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Articles > MMO* Reviews > My take on Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings
My take on Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings
Published by TiranKenja on 2004/10/20 (21774 reads)
Eldarath ventures into ac2

Some weeks ago it came to my attention that AC2 has a free trial. So since I just about have tried pretty much everything else on the market i figured I might as well give it a go. Perhaps the move is also motivated by the fact that Turbine is behind both this game and the - for me - much anticipated Dungeons and Dragons Online.

Getting started with the game is pretty easy - at least in the trial. Just create a MS Passport account (unless you already have one or are a subscriber to Hotmail or MSN) and log in. Once you are there you download whatever patches you might need and move on to the char selection screen.

Obviously as a new user there are no chars to select. So the first step is to make one, and as luck would have it that's pretty easy too. Simply select you race and gender (two choices in one. With only 3 races they made this with 6 chars in a lineup. Girls on the left, boys on the right). Then on to a quick customization step with a good standard set of options available (nothing as fancy as, say, SWG. But it gets the job done). And finally we move on to the tutorial.

The observant reader will here have noted the lack of class selection. and that is for a very obvious reason: there are none. Instead you buy skills with the skill tokens that you get one of at each level. Some skills cost one token. Others cost more. some skills require you to have other skills first or made it to a specific level. While others you can have whenever you have the tokens to buy it. to improve a skill you buy upgrades with xp you get from killing mobs or completing quests.

That being said there are basically 3 skill trees each with 2 sub trees. They are: melee, ranged and magic. You can either focus on one or try to have a bit of everything.

The tutorial is basic a best. You move through 10 steps. Each step is a stone you examine for some info on how you do stuff and after reading you will find an opportunity to put whatever the stone told you about into practice. As said the tutorial is very basic. But then it does cover most aspects of the game pretty well. So there you go. In the end of it you get sent to the actual game world.

Outside of the shelter (or tutorial) you immediately happen upon a second tutorial. This one is slightly more subtle and consists of a couple of quests that will teach how to get around the world and how to use the various types of trade skills the game provides while getting some xp under your belt.

One of the things in AC2 that I haven't seen in any other is their social support system. Instead of the usual guilds/clans/whatever they have 'alliances'. And while there is not much innovation in the name itself the implementation is a bit different.

Instead of the usual - relatively - flat structure most MMORPGs implement the one AC2 has is shaped like a tree. On the top is the leader who has people sworn in under him. Who in turn have sworn people under them. And so on, and so forth... The number of people under you earns you a rank. It doesnít give you any special powers though. For that you need to be granted 'officer' powers by the leader of the alliance. It does - however - give a reason for the leader of the alliance to listen to members - or at least the ones who have a lot of people under them. If they don't they might all go away in one swift click of the mouse from one person.

Well. In any event the alliance system also make people really want to find new members. As having people under you make you more important and powerful. The benefit for the people actually sworn in is that they get some additional xp from their master... Or so the manual says anyway.

Right. So we are now officially in the game. We have gotten through the initial learning process and are ready to go out into the world. The world is our ouster and all that. What options do we have to pass our time?

Well... Looks like we have the usual suspects lined up: Monster bashing for xp, loot and resources. Quests where you get to bask monsters and improve your quest rating (don't ask. I donít know what that is). Trade skills (resource gathering and crafting). And there is also some kind of PvP.

PvE isnt anything new. There is hardly any innovation here (except sometimes you get a maker around your target that tells you your spells will do extra damage).

Quests are also the same old thing: Kill this, get that item and find some guy. Some quests chain to make a story of sorts. So that's kind of nice.

Tradeskills are pretty standard too. Find the right resources and build stuff. Finding resources is a bit fresh though. You basically make a map for the thing you want to find and for the continent you want to find it on. Then you start looking for where you made the map out to be (seems rather stupid you wouldnít know where the map you just made is supposed to be. But oh well). Luckily you can get teleported to somewhere close by special carthoper NPCs so you only have to run around to find your resource spot. Once there you simply equip the right tool and start raking the resource.

PvP I know nothing about. And frankly I donít care. The world feels too static for it to matter much. So its likely to be just the usual dribble for people who prefers competing n who have the better template as opposed to who actually have some skill (ie twitch games).

All in all the game seems very static. The only changes is the monthly continuation of whatever the story might be. The game feels fresh for a couple of hours but then quickly reveals itself as a rather trivial treadmills game. Not something I think Iíll even consider sinking hard cash into.

And while the game seems solid from a technical point of view - except for the annoying slowdown if you go through several teleports over a short period of time. It doesnít show much hope for Turbine to make a deep RPG based game that Dungeons and Dragons Online deserves to be.

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