On Crafting Wars

Posted on 12th Mar 2009 at 15:03 by Mark Mackay with 12 comments

Mark Mackay
Ever since my first MMORPG, Asheron’s Call 2, I’ve had a deep fondness for the genre. AC 2 was closed some years ago after it lost too many subscribers due to developers (initially Microsoft and then Turbine) making a pigs ear of the code, causing the servers to become unstable and unreliable.

If I was ever in love with a game it was AC 2 so naturally I was gutted when it closed down. I'm no graphics whore but I think the way an MMO looks is very important and to my eye AC 2 looked nothing short of incredible.

Since then I’ve tried practically every MMO out there and none of them have come close to the feeling created by AC 2 in terms of gameplay, visual appeal or the immersive feeling of the game world.

On Crafting Wars
2002 release, Asheron's Call 2 is the best looking MMO ever made

In fact for me, one of the main problems with MMOs these days is the way they look. Sure Age of Conan might have been more advanced than most MMOs but I just didn’t like the artistic direction. It just wasn’t to my taste. Same for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning and the fact it had no AA options and I couldn’t make Catalyst Control Centre force AA made it all the worse.

After trying many others including Lord of the Rings Online, Neocrom 2, Everquest (which I actually quite enjoyed but it just looked too old) Everquest 2, Vanguard, Rising Force Online, Guild Wars and a few others that are less well known and I don’t really remember, I decided to give World of Warcraft a shot.

Yes, I’m now just a statistic, one of the 11 million subscribers and counting. I have to say though; I’m quite enjoying the game so far. I’ve been playing for about five weeks and have a level 34 Priest that I’ll probably stick with until he is at least 70 before starting a new character.

On Crafting Wars
World of Warcraft with it's undemanding graphics engine and consisten design style looks also awesome.

There are a lot of people that say stuff like ‘pfft aaaawww nooooo World of Warcraft? Omg…’ that have scarcely played it or don’t know anything about MMOs, but don’t let them put you off giving it a shot.

Because it’s an older, less demanding game you can crank all the settings to max on a modern mid-range GPU which makes for smooth edges and smooth framerates. Sure there is a level of repetitiveness but there always will be in any MMO. Because it's more mature the servers are stable and the mechanics are balanced. WoW is the only fantasy MMO I've tried that’s felt remotely worth playing in the long term since AC 2.


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Bauul 12th March 2009, 15:22 Quote
That's only because Blizzard famously have installed a system that leeks crack dust out of the speakers whenever anyone plays WOW. Fool proof way of hooking players in.

It's true! I read it on the Internet.
neoanderthal 12th March 2009, 15:43 Quote
you couldn't force AA for WAR using Catalyst? Both my girlfriend and I use ATI cards (me a 4830 and her a 4850), and we both run WAR with AA & AF forced through CCC. With mipmap on max quality, AA and AF enabled, along with lightmaps and specular lighting the game looks pretty nice. This seems particularly true after the 1.2 update, where it seems they've updated the detail in many of the textures. Of course, the style may still not suit you, and short of a complete overhaul there's nothing that's going to change that.
lona 12th March 2009, 19:17 Quote
I totally understand what you're saying. AC2 also was my first MMO and I've never found any other MMO that was as immersive and just.. feeled so great as that.
I also played WoW for some time but got bored really fast. I don't know if it was me who changed but I feel like no game ever has been quite as good as AC2.

I say they start up the servers again!
Cutter McJ1b 12th March 2009, 20:09 Quote
Yeah that would be awesome. I wish they had open-sourced the code so someone could have done it, but I heard they were too embarrassed about the mess it was in.

There was actually a petition to get it back:

And yes, WoW is no AC2 imo, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.
nukeman8 13th March 2009, 12:01 Quote
Am i the only 1 who feels its very strange how games seem to be getting worse in terms of gameplay?
I never tried AC2 but i did play ultima online before they messed the game up completely and nothing compares to it.
I to am now playing WoW but only because theres nothing else close to it.

MMORGS all seem to have gone soft, to busy trying to cater for everyones needs and not aiming for a specific audience
FeRaL 13th March 2009, 15:54 Quote
You think AC2 was awesome, you should have been there for the original AC. Now that game was the bomb.
Cutter McJ1b 13th March 2009, 17:30 Quote
Originally Posted by FeRaL
You think AC2 was awesome, you should have been there for the original AC. Now that game was the bomb.

Yeah lots of people have said that. Half tempted to try it out sometimes even though it does look pretty old now. I dont think many AC players were persuaded over to AC2
dire_wolf 15th March 2009, 12:34 Quote
Welcome to the dark side!

Been playing since xmas 2005, the game has changed a lot since then, it's very casual friendly now which has upset more hardcore players but it's better for most, I remember the days of hardcore raiding, sitting at your pc from 6pm till 2am, grinding your levels because you'd run out of quests.

Thankfully those days are over and it's really quite a well rounded game now, you get back what you put in but the only 'race' now is really to get to the level cap, get good gear, and the best mount before the next expansion, normally a 2 year gap going off the previous ones so it's much slower paced.

Although saying that I really wouldn't like to start from scratch now, most of the 'classic' knowledgeable players are at cap with several characters, you'll find yourself getting grouped with new players more and more, wiping at a furious rate getting more frustrated with the game and not enjoying it for what it is.

What server are you on by the way, if you're on Anachronos EU by any chance then gimme a whisper if you ever need help on a run or group quest.
Pookeyhead 15th March 2009, 13:04 Quote
Nice to see someone giving WoW a try before assuming it's digital crack designed to hook children into becoming zombies.

One thing you mentioned though, was even a mid-range machine can play it maxxed out due to undemanding engine?

Try shadows on max.. then tick reduce input lag. LOL I can't even have it all maxxed out with a GTX295. I can have shadows on max, but need to turn reduce input lag off. I can't have both.

Also, you may think you can run it maxxed out while standing around in Stormwind, or indeed most places in Kalimdor or Eastern Kingdoms, but many places in Outland such as Shattrath, or the absolute worst place for frame rates - Sholozar... forget it.

"Shadows" and "Reduce Input lag" are the FPS killers. With these off, even a 5 year old rig can reach 60fps or higher @ 1920x1200.

On my new rig, with these two off, I average around 200fps....(1920x1200 8xaa 16x AF) turn on shadows to max, and this drops to around 80fps... turn on Reduce Input Lag as well, and it drops again to around 25fps in Sholozar and Dalaran and struggles to reach 50fps elsewhere... and this is an i7 with a GTX295.

It CAN run on anything, but don't assume you can blithely just tick every box and max every slider... you can't.
Cutter McJ1b 16th March 2009, 10:02 Quote
Originally Posted by Pookeyhead
Nice to see someone giving WoW a try before assuming it's digital crack designed to hook children into becoming zombies.

Yeah thats it. Do you blame the game or the people playing it for getting in trouble for making it their number one priority? I don't so much as log on until I got all my shiz is sorted and I wouldnt play until the wee hours on a school night.
Originally Posted by dire_wolf
What server are you on by the way, if you're on Anachronos EU by any chance then gimme a whisper if you ever need help on a run or group quest.

Very kind offer dire_wolf, but I'm on Azuremyst EU else Id have taken you up on it.
B3CK 19th March 2009, 07:01 Quote
So we gonna get an official EU and US realm (pvp,pve, alliance/horde), server for all the bit-tech crew to play on anytime soon?

Or is Anachronos the new official EU realm?
Stonewall78 19th March 2009, 18:40 Quote
AC1 is still the most expansive MMO I have ever played. Sure the graphics are not great (still aren't) but what other MMO has the backstory and ingame lore that AC has? None that I can think of. I recently trialed AC1 (it is still running) and hoped around to see what was new, I was fun to check out some old haunts etc as I spent many years playing that game. The only thing that holds it back these days is the lack of players, there was only about 100 on at any given time.
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