Asherons Call: Throne of Destiny - PC - Review
Asheron’s Call has been a solid contender in the role-playing MMO genre for quite some time. It is no surprise that the developers at Turbine have taken the opportunity to build upon the classic game, bringing new content and several key upgrades to the game. Their new expansion pack, Throne of Destiny, brings new areas to the world, increases the level cap, and adds new enemies to face. The graphics upgrade will help breathe new life into the game for experienced players and add some shine for new players. Throne of Destiny will keep existing players of the game happy for quite some time, but non-players should take a close look at the game before picking up a copy.
Combat against the forces of evil and chaos continue to be a big theme in Asheron’s Call: Throne of Destiny. The world has become a more dangerous place with the introduction of the warlike Viamontians. Under the rule of their cruel warrior king the Viamontians have been preparing for a war with Isparians and their queen, Elyssa for a long time. Now that they have broken through the magic barrier that kept them contained in the land of Sanamar they are expanding their power and preparing to bring their vicious crusade to the lands of the Isparians. The Viamontians aren’t just content to rely on their own power. They have “tamed” a host of ravenous beasts to lead the charge. By releasing these creatures into the lands of their enemies they are beginning the conflict.
A compelling storyline has long been the trademark of the Asheron’s Call series. The developers have woven the history of the world into a tapestry of love, loss, life, and the ambitions of the surviving Isparians. The results have been numerous quests that players can run alone and in groups with their friends. New players will find a lot of content to explore. Dungeons litter the landscape, many containing tantalizing tidbits of forgotten lore. The new quests and content build off of this impressive work and offer new horizons for the game as it continues to grow.
The graphics engine for Asheron’s Call has become a bit dated. It’s a fate that waits for all games. Throne of Destiny contains a graphics upgrade for the game and it is a welcome feature. The graphics aren’t up to the high level of recent releases, but it does bring Asheron’s Call closer to the leading edge. Turbine is making big noise about the graphics upgrade and it is impressive considering how old the original graphics engine is. They have taken the graphics to a new level and it shows. Every piece of the game world has been given a fresh look along with the upgrades. Experienced players will have another reason to revisit their old hunting grounds. New players won’t find the graphics as impressive as more experienced Asheron’s Call players. Newer players, unfortunately, won’t be as impressed by the upgrade.
Throne of Destiny builds on the solid interface and free-form character design that allows players to design their own “classes.” This new expansion adds on more levels, more content, and another small continent. There is plenty for the experienced player to enjoy, but new players won’t need the expansion if they want to jump into the world of Asheron’s Call. One of the upgrades to the original title included in Throne of Destiny that new players will want to take advantage of is the new interface to help guide players through character creation. The new system makes it easier to create a avatar to explore the world with. The interface guides players through the steps, choosing base stats, skills, and customizing their avatars.
Asheron’s Call still has a fairly high learning curve. There is a lot that players can do, and designing a class is definitely not for the weak of heart. New players should definitely read up on the skills available and check the various fan sites for advice. Nothing is worse than putting time into an avatar and discovering that you have created a character that is weaker than the “average.” Fortunately there is a wealth of information waiting to help new players break into the world. The class templates included in the game are solid in themselves, so a new player won’t have to worry about “gimping” themselves by accident as they create a character. Still, there is something to be said for exploring all the skills available. The system gives a short description of every skill to make things easier for the new player, another nice touch held over from the original system.
Throne of Destiny is a solid expansion pack, bringing needed updates to the world of Asheron’s Call. The graphics upgrade, increased level cap, and additional content will keep players enthralled for hours. Existing fans will find this to be a blessing in many ways and should definitely consider buying Throne of Destiny. New players might not need the additional content right away, but should consider getting the graphics upgrade. Asheron’s Call has been a steady contender in the MMO genre for a number of years and it shows. Still, don’t let its age fool you. In the fast-paced, competitive world of MMO design Asheron’s Call has withstood the test of time. Its solid design and detailed world are still a good place to find adventure if you can hear the Call.
When in doubt check the fansite forums for guides and advice. The experienced players of Asheron’s Call are very, very good. Many have had years to hone their skills. They can be very helpful and make things much easier for the new player.
If you start a character on the PVP world of Darktide watch out. Many players view low-level interlopers into their private battlefield to be fair game. It's best to head out into the hinterlands, operating out of the smaller outposts before you try to make a run into the big cities.
A common mistake in Asheron’s Call is strapping on heavy armor when you first get started. Your strength score determines how much you can carry without becoming overburdened. Mages and archers should avoid heavy armor until they build up their strength scores. Warriors should also hunt for “drop” items that have the same armor ratings and lower weights than store bought items.
The world of Asheron’s Call is vast. Use this to your advantage if you are a mage or archer type and you’ll go far. Building up your run skill so you can kite monsters is always a plus, but it is wise to begin combat at extreme range so you can take a few more shots before the enemies get too close.
Because the game allows players to build their own classes it's worth taking a look at dabbling in Item, Creature, or Life magic. These skills will give you a fair line of buffs that you can apply to yourself or your allies. You might never have the awesome power of the mage-specialists, but it never hurts to have a little extra power in your corner.
|Review Scoring Details for Asherons Call: Throne of Destiny|
The original Asheron’s Call interface is still in place, as helpful as ever. When the game was first released it was a marvelously intuitive system, leaps and bounds beyond its competition. The interface is still good, but there are a few places where it is a little clumsy.
Even with the upgrade the world of Asheron’s Call isn’t up to the graphically stunning levels gamers expect these days. The upgrade is a marked improvement, adding a lot of quality to the system, but newer players will be less impressed than existing players.
The sound system for Throne of Destiny is the same as the original system used for Asheron’s Call. It does an adequate job and helps with the immersion, but I’m not driven to listen to it just for the sake of the soundtrack.
While the gameplay is smooth and enjoyable, creating a character class that will define your avatar on the fly can be a daunting task. New players might find themselves re-rolling their first character to fix a “flaw” once or twice before they settle down with something they can be content with.
Asheron’s Call has needed some fresh blood for a while. The addition of a new racial group, more content, and another continent for players to explore is a welcome addition to the game world.
Throne of Destiny shines when you play it with your friends, just like the original. The fan base is also extremely knowledgeable. Searching the fansites and forums is a good way to learn a great deal from their experience.
Throne of Destiny is another expansion pack for an existing MMO. Current fans will enjoy the new content and better graphics, but new players won’t be as impressed. The solid gameplay of the original shines through, although it is a bit rusty in places after a few years.