst a Lifetime “Prime” membership. (Whatever that means in the context of a hypothetical switch to F2P.)

  3. July 30, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Well, I’m 3 years short of the ‘exploratory procedure’, not to mention other age related ‘things-that-must-be-done’ and not especially looking forward to them, but…

    Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to afford the Lifetime sub for TSW at the time, and really haven’t had much time or money to get the game anyway. Bummer. Still, I’m looking forward to one day getting in and playing with you guys.

    As for the Allegiance system in AC, I don’t remember it being particularly creepy either. I played that game with a single friend for a while (not single as in unattached, but single as in one) and we created a mule-monarchy where one of use created a character that recieved all the XP and IIRC dumped it all into crafting skills.

    I’m not sure exactly what Turbine did with the allegiance system and why, but I did hear they nerfed it somewhat.

    Sometimes I wonder if the allegiance system was tweaked to reward reciprocation a little more it might have been more effective and would have avoided the nerfbat.

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