Today, Microsoft and Turbine have unveiled the 12th world-changing event for Asheron's Call, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game. The 12th event is significant for a number of reasons, as it marks both the anniversary of Asheron's Call's launch and something of a culmination of the game's story, which has gradually taken shape over the course of the game's 11 previous world-changing events.
The 12th event, Should the Stars Fall, introduces a new area to the world of Dereth for players to explore: the Vesayen Isles, a chain of tropical islands that lies just off the southern tip of the mainland. Until recently, the isles were closed off by a magical barrier, but the events that have transpired so far - like the invasion of the shadow spires and the discovery and defeat of many of the mysterious Shendolain crystal creatures - have since caused the barrier to drop. Players are now free to traverse the new islands, which feature many new places to explore, including two new towns. The first is Kryst, a small, primitive village composed of straw huts. Kryst is inhabited by human refugees that fled from their olthoi captors and established a makeshift town by the shore. Low- to mid-level characters will be able to visit Kryst and keep themselves well supplied, while higher-level characters may be better able to equip themselves with more powerful (and expensive) supplies at the second new town, MacNiall's Freehold, which is a rough-and-tumble pirate settlement that was established by the buccaneer MacNiall the Unruled (a distant cousin of MacDougal from the mainland).
The Vesayen Isles themselves consist of lush tropical areas that are home to a variety of new monsters and new scenery. Experienced adventurers will likely recognize the islands' new species of mosswart, zephyr, and phyntos wasp on sight - there'll be about two dozen new species of existing monsters in all. Players may even find that certain tribes of mosswart have turned to idolatry and worship huge living idols of stone. However, the isles are also home to two entirely new species of creature: the hunched, amphibian moarsman, which complements its vicious bite with a caustic acid-breath attack; and the slithis, a species of gigantic tentacle monster that lurks in shallow water and attacks careless fishermen and adventurers. Intrepid explorers will also discover enormous waterfalls on the new islands, and may also find shattered remnants of lost civilizations in certain dungeons, along with rotted, fly-ridden corpses of past adventurers.
Unlike some of the new territories introduced in previous events, the Vesayen Isles will be open to exploration by players of all levels. The isles will feature no less than ten new dungeon areas of varying degrees of difficulty, as well as new types of treasure. For instance, the event will introduce a powerful and entirely new item, Rumuba's Jade Spear - a swift and deadly piercing weapon - into the world of Dereth. The event's main quest - the details of which have yet to be uncovered - will encourage players of all levels to participate, as it requires player characters of different experience levels to cooperate to solve different parts of it, including the last part of the crystal quest introduced in previous events. As such, the game's development team has fine-tuned the difficulty and experience-point yield of certain types of monsters to make them worthier foes (and more attractive targets), as per user feedback.
If you've got a subscription to Asheron's Call, you can go to the Microsoft Gaming Zone and explore the new Vesayen Isles right now.