Days like yesterday are what keep me hooked on MMOs; you really never know what might happen next. I guess Asheron’s Call 2 was probably one of the best candidates for resurrection, still being Turbine’s property and all, but… dude, it’s been dead for seven years. World of Warcraft hadn’t even put out an expansion yet when AC2 bit the big one.
It’s not just unexpected to see Turbine suddenly go, “Hey guys? Yeah, we’re turning the server back on. Have fun!” but it’s completely surreal too. I never played AC2 back in the day nor had any strong attachment to it, but I did spend a good month last year researching it for the Game Archaeologist and always thought it looked pretty cool. I remember really liking the idea that this was some sort of post-apocalyptic fantasy world that wasn’t just a clone of medieval England. So even if there’s no nostalgic reason for me to be thrilled, I’m excited for the historical perspective and just because, dude, it’s awesome when a dead MMO comes back to life. Really, we kind of needed to see this this year, even if it wasn’t the game that most of us were missing. Going through SWG, COH, Glitch, and so on was rough for a lot of folks. Maybe this can be a substitute win.
Anyway, I’m just jazzed. I was beside myself writing up the story on Massively, and the second I got free time last night, I subbed up to AC1 to get access, downloaded the client, and jumped back into 2005.
Really, how could I miss the opportunity to see the first day of the resurrection? This news just caught everyone, everyone off guard, and the reactions on blogs, on Twitter, and in the game were so much fun to read. People were stunned in a good way, not quite believing that it wasn’t April 1st. General chat was full of folks saying that they had done as I did and signed up for AC1 that very night just to see AC2. I sensed worry that this might be a very temporary thing, and there were a lot of questions that have yet to be answered (like, will these characters be wiped when or if this version of AC2 leaves beta?).
But as I said in chat, it almost doesn’t matter. How can we complain, really, when we’re given a cool gift like this? What gamer wouldn’t, if he or she lost an MMO they really liked or always wished that they could’ve played once before it got cancelled, jump at the opportunity for just one day to check it out? Even if it was just a day.
I spent a couple hours getting acquainted with the game, and it was pretty dang cool. I was prepared to have to struggle with a lot of archaic features, and while AC2 does have them, it’s pretty easy to figure out and work with. Better yet, the graphics still hold up, most likely because they have a cool stylized, alien look to them and pop with color.
I didn’t do much more than get through the tutorial, finish one quest, and then get killed after a long journey to the second quest. But I dinged level 5, started fleshing out my mage’s abilities, and found myself looking forward to the next time when I logged out.
Maybe this is some weird experiment on Turbine’s behalf, a way to bolster Asheron’s Call numbers or just have some fun before it all gets shut down. Maybe — and this is a thought that’s been bouncing around my head — it’s a prelude to an announcement about Asheron’s Call 3. Kind of a way to reinvigorate the fanbase and drum up publicity and familiarization with the game world before the really big news hits. I know that’s a lot more unlikely, but thoughts come and go as they will.
Anyway, what a cool way to end 2012. Whatever the reason that it did this, Turbine gets some respect and applause from me for pulling off this hat trick. The studio made a lot of people happy yesterday, for sure.