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Role Playing (Games)

Turbine Expansions And Turnovers 42

According to Gamespot Asheron's Call 2 players don't have long to wait before the "Legions" expansion will find its way to store shelves. The content expansion for the graphics intensive game went gold this week. Players of the original Asheron's Call will have to wait until this summer to enjoy their new content, as the expansion has been pushed back for further testing and refinement. Additionally, MMOG industry veteran Jessica Mulligan used the expansion announcements as an opportunity to mention her departure from Turbine. She hasn't publicly stated a reason for her departure, saying only that the decision is unrelated to the expansion titles. Gamasutra has an interview with Ms. Mulligan about the state of the industry up from last week. From the Gamespot article: "Legions will include a new continent, called Knorr, which will increase the size of the Asheron's Call 2 world by 30 percent. Also included in this expansion pack are new playable races (one of which is the much maligned Drudge), three new prestige classes, more than 100 new quests, and 10 new monster types."
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Turbine Expansions And Turnovers

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  • by calvrak ( 10928 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:29AM (#12347764) Homepage

    Ah yes, the great continent of Knorr, where players can find a variety of high quality canned foods. Watch out for the fearsome Beef Broth swamps(TM) and search for the Frying Pan of the Gods(TM).

    Far exceeding Sony's pizza endeavors, players will be able to order canned pasta sauce, gravy, broth, and other delicious sauces in-game and delivered to the door in 30 minutes.

    More information about the mighty continent of Knorr is at www.Knorr.com [knorr.com]

    (Note that this is one of those alternate-reality game sites, like www.ourcolony.net [ourcolony.net]).

  • by smileyy ( 11535 ) <smileyy@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:41AM (#12347930)
    That'll bring the number all the way up to 150!
  • Put a fork in it.

    The thing has almost no players depending on the time of day - it has never surpassed AC in it's subscription numbers. It brought nothing new to MMORPGs except fancy graphics that most people's PCs at the time could not handle.

    There might be a small spark of life when the expansions releases, but it's delaying the inevitable. AC2 will not last the year.

    • Seriously. When I was playing they completely screwed the pc:npc balance and it was incredibly frustrating to play. I then switched to the Star Wars Galaxies and after three weeks I realized that the whole game is based on a time-wasting treadmill cycle. I haven't played any MMO since.
      • by Soul-Burn666 ( 574119 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @11:12AM (#12348256) Journal
        Try Guild Wars [guildwars.com]. It's not REALLY an MMORPG, since after you party up, the game creates an instance of a map section for your party only, no more "kill stealing" or such non-pvp annoying things people do to eachother.
        It doesn't have this "time-wasting treadmill cycle", simply by capping the level at 20. You don't waste time "levelling", but rather in doing "quests" and gaining new skills.
        The game is pretty analogous to playing a game like Magic: The Gathering, since the skills are pretty balanced, and the outcome of battles depends not on how much time you wasted "levelling", but rather on how good you play your skills strategically.

        Oh and there's no monthly subscription.
        • If there is no monthly subscription, how do they maintain the game?
          • Optional, and not limiting, expansions every 6-9 months. It is possible to play the game and stay competitive without buying the expansions.
            And I would assume instanced (i.e private) maps reduce the server and network load by a lot.

            btw, some of the main devs for the game are ex-blizzard, people who worked on Diablo, Warcraft (not 3) and Starcraft.
  • First comment on the game -- I think AC was a great game and when the expansion comes out, me and several ex-players plan on returning to it. If you've never played it, you don't understand the depth of the game -- it's truly incredible. Now, is anyone theorizing yet on where Jessica Mulligan is going next? I have a couple theories -- either Horizons or Ryzom, given her track record with poorly launched games.
    • Its not that AC had depth, its that it had physics... no MMOG out since has had the projectile effects, true 3d, and collision detections that AC1 had (in 1999).

      Also, each item in the game had a true 3d shape when placed in the world! You start to realize that with WoW, that each 'item' is just transferrable from one inventory container to another and that you either find a 'plant inventory' and collect herbs into your pack or kill a moster and move items from the 'corpse container' into your pack: items
      • it just is dated.

        The ability to DODGE a spell or arrow is one thing I miss in EVERY OTHER game I have played. That made for enjoyable PvE and made PvP truly exceptional. Another great aspect was that damage types actually mattered as did your armor as each type of armor had resistances to each element. People would kill for armors with all above average ratings because IT MEANT something in non-magic combat. You also were not limited in character by non-sensical limitations (like no armor for mages etc
        • Yeah the projectile motion of object in the world is what i was talking about: you know a real physics engine. I remember when they first implemented AoE spells, they had to hack the projectile system; the PB AoE was a set of short range projectiles emanating in a ring about the caster. The engine itself is dated.

          Something you also forgot to mention is that AC1 was initially developed as a pvp game first and a PvE game second.

          What you are talking about in your last paragraph was the vision of *what AC2 wa
    • Good call on Jessica Mulligan becoming an export to France, since Nevrax announced her shipping manifest today. Should we proclaim today a holiday for the US, or the beginning of another Dark Age for Europe?

      On a side note, I love your work with IGN, Rosethorn! :)
      • Thank you much for the compliment. I have my moments. I was leaning heavily towards Ryzom over Horizons because I heard that Ryzom is making some big announcement at E3. I love predicting things in the industry and sometimes, I hit it on the nail.
  • Did it go gold, or did it get pushed back?
  • I seriously thought it had died already I havent heard a freakin peep about the game forever. I hear more about Shadowbane than I do about AC2 .

