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Page 1 of 2Microsoft Games and Turbine Entertainment have once again teamed up to create a sequel to their popular MMO game; Asheron's Call. Asheron's Call was released in 1999 with rave reviews and many anticipating gamers. While Asheron's Call has maintained it's loyal fan base, Microsoft Games and Turbine Entertainment decided to develop a separate game instead of expanding the first.
This game is called Asheron's Call II: Fallen Kings. Microsoft Games and Turbine Entertainment have created a back-story to explain what has transpired to change the land of Dereth. The Devastation, a world shattering war, forced the three civilized races to seek magical shelter for ten generations. They have finally received word that the world is habitable again. As each of the races reemerge into the world they find that it must be rebuilt. This is where you, as a player, enter the game world. Will Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings live up to its predecessor? Here's what I found.
There's not much to say about the graphics, except that they are stunning. Many times during game play I would just stop and look at the scenes around me. The flowing rivers, waving grass, beautiful sunsets and sunrises are extraordinary. A great amount of detail has been given to monsters and characters. Of course, these graphics do come with a price; you will need a higher-end graphics card. I still had some graphics stuttering with a GeForce 4 Ti 4200 card. The game does give you the option of changing or lowering your graphics settings and will recommend a setting based on your system.
I have found the background sounds and musical score to be on par with other MMO games. The musical score does overwhelm the background sounds, making it difficult to determine their source. This can be adjusted in the option settings. Determining which setting controls which sound can be confusing; leading to a little trial and error to achieve the sound settings that you like.
Your first game play time will be spent in a Training Dungeon familiarizing yourself with the game interface. Basic movement and combat interface are easily learned and adjusted to your playing style. I was a little surprised to find that you do not determine your starting statistics; every character begins the game with the same statistics. The level system is very easy to understand; each level you gain Training points to spend in any of the skill trees. The three baseline skill trees are Magic, Melee and Missile. You also gain Experience points to be used to further raise any particular skill. A useful option added is the ability to untrain a skill. This gives you the flexibility to try different skill paths. One draw back to this type of skill system is that you cannot control what level of attack to use; whether low or high determined by what level of creature.
The map system is the best that I have seen in any MMO game. You can zoom in on any particular area and see points of interest, suggested player levels, and lock it to move with your character. The economy has been setup to be player driven. All loot can be converted into gold to be used for crafting, purchasing items from other players and gambled for added character benefits. You may ask, "Why not use gold to purchase equipment from NPCs?" well this is because there are very few NPCs and none of them are merchants. The lack of NPCs makes the game feel very barren and dead. This is was intentional from the developers, but it makes you feel very alone. The NPCs that are in the game are there to give quests.