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Author Topic: AC2 Implodes; Gamers ask, "What's AC2?"  (Read 3564 times)
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« on: August 25, 2005, 10:33:50 PM »

http://ac2.turbine.com/index.php?page_id=384

According to Turbine's official Asheron's Call 2, (yes, that's AC2), website, the 'game service' will be shut down permanently on 12/30/2005.  This comes just a few months after releasing the first and only expansion to AC2, Legions.

I can't even begin to fathom how unprofitable this game must have been for Turbine/Microsoft.
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2005, 10:37:41 PM »

Wouldn't this basically be because Turbine is out on its own now and probably doesn't want to be Microsoft's bitch anymore...or did Turbine take all control over AC2?  I forget.
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2005, 11:01:57 PM »

Quote from: "AgtFox"
Wouldn't this basically be because Turbine is out on its own now and probably doesn't want to be Microsoft's bitch anymore...or did Turbine take all control over AC2?  I forget.


Turbine bought out the rights to AC2 and rereleased the games with the Legions upgrade.  Looks like the plan didn't work and they didn't get enough players to make the game successful.  

the game looked pretty good, but it just didn't hold my interest.  There was just too much of a grind going on.
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2005, 11:54:15 PM »

Well thats a shame. It really was a very nice departure from the basic MMO formula when it came out, and it looked very good. It had great graphics, interesting gameplay mechanics, but it was poorly marketed and badly supported-and obviously even with Turbine's re-acquisition of the product it looks like it was too little too late.
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2005, 12:14:32 AM »

And World of Warcraft gets its first MMO kill.

Who will be next? Shadowbane? Horizons? Only time will tell.
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2005, 12:29:30 AM »

I'm surprised Horizons is still around.
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2005, 12:43:18 AM »

Quote from: "Roguetad"
I'm surprised Horizons is still around.


It is?? Last time I even looked at the game they had like 3000 people playing. I did enjoy it a lot for about a month, and then one day realized it was completely empty.
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2005, 01:12:21 AM »

I think they are actually giving Horizons away now; I recall seeing either a banner add or a spam about it.

I don't think SB will go down, their game system is really good despite the bad tech.  The people still playing it are pretty hardcore on it (probably a redundant sentiment, since they are still playing, etc).  I've heard they are working on SB2, and IMO it's a project to watch.  I hope they can actually release it, and that the tech they use can make it a game worth playing.  Full-on PvP really is the way to go, if you are into that kind of thing.  After watching a city get razed, killing guards or going to a battleground seems rather limp.
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2005, 02:11:03 AM »

AC2 was the only game of it's kind to interest me enough to sign up for it's 2-week trial period.

I don't have any other game to compare it to.... but to me it was fun to play, the other players were friendly, and the world was just beautiful to explore. It's one of the prettiest games that i've ever played.

But in the end, I just didn't want to pay the monthly fee.

I'd much rather pay an initial $40 or $50 for this type of game, and then if it gets supported enough hand over another $40 or so and be done paying.
None of these monthly/CC type deals.
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2005, 06:19:44 AM »

Quote from: "dangerballs"
Quote from: "AgtFox"
Wouldn't this basically be because Turbine is out on its own now and probably doesn't want to be Microsoft's bitch anymore...or did Turbine take all control over AC2?  I forget.


Turbine bought out the rights to AC2 and rereleased the games with the Legions upgrade.  Looks like the plan didn't work and they didn't get enough players to make the game successful.  

the game looked pretty good, but it just didn't hold my interest.  There was just too much of a grind going on.


AC 1 was the game that Turbine bought from Microsoft and Throne of Destiny was the expansion that was just released with the graphics upgrade.  AFAIK AC2 was always Turbine's game.

AC 1 was great fun and I played it for several years but AC 2 just didn't do anything for me, other than pretty graphics.
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2005, 01:56:29 PM »

What's AC2?
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2005, 02:00:16 PM »

All I know about AC2 is that a few Wanderers tried it in a free beta (or some such) and the overwhelming feeling was that it was ok but not great. There were initial issues with lag I believe, and balance issues, and the lack of anything to buy, since it was a player controlled economy.

Seems to me that MMORPGS need to get their houses in shape when they ship, as the many choices we have now make us very fickle. If there are technical issues, or stupid gameplay decisions, it creates a barrier that's hard to overcome. So perhaps AutoAssault was smart to delay the launch and extend the beta to fix things up. A little bee told me that AA is decent but not compelling - and in this market you need to be compelling.

Oh and as far as populations, I would bet that Shadowbane has fewer people playing than Horizons. Seems like the SB devs open up a new server every so often to spark interest - everyone moves to that one, and the other servers are empty... then interest dies down.. .and they do it again.

And for the life of me I don't know how Horizons is still alive. MMORPG.com just did a "re-review" of it though.

