Only a week ago, I was trying out Asheron’s Call again for the first time in what I estimate must be at least 10 years. Fourteen if you take it from when I last ‘seriously’ played. And I almost bounced off entirely. I was so close to just calling it a failed experiment and moving on.

A week later and that outcome is almost unimaginable.

Asheron's Call -- Glendon Wood Prison dungeon.
Inside Glendon Wood Prison

The loss that would have occurred with that outcome indescribable. And yet I never would have even known or truly appreciated it. I would have had no way to. Because truth be told, until now I didn’t really understand Isey or Quin’s desire — or even ability — to wrap themselves up so entirely with EverQuest again (in its Project 1999 iteration). I was happy for them that they so obviously found such joy in it. But I didn’t understand how or why.

It took diving back into WoW Classic to make me realise my earlier stance on nostalgia might not be right after all. Rather amusingly, I was right in my estimation of WoW Classics lifespan for me. It did only last a couple of weeks. But I was way off base about why that would be the case. I could have seen myself happily playing WoW Classic for some time to come. And I realised this quite early on. So it isn’t without some degree of irony then, that this realisation is what sealed the fate on not playing it for longer.

Because it drove me to try AC again.

Asheron's Call Screenshot -- High up on a plateau, overlooking the Gharu'ndim desert after having climbed Bellig Tower.
I got up here through working my way up Bellig’s Tower dungeon. I was after the Lightning Hammer possessed by a revenant who (un)lived near the top, but I noticed it carried on past this target so I followed it further up. Eventually, I came to a portal to take me outside again — and was met by an amazing vista from atop the plateau. More — the portal shown jumps across to the next plateau in the distance. Then the next, in a chain, until I eventually found a sister tower to the one I started at.

I’m not the most prolific taker of screenshots. Generally, I need to remind myself to take any at all. But I’ve taken over 40 so far, and flicking back through them — even only spanning a week so far — carries so much memory and sentiment already.

Now I know, a large part of that sentimental power is driven by compounding upon old memories. But the effect is no less real or meaningful now for that fact.

Asheron's Call screenshot -- Green Mire Grave dungeon.
Nearing the end of Green Mire Grave

I felt an almost silly degree of pride in successfully navigating through the key and lock puzzle elements of Green Mire Grave without resorting to the use of a map, as I had needed to with the Mite Maze.

I made it through the Mines of Colier, down to the (now undead) Baron. Back in the beta this place had a different set of monsters and a chest on a 10-15 minute timer that spawned amazing loo for the level you could get down there.

People would line up around the room, waiting their turn at the chest and just talk and laugh with one another. The recent talk of lining up for quest mobs in WoW Classic made me smile in memory of this. Of course, no-one is lining up for this chest now — but yet… It was nice to be back.

Or heading back to the Glendon Wood Prison. This was the first dungeon I ever did in Asheron’s Call that wasn’t located near my hometown of Holtburg. Being back here I was reminded that dungeons in Asheron’s Call weren’t tailor made for specific levels. They were places that made sense in the context of the world they resided in. Sure you could complete the quest objectives within the low level portions of the dungeon no problem. But push too deep and you could find things best left locked away. Things you may not be ready for yet.

Overall, I feel like I might be back with Asheron’s Call for a while. Enough so to wipe the slate (sidebar) clear of all else for the time being. I could always be wrong — but I hope not. Because it’s a very similar feeling to the one I have about the longevity of this blog, compared to my prior efforts.

I may not have understood Isey, Quin and the others that played Project ’99 to the exclusion of all else before. But I do now.


Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.


Bhagpuss · September 9, 2019 at 10:58 pm

I’m not even convinced it’s all, or even mostly, down to nostalgia. I’m not going to dispute Kaylriene’s very well- argued point on games (or versions of the same games in the case of WoW/EQ here) being “better” or “worse” than each other. It’s not about whether they’re better or worse, it’s about how they differ.

WoW Classic is not WoW Retail. P1999 is not EQ Live. It’s not even EQ Progression. All of these games are their own beast. And games from ten, fifteen, twenty years ago are not games from now. It seems silly to have to point it out but it’s true.

