|Developer(s)||Doug Gesler (Zarquon), David Reese, Bill Money (OneEye), Denis Loubet|
|Publisher(s)||Pixel Mine(current), Iron Will Games (former), Asylumsoft Inc. (original), TKO Games (former)|
Ashen Empires, (formerly developed as Dransik, but later upgraded graphics engine and re-branded by TKO Games), is a two-dimensional MMORPG created by Jason "Lothgar" Ely and now owned by Iron Will Games. It was released for a free, open beta in 2002 and later officially released in 2003.
The original Dransik game, now known as Dransik Classic, was built in honor of Ultima V by Jason Ely, one of the U8 developers and Doug Gesler. Its graphics resemble the tileset used in that game, but in SVGA. Dransik Classic is still available for play using the Pixel Mine launcher. The modern game was originally known as Dransik, and was an upgraded version of the original Dransik game, which utilized an older graphics engine. The game was first launched through an open, free beta in September, 2002, by its original publisher, Asylumsoft Inc.. After the beta-testing stage was complete, the game started following a pay-to-play model on March 10, 2003.
At that time, a monthly subscription fee was required to play (a business model seen in many MMORPG's, including World of Warcraft and EverQuest). Iron Will Games later decided to allow users to play for free, but with a limited experience. Until early 2008, players could only receive 10% of all experience gained, were limited in tradeskills they can use and couldn't perform certain tasks such as using the party system, trade table, pickup and drop objects/items to the ground or loot certain mobs. In early 2008, these restrictions were relaxed so that: non-subscribing players now receive 50% of all experience gained; can party with other non-subscribers; can table trade freely with other non-subscribers; can table trade with subscribers but only to receive, not give items.
In 2008, Iron Will Games introduced factions and a Player vs Player area into the game as part of a spring update. In 2009, subscriptions were ended and the game became free to play, but added a pay system to earn in-game bonuses.
Accounts on Ashen Empires are able to contain up to four characters per server. When creating a character, the player can choose one of three races: human, night elf (also known as Astari), or Orc. It is one of the few MMORPG's of the era which included customization of appearances.
There is a total of seventy-one skills in the game; these skills include armed and unarmed combat, magery (spellcasting), and trade skills. Specific examples include Mining, Iron Forging, Baking, Planting, Harvesting, and Large Blades.
In a 2006 review, Blair Morris of OMGN praised the game, "Ashen Empires is a high quality game that every MMORPG fan should try." Among the praise was the world, the gameplay and the welcoming community.
After the game went free to play in 2009, Jason Gallienne an OnRPG Journalist, reviewed the game with mixed reaction. The dated graphics and poor animations paled in comparison to modern titles, but liked the large amount of skills afforded to the freeform leveling system, but noted the tedious crafting process could prove frustrating for players who like to craft.
A 2011 review by Beau Hindman further noted the aged system and the complex and confusing aspects of the game. Ashen Empires has no quest tracking function; and requires the player to keep track of the quests and information manually.
In January 2003 Ashen Empires won game of the month on MPOGD.
Ashen Empires was awarded "Fantasy MMORPG of 2008" at Independent Games Festival showcase.
- Ultima: The Reconstruction
- Dransik Open Beta, Multiplayer Online Games Directory, accessed October 4, 2007
- About IWG
- Dransik Navy & Marines, Dransik Navy & Marines, a Dransik guild, accessed October 4, 2007
- "Spring Update Re-energizes Classic MMORPG Ashen Empires". Mmosite. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- "AE is Free!". Ashen Empires website. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- Races, Ashen Empires, accessed October 4, 2007
- "Spring Update Re-energizes Classic MMORPG Ashen Empires". Mmosite.com. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- Skills, Ashen Empires, accessed October 4, 2007
- "Ashen Empires Review Over-look no longer, Ashen Empires has everything you're looking for". OMGN. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- "Ashen Empires – Tedious Crafting". onrpg. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- "Rise and Shiny recap: Ashen Empires". Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- "MPOGD's GAME OF THE MONTH MARCH 2013". Multiplayer Online Game Directory. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "Fireteam Reloaded and Ashen Empires Awarded at IGF Showcase". Mmosite.com. Retrieved 2013-05-23.