In a word, it is interesting. While there are some unique challenges to working on an older title, it also offers the team a great opportunity for their work to really stand out, as we are able to do more and expand the tech. Things that we were told were not possible a couple of years ago are the types of things the team is making happen now. We have one of the most amazing development teams I have ever seen, and the work they do amazes me every time they come up with something new. The Olthoi play I mentioned before is a great example of that. We would have never been able to do that even just a few years ago.
If someone asked you why he or she should play AC today with so many offerings on the table, how would you answer?
That's an easy one. What other game out there today is going to offer you the freedom of choice in what you want to play? What other game is going to give you 11 years of content to explore? Or continued new content nearly every month? Or the ability to take on literally dozens of creatures at a time and feel like you are truly powerful in a unique original world? Asheron's Call can deliver all that and more. It is an experience that should be experienced by everyone who is a fan of MMOs.
What do you like to do in game when you play AC?
I love the quests. We have some of the best-designed quests I have ever played. We have had some of the most talented game developers in the industry work on Asheron's Call throughout the years. This is something that not many (if any) other games can say. Having that pool of talent to draw from over the years has given us what I feel is some of best quests I have seen.
What's the update on the graphics overhaul?
Overhaul is perhaps not the right way to put it. It is more of an update. Our devs are updating the textures at the same time they are adding new content. So while the process is progressing at a slower pace, they have already done some amazing work and will continue to update as much as possible over the coming months.
Why hasn't Asheron's Call gone the hybrid-F2P route that Turbine's used for DDO and LotRO?
The short answer to that is Asheron's Call is a much older game than LotRO or DDO. Ten-plus years of content would be immensely more difficult to repackage and remake into the model we have for our other titles. The way the game works from a technical standpoint is also very different from our other games. Way back when AC was first made, they had no idea what the future would hold for gaming. Our newer games have a different developer environment, which in turn makes it easier to make that conversion.
What do you observe the community to be like in AC today?
The community is as vibrant as it has ever been. We have one of the best game communities out there. Our players, many of whom have been with us for over 10 years, are still eager to help new players and get together with friends for questing and just having fun. I have several characters across many servers, and it is so amazing to log them in and see people being as nice as they were back when we were all new to MMOs. I cannot say enough about how great our players are.
What were some of the most significant milestones of AC's development?
There are so many after over six years of working on this game. Making it 10 years was a big one for me. To have any game last that long is an accomplishment that anyone would be proud of. To just know that I have been even a small part of making that happen is something that I will always carry with me, no matter what I am working on. The other big one that stands out for me was our 100th content update. Who else anywhere can say they have had 100+ pure content updates to their game? That's something that wasn't even thought possible as far as I know. And the best part about that is we are still going strong, and November will be update number 125!
Thank you Andy!
When not clawing his eyes out at the atrocious state of general chat channels, Justin "Syp" Olivetti pulls out his history textbook for a lecture or two on the good ol' days of MMOs in The Game Archaeologist. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.