Well alright, maybe more than just one ding. I very almost didn’t get a post out at all tonight on account of wanting to extract every moment possible of play until better sense took over and drove me to bed. I made a fair bit of progress — not just in raw levels (although that too), but also in social ties to the server and general preparedness for this character to go out into the world.

Not dead — just resting. Lying down speeds up your stamina and health regeneration. (Mountain Sewer, near Mayoi in the south of Dereth)

I was just sitting in town, sifting through my spells — getting ready to learn the level II variants for that tiny bit more oomf in my hunting — when in local I saw the announcement someone had made a successful 9th tinker on a weapon, followed up swiftly by a 10th.

If you’re unfamiliar — in Asheron’s Call you can tinker with your gear. Up to a maximum of 10 times per piece. You can do a range of things, from adding a rend effect (bypasses some degree of elemental protection) through to increasing a specific resistance on a piece of armor.

Each tinker attempt requires more skill than the last, and being unsuccessful blows the piece of gear in question to smithereens. Now — add to this the knowledge that a weapon rend only ever has a maximum chance of 33% (and so is typically done as the first tinker, to avoid wasting materials) — and you might understand why tinker attempts are broadcast and why it’s worthy of a trot over to where the action is happening (craftin’ action!) to give a hearty congratulations.

(And also jealously inspect the resulting weapon, of course.)

Long story short, we got to chatting and I ended up joining their allegiance (guild). This provides access to a general all allegiance chat channel, along with a chat for my patron (the person I swore personal allegiance to) and his other vassals which I remember being quite good fun in the past with the right mix of people. :)

It seems a lot of the old habits are falling back into place. I lamented in the past on feeling like I’d lost a lot of the social drive in the context of MMOs. I have been far, far more willing to play solo than to even attempt to find a good-fit guild. I just had no interest.

And it isn’t really about ‘need’ either — Asheron’s Call is an incredibly soloable game. I don’t wish for any boost in gear, I want to go through raising myself up off the ground again. So it isn’t access to ‘stuff’ either. My motivation pure and simple was to get access to chat while I play. Later on I expect to join them in higher level play — but that’s a way aways yet.

But that didn’t mean I was opposed to taking an offered round of buffs. Level II spells? Pft! Level VII please! This gives an hour of near Godlike ability. Case in point:

Contrast in this image between the black death horde of the Olthoi and the place they call home might make it a bit difficult to see just how deep in it I am without a click through for embiggening — but actually? Turns out it was fine. Despite the fact that there were still more busy running in at me (as seen in the minimap).

It’s worth noting that levels mean relatively little in AC. The fact these things are 8 levels over me has no direct bearing on my ability to hit them or them me. Rather what matters is the total XP the level represents, and how it is invested.

Since I’m specialised in both Missile Weapons and Melee Defense — buffed to the gills as I was — these Olthoi made for good pickings.

Although that’s not to say it still wasn’t worrisome to see quite that many beelining for my juicy bits. This was in a dungeon called Olthoi Arcade, and I’d already descended several full floors to get here. Death (which would have also resulted in loss of the buffs) would have made for a terrifying recovery run.

In any case — come the end of the buffs I scarpered my way back outside and realised I had a lot of XP to spend. I chose to invest it primarily in my magic abilities to skip over Level II self cast buffs entirely, and jump to IIIs. It is around this point that I typically feel much more comfortable and at home with a character — so even if it isn’t quite optimal to push for it so soon when I’m still having Strength issues (geez arrows be heavy), it was worth it to me. Rest can catch up later. :)

On the power of my own buffs — after spending a fair bit of time waltzing around the map trying to remember who would actually sell me the necessary knowledge for Level IIIs — I carried on my adventures in the frozen north, in a dungeon simply known as the Mite Maze.

At this site — the pyromancer Branith was hounded by Mite Sentries ever deeper into the lair. I’m unclear precisely what happened to him after he was lost, seperated from his party in the maze… But I don’t think anything good, as you can find his Shirt and Staff laying on the ground at certain points within.

I’d spent a small portion of my AC Youth in this dungeon in the past — so I thought it would be a nice place to revisit, perhaps see if some further sign of Branith could be found, but…


Who the hell let Gold Phyntos Wasps in here? The screenshot above is right by the entrance, and I literally had to do an about face and run back outside the first time I popped in. There were TWO of the Golden buggers initially. Just… RIGHT THERE.

Their sting is like ‘Pfft’ even through my measily Level III buffs — but they cast lightning bolts and those hurt.

Still — I managed to plink them down, get my breathing back under control and enter the rest of the maze wherein the Mite’s themselves lived. An enemy I was much happier with.

On the other hand though… It is a well named dungeon. And I got lost. Several times. I used to know this place like the back of my hand — no more it seems.

Buffs running dry I had to call a retreat so I could recast. It was at this point my brain advised the rest of me it was time to sleep, so I agreed to take a quick look at the map and try again tomorrow. (Although tricked myself, didn’t I — cos here I am writing this thing!!)

Anywho, here’s the map. Looks so simple from this view. Ingame you need to track all the twists and turns by memory alone.

Asheron's Call Map - Mite Maze
Tomorrow! Tomorrow I’ll get to the end.

