The Final Portal Storm of Asheron's Call
Well.. Asheron's Call is dead as of a couple days ago. RIP AC1.
I'm pretty saddened by that notion, it turns out. I hadn't played in the past couple years, but I'll admit I never thought the game would actually die off, especially given some hope that Turbine/WB would release private server options and I wondered if some form of open sourcing would happen someday... just seemed like the thing would somehow live on forever.
AC holds a special place in this genre for me, but not just due to it being one of the first three MMORPG's in the world, but because it was really great. I still haven't played any game quite like it in many ways and there's something about a community that sticks around for something that long (17 years), that makes it special in ways the game itself can't really measure against.
I find it strange that I'm sitting here feeling somewhat like AC dying off is also a sort of death for this site. I started MassMOG in 2000 -- Creation Date: 23-feb-2000, to be exact -- spawned largely due to the excitement and novelty of the burgeoning gaming genre of MMORPGs (I didn't like the acronym and tried to make my own in "MassMOG".. which obviously never really caught on. Heh.) I had played in the AC1 beta and was really excited about the genre as a whole and the potential of persistent worlds with thousands of players.
Of course, over all these years, the genre turned into a mess in many ways, mostly driven by the typical onslaught of copycats and rushed-out money generators. There have been many gems, of course, but the original excitement faded for me overall in the recent decade, where it started looking like the notion of the MMO was being relegated to more of a gimmick. Some great games are still flying high on the concept though, so I guess my melancholy over AC1 is getting the better of me at the moment.
But now... well, AC is gone, which doesn't really seem like a thing that "should" happen. I know many other early games that have died off due to various reasons, but somehow it seems like Asheron's Call needed to be preserved. There were a few others that I think the same of, but of course it's all a matter of perspective. It's a typical problem in this genre, where servers are required to even load the worlds. It's a long-known drawback that has deeply affected many a tight-knit online community.
So, here I sit with this nagging sense that a site that started up alongside the baby years of the MMORPG genre (a bit after the first games, but pretty darn early), feels quite a lot gutted by the passing of one of the great games that pioneered so much to create all those letters in that horrible acronym.
I'll have to continue thinking about what the heck to do with this place, but right now, it feels more "right" to just pull the plug here also. Seventeen years is a pretty long run after all, I suppose. Maybe it's time to just rip off the bandage and move on?
...after all, what does "massive" even mean anymore for most of these games that are really more just "multiplayer". The communities are much more /around/ the games than actually co-habitating INSIDE the game, as was the earlier, exciting goal of the MMORPG: thousands of people inhabiting the same persistent virtual world, at the same time.
Thanks for the memories, Turbine. Asheron's Call was a great game for me and I really appreciate my time with it and what the game did for the genre. I'm sincerely bummed I will have no option to visit that world again.
P.S.: One place to keep up with AC after the portal storm settles is likely in the subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/AsheronsCall/
Previously, on 2015-12-20 13:07:04:
"Let's Clear The Buffer"
Wow, what a neglected mess this place has become. It's embarrassing. What say we just wipe the slate clean, rather than let 5 year-old posts sit around as a reminder to how little I've done with the place?
I think that's a good idea. I'll decide what to do sometime "soon", but empty space is better than half-decade old rot, for now at least.