Every wonder offered by the modern video game world also comes with a small sadness. Digital distribution preserves video games from classic hardware, but you have to pay for them over and over again. Games you can play online with friends will eventually have their servers taken offline. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games may bring millions together, but eventually those MMOs will close down as well, no matter how much loot you’ve gathered. From The Matrix Online to City of Heroes, it’s always a sad day when an MMO shuts its doors. One MMO is coming back from the dead this Christmas. Asheron’s Call 2 is back.
MMO innovator Turbine, Inc., the Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment subsidiary behind Dungeons & Dragons Online, the surprisingly resilient Lord of the Rings Online, and the foundational Asheron’s Call series is bringing back its old MMO for the first time since 2005.
“Asheron’s Call 2 has returned! We have opened a new server for anyone who has an active Asheron’s Call subscription to play Asheron’s Call 2 for free,” reads an announcement on the Asheron’s Call homepage.
Unfortunately, even though the game’s been resurrected fans won’t be able to pick up where they left off nearly a decade back. “Although we would have loved to revisit some of our old characters with you, we were not able to bring over any of your old characters. We do, however, present this new Asheron’s Call 2 server, Dawnsong, to all active Asheron’s Call players with a paid subscription or purchase an additional ACTD retail key and subscribe.”
While Turbine notes that this server is technical in beta since there is “a lot of monitoring and tweaking to do to the game environment,” the server is active and open to anyone who wants to sign up.
Asheron’s Call 2 was a virtual ghost town when it was closed back in December 2005. “It’s really heart-wrenching,” explained a player to Wired magazine at the time, “How will you connect with those people you spent every single day with? It’s as though someone suddenly took away all email. Suddenly they seem nameless and ethereal, where once they were as real and important as our familiar, co-workers, and Earth-realm friends.”
Asheron’s Call 2 isn’t the only blast from the past stirring things up at Turbine. The company recently hired Ken Rolston, designer of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.