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Asheron's Call: Can It Deliver Today?

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  • rdrakkenrdrakken Gotham, FLPosts: 426Member
    Originally posted by Synthetick
    Originally posted by rdrakken
     

    Its like EQ1...the graphics can only be upgraded so much before it starts to break everything because the core game is designed around old coding. It would take recoding the game almost from scratch to use anything close to modern graphics. I mean, the original unreal engine was used back in 1998 and wasnt really open for other companies to use for a while after that...AC1 was already well under development...we are talking about DirectX 5 & 6 here.

    Once you start throwing in things like integrated rendering, collision detection, ragdoll physics, pixel lighting or dynamic shadows...the core code starts to go nuts if it wasnt designed with that in mind.

    Hardware and graphics engines and things of that nature were never something I never really chose to get into. With that said, tho, EverQuest has received an absolutely amazing amount of graphics upgrades over the years. I'm not sure if they ever touched animations, but the updated models, world, and textures at this point are a complete class above the game when it launched. The only thing I've seen Asheron's Call have upgraded was the texture upgrade a little while back.

    I know some engines are probably easier to work on and modify, but there has to be a little more that could be done to squeeze some finesse out of the aging engine, right? Not a complete overhaul like people want, but definitely something more shiny then we have now, yea?

    Actually AC1 also recieved a graphic overhaul with the last xpac as they mention in the article. As for the last part. Thats why I mentioned that the games were made at the time the original Unreal Engine was made, at the time of Direct X 5&6. The differences between the Unreal Engine 2 and the original, and the difference between DX 5/6 and 7/8 were massive, DX8 wouldnt even work on previous versions of windows. 

    So yeah, Asherons Call would need to be made from scratch to come remotely close to modern graphics...which would be fine with me!

  • SynthetickSynthetick Portland, ORPosts: 977Member
    Originally posted by rdrakken
    Originally posted by Synthetick
    Originally posted by rdrakken
     

    Its like EQ1...the graphics can only be upgraded so much before it starts to break everything because the core game is designed around old coding. It would take recoding the game almost from scratch to use anything close to modern graphics. I mean, the original unreal engine was used back in 1998 and wasnt really open for other companies to use for a while after that...AC1 was already well under development...we are talking about DirectX 5 & 6 here.

    Once you start throwing in things like integrated rendering, collision detection, ragdoll physics, pixel lighting or dynamic shadows...the core code starts to go nuts if it wasnt designed with that in mind.

    Hardware and graphics engines and things of that nature were never something I never really chose to get into. With that said, tho, EverQuest has received an absolutely amazing amount of graphics upgrades over the years. I'm not sure if they ever touched animations, but the updated models, world, and textures at this point are a complete class above the game when it launched. The only thing I've seen Asheron's Call have upgraded was the texture upgrade a little while back.

    I know some engines are probably easier to work on and modify, but there has to be a little more that could be done to squeeze some finesse out of the aging engine, right? Not a complete overhaul like people want, but definitely something more shiny then we have now, yea?

    Actually AC1 also recieved a graphic overhaul with the last xpac as they mention in the article. As for the last part. Thats why I mentioned that the games were made at the time the original Unreal Engine was made, at the time of Direct X 5&6. The differences between the Unreal Engine 2 and the original, and the difference between DX 5/6 and 7/8 were massive, DX8 wouldnt even work on previous versions of windows. 

    So yeah, Asherons Call would need to be made from scratch to come remotely close to modern graphics...which would be fine with me!

    The only graphics upgrade I remember was back in 2005 with Throne of Destiny and pretty much them upgrading the textures and whatnot by adding multi-pass alpha, and the detailed textures which seem to be an old-school bumpmapping. But other than the textures really, the engine didn't change much.

    They designed new buildings and whatnot for other areas, but a lot of the previous are still the same. I don't really see any improvements, just new art by new artists (I'm assuming) using basically the same specs. I'd just like to see a similar amount of improvement to the graphics to what EverQuest had. Since it's probably not possible, gosh, I hope they decide to do something else with the franchise. Whether it's another MMO, a single player RPG, just something.

    image

  • DrevarDrevar College Station, TXPosts: 157Member Uncommon

    Yeah the graphics update involved allowing 32-bit (24 bit + alpha) textures and larger texture size.

