The Game Archaeologist
Time machines are expensive, and with gas the price it is today, it's not always viable to fuel up your DeLorean and travel back to the early 2000s just to check out some of those long-gone MMOs. Fortunately, jawing about them with former players and developers is the next best method of revisiting canceled MMOs.

It's been a personal treat to spend the month covering a game I never got to see when it was live. Asheron's Call 2 seems like it was a special game that tried hard and resulted in spectacular ideas and flaws alike. We've gotten to hear from former fansite owners and a developer on the team, which leaves just one group to check in with: the players themselves.

So today it's all about reminiscing over AC2 with the players who still carry a torch for this title and perhaps have a poster of it on the ceiling over their beds. I wouldn't be surprised if there's one or two people out there who made "children" out of discarded Asheron's Call 2 boxes and have enrolled them in elementary school only to be declined because they couldn't be authenticated. That's just how much love there is out there for this game.

AC2 map
William Barr: The jumper

My name is William Barr, and I wanted to give you one of my best memories of Asheron's Call 2. I was about 12 or 13 when AC2 came out, so I definitely had more time to play and enjoy the game back then.

I tried using a previous name from Asheron's Call, Adv-sho-wolf (which I think turned out a little different in AC2) as a Lugian magic-user. I was about mid-level (22-27ish) when I went back to a lower-level town located on a hill. When I got there, I saw some players having fun with a Lugian ranged character because he had a melee attack that would knock you back. However, we found out if you jump when you are hit, you become a flying Luggy with a nice view of what's around you. There was a river below, so it was the perfect landing spot.

Unfortunately I don't have any screenshots from my days in AC2, but when you can find a high spot next to a river and create a form of base jumping, it really livens things up. It was short-lived for us, but to find such a fun method to travel was great.

Overall the game was fun enough. I've always wanted to go back to play it if I had the chance. One of the best features I enjoyed was playing an instrument, so I always had one with me wherever I went. Sometimes people would join; other times people would just stop before going on with their business. It really felt like a game world rather than just another grindfest game. The community was there for a reason. I just hope that the game is re-released some point in the future or that Turbine makes another game to rival that of its predecessor.

As I was taking a break from the game, I bought the expansion for AC1 and wanted to try AC2 out later. Then I heard the news Turbine was closing down AC2 for good, which definitely felt like a part of my memories would never be experienced again.

Markus Fuhrmann: The last fansite operator

Thank you for your Game Archeologist column and digging out Asheron's Call 2! It was my very first MMOG, and I played it on Abendgrau (German server) for a long time. I have some real good memories on it.

I'm admin of the very last AC2 fansite, Lost Company, and I'd like to invite you for visiting us. Now Lost Company is the only site for the AC2 veteran. Let's gather all the AC2 fans together and show Turbine we want this game back!

AC2: Sun glare
David Auge: First love

First, I'd like to thank you for writing an AC2 article in 2011. Amazing timing too, since I have been missing it a lot lately. I haven't played a MMO in about a year, the longest stretch since I started playing AC2 many years ago. Reflecting back, it wasn't Aion, World of Warcraft, or any other popular MMO. It was AC2 that I missed the most.

I remember getting WoW the day it was released, following suit with the rest of my AC2 allegiance. I played until level 20 or so and quit. I hated it. I went back to AC2 until it was shut down.

I'm not sure whether AC2 was amazingly awesome because of the gameplay or because it was my first MMO. I loved the grinding parties. In modern-day MMOs, this would probably be the downfall of any game. And that's a shame. I suppose the grinding would become repetitive, but it was the original dungeon raid.

So the problem with AC2 was that most of the original subscribers expected it to be a direct sequel to AC, with just more modern graphics and mechanics. It wasn't that, so it lost that fanbase. There was a severe lack of marketing, which you can't necessarily blame Turbine for. MMOs have been popular for about a good 10 years now but haven't become more mainstream until the past two.

Microsoft was more focused on the Halo franchise, and when Turbine got full control of AC2, it had other plans. I don't know the intricate details of its decision to take off with Lord of the Rings Online, but I can only assume it was in an attempt to capitalize on the ridiculous Lord of the Rings popularity at the time. Turbine pretty much just recycled most of the client, servers and game engine from AC2 for that.

Anyways, favorite memories. Sitting in towns, everyone wielding his/her best weapon and just rocking out. Chatting it up. So simple, yet so fun. Lugian Tacticians were a very unique class that still haven't been replicated at all in any MMO since. Walls and turrets are another feature that'd probably fail in a modern MMO because of their lack of mobility. Any AC2 player will tell you, though, that they're probably one of the most missed things of AC2. I remember the epicness of the hero quest. Fluffy the bunny.

I hope that Warner Bros' purchase of Turbine will lead to an Asheron's Call 3 release, taking more from AC2 than the original AC.

AC2 concept art
Don Schilling: A last hurrah

I was really excited to see your AC2 piece today. Oh, how I loved that game. I was one of the founders of The Enlightened, which was a decent size guild on Thistledown. We even had our own little portal bot named Mr. Roboto that became a bit of a celebrity -- I think he even had his own line of t-shirts. Anyway, a couple of years ago my guild celebrated its 7th anniversary and we did a throwback web design showing off our AC2 roots. We had a couple of really funny weekly articles written by some talented writers of ours. The old website has long since been rolled back, but I still have a couple of the URLs we used. If you get some time, some are very hilarious and nostalgic reads.

Dengarsw: MMO crossover

I have so many memories from AC2, but I'll stick to one and how it followed me to another game.

I spent the start of AC2 as a "neutral" -- one of the few PvPers who didn't join a faction. Since most people joined factions, it gave me a bigger pool of people I could actually fight without always being in free-for-all zones.

The very first time I PvPed like this, I was killing a member of the Order kingdom. I believe the player's name was "Cragenator" or something like that. I jumped him on an Archer-Defender (think a Ranger-Paladin). My prey was a dual-wielding Berserker. He dealt a lot of damage, so I had to kite him to kill him, but he had a lot of cover and a small heal.

Death in PvP meant losing or gaining rating, which unlocked special moves for your kingdom (except for neutrals, thus I had nothing to lose or gain compared to someone in a kingdom). He was a runner and it took a good 15 minutes of running around the zone to kill him. When he did, we had a nice "good fight" chat, a few laughs, and went our separate ways. I saw him once or twice more after that, and that was it.

Years later, I found myself in World of Warcraft. I was in a raid, and our main tank "Crags" brought up The Burning Crusade. I mentioned that I felt that the big, blue, gentle giants with a Russian flavor (the Draenei) ripped off of AC2's Lugian race. Crags laughed and mentioned that he'd played the game. I mentioned my first kill (the abbreviated version) and he asked what my character name was. As soon as I said it, he said, "OMG, you were the first guy to kill me! I was Cragenator!"

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 justin@massively.com or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.

This article was originally published on Massively.