|Developer:||Turbine Entertainment Software|
|Number of Players:||Unlimited|
|Release date:||October 31, 1999|
|ESRB/ELSPA ratings:||Teen (T)|
Asheron's Call (AC) is a fantasy MMORPG for Microsoft Windows-based PCs released in late 1999. It features a vast, near-seamless 3D world occupied by thousands of players and strange creatures.
Gameplay involves earning experience points through a variety of activities, including engaging monsters in combat and fulfilling quests. The earned experience can be invested to improve the character's abilities by spending it in such areas as 'Unarmed Combat', 'War Magic' and 'Melee Defense', among many others. Besides experience points, questing and combat also yield equipment such as armor, weapons, health potions and spell scrolls. Many types of loot can be improved or imbued with special spells and effects via Asheron's Call's crafting system, known as tinkering.
Unlike most other games of this type, Asheron's Call rarely uses typical fantasy fiction to draw ideas from and creates its own creatures instead of elves and goblins — a large majority of the monsters in Asheron's Call are unique to the series. Examples include insect-like Olthoi, the cat-like humanoid Drudges and reptilian Sclavus. The in-game story is advanced by monthly updates, which introduce new quests and gameplay dynamics as part of the subscription package.
It was developed by Turbine Entertainment Software and published by Microsoft. One expansion, Dark Majesty, was released in 2001. A second expansion is currently in the early stages of development, and will include a graphics upgrade. Neither Turbine nor Microsoft have been forthcoming in releasing exact subscription counts, but AC is believed to have peaked in popularity in early 2002 at about 120,000 accounts . A sequel, Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings was released on November 22, 2002. Asheron's Call is known for its friendly stance toward third-party software, particularly Decal, which allows the creation of gameplay-enhacing plug-ins.
In December 2003, Turbine purchased the rights to the Asheron's Call franchise from Microsoft and will assume full responsibility for content development, customer service, billing and marketing in 2004.
Many unique races and creatures from Asheron's Call can be seen in Wikipedia's list of species in fantasy fiction.