    What is really holding them back is the animation engine.  It is segment based rather than skeletal, meaning each piece of an object that moves has to be animated seperately rather than using interpolation like reverse (also called inverse) kinematics.

    The database stucture would also have to be totally redone to implement any type of Turbine store integration.

    In all senses of the phrase, it is old-school...and still probably the best 3D MMORPG ever made. (In the way that Shakespear compares to Steven King or Tom Clancy)

    “If MMORPG players were around when God said, "Let their be light" they'd have called the light gay, and plunged the universe back into darkness by squatting their nutsacks over it.”
    -Luke McKinney, The 7 Biggest Dick Moves in the History of Online Gaming

    "In the end, SWG may have been more potential and promise than fulfilled expectation. But I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity."
    -Raph Koster

  • blbetablbeta elkhart, INPosts: 79Member Uncommon

    I played from beta in fall of '99 until the month before they added melee D to casting weapons.  I am guessing that was around 2003-2004.

     

    I had tried popping back in a few times since then and it never grabbed me.  I had not tried it since 2008 until just a few weeks ago.  I don't know what it is this time, but it got its hooks in me again.  I have been ejoying it a lot again.

     

    Yes the melee combat is very dated, but I still find combat in general a lot of fun.  The is a lot more to defense in AC vs any other MMO I have played.  This is of course assuming you are challenging yourself.  Even with it being so simple I find myself always positioning myself to avoid projectiles or keep things from getting behind me.  That shield doesn't do jack if they are behind, if you have a shield.

     

    If they ever did an AC 3, there are core things they would have to keep.  They can't do like they did with AC 2 and basically just keep the lore.  I immediately thought about and AC 3 when I played Two Worlds 2.  The way it moved and combat was decent.  I could have seen AC 3 feeling somewhat like that in terms of physics and feel.

     

    So much has changed in AC 1 since I last played, perhaps that is what has me.  All I know is their loot and crafting is still the best.  So nice to get useful items off of almost everything you kill.  Sure it isn't a great item, but you can probably use it to improve items you are using.  The biggest part for me loot wise is not having to go to specific dungeons/bosses to get the best items.  Each monster is it's own little treasure chest.

     

    For a brand new player to get into it, you would probably have to have older rpg mindset and not mind exploring.  That was the best thing about AC for me was just exploring and finding new dungeons or landscapes to hunt.

  • DarkcrystalDarkcrystal st clair shores, MIPosts: 809Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Theocritus

         You'd think with the f2p success of both LOTRO and DDO that Turbine would look at doing the same for AC, but for some reason they havent......

    They can't and said so awhile ago the engine is to old, and can't handle F2p, also the graphics asre maxed on the current engine, they would need to do a complete over haul with a new engine , whih turbine would not do because they would have to build basically a new game and such, which I think they should since it has a big following even to this day, I went back after 4 years, and I see why I loved the game and with all the new stuff its the best MMo EVER made hands down.

  • DarkcrystalDarkcrystal st clair shores, MIPosts: 809Member Uncommon

    By the way horrid write up!!! First play the game for more then 10 mins !!! You can bind keys, and this game is one of the easier games to control are u kidding me?? Does the writer just play WOW????  This article makes me wanna cry IRL.

    My 70 year old mom plays AC and still , to this day and she has a hard time playing some games, so if she can play it most gamers should be able to , since she is kinda blind, and I'm not joking, so very bad write up.....This is a game that you need to play months before you can get a good understanding of the game and what it has to offer, because there is so much to it, unlike WOW, SWTOR where you beat it in 24 hrsl....
     
    I remember it took me nealry a year to max a character in AC...
  • rznkainrznkain Dugspur, VAPosts: 539Member
    Originally posted by makii

    i dont think so sir. Acutally it was retty bad and 2 hardcore . Even with u dated grahics it wont survive.

