Interview with Scott
Herrington: Lead Producer on Asheron's Call
There seems to be a lot of problems with video cards and Asheron's Call,
such as people seeing things in the world which aren't there. Is Turbine
continually testing and revising code for better video card compatibility?
Scott Herrington: Erm... I don't know of many
current problems with video cards and AC? However, with that
said, we do compatibility testing whenever card manufacturers release
new drivers or cards to make sure there aren't any
problems. That's one of the reasons that we didn't officially
introduce z-buffering in the April event, too many video card
conflicts. It works great with some cards (and people have
found out how to enable it in the registry to see if it works with their
card), but because it wasn't bullet proof, we held off on releasing it.
One of my and many other players favorite features of Asheron's Call are
the Portal Spells. Is there a possibility there may be more portal spells
in the future?
Scott Herrington: We'll probably introduce
something in the near future that will enable players to move more
quickly and easily around Dereth. But there aren't any firm
plans for additional portal spells per se.
Do you expect to see more worlds being added as we have seen with the
recent opening of Solclaim?
Scott Herrington: As the population rises
across the current worlds and they fill up, yes, we will be adding more
servers. If the need is there, MS will answer it.
I have noticed that other players believe that certain classes have a
distinct advantage over other classes (e.g. Archers being able to perch
and shoot from great distances to kill monsters). Are there any plans to
try and level out the classes in future versions of Asheron's Call?
Scott Herrington: We won't make everyone equal
(which would eliminate true diversity in the world and minimize the
differences between character classes). But, we are taking
some steps to correct some of the most egregious offenders to the game's
balance. The more risk a player takes, the more reward they
receive. Perching archers and 'wall-licking' life mages will see a
reduction in XP gained, if they continue using these un-heroic ways to
advance through the game.
Did you ever think during the making of the game that people would sell
items in the game on Internet auction sites for hundreds of dollars?
Scott Herrington: Actually, eBay and the
multitude of Internet auction sites didn't exist when we first started
working on Asheron's Call! However, it is definitely interesting and
surprising to see today.
Something that seems to be unfair to some Asheron's Call players is the
respectable Hoary Mattekar Robe that with Impenetrability is unstoppable.
These have been hot items on the Internet and are selling for unreal sums.
Is there any plan to decrease the settings of the robe to make it fairer
and not worth as much?
Scott Herrington: We hate 'nerfing' items or
spells in the game. So, rather than do that, we could address
the problem in a few different ways that would have the same effect....
like an "anti-impenetrability" spell, or a weapon or spell
that does a new type of damage that the Matty robes can't protect
against. We're well aware of the issue with the robes and will make some
corrections to that in the future.
There has been a lot of discussion over the new spell named the "Eye
of the Storm". Could you describe what this spell is exactly and what
it can do? Could you give us some clues to the spell's components? There
is talk that it is done with the new Diamond Scarab. Can you confirm or
Scott Herrington: Yes, I could confirm or deny
it. :) Sorry, but I can't tell you much about the
undiscovered spells in the game. All I can say is that
they've taken a long time for us to make, get in, and code since they
break most of the 'rules' we set up for spells in the past!
The future of Asheron's Call is unknown and that's why so many users like
the world of AC because its so much like real life. Are there any big
story planned for the future?
Scott Herrington: Yup, Bael'Zharon is still
lurking around as are the shadows. There are going to be some
major, new discoveries in the next 3-4 months that should keep our
players very happy with how the world is evolving.
What do you feel Asheron's Call has over its competitors (such as
Everquest or Diablo II)?
Scott Herrington: Right now, I think we've got
a better story and better technology. The ability to add in
content every month has got to be a huge plus for us as well.
We have been hearing rumors of Asheron's Call 2.0 being in the works, are
there any details you can give us on what enhancements we can expect to
see in the new version next year?
Scott Herrington: Wow... three questions packed
into one: If AC2 is in development, what's it going to have, and when
will it ship next year?
I'll take 'em in reverse order, if you don't
mind. To make a great MMP -- or even a single-player game --
requires about 2 years. Assuming we started on any project a
month after AC was released (not likely, considering the pre-ship crunch
the team went through to finish AC), we wouldn't have anything till
January 2002. So, it wouldn't be out next year if we were
If we make a sequel to AC, it will have to improve
across the boards. Better graphics, sound, AI, etc.
Lastly, I've heard the rumors about AC 2.0 being in
development since January. Sorry, but all I can say is that they are
rumors. We *have* been busy at work on our next engine, but
we haven't announced what project it will first be used for as of yet.
What aspect of Asheron's Call do you think is most appealing and/or
attractive to the most users?
Scott Herrington: To me, I think the big appeal
is that you're sharing a virtual space with people who have similar
interests. That's the main draw. The next is that
you get to do all the things you can't do in real life, like hunting
monsters. You get to be the hero, the swashbuckler, the
rogue, the monarch.
What is your favorite part of Asheron's Call and why?
Scott Herrington: I love getting into the thick
of battle where my health and stamina are next to nothing, and just
coming through barely alive. There's an instant bond between
players when they're in situations like that, and I've made some great
friends while playing that have extended to outside the game which is
something incredibly cool!
Do you think there will be a chance of seeing Asheron's Call on the XBox
Scott Herrington: You'll have to talk with Bill
Gates about that one....
Do you have anything else to add?
Scott Herrington: Play nice, and never, ever,
say "Olthoi-shmolthoi" (those are some of the most commonly
uttered last words in Asheron's Call before people enter the big blue
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