by Rob Williams on June 24, 2005 in Gaming
Turbine is getting ready to launch the latest expansion pack for their Asheron’s Call game, entitled “Throne of Destiny”. Will this expansion be enough to please current and old players of the game? Let’s take a good hard look at all ToD has to offer to make that decision.
The client can now take advantage of some DirectX 9 features, although none are immediately noticeable. They have given players many more options to play with however, albeit still basic. They have added Anisotropic Filtering, which will be highly welcomed by anyone with a decent DX8/9 graphics card. AF improves the textures in a depth of field, meaning textures will be more clear at further distances. In addition, they have added “Extreme” to the Landscape Draw Distance, and it kicks ass. You are able to see a lot further in the distance before, as you can see in these comparison screenshots. Hunting around Sanamar though, I noticed bad Tree pop-up. They are really large trees, and maybe they have it popup on purpose to converve system resources. But for those with fast computers, they should have a “Super Uber Extreme Ultra Mega” Draw Distance option. I would would’ve liked to see Anti Aliasing as an option.
In the end though, the update graphics are not overly impressive, but it definitely helps give the game a fresh feel. For long time players who have not taken long breaks from the game, the graphical differences will be very noticeable. Considering that the game is built on an ~8 year old engine, it would have been much more time consuming and resource straining for Turbine to go any further. I am happy with the result, for the most part.
New Race – Viamontians
Another highly requested feature would be the addition of a race, which Turbine responded with the introduction of the Viamontians.
The war-like Viamontians have a tendency to conquer other lands in an effort to broaden their borders. Disciplined and fiercely loyal to their leaders, the Viamontians have long been the scourge of the other heritage groups of Ispar.
The Viamontians are in the midst of a civil war led by the Duke of Bellenesse. This rebellion has spilled over into Dereth, where the loyalist Viamontians will continue to exercise their bloodlust by waging war against Queen Elysa and the Isparians under her rule.
Sounds like a great class that I’m dying to play! So what new game play do they add to the game? Not a damned thing. Unlike the other three classes, the Viamontians do not begin with a trained weapon skill. Instead, they begin with Loyalty as a specialized skill, which leaves a lot to the imagination. If you were interested in playing as a new character, and wanted to level up a main character in the process, the Spec Loyalty is welcomed, but odd nonetheless.
To completely diversify the Viamontians from the other classes, they have been given a blue skin color. I’m all for blue skin. Maybe I had blue skin in a previous alien existence. In my opinion, they should have made the skin a darker blue, and not give the option of a real light blue. It’s somewhat odd seeing bright blue people run across the screen. This may or may not take away from the look and feel of the game for some people. Either way, a new class is welcomed, and I’m looking forward to future story arcs involving them.