And of course Matrix Online is down to 3 servers too. The only reason that's gonna survive is because Sony bought it and put it on the all-access pass.
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2005, 03:06:45 PM »

Quote from: "Charlatan"
A little bee told me that AA is decent but not compelling - and in this market you need to be compelling.
I'd argue that MMORPG making is less about being compelling and more about having a shiny new gimmick.

Recent Successes:

-World of Warcraft's new gimmick was that it's Warcraft -- exploiting a popular franchise.  The Matrix tried the same, and failed (you could also argue it failed due to the Matrix mythos not being 'cool' anymore).

-Guild Wars' new gimmick was that you didn't pay monthly.  It's still selling well, last time I checked.

Recent Failures:

-Asheron's Call 2.  Where was its gimmick?  A dead world the players had to rebuild?  First, that's not very interesting -- Come buy this $50 box and $15 a month for a world DEVOID OF CONTENT UNTIL YOU PROVIDE IT!  A player-run economy?  Hot tip:  All MMORPGS with currency and equipment become player-run at some point.  If you find a Blue item in World of Warcraft, do you vendor it for 1g 23s, or do you look it up in the Auction House then list it there for twenty times that?  NPCs in MMORPGs are trash dumps -- the items you can't sell to players for more get 'vendored' at wholesale rates.

-Horizons.  Its gimmick?  An undead horde that'd attack settlements.  Oh, and a ruined world like AC2's, but AC2 did that first.  And it's got complex crafting, but SWG and UO already had mind-numbing complex crafting.  Except the horde wasn't programmed to attack.  Or scripted to.  The one time it did, it was just a GM event.  But you could play as a dragon!
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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2005, 12:11:26 AM »

Quote
Recent Failures: Asheron's Call 2, Horizons


I think part of the problem with Horizons and AC2 that doomed them to begin with were the horrid launches. AC2 was such a generic unpopulated world that it was mind-numbing boring. I seem to recall it having lag issues on launch where you couldn't move in highly populated area for 15-20 seconds, which got annoying really fast.

Horizons, which I played through alpha->beta, was no where near ready on launch with lack of content and severe lag issues. It of course didn't help that it had a difficult sign-up process. On a lark my wife recently went to sign up for Horizons again to see what changed and couldn't even download the patch to get in the game; the download was estimating taking 24 hours over a cable modem and crashed during the process. She finally gave up. If you can't get people in to the game that's pretty much shooting yourself in the foot.

Now that MMORPGs are not so new people expect a smooth launch and are less tolerant of ones that go awry.
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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2005, 12:34:42 AM »

Quote from: "Crawley"
Horizons, which I played through alpha->beta, was no where near ready on launch with lack of content and severe lag issues. It of course didn't help that it had a difficult sign-up process.

I really wanted to spend time in Horizons, too, but thanks to be being a beta player, I found out just how poor the game truly was.

And the extremely poor running servers (only Shadowbane and Anarchy Online had worse launches as far as the servers went, IMHO) didn't help any.
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2005, 03:00:24 AM »

Horizons did have spectacularly little content and a tiny game world. Boring quests, and just nothing to do in general in terms of big epic fights, dungeon raids, etc. I did enjoy some of the classes and found the combat pretty fun though.
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2005, 07:57:52 AM »

I liked how Horizons outsourced their billing site to a porn pay service. I thought that was a nice touch.
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2005, 05:33:15 PM »

Quote from: "Crawley"
I think part of the problem with Horizons and AC2 that doomed them to begin with were the horrid launches.
Horrid launches in the sense of lacking a firm direction for the game, perhaps -- but just 'bad' launches don't usually spell failure.

UO's launch was shaky, AO's launch was an atrocity, SWG's was really bad, EQ's was weak, etc.

Of course, they all had a decent share of content and a direction to be moving in -- so it's less of the launch itself, I think, and more of the just-prior-to-launch planning.
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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2005, 06:25:15 PM »

I beta tested EQ and played it right after release.  It's launch wasnt bad- all the whining and complaining about it made it seem worse than it was.

The servers were stable, but there would be occasional lag spikes.  And that was it.  Nothing crashing, not unplayable.  Having beta tested and been an at releaser for UO as well, it was flawless by comparison.

I think AO probably surpassed UO for a bad launch.  I recall it taking about an hour (a REAL hour) to go from one side of town to the other in UO.  It took about that long to do almost anything in AO, as well as having to listen to your hard drive thrash around like a lawnmower, and having the occasional hard lockup of the PC.

Hmm, but I was never killed by a housecat in AO, so I would have to say UO was a worse experience overall.  
UO = worst overall, AO = worst on technical aspects.
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2005, 06:50:18 PM »

Quote from: "Charlatan"
And of course Matrix Online is down to 3 servers too. The only reason that's gonna survive is because Sony bought it and put it on the all-access pass.


