E3: Asheron's Call 2 Information
The XBox was a predominant focus of the Microsoft booth, but their PC products were also on display. Perhaps the first true sequel to a MMORPG, Asheron's Call 2 was playable on the show floor.
The sequel is set in the land of Dereth, 500 years after the events of the original Asheron's Call. Cataclysmic events have drastically reshaped the world, though it was demonstrated that the ruins of some former towns are scattered across the island. Due to the setting of the sequel, many familiar elements from the original are evident; some monsters are returning favorites (though there will be new monsters to round things out). Other traditional Asheron's Call elements, such as the spiralling portal effects and seamless overworld environments, are still present.
The game will be largely non-PvP, though there are particular areas that will be controllable by one of the game's three factions (Asheron's followers, the Shadows, and the Virindi). Players hunting in areas controlled by their own faction will be safe from aggressive monster attacks.
One drastic difference between Asheron's Call 2 and other MMORPGs is that there will be no NPC merchants. Everything in the game will be player-created and players will be able to learn a variety of tradeskills. Forges and other item creation tools will be present in the game, and will be upgradable as more people make use of them. By encouraging and allowing players to gather together, the direction of the game will be altered, as patch content is planned to focus on the areas that players are gathering in.
Character creation is largely a superficial process, as true character growth occurs once the game begins. A variety of skill trees were available, with new abilities being unlocked as players level up. Specific abilities will be improved by allocating experience, similar to the method seen in Asheron's Call.
Asheron's Call 2 is on track for a release this winter.