      

        This actually made me laugh and shows how far mmogs have slide over the years and how easy people really want games to be now.AC was one of the easiest mmogs on the market for that time and tbh it still is easy I have NEVER heard  Ac1 referred to as 2 hardcore.And that isn't a jab at AC1 I began it in beta and loved the game.Just that at the time it was a very very easy game and no way is it hardcore.

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,193Member Uncommon

    " The combat system is awkward in just about every respect. The system leads a player to be either a fighter or caster but is not conducive to hybrids"

    That statement tell's me you have not experienced much in the MMO genre beyond Wow and it's clones.  Perhaps you should not do reviews of games that are beyond your ability to adapt to the concept of non handholding.

    Actually the combat system is one of the best parts and it is very easy to use, once you purge yourself of all the dumbed down combat frequently used in other MMO's like Wow.

    As to hybrid characters, they are very viable, most fighters are hybrids as they always specialize in some sort of magic.

    We all know the graphics are dated, pretty obvious conclusion, you spent too much time discussing it.  Never had any problems with the camera in all the time I played the game.   As to gameplay, it helps if you can open your mind to different concepts than your wow clones.

    This review just shows someone who cannot fathom a game that does not hold your hand all the time.  You would have been really aghast at AC1 when it was released, it was actually far more complex than it is today.

    Next time you write a review, at least try to leave your prejudices behind you.

    Oh and by the way this game has collision detection, you just can't run through people to attack them from the back.

  • xmojo1xmojo1 AucklandPosts: 52Member

    AC was my first MMO, started in beta and stayed with it for 6 years. You never forget your first MMO. AC still has the best loot system IMO, and although crafting was a later addition, it was well thought-out and meaningful; a crafter could deconstruct loot to get the comps required for crafting, and some truly kick-ass weapons/armor could be crafted. I still get nostalgic over my main character, a macer with life magic.

  • Kaynos1972Kaynos1972 Quebec, QCPosts: 2,316Member

    Same thing, AC was my first MMO.  I played it for 3-4 years straight.  Like all the others said, if they would release a modern version of AC (modern graphics) based on the original game mechanic  (NOT AC2, that's why it failed).  I would play this again for years.

  • SynthetickSynthetick Portland, ORPosts: 977Member
    Originally posted by Kaynos1972

    Same thing, AC was my first MMO.  I played it for 3-4 years straight.  Like all the others said, if they would release a modern version of AC (modern graphics) based on the original game mechanic  (NOT AC2, that's why it failed).  I would play this again for years.

    I get so tired of reading this. At the time that Asheron's Call 2 entered the large beta phase, and even launch, it's not like Asheron's Call even had close to 80k subscribers. I know, because I was there with both of them.

    You make it seem like there were hundreds and thousands of Asheron's Call fans that were disgusted by the sequel and shunned it. That's not what happened. The game still could of been successful if they would of changed the name, it did not depend on Asheron's Call subscribers to convert to Asheron's Call 2 subscribers. There was even a boatload of press back in the day of Turbine saying they actually didn't want all the active Asheron's Call heads to migrate and have a dead title on their hands.

    Asheron's Call 2 was a bit ahead of it's time in terms of it's combat system, group combay dynamics, and really a lot of things. However, it fell absolutely flat in a lot of areas. Remember not being able to go in virtually any building? The lack of towns feeling alive at all? Hardly any NPCs anywhere? The game definitely led us directly into the WOW area, tho.

    But it didn't fail because it abandoned Asheron's Call mechanics. The Asheron's Call subscriber base wasn't large enough to determine the success or failure of a sequel title.

    image

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,193Member Uncommon

    AC II failed because it was Turbine's version of an easier EQ and when Wow came along and did everything better, it died.

    And yes most AC1 people did not like it because it was so different.

    I have always wondered why Turbine never brought it out as a f2p though.  It was not a bad game and was relatively better than some of the crap we get from the east.

  • markfromindymarkfromindy Indianapolis, INPosts: 35Member

    AC2 was basically Turbine trying to make a version of AC for the console crowd. If I remember right, they initially had plans with Microsoft to make it for the Dreamcast, but that fell through at some point. 

