I haven’t played Asheron’s Call much lately, just logging in to refresh my house once a month.
As an older game, it’s natural for its playerbase to dwindle over time. It’s not a fresh, new, good-looking game, so it doesn’t attract many new players, and old players eventually stop and move on to other games. I had no idea just how much AC’s population had fallen until during this month’s refresh, when I stopped and took a brief look around at the housing market.
The most common type of house in AC is the cottage, and most of them are organized into communities of eight houses. There’s a finite number of cottages, and all of them were snapped up very quickly after the housing feature was activated and they remained in high demand for a very long time thereafter. It was feared that the only way you’d be able to get a cottage was to trade one on eBay from someone who got lucky and wanted to turn a real-life profit.
It was thus quite a surprise when I logged in yesterday and saw that within the community my cottage is in, there were only two others that were occupied, and the other five were abandoned and up for sale. I did a ‘@house available’ command, which gives you a list of how many houses of each type are available and where they’re located. Nearly every other time in the past it had simply said ‘Cottages: 0 available/ Villas: 0 available / Mansions: 0 available’, but this time it gave me a list of coordinates so long that I couldn’t even see the start of the list. I had to capture it to a file in order to see the ‘Cottages: 805 available’ at the start.
If so many cottages are abandoned now, there’ve got to be damn few people left playing…