You can see it in every form of media and entertainment. 90s music is not the same as 2109 music. Movies from the 1970s aren’t the same as movies from last year. No-one would ever expect them to be but equally, no-one expects people who liked 90s music to stop listening to it and listen to current music instead. No-one imagines art cinemas and festivals and streaming services should only program current commercial movies. Everyone understands that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

It’s taken a while but gaming is coming around to this, too. We have Retro gaming now and it’s well understood, particularly in terms of old console titles from decades ago and different styles from the past, like Pixel art games. MMORPGs, even with a couple of decades behind them, are still relatively new. It’s taken a while to build up a suficient weight of gravitas and history to allow people both to understand and admit that they used to be different to how they are now and that difference is to be celebrated and welcomed.

I’m playing Classic every day when I never expected to not out of nostalgia but because the gameplay appeals to me mire than the gameplay in many of the modern titles I’m also playing. It’s a choice and it’s about time we had the chance to make it. Nostalgia is a factor but my no means the main one for me, even when I go back and play EQ. I just prefer the gameplay to anything anyone’s come up with since.

    Naithin · September 10, 2019 at 12:29 am

    I was unclear in my reference to that Nostalgia post, I think. In the conclusion of that post I ended up agreeing with you in fact, from another post of yours, and quoted the following:
    “…a stroll around the old neighborhood is plenty. It’s like stopping off in the village where I grew up. Sometimes I do that, when I pass by on my way to somewhere else. Take a wander round, see what’s changed. What hasn’t. Yet. Then back in the car and move on.”

    At the time I was 100% on board with this view. That these old titles were nice places to visit, but why on earth would we stay?

    Your comment now nails that part of it I think.

    There is difference in how these games were put together then compared to now. The part I’m valuing most about AC is the incredible sense of place. Things are where they are and as they are less for gamey reasons and more because that’s how they are and how they make sense to be.

    At the very least, far more care was put into the art of making this seem so, when the reality of course is that they’re serving dual purpose.

    I just took my first trip since returning into the Direlands tonight, and it was filled with almost as much terror as the first. The constant need to just run and find where I needed to be before something much bigger and badder than I had me for lunch.

    Classic it was a different experience I suppose, but similar — in that the world was given more weight. Certainly less than EQ, but more than it is given now.

    Nostalgia plays a part — it drives additional power to the memories being created now by association with the earlier ones. But it’s a relatively small part, you’re right.

Isey · September 10, 2019 at 12:29 am

Akin to Bhagpuss above, when I read this article (thanks for the link!) and thought about it I realized something (and made the comment in my last post, and link back).

I did start P1999 out of curious nostalgia. But now, as I push into the mid 50s I am playing places I never did in the past. It is all new. And the game itself is very much fun and holds its own as a pure and simple fun MMO right now.

That’s pretty cool to think. I believe many others will find that as well in WoW Classic that the game is just fun as it was back then. Not saying new WoW isn’t fun, but it’s definitely different fun.

    Naithin · September 10, 2019 at 1:07 am

    I’ve put the longer form of this comment in reply to Bhag above and on your post, but again in short form:

    Yes. :)

    Nostalgia is a powerful catalyst, and kept me going when I might otherwise have stopped at seeing some of the changes I had a bad initial kneejerk reaction too.

    But it isn’t what powers my play now — that’s the game all on its own merit.

Quin · September 10, 2019 at 5:24 pm

Glad to hear it Nait! I think to truly understand it we need to return to the games that gave us our first sense of wonder in the genre. For me, that will always be UO and EQ.

I haven’t had a chance to get to AC but I hope to give it a shot. I fear it may not hold the same place for me as it does you.

    Naithin · September 10, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Aye, it’s very unlikely to have that same kickstart of nostalgic power to get you started. It IS a good game though, although there might be a bit of a controls adjustment period. You do interact with the mouse, but general play is two hands on the keyboard, something I’ve not done in yeaaaars! xD

    In any case, worth a shot, but I understand it’s not the easiest thing to get into. So no worries if you can’t. I’m hoping to put together some info / guides for getting started, but man they’re a lot of work. So we’ll see. ;)

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