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Posts Tagged ‘Asheron’s Call’

Not only… but also

December 16, 2012 1 comment

This has been covered by others already, but fortunately for me I never claimed to be a scoop-hound (I’m far too lazy busy with work). I’ve let it sit in my mental microwave for the last few days, and when it finally went ping I decided that yes, I’m probably going to try out AC2.

I remember the AC2 beta and how froth-botheringly excited the community was, because AC1 players got priority for beta testing – at least that’s how I remember it. It was a long time ago. Hell, it was THAT long ago that the spousal unit and I actually got CDs through the mail to install the beta client. No, really. People used to send CDs all the time. Then again I’m old enough to remember floppies. Wait, does that sound bad?

Anyway, froth-bothering excitement gave way to puzzlement (wtf is this? it’s not AC1!) to interest (okay, but it’s actually a pretty cool character system) to frustration (oh look, another play-stopping bug!). And before someone berates me for complaining about bugs when I was beta-testing, I know. I know. I know. I like beta-testing and I’m aware bugs are the whole point and hell, I do it professionally now, so don’t teach your internet grandma to suck eggs. Every beta-tester has a point at which they transition from “Hey, this is kind of a cool bug, let’s make that cow’s head explode again” to “Ohhhh Goddddd, not another one… Now I can’t move. Now I can’t talk. Hey, what happened to my inventory?”

I reached that point with AC2 after a few weeks of testing which, coupled with a machine that was only barely able to run the game, kind of put paid to both my testing and my interest in the game. I didn’t buy it at release, though a number of my AC guildies, The Knights Who Say Ni, did.

AC2 had quite a few issues in beta, which is what you’d expect. Chat, as I recall, was pretty gruesome (and the Elder Game post referred-to above explains why), but then chat had issues in more than one game back in 2002 or 2003. Star Wars Galaxies was fickle as a drunken debutante when it came to letting you chat or not, at least for the first few months – setting up one of the first cities was quite the experience without guild chat, especially since this was before anyone much used voice-chat.

So yes, my guildies played it and enjoyed it, though it never got as much momentum within the guild as AC1 did. Nothing’s ever the same as your first… Also, SWG came fairly hot on the heels of AC2 and we ALL wanted to try out a Star Wars game (though again, not many of us played it for more than a few months). Actually, that was more or less the time when the MMO market sort of exploded – after SWG came City of Heroes, then later that year both EQ2 and WoW, and on and on…

I didn’t play AC2 at release, I was probably a little unfair about it for various reasons, and now I’m a jaded old hag – or hack – with nostalgic leanings and I’m going to check it out again. It didn’t take me but a couple of minutes to recover my Turbine account info, and there’s my AC1 account all ready to be activated to grant me access to what’s old is new AC2 (although it’s not my original AC1 account – I didn’t migrate it soon enough back in the Microsoft/Turbine migration or I just plain forgot the details, either way my original chars are lost somewhere in v-space).

We’ll see, right?

 

Wheels and ladders

July 30, 2012 3 comments

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.

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