Asheron’s Call: Dark Majesty is the first official expansion to Turbine Entertainment’s online role-playing game, Asheron’s Call. And the most obvious and appealing feature of Dark Majesty is that it’s cheap. Or rather, that it’s a remarkably good value for your money. Though it’s been called an “expansion,” Dark Majesty actually features as much new content as you’d expect from a retail expansion, plus the full version of the original game and a month’s subscription fee (a $10 value), all at a retail price of $20. So buying Dark Majesty basically lets you jump right into the game’s huge online world of Dereth for a month at a price of about $10. And if nothing else, Dark Majesty’s extremely attractive pricing goes a long way toward keeping it competitive with newer, more expensive online role-playing games.
Asheron’s Call is an online role-playing game that was released shortly after Sony’s EverQuest back in 1999. Both Dark Majesty and the original game let you create a human character from one of three ethnicities, choose its ability scores and skills, and then set off into the world of Dereth to explore, fight monsters, and increase your character’s power by gaining experience levels. If you take a quick glance at the world of Dereth, you may not think that Asheron’s Call has changed much since it was released in 1999. For starters, the game is almost as quiet as the original Asheron’s Call. Dark Majesty doesn’t have any in-game music, and other than the occasional sounds of monsters’ and characters’ war cries and magic spells, as well as some ambient noise, there’s little sound to speak of. And as far as graphics go, time hasn’t been kind to Asheron’s Call. Though the expansion is optimized to run at higher graphic resolutions, most of Dereth’s character models, buildings, and scenery still look blocky and simplistic. Two other online role-playing games that were released earlier this year, Dark Age of Camelot and Anarchy Online, both look much better; and Asheron’s Call’s old archrival, EverQuest, is scheduled to receive a graphical update later this year. Even with the expansion’s new structures, monsters, and scenery, Asheron’s Call has become a lot harder to look at in comparison.