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Asheron's Call Beta Log & Review
1999-08-14 Chet Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5
LOGOLEFT.jpg (16432 bytes) Chet's Asheron's Call Beta Player Log
First, I would like to thank Microsoft for the chance to beta test their new massively online game, Asheron's Call.  We here at OMM have always thought such beta tests, while well-intentioned, were ultimately doomed to failure.  Real world game play cannot be simulated through the interaction of a bunch of gung ho, love-everything players.  We all play online-only games, we've all experienced the team killers of Tribes, the PKers of Ultima Online, and the kill stealers of Everquest.  We have always thought that these open beta sessions should include some bad seeds, just to see how the game system handles them.  Asheron's call is our first chance to try and introduce that element early on in a beta test.  This series is a record of our experiments.
Day 1  Character Creation.    08/13/99

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The theme for my character is the effeminate sailor.  
The first appearance choices are skin color, hair color, and facial features.   Where is the open mouthed slack jaw?  Microsoft clearly favors middle tones for skin color.  I was hoping for an exquisite dark black character, but the darkest I could get was peachy beige.  Not quite the David Alan Grier from McHale's Navy that I was hoping for, but it will have to work. 

Next up: clothes.  I am depressed by the thought that my alter-ego can't prance around naked, but the clothing choice really does help with my character's theme.  I am pretty sure I can design a backup character out of the available clothes:  Effeminate Cop.

Attributes:  I choose not to change any.   Who knows how this will later affect the game?  After clicking on about 100 disclaimers and user agreements, I refuse to read anymore text.  I'm excited that the main attributes are Health, Stamina, and Mana.  I don't want to have to learn how to play, so Microsoft's decision to stick with these tired old favorites flattens the learning curve.  I have no idea what Focus does, but I just hope my character is not forced to wear glasses at some later point since I did not increase his focus points.

Skills:  The screen shot is taken moments before I throw all my points away and move them into cooking and deception.  I can't wait to cook up some meals for some hungry adventurers then deceive them by charging extra for dinner salads that should have come with their meals in the first place.   To be honest, I have no idea at this point if AC is more like Ultima Online or Everquest.  Will any of these skills be useful?  Or is this just a waste of time?  I still can't help but think about how much I love my hat. 
I inform the server that I am a warrior and my name is Effeminate Sailor.  Thankfully it accepts this name.  Apparently AC has no EverQuest-like name filter.  Name filters merely force players to invent creative ways of spelling boner, and names produced by pounding on the keyboard are no better than names derived from actual words.  How many times do I have to see characters called AAkene or Eiisieeid?  After even more clicking, I am treated to the lamest hyper travel tunnel ever.  This is the first time I get a good look at myself:  Damn, I am one effeminate sailor.
Within 10 seconds of being dropped down into some world I selected, I realize I can remove a great deal of my clothing. 

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[This is my favorite]

Here is my first interaction with another player. "Hello sailor" seems to be the most obvious pickup line anyone could use.   Karg quickly tires of me and runs away.  I chase him and we end up by a lake.  I ask him if he wants to go skinny dipping.  At this point, I have figured out how to take off my clothes and am naked except for my undies, my shoes, and my hat.  Karg quits playing.
I still have no idea how to use a weapon or interact in any reasonable manner.  Fortunately, the "become naked" keys are easy to figure out.   The camera moves around with the mouse.  Every time I touch it, I either get the butt shot or an overhead view. I call the shot to the left, "Double Moon"
I spend the next 15 minutes running around asking people if they want to have cyber-sex.   There are not many people playing and most seem to have some knowledge of movement that allows them to quickly escape me.  Some guy called Dave is next to me, and a new guy, Zygag, appears.  I instantly begin screaming about how Dave is a cheater and has hacked the system.  A confused Zygag asks me what I'm talking about.   I explain that Dave hacked the system and stole all my clothes.  Now when my mom comes into the room and sees me operating a naked sailor, she is going to make me stop playing!  "Stay away everyone, Dave is a clothes stealer!!! He wrote the clothes steal hack!!! He's a CS!  CS!"  I keep screaming until Zygag points out that I simply have my clothes in inventory.  After yelling a couple of times "Zygag has a spell that makes clothes!! He rulez!!", I decide it is time to wrap up for the day.  I ask Zygag for a hug.  It takes some coaxing, but he eventually and reluctantly agrees.  It is a happy moment: arm and arm with my best male friend watching the sun rise over our new virtual world. When I tell Zyzag I'm touching his ass, he sputters some more gibberish and vanishes!  He is a powerful sorcerer and a good man.

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