    So, does it still suck?
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @11:26AM (#12348411) Homepage Journal
    I have to wonder. Both AC and AC2 saw real drops in their playerbases since she came along. Yes I know Jessica isn't totally to blame but she was tasked with running the show.

    Before Turbine and even before Themis she used to write a column called "Biting the Hand". From here she pointed out the issues in the computer gaming industry. She showed what went wrong, sometimes offered insight as to why, and also showed how most failures were simply repeats of another companies failure.

    Yet her stint at Turbine seemed to be oriented towards doing everything she told others they were wrong for doing. Even after Turbine took control of both of franchises they didn't change their tune. They continued the shoddy patches, the leaving of bad exploits in game for long times, and worse actively condoned macroing in their first game AC. They even retreated to the safety of message boards they manage.

    It is suspicious she left at the same time the AC1 expansion was pushed back (just 14 business days from its announced release). This all smacks of upper management removing someone (or asking ever so politely) for project mismanagement. It also may be related to a previous article she released which basically attacked a few notable people.

    AC2 is effectively dead. Less than 400 people at one time play it at primetime across two servers. Stupid bugs persist from launch still that should have been quietly fixed a long time ago. Its not much fun for a new player as most new areas are simply devoid of players.

    AC1 is in slightly better shape. However most of its servers barely crest 500 each. With the latest announcement that number will probably fall further. Worse the Turbine published pictures of the improved textures, no poly changes, were horrid. It was fan pictures from beta that made it look good. The whole expansion left a bad taste in many long time AC players mouths as it smacks of being a reward to those using combat macros (permitted by Turbine). The prime example are "augmentation gems" which are purchasable using experience points. For a macro character that makes them free for all intents. How are real players ever expected to compete?

    AC died when Turbine favored experience gaining over the experience of playing. AC had a depth of lore not seen in a MMORPG unti WOW. Yet they sold out to the exploiters and cheaters, also know as macorers. When a game company abandons their integrity the players are not bound to respect them either, let alone pay for the game.

    Good riddance Jessica. Hopefully you will take your lack of job at Turbine to get back to writing Biting the Hand and actively identifying what is wrong in the industry - including the problems you caused at Turbine. It would be best if you went back to what you were good at - analyzing from the sidelines instead of being someone in need of analysis yourself.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Can you post a link to the article where she attacked folks? I don't recall anything like that, but I may have missed it.
    • Turbine != AC (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MattW ( 97290 ) <matt@ender.com> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:31PM (#12349697) Homepage
      The thing is, Turbine's future is not tied into Asheron's Call. Turbine is developing Dungeons and Dragons Online [ddo.com], and the D&D brand name has the potential to catapult them to the top of the heap if they can make a good game. By no means is the brand a guarantee of success - but it is a guarantee of attention. If the game's beta picks up good buzz, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see DDO enter the market with 250k subscribers.

      This has no bearing on your criticism of AC at all, but as far as Turbine, DDO is their future, not AC.
      • DDO will fail miserably.. It's built on the Ac2 engine. Hell they have even recycled textures.
        • Can you cite where you're getting that from? They've released screenshots, and they're pretty damn good looking. They certainly don't look like recycled tech of yesteryore.
        • Ac2 didn't have a bad graphics engine. It had poorly designed character classes that weren't balanced and movement issues and tons of exploits. Even if DDO has the same graphics engine or physics engine no big deal.
      • The thing is, Turbine's future is not tied into Asheron's Call. Turbine is developing Dungeons and Dragons Online,

        Don't forget their other little-known license. You might have heard of it: Middle Earth Online. [middle-earthonline.com]
    • I gotta agree with you on this. The augmentation gems evidently will take huge amounts of xp to get which definitely awards the combat macros. Of the people that I know that still play AC1 only one of them actually physically plays. AC2 they should just let die peacefully. Nothing they can do will save that game. I will say I don't think Turbine is neccessarily going under. They still have LOTR MMORPG and DNDOnline of which either could be a blockbuster. I like DNDOnline because it looks like it will make i
  • You're not allowed to leave Turbine!
  • I can be a drudge?!? Cool! Oh wait I let my AC1 account lapse and see no reason to let another MMORPG steal more of my real life. AC2? No thanks.
  • It's the ultimate in shallow games and this "expansion" pack doesn't change squat. It's just several months of delayed monthly content wrapped in a new box. /yawn
  • It takes too much for anyone to kill anyone else now. The xpack has so far promised extra health for all who pre-order.

    AC has the best PK I can imagine but it keeps getting worse and worse with turbines changes.
  • Well a 30 percent increase in the size of the game but only 10 new monster types. Sounds like a lot of things are going to be looking similar. Yeah i know that a monster's appearance isn't all that important to gameplay but still.
  • don't most new gen games like this (WoW, EQ2 Etc) have more than 100 quests in their noob zones?

    getting excited by 100 new quests seems to be as silly as getting excited by 10 new mob types... oh wait :D
    • If the new quests are like the older quests then 100 is alot. Most of the quests in old AC2(quit about 7 months after release) were huge things that could take multiple levels to complete. So a single quest of this type would be equal to 15-20 quests from EQ2 or WoW.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein