Online video game experiences are going extinct at an alarming rate this year. GameSpy's closed the doors of dozens of titles worthy of revisiting down the line, and Nintendo has done away with the online portion of Wii and Nintendo DS games alike.
To help you cope with all that sad news, here is a story to let you know that playing your favorite games again is far from impossible. Turbine will be making its MMORPG fan-favorite classics Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings free-to-play from here on out. The company informed the few fans who still play that this June would be the last time they would be billed for a subscription.
"As of August 2014, Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2 will no longer charge a subscription fee for players," Turbine announced. "The last payments will be processed on June 31st, making July the final 'paid' month."
"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."
Players who want to jump back into the games will have to pay a one-time $10 deposit to either reclaim their old account or make a new one. Player run servers are in the works and could be a possibility before the end of the year.
The Asheron's Call games are largely credited along with Everquest and Ultima Online as being the fathers of the MMORPG genre by setting the rules and foundations back when it was still finding its footing. They represent a much more innocent time of discovery, cooperation, and the wonderful frontier of online gaming before World of Warcraft turned the genre into a second full time job.
Both games were very popular with those who played them, and the first game has been running smoothly ever since launch. Asheron's Call 2 saw its servers shut down for nearly 7 years, but it was revived in 2012 as a beta for those still paying the subscription fee for the first game. Now, it is available for all to play.
With these games finally being free-to-play, maybe I'll give them a shot as I never got the chance to play them. I was too busy blasting through my online RPG debut, Phantasy Star Online, thanks to my Japanese and console gamer roots.
See publishers? You don't have to kill your games off. Keep them around, and keep the fans happy.