Oh, if you’re wondering though — I ended the night on level 34 still. It was a near thing to 35 and another skill point — but the next thing I’m purchasing will be Mana Conversion, and for that I need yet another skill point which arrives at level 40. Mana Conversion is a skill that reduces the amount of mana it takes to actually cast something as the primary reason I want it — but secondly it also reduces the rate at which your magically imbued gear sucks its own mana reserves dry.

Handing in one of the earlier dungeon rewards — didn’t quite manage another ding after this one tonight. But given I started at 12 I think this is OK. :D

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6 thoughts on “Ding!”

    • Hah, of course.

      Still thinking about how to structure everything, I need to make an Alchi/Tinker character as well at some point. And actually suggest you do the same, you’re allowed to have two accounts, so you can in fact create your Alchi/Tinker and then swear your ‘main’ to the Tinker and pass up experience through playing your main.

      I should have done this from the outset, but fixing it up from level 30 odd isn’t too difficult. :)

      (If that is all confusing, don’t worry about it for now! short answer: Yes you can!)

  1. I really don’t think your health sould improve by lying down in a sewer!

    More significantly, you remind me of the very reason I decided not to have any more to do with Asheron’s Call after I got it home and installed it:

    “…my patron (the person I swore personal allegiance to)”. I remember discovering this concept in the game and how it made my flesh crawl. I would no more “swear allegiance” to another player in a video game than I would in real life. It’s just wrong.

    As I often say, everything comes down to language and/or semantics. There are ways the developers could have expressed this in a manner I would have had no problem with: I could have become another player’s protege, for example, or junior partner. No problem there. Even apprentice would work, although there I have issues with the inevitable “Master” that would come into the equation.

    By choosing “allegiance” and, even worse, “Vassal” it brings in the whole feudal concept which I was taught at an early age to abhorr. I couldn’t be doing with that then and I’m not comfortable with it now.

    I’m better with it when it’s my character swearing allegiance to an NPC, by the way. That comes up quite often in games. I still don’t like it but my characters aen’t me and some of them would do it and others wouldn’t. In AC’s case, though, it’s player to player, which means I am giving my oath to serve another human being on this planet – and not even anyone I’ve ever met. That’s just crazy talk!

  2. “I really don’t think your health should improve by lying down in a sewer!”

    Agree. Especially considering I was wearing a robe at the time. *wrinkles nose* Less thought about that the better, probably. (Or maybe I can just choose to believe the various magical buffs I had played keep away with the greeblies.)

    I would no more “swear allegiance” to another player in a video game than I would in real life. It’s just wrong.

    I can see this, and agree language is important. I didn’t have quite the same focus on feudalism in my education by the time I was playing this at 14, so didn’t really have the same negative connotations for me initially.

    Where the thinking on it ended up is that while yes, you swear allegiance to a patron — it is a two way street. In exchange for this allegiance and the benefits conferred with such (conferring of XP bonus and rank to the patron) they in turn have a duty of care.

    I am (I hope) a fairly low maintenance vassal, I don’t wish to be kitted out in gear or ran around by the hand. But I wouldn’t mind on mutual arrangement assistance in running through the Focus stone dungeon for instance. Or If I lose something valuable in a hard to reach spot and I can get us back there (now that I have my item magic trained and to level III, I’m not far off — although opening portals will require the skill for level IV) then I would hope my patron to assist with this.

    On Darktide or a PvP world, it was generally a given that if the agreed leveling areas came under threat from RPKs that your Patron would be there for you to assist if it looked like a raid was turning into a camp.

    In short: Obligation flowed both ways. Although perhaps ‘Obligation’ is really too strong a word, and what I mean to say is that there exists a social contract that goes beyond the historical use of the words involved.

    All that said — I do agree the words themselves can be problematic and it could have been structured or framed in any number of ways to be less so. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind necessarily on this — but just to express how I’ve come to view it and see it, after years with the system and seeing (and being, I hope, a) good patron(s).

    • Mind you, in the historic feudal system, that obligation or social contract is also supposed to flow both ways… ideally.

      So I don’t think it’s the semantics that causes the problem, but rather the actual people involved (e.g. do they have similar expectations from both parties) and the inherent power imbalance in such a relationship.

      Loving the AC coverage, it really reminds me of my old MUD days, when a game tried to be an all encompassing world, and succeeded all too well, to the detriment of players’ other commitments and the corresponding backlash against such in-depth worlds. Much less time to fit into these sorts of games now, but always keen to read about someone else’s experiences in a summarized form!
      Jeromai recently posted…GW2: Ok…So They Went There…My Profile

      • Wow, I’m so sorry Jeromai! I just realised I liked this but didn’t come back and reply when I had the chance.

        And you’re right — the historic system did have the same implied social contract, but it seems that for the most part it was never upheld and there wasn’t a lot the commonfolk (or the serfs) could do about it.

        In AC, to Bhag’s point somewhat too, the balance of power is a little more even in this respect. You can absolutely leave a poor patron, and there is no need to remain hidden a year and a day to maintain that freedom. No-one will come chase you down and beat you into coming back. ;)

        Also very glad you’re enjoying the AC coverage! I think there might be some more of it to come. ;D

        I think the balance of time required to fun enabled is much better in AC than it perhaps was in UO (not that I have a lot of first hand experience here), EQ or possibly the older MUDs these are based on from what you say.
        Naithin recently posted…Humble Monthly: September 2019My Profile

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