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Product: Asheron's Call Dark Majesty Expansion
Company: Microsoft
Estimated Street Price: $19.99
Review By: Alex Harris

The Features

For all the Asheron’s Call players, this was the expansion everyone was waiting for. Included in this expansion was the promise of a huge new landmass that high level players could hunt on, a brand new story line and Housing for the players. There was a massive buzz throughout the community waiting for this Expansion to come out. But was it worth it? Read on to find out.

New Adventures Every Month: The continuously growing storyline expands as you journey forward. Every month players receive new updates which can bring new monsters, quests, and treasures to this living world. Asheron's Call Dark Majesty introduces the third chapter in a story that has been unfolding for two years.

Home Sweet Home: Acquire a house and display your treasures within, or just use your personal chest to unburden your pack before your next quest. Housing will range from a humble cottage to awesome mansions that can house an entire allegiance.

An Ancient Evil: The Olthoi, former slave-masters of humanity, have returned with new deadly mutations added to their unnatural army. Learn the secret of their new-found strength and defeat them before they can enslave humanity again.

New Lands to Explore: Portals to the island of Marae Lassel have mysteriously reopened. Be among the first to journey across this wondrous new land. Discover how it's isolation from the rest of Dereth has shaped it, and be prepared for whatever new dangers await.

Vast 3D Landscape: Dereth is filled with mountain glaciers, swamps, deep dungeons, desert wastelands, smoldering volcanic ruins, and more. Adventure seamlessly across the length and breadth of this landscape and revel in the beauty and immersiveness of this world.

Innovative Player Community: A unique allegiance system encourages experienced adventurers to gain strength by guiding new arrivals and battling by their side. Stand for a cause, take arms against an enemy, or become an allegiance monarch yourself. Glory awaits!

Asheron's Protection: Asheron encourages cooperation between adventurers and so you will enter the world under his protection, safe from player attacks. The exception is the world of Darktide, which is reserved exclusively for those who would battle with their fellow adventurers.

Rich Combat & Magic System: Choose to be a warrior, a blade-master, an archer, an unarmed fighter, an enchanter or a life or war mage. You can even mix and match skills between each of these classes to suit your play-style.

Fantastic Creatures: The world of Dereth is filled with a fantastic assortment of creatures, the likes of which have never been seen before. Stand toe-to-toe with a gigantic Tusker, or test your magics against the mysterious Virindi. Learning the strengths and weaknesses of these amazing creatures is half the battle.


For those that have never played Asheron’s Call, here is a quick history lesson about the game. Asheron’s Call is a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game). Inside the game you have a choice of 3 races which have their own racial skills. At creation of your character you have a set amount of points for attributes (Strength, Endurance, Coordination, Quickness, Focus and Willpower) and a set amount of points for Skills. How good you are at your skills is based on a formula of your attributes. An Example being Life Magic is a combination of Focus and Willpower.

 Once you have decided your character, what type of character you are hoping to play, you then can dive into the game and start killing things! Recently they have updated the New Player Experience making a lot easier for new characters to get into the game. Once you get a hang of movement, camera control and how to actually kill things you can start to interact with the other people around you. Inside the game there is an allegiance system with a monarch at the top of Patrons and Vassals. As you gain experience you pass up a percentage to your Patron and in return your Patron normally helps you with equipment, hunting and in general friendship. But this is unique for each patron and vassal.



As I mentioned at the start of the review there have been quite a few things added with this expansion. Just as a word of note when you purchase Asheron’s Call Dark Majesty, you do get the full version of Asheron’s Call as well as the expansion pack for it.

So what is the expansion like? Well as a player of 2 years or so, it isn’t a bad expansion, but it also has its problems.



Pros: The housing is something the community has been asking for. On one account you get the slots for 5 characters. Most people will have a main character and 4 “mules”. Mules are characters that hold items for you that you find valuable, or don’t have room to hold on your main character. If you want any more characters after that and you don’t want to delete a mule you had to get a new account. With the housing it is secure. You can close your house to the public and only people on your guest list are allowed in. People can try to get in but there is an invisible barrier that can’t be gotten through. You also have a chest at the bottom of the house that can store 25 items and a Pack which can hold 24 items. That space can vary depending on the house you buy.

With this expansion you get cottages, villas and mansions. Cottages are the smallest housing you can get with villas the next stage up and Mansions reserved for Monarchs. Each of these has their own requirements including level, rank and items needed. The items to actually purchase the house are items that you can easily get in the world of Dereth. With the housing they also have a money requirement to initially purchase the house and also a rent that you have to pay each month. 

The main worry people had with the housing was that since the expansion pack was being released in the States first and then the rest of the world later, the houses would all be bought up by the people who had it first. Turbine decided to solve this problem by having the houseing not go on sale until a month after the expansion pack was released. Also they decided to make the houses go on sale at random points during the month. There were 1000 houses on the server to start with, and more added as the months go on.

