Turbine Time Machine – Asheron’s Call 2 Returns December 14, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Misc MMOs.
Tags: Asheron's Call, Asheron's Call 2, Nostalgia, Turbine
Be careful what you ask for, because people will take note of what you do if you get it.
It has been seven years since it was shut down. I never played it, nor its predecessor, but I have seen more than a few posts over the years bemoaning its demise.
Now, I can hardly criticize people for being nostalgic for a game like this. I run back to EverQuest just about every autumn, which is when the nostalgia bug seems to bite. But the whole act of reviving a game seven years gone does raise some questions.
I would assume that Turbine has done some work on the game in the interim. But I suspect it will still represent the state of the art at Turbine circa 2004. And while AC2 may have done some things right, is that going to be enough of a draw for any but the nostalgic and those with an archaeological bent? Has what made people leave AC2 been addresses, or is this just hope against hope?
What will be the business model this time around? For the beta you need an Asheron’s Call subscription. I am sure that the nostalgia bug will make for a spike in subscribers just to get in on it. But this was a game that was shut down seven years back because of a paucity of subscribers. And Asheron’s Call itself was always a distant third in the UO/EQ/AC triumvirate when it came to subscribers. Is Turbine planning to make this another free to play title? And are there enough interested parties out there to make this a viable venture either way?
And finally, what does this say about Turbine itself? It has been more than five years since they last launched a new game, which was Lord of the Rings Online in the first half of 2007. In all the time since then, the best they could come up with was to pull a game they shut down out of cold storage? That is a big bet on the nostalgia card with a game that purportedly peaked at 50K subscribers and had dwindled to less than a third of that by the end. Is this a love letter to long time fans or a desperation move?
Like I said, I can hardly criticize anybody for nostalgia, since it drives much of my own gaming patterns. I can never fully answer the question about reliving the past. But there is a lot to this that makes me raise a quizzical eyebrow.
Anyway, Turbine has set the WABAC Machine to 2005. Are you going to go for a ride?