I know players are anxiously waiting for an update about the state of Asheron’s Call. (This is probably because I promised to have an update early this week.) We want to have an honest discussion about our future plans, even though we still have outstanding challenges to solve before we can put those plans into place.

We are working hard on the February update, and we hope to have the update finished this week. We are aiming for a patch a week from Tuesday, on March 4th. As always, if we run into bugs or problems that date might have to change. This caveat is why we generally don’t release dates before the patch is approved, but in this case I suspect players would rather have tentative information than none at all.

February includes some cool new features:

~ The random rewards for the Viridian Rise have been reworked and most of the consumable rewards have been removed.

~ A brand new coliseum to challenge players and top end characters.

~ Enhancements to the three societies, the Celestial Hand, the Eldrytch Web, and the Radiant Blood.

~ Paragon weapons. Characters can slowly enhance their favorite weapons by forging them into Paragon weapons. The process that will send characters all over Dereth to prove themselves by completing heroic tasks and gaining Luminance. Though the process is involved, Paragon weapons gain levels and empower the user with substantial benefits. The process can enhance melee weapons, missile weapons or casters.

(This process will work on most quest and loot weapons that do not already have set spells.)

~ Enlightenment. A system designed for our most dedicated players, Enlightenment allows a character who has reached the pinnacle of levels and Luminance to let it all go and start over. The process of Enlightenment is certainly not for the faint of heart, but enlightenment will provide an avenue for players to prove that they are some of the most hardcore players of the game.

~ An enlightened character proves themselves by sacrificing all experience, levels, Luminance, and Luminance augmentations.
~ The character starts fresh, gaining a title, an extra point in all trained and specialized skills, and two extra Vitality points.
~ Enlightened characters retain their normal augmentations. They no longer have to spend experience points on those augmentations as they level.

~ The cost of major armatures has been fixed.

~ The value of massive mana stones has been restored.

Once this next update is in the hands of the players, the updates to Asheron’s Call will be limited. We intend to fix critical bugs and continue maintenance and support on the game. While there is always a chance we will put out a small update if time permits, players should have the expectation that updates will be limited to maintenance, bug fixes, and perhaps balance iterations of February content such as the new Coliseum.

Let me reiterate that we have no plans to close Asheron’s Call. We plan to keep the game open and the servers running.

Although this change of focus is necessary for our company, we love the Asheron’s Call games and we want them to live forever. We understand that players who have been enjoying our monthly updates will be disappointed at the change to Asheron’s Call. Our long term plan is to make the game free to all active accounts. We are working on a date in the not-to-distant future where all active accounts will be able to play the game for free. Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2 will be a gift to our loyal players.

In addition, we have been working within the company to start an initiative sometime near the end of the year to allow players to run their own Asheron’s Call servers. We intend to put the call out to tech savvy enthusiasts that love Asheron’s Call to create a community for players who want to run their own Asheron’s Call servers.

Unfortunately, setting up and running an AC server is not a user friendly experience. Enthusiasts would need some knowledge of running an SQL server, setting up the network, using our tools to configure the SQL server, installing the Asheron’s Call server with our complicated tools, and distributing the client. Our intent is to help these players build a community so these processes can be created and distributed to people interested in running an Asheron’s Call game. If that works out we can look into releasing tools and data files that would allow players to modify game data and create alternate content for their own Asheron’s Call games.

Thank you for being part of the Asheron’s Call community.