MMoh: Asheron’s Call closing, D&D Online & Lord of the Rings Online leave Turbine

Oh! One newsbit we missed over Horacemas is the changes afoot at Turbine. The MMORPG specialists announced that they’re closing down Asheron’s Call, after seventeen years, and its sequel. Meanwhile, the teams behind Dungeons & Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online have started their own new studio, Standing Stone Games, and taken the games with them. That leaves the remains of Turbine making… a Batman mobile game? Standing Stone plan to continue working on DDO and LotRO as before, though they’ve now teamed up with Daybreak Games Company (the former Sony Online Entertainment lot) to publish ’em.

Turbine, who are owned by Warner Bros., announced on December 20th that they’ll shut down both Asheron’s Call games on January 31st. The first launched in 1999, and the second in 2002. Turbine said:

“This decision did not come easy, and we know this is disappointing for many of you. This game is a labor of love, and it’s not easy for us to bring it to an end.

“We have had a phenomenally long run; one of the longest in the world of MMORPGs, and that in and of itself is a spectacular feat. We are proud of our legacy, and the entire Asheron’s Call team has been honored to adventure with you for nearly twenty years. We thank you very much for being a part of it.”

As for Standing Stone, as an FAQ and their announcement make clear, it should continue merrily as before:

“We’re embarking on an exciting adventure as Standing Stone Games, a newly-independent studio staffed by people who have been working on DDO and LOTRO for many years. The teams remain very much committed to both games and are thrilled to continue development and operations of these games as an independent studio. This is an opportunity for us to bring about our dreams while still working on two of the biggest licenses in video games. It’s a huge honor, and for you this means your games will continue to grow and improve. We love to focus on games with a high level of depth and scope, and we can’t wait to show you what the future brings.”

That’s Turbine basically gone then, isn’t it? They were in clear trouble when Infinite Crisis, their DC Comics MOBA, shut down a few months after leaving beta (it was bland, is Wot Brendan Thought). They’re not officially gone but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear bad news. Shame.

Ta to the reader who pointed all this out.

From this site

21 Comments

  1. RavenGlenn says:

    My reaction: “YAY! They pulled the games out of Daybreak’s destructive grasp! Thank god they…wait…what? They are having Daybreak as their publisher? WTF?!”

    • Horg says:

      Ain’t nobody breaks games like Daybreak games. Ain’t nobody : |

  2. aepervius says:

    DDO was the least MMO like game that I saw. Level 1 – 18 roughly, you can view it as a series of disconnected single player adventure. After 16-18 I could not be bothered continue. I levelled mostly 1 clerics, 1 druids, 1 warlocks, 1 wizard , 1 sorc up to that level, and it was a fun romp each times.

    • SaintAn says:

      A lot of games that people call MMO’s aren’t actually MMO’s. As of Legion WoW isn’t an MMO anymore because of sharding. TOR isn’t and MMO. TESO is only an MMO on the PVP half.

      These games really should just be called MOG’s and leave the massively part out.

    • Someoldguy says:

      Like most MMOs it started ‘hard’ and became a lot more solo friendly as time went on. Back at launch, when level 10 was the cap, you pretty much needed a full, balanced team to get through anything beyond the early starter dungeons. Being D&D it wasn’t intended you’d be massively multiplaying on your adventures though, they were always intended to be small party based experiences, which was to its credit. You just saw lots of other adventurers around the city.

      What lost me at the time, but I gradually warmed to, was the idea that you repeated dungeons on harder difficulty settings to get the chance of better loot. Inevitably there was no way they could create enough original dungeons to take every character from level 1 – max without any repetition.

      • aepervius says:

        Today you can, if you are a subscriber, as there are enough adventures path for that. You still have to repeat dungeon if you are not though.

        What to this day I find stupid they did not change, is that there are some content (non raid) which you HAVE to have a group, so nobody does it ever nowadays. For example the one in necropolis where you have to have to split a party and have to pull lever (impossible to solo). I would have left such mechanic for raid, or for the hardest difficulty where people groups.

  3. FrenchTart says:

    Part of me is sad to see AC go but another part still kind of hates myself for the years I wasted hunting Olthoi on Leafcull and reading Crossroads of Dereth.

    Dear god, I still remember all the names and terminology :o

    • Roest says:

      The run to Ayan Baqur as a level 25 is still one of the best things I experienced in a MMORPG. AC is still in my top 3 together with UO and, yes, WoW.

    • deadlybydsgn says:

      Being on Thistledown when we successfully defended the Shard of the Herald (the point where the devs had to cheat by sending an invincible player to destroy it) is still one of my best gaming memories.

    • Karivian says:

      Leafcull represent!

  4. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    RIP Asheron’s Call. You were the best.

    I like to imagine an alternate history where WoW copied and polished the AC style MMO instead of Everquest.

  5. SaintAn says:

    So I thought they made AC so you could buy the game for $20 and make your own servers for it and didn’t have to use the official servers? Are those player servers still going to be around?

    Shame to see it gone completely. It’s the only MMO I know of with changing seasons.

    • FrenchTart says:

      Eh? When did that happen?

      • Someoldguy says:

        Funny, that was my reaction to hearing AC2 had opened again. I’d have quite liked to have given that another spin but wherever Turbine were publishing that news I missed it completely, despite having had active subscriptions to all their MMOs at one time or another and still dipping into LotRO occasionally even now. Were they relying on word of mouth?

  6. Premium User Badge

    Captain Narol says:

    AC was my second MMO (after Meridian 59), I have fond memories of it…

    Any hints about what Standing Stone means by “can’t wait to show you what the future brings” ? A new MMO in project ?

    • kendoebi says:

      At least for the lotro community, “what lies ahead” is a fair amount of content still – they just renewed their license on Tolkein’s book, and will add in Mordor next (presumably), then expand beyond and into to the fourth age, possibly revisiting the scouring of the shire, venturing south to Near and Far Harad, more content in Rhovanion, visiting east to Rhun, etc.

  7. ShadowGod says:

    Asheron’s Call was excellent and never got the respect it deserved in my opinion — For ex-AC people you have to try the very similar “Project Gorgon” which is being developed by a couple of ex-AC/AC2 people.

  8. Neurotic says:

    Turbine’s focusing on the mobile market now, apparently. Also, is RPS deliberately slow to report MMORPG news? ;)

    • Ghostwise says:

      Damnit. You have unearthed the secret agenda. Now they’ll have to silence you.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Turbine hardly shouted this from the rooftops. Our/my attention was elsewhere in all the end-of-year fuss but better late than never, yeah?

    • Imperialist says:

      Well, AC closing is new, but RPS did report LOTRO/DDO’s migration to Standing Stone Games like…a week ago i think.