It was revealed last month that two older massively multipalyer online role-playing games — The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online — had shifted from developer Turbine to a new studio, Standing Stone Games. It was a positive moment for the community of those two games; they were getting a chance to keep on living even as publisher Warner Bros. Interactive decided it didn’t want to handle them anymore.
One even older game slipped through the cracks, however: Asheron’s Call. Turbine’s original MMO (and first game), Asheron’s Call was released way back in 1999 and has run non-stop since then. Turbine announced that it was ceasing development of new content on the game in 2014, but it has kept servers open and provided minimal support for players.
With the shift of most of Turbine’s MMOs to Standing Stone Games, however, Asheron’s Call got put on the chopping block. It was quietly announced that the game’s servers would shut down on Jan. 31, 2017.
This isn’t going to be huge or affecting news for most readers, but a touching YouTube video reveals one of the remnants of Asheron’s Call’s small but tight-knit community. Posted on a YouTube channel called We Sleep Talk, the video introduces a 74-year-old grandfather who has been playing the game since its 1999 launch.
In fact, one of his characters has been around from the start. Another character, one created in 2003, has been played for over three months of total time. He claims to have at least 80 characters in total.
The video’s uploader says they are trying to find a replacement game for their grandfather — a tall order for a game he’s devoted so much time to. When the person filming asks if he thinks he’ll be able to find something similar to play, he pauses and then replies with a smile: “No, everything now looks like crap compared to this game.”
So far the response to the video has been massive, with nearly 500,000 views as of the time of this article’s publication. Comments include one claiming to be from David Bowman, who was a vice president of development at Turbine in 2000 and 2001.
“We loved working on the game,” Bowman says. “We loved playing it with the community, and running the live game with great people like your grandpa playing made it feel like we were doing something that truly mattered.”
If you’ve got ideas about what he should play next, head over to the YouTube video and leave a comment. If nothing else, maybe someone will manage to get a really good Asheron’s Call fan server up and running sooner rather than later.