     But that's what killed it for me, the gameplay was ridiculously dumbed down, it played like a console style mmo.No resource management to speak of, your bows or ranged weapons didn't even require ammunition to work.. The one idea I liked was the dynamic mechanic for building up towns. Some towns started out being destroyed, and players had to add resources to the town to "grow" the town.

     What made AC fun for me was, the core gameplay was fun.It was very action oriented, noithing was more fun for me than to take  my 3 school archer/mage out and just go hunting.

     Even when AC was new, the graphics looked horrible and outdated. But it was a terrific game for the "explorer" types. Also I loved the monthly or semi monthly storylines.Remember the cool beta and how at the end of it they just ended the world and restarted it for launch?

     I really wish someone, somewhere would make another game similar to AC. It may not appeal to the majority of "please hold my hand for 50 levels and let me always win" current mmo players, but I think there's enough niche players out there to suppoert something like it.

     Just look at EVE. And who knows, maybe there's a lot more folks out there than we think who are ready for something different than the DIKU Mud model that WOW perfected.

     I wanna see what a Shreth or land shark would look like with a nice graphics engine.

  • SkiltySkilty BrixhamPosts: 2Member

    Turbine had an updated AC with AC2, they used the engine for DDO and LoTRO.  I used to play with ACLegends and the game was absolutely fantastic.  I played AC and AC2, both great games but AC2 took AC and fixed most things that were broken.  A truely great game until Turbine shut it down.

  • rdrakkenrdrakken Gotham, FLPosts: 426Member
    Originally posted by markfromindy

    AC2 was basically Turbine trying to make a version of AC for the console crowd. If I remember right, they initially had plans with Microsoft to make it for the Dreamcast, but that fell through at some point. 

    Actually that is not correct.

    Turbine had 100% control over the development of Asherons Call and used Microsoft to distribute it. Microsoft bought the rights to Asherons Call from them, Microsoft had complete control over the development of AC2. Turbine bought it back from Microsoft in late 2003 but it didnt come under their control until mid 2005...and Turbine shut it down shortly after. They hated the idea of the game.

    Need I remind you of...Ken Karl? Worked on AC, was hired by Microsoft to manage the making of AC2...the most hated man of AC fans the world over.

  • OdyssesOdysses Anacortes, WAPosts: 581Member
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,680Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Theocritus

         You'd think with the f2p success of both LOTRO and DDO that Turbine would look at doing the same for AC, but for some reason they havent......

    It's only recently that the pre-WOW MMOs started going F2P, and even then most of them are still subscription.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • Y455345Y455345 Centralia, WAPosts: 6Member

    If AC ever went F2p or freemium I would go back and play it.. I started playing EQ again after it went F2p.. I miss AC it was such a great game.. !!

  • markfromindymarkfromindy Indianapolis, INPosts: 35Member
    Originally posted by rdrakken
    Originally posted by markfromindy

    AC2 was basically Turbine trying to make a version of AC for the console crowd. If I remember right, they initially had plans with Microsoft to make it for the Dreamcast, but that fell through at some point. 

    Actually that is not correct.

    Turbine had 100% control over the development of Asherons Call and used Microsoft to distribute it. Microsoft bought the rights to Asherons Call from them, Microsoft had complete control over the development of AC2. Turbine bought it back from Microsoft in late 2003 but it didnt come under their control until mid 2005...and Turbine shut it down shortly after. They hated the idea of the game.

    Need I remind you of...Ken Karl? Worked on AC, was hired by Microsoft to manage the making of AC2...the most hated man of AC fans the world over.

    Thanks for setting me straight on that. Memory's the first thing to go I guess.I could've sworn there'd been some talk of making an AC game for one of the MS consoles.

  • Dsk954Dsk954 MTKA, MNPosts: 2Member

    AC3-- a thing I've been dreaming of for years.

     

    There are so many great MMO aspects that can be encorporated into AC3 with a good mind leading the project-- I believe it could be a great investment for anyone if it were to release in 5-6 years.

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