In EverQuest you camp. WoW has you questing. But in Asheron’s Call you go hunting.

Ranging out near the edge of the safe lands. The pillars mark the edge, although it is still a transition and riding the edge can reap some rewards if careful. The pillars themselves also have a backstory — one I hope to uncover again in my travels, as it is lost to me presently.

Hunting takes many, many shapes and forms and can serve a range of purposes. My favourite approach being to roam the terrain. Rather than locking yourself to a specific camp or even area — you strike out and explore.

When I was new to Asheron’s Call this was less ‘ranging’ and more ‘puttering about within eye sight of familiar things’. Staying within a familiar locale grew to patrolling the wilderness around my home — Holtburg — in ever increasing distances. Hugging the natural line of the river became wanting to see what the nearby mountain range was like.

The first time making that next step was terrifying. The unfamiliar terrain could easily render your body full of goodies lost should you die.

But it was also exhilarating in a way I don’t think EverQuest, WoW or perhaps any MMO since has truly captured. Now I admit — Asheron’s Call was my first MMO experience ever. There is an incredible amount of positive bias that goes along with that. But in terms of unconstrained freedom to explore — I think I’m still sticking to the realm of objectivity to sing its praises above the others.

Right — opening this in all its glory is probably a little more complex than it should be unfortunately. But if you right click this link and tell it to open in a new tab or window, you should then be able to zoom in and take a look around at the nooks and crannies of Dereth.

Holtburg is in the North Eastern area of Dereth — the main landmass — resting alongside the North Western end of the river, or almost directly South East of the Crater.

Still — like I said. This was just one form. Creatures do spawn in places that make sense to them. If you had something specific in mind — you could go seek them out. Armadillos for a spine to craft the Sifili of Crimson Stars? Look to water banks.

Great Mattekars1 to craft a set of armor? Head for the hills — riiiight up the hills to the snowy peaks, leaving the valleys far behind.

And then there were dungeons. Some 700+ of them. Many containing their own story to uncover. You can find letters, or whole journals telling a perspective of a larger story. Lore hunts were a thing — looking for additional clues and insights into the stories we thought we knew. Sometimes it was through as small a clue as an inscription on an object. Although some stories were much better known, and personal to the nearby residents.

What I want to do next — is to work my way around the land of Dereth, uncovering the lore I once knew and have since forgotten. Visiting the dungeons, and places, and quests necessary to start reforming the story of this world for myself.

Not everything you find in the wild is out to get you — I came across a Healer living off the land who could sell uncommonly good healing kits.

And hell — maybe in the process remind myself of the grand sense of ‘place’ Dereth offered. From an above ground that made sense, to a below ground that times could be truly oppressive in the feeling of depth created. Some of the Olthoi dungeons in particular I remember feeling miles under ground before I reached the area I felt comfortable with — and yet, I knew from runs where I had friends along for the ride — that there was still much further to go and bigger challenges if I just kept on going.

I’m excited by the prospect of seeing all this again. And I think that without WoW Classic showing me there is actual real value in revisiting these past experiences and that it’s not all just smoke and mirrors or nostalgia glasses? I never would have bothered.

PS: I’m no longer on Coldeve — I’m now on Levistras. Coldeve had a higher nominal population count true. But this was multiboxers and buff/trade bots at least as much as actual players. Levistras has a strict no macro policy, so anyone you run into is actually — you know, a player. :)


  1. Giant, woolly, three-legged beasts with horns out to here.


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.


Tessa ~ Narratess · September 5, 2019 at 12:50 am

My god, those graphics… Now I want to play Neverwinter Nights again :D

    Naithin · September 5, 2019 at 1:04 am

    Haha, yeah! If you squint you can see the resemblance for sure.

    It’s quite amazing what a difference a day and a purpose makes though. Despite having a wave of nostalgia from yesterday’s experience of seeing an old landmark again with some sentimental value — as a game I was about ready to write it all off again.

    Then today — just… Getting in there, playing, and finding a desire to uncover the lore again? Who knows how long I’m in for now. xD

Nimgimli · September 5, 2019 at 1:16 am

The thing I remember most about Asheron’s Call was that it had proper seasons. Granted (going from ancient memory) the seasons changed via a patch day rather than gradually, but it was neat that there would be snow in a region one day, then it would be gone the next.

That and the Atoyot! emote.

(For your readers, back when the game launched there was a Toyota ad campaign going where Toyota owners would jump in the air and pump their fist while yelling Toyota, and there was an emote in the game where your character would do the same and kind of hang in the air. Atoyot is Toyota spelled backwards.)

    Naithin · September 5, 2019 at 1:25 am

    Yes! Although I was always glad when winter ended and we got to see some greenery again. My memory matches yours though of it being a patch day change, aligned to their monthly content updates which kept me going in AC for sooo loooong. xD

    The Atoyot emote was great, I assume it’s in the emulated version of AC too — but haven’t actually tried that! I shall report back when I have. ;)

Quin · September 5, 2019 at 2:18 am

I played AC very very briefly back in the day but your post has made me want to check it out again. I mostly played UO and EQ at the time, so my nostalgia is very weak. But I may give it a crack.

    Naithin · September 5, 2019 at 7:35 am

    It would be about the best thing ever if you did, but I acknowledge AC can be a bit of a dense game to get started with. The controls are… not exactly intuitive vs. modern counterparts. You play double handed on the keyboard (with the odd touch to the mouse) for example, with your movement control largely around the WASD area (although back is X, Z and C strafe) with camera control on numpad.

    But if I can help with builds or getting started advice that you’d find useful, happy to do so!

Bhagpuss · September 5, 2019 at 3:16 am

Oddly enough, for the first year or more that I played EQ, I used always to talk about “going hunting”. Lots of people did. It didn’t necessarily mean roaming although in my case that’s what i was most likely to be doing. I shouldn’t give the impression that most of my gameplay consisted of camping fixed spawns or locations. The classes I played most – druid, ranger, necromancer – were very mobile and versatile (well, not so much the ranger hehe) and I spent more time wandering far and wide than stopping in one place. I tended to camp a spawn or a spot when I only had a short time to play (an hour being a short time then) or in a group.

I also used to say goodbye to people with “Good Hunting”. I don’t think I used the term “camping” until I’d been playing for quite along time and it was longer still before I was comfortable with it.

    Naithin · September 5, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Interesting! But makes sense. My own experience with EQ (up to 30 odd as a beastmaster, well past launch when there must’ve been a half dozen or so expansions at least) was very much all about the camping.

    But being fair — you can camp in AC too. It’s not a big part of play, but there are spots you can do it if you want. On the giant map, in the Lost Wish mountain range (the smaller set in the North East) is an area that became so famous it earned its own Point of Interest reference simply called ‘Olthoi Cliffs’.

    Archers and mages could perch up top in (relative) safety plinking down below at an Olthoi horde. Very early on in the development they changed the XP earning equation to take note of how long an enemy tried to make progress toward you and was impeded. So it stopped super low-level people with no skill taking 20 minutes to kill one and then dinging to 30, but it was still a relatively popular spot for lowish to mid-range characters.

    Heck, I might take my own character there at some point just to look out over the cliffs again, see if it still works or if the area around the cliffs has since become too dangerous. :)

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