You could make a convincing argument that Asheron’s Call was only the third major MMO ever released. In 1999, it was a contemporary of Everquest and Ultima Online – and today its servers are still online, nearly a decade after its last expansion.
From August, Asheron’s Call and its sequel will drop their subscription fees for good – instead asking a one-time $10 fee of new players.
“The last payments will be processed on June 31st, making July the final ‘paid’ month,” announced Turbine.
“Note that this means some players will technically receive some portion of July free as a result, as we have decided to absorb the cost and not run partial payments to cover it.”
Turbine more or less single-handedly started the MMO free-to-play revolution, stripping subscription fees first out of Dungeons & Dragons Online and then Lord of the Rings Online in favour of in-game stores.
Given that climate, it’s odd that the subs for their oldest games lasted this long.
After August, new accounts can be created via the Asheron’s Call sign-up page as a $10 purchase. The same cost will apply to inactive subscriptions accessed after the transition date.
Long term, it looks like Turbine plan to turn their games over to their communities. They’ll roll out Asheron’s Call’s first player-run server packages by the end of the year.
Will you heed whatever echoes of that initial call are still bouncing around? Or has this come 14 years too late for you?