A former dev on Matrix Online told me that Sony has to keep MO up for at least 3 years to fulfill terms of their purchase contract.  Kinda funny if you ask me.
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2005, 07:20:20 PM »

Quote from: "Sarkus"
Quote from: "Charlatan"
And of course Matrix Online is down to 3 servers too. The only reason that's gonna survive is because Sony bought it and put it on the all-access pass.

A former dev on Matrix Online told me that Sony has to keep MO up for at least 3 years to fulfill terms of their purchase contract.  Kinda funny if you ask me.

Ouch. Keep that lousy game running for 3 years? Something tells me they're not gonna have the players to do so to do that for long.

At least not profitably.
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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2005, 08:22:46 PM »

Quote from: "Destructor"
Quote from: "Sarkus"
Quote from: "Charlatan"
And of course Matrix Online is down to 3 servers too. The only reason that's gonna survive is because Sony bought it and put it on the all-access pass.

A former dev on Matrix Online told me that Sony has to keep MO up for at least 3 years to fulfill terms of their purchase contract.  Kinda funny if you ask me.

Ouch. Keep that lousy game running for 3 years? Something tells me they're not gonna have the players to do so to do that for long.

At least not profitably.


To be fair, it has gotten better since launch.  But  even if the Matrix Online is profitable, Sony snagged the DC license with the deal and that should more than pay for running the Matrix for a few years.
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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2005, 09:02:07 PM »

I loved Asherons Call (1). It was so much fun, and the world changed every 4-6 weeks. Where is WoW's updated content? ::sigh::

ah well.
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2005, 09:46:53 PM »

Is there any free trial for MO? What makes it so bad? Combat? Content? General suckitude?
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« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2005, 10:43:30 PM »

Quote from: "Rage"
Is there any free trial for MO? What makes it so bad? Combat? Content? General suckitude?

To my understanding (and this is only based on my time in the beta, among a few other things), if you love the Matrix series (yes, all three of them), odds are you'll have a blast with this MMO.

Unfortunately, most of us wished that the Matrix series was exactly one movie long, so most of us won't like this game. biggrin
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« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2005, 03:08:19 AM »

I've gotta agree with LE that a bad launch doesn't spell doom from the onset. UO gets a lot of crap about a poor launch, but considering that no-one had made a game like it before, it was almost forgiveable. AND I recall getting at least the first 3-4 months for free because of all of the server downtime. I don't recall many other MMOs that have given away free time quite like that.

That said, i am straying from the original subject. All i can say is "glad I never tried AC2".  Feel bad for the players and Turbine.
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« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2005, 05:02:19 AM »

Quote from: "Purge"
I loved Asherons Call (1). It was so much fun, and the world changed every 4-6 weeks. Where is WoW's updated content? ::sigh::

ah well.


I agree. After quiting EQ I thought I was done with MMO's for awile, but after trying the free demo week they had before it launched I got sucked in again. It help that my "mentor"(I forgot the titles they used for the pyramid scheme thing they had set up) was a really cool guy that was always helping us low players out. I rember the first monthly event. They had winter come to the world and made everything white. It was a pretty basic change(just make all the textures white pretty much), but they added new monsters that started to roam around and such. It was a cool idea overall.
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« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2005, 06:16:40 AM »

Quote from: "dangerballs"
But  even if the Matrix Online is profitable, Sony snagged the DC license with the deal and that should more than pay for running the Matrix for a few years.


That's what the dev said as well, that Sony was more interested in the DC rights.  He also said there's some angle where they could end up with Harry Potter online because Matrix, DC, and Harry are all Warner Bros properties and somehow EA doesn't have MMO rights to Harry.

He also claimed that Sony Online is very worried about NCSoft and that's why they are acquiring MMO properties.
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« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2005, 05:04:14 PM »

Quote from: "gilgamex"
I've gotta agree with LE that a bad launch doesn't spell doom from the onset. UO gets a lot of crap about a poor launch, but considering that no-one had made a game like it before, it was almost forgiveable.


I think that's the difference here. You're talking about a game from 1997, that for most gamers at the time, was a brand new experience. No one knew what to expect, and the sheer novelty of the game made everyone put up with any problems (myself included). There were no other alternatives like it that you could turn to (EQ would not come out for almost 2 more years).

Now that MMORPG's are a dime a dozen bad launches spell doom. AC2 had a horrid launch that had me looking for alternatives right away. Dark Age of Camelot and Anarcy Online were already out with anticipated titles such as FFXI and Shadowbane (yes it was anticipated; admit it!) around the corner; as a side note I actually went with Toon Town which was a hell of a lot of fun.

Now in 2005 you have even more choices and I think most people will be less patient to fork down a monthly fee for a game that isn't ready for prime time (how many are still playing Matrix Online?).
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