Cons: Yes the housing is great to have, but there are quite a few down points about it. I will start with the major problems first. Soon after the houses were released there was a crash or bug that caused all the items stored in the chests and on the hooks on the wall to dissapear. So far they have not been replaced and quite a few people had valuable items there because they believed that it was “secure storage”. The next problem is the way that the houses were released. Although it was a good plan on paper to have the houses released at random times so everyone had a chance at a house, this caused people to camp houses and make macros to actually purchase the house. I have read many messages on the boards saying how people have spent a whole week checking every 4 hours to see if the house had opened, and then the one time they go off to say get a coffee, come back and someone else has bought the house. There was initially a world broadcast that possibly indicated that new houses had opened which caused mad rushes to houses to see if they are opened. 

Another annoyance is with Mansions. The idea of Mansions was that the Monarch would be the owner, but the whole allegiance would have the ability to use the mansion. Now this is all well and good, but the ability to portal back to the mansion by all allegiance members is limited to the monarch. Initially it was the owner only, but last month they added the ability for all people on the monarchs account to portal back to the mansion. Because of this the message boards have been alight asking Turbine to fix this.  Another annoyance with the housing is the fact that it is very difficult to find what houses are for sale unless you go up to it and look. With over 1000 houses on each server and such a huge landmass it would take hours to check every house and is just plain boring. It would have been very helpful if there was an estate agent or some other way to see what houses are for sale.


Marae Lassel

Pros: With this expansion there are new monsters to fight, a load of new quests, better loot to find and a lot of new items. With this landmass it has also elevated the already burdened land and dungeons on the mainland of Dereth. With the Olthoi Queen added into the storyline with this expansion and the inclusion of much stronger Olthoi into the dungeons and mainlands has been the highlight of the expansion. Also the addition of pincer quest being added for massive amounts of experience being handed in for a once a month treat to try and reduce the amounts of experience needed to get to that next level. Marae Lassel has monsters for everyone there, and also a very large range of dungeons for the lower levels. There is also a lot of land based monsters that people can fight if they don’t want to be stuck in a dungeon all the time. New items were also added which include new weapons, armour, and magic orbs. Very good quest items, but a lot of it aimed at the higher level population.

Cons: No easy way to get to the island is the main problem. There are no portals that you can link to, so you have a long haul to get where you want to go. Also there are no lifestones on the island (A lifestone is a big rotating stone you can link to and it will send you back there when you die or recall). I can understand that they don’t want the bulk of the population to move there, but it can get annoying having to run for 10 minutes to get where you want to go. Also if you run out of components for your spells then once again it is a long haul to get back to the area or dungeon you were at.  

Another problem with the new island is that since once a month you have the chance to hand in a pincer for the quest and the chance to get 3million experience, there is always a lot of people in one dungeon with only the pincer being dropped in one room. Needless to say there is a lot of lag, a lot of annoyance if someone “jumps the queue” and a lot of time spent waiting for your turn. Luckily there is a lot of not so busy times. The dungeon that the pincer drops in also can produce a lot of experience if you are in a fellowship with 8 or 9 people. Lately this one dungeon is getting busy a lot of the time.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Overall: 80%


This expansion is very good in what it added, but the actual delivery of it could have been much better. I believe that they rushed the expansion pack, probably so as not to lose the fan base to new games coming on the market such as Dark Age of Camelot and probably to help ebb the flow of players going to Anarchy Online. When they rushed it there have been some bugs that have slipped through, servers not being able to handle the load of people trying to sign up after the release and some general discontent on the way the housing was released. But with that said the basis is there. It would have been nice to have the expansion to be released smoothly with no server crashes, no bugs causing items to disappear and the ability to see what houses are available and for sale at the current time.  

The basis is there for a welcome improvement to a great game. It is a shame the expansion was released to quickly, but we can hope that Turbine will listen to the fan base on what the problems are and features we would like (with in limitations of course) and the bugs in the game solved quickly.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 80%
Version Reviewed Dark Majesty Expansion
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 CD
Small Manual
The Good Points Fun
New Monsters
More Loot
The Bad Points Small Problems
Similar To Asheron's Call
Reviewers PC Setup Pentium III 800
Windows XP Home
512 Meg SD-Ram
Nvidia GeForce 2 Ultra
DirectX 8.1
SoundBlaster Live! Value
19" Iiyama Vision Master
Microsoft Force Feedback Pro 2
Microsoft Game Pad Pro (USB)
Microsoft Digital Sound System 80
Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer
3Com Cable Modem & Ethernet CardDVD TV Player - Pioneer DV-626D
Widescreen TV - Sony KV-28WS2U 28"
DVD-ROM: Memorex 12xDVD Maxx
PC Required Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
Pentium 333 MHz
64 MB Ram
400 MB
CD-ROM Drive
Mouse and Keyboard
Windows compatible sound device


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