Well.. Asheron's Call is dead as of a couple days ago. RIP AC1.
I'm pretty saddened by that notion, it turns out. I hadn't played in the past couple years, but I'll admit I never thought the game would actually die off, especially given some hope that Turbine/WB would release private server options and I wondered if some form of open sourcing would happen someday... just seemed like the thing would somehow live on forever.
AC holds a special place in this genre for me, but not just due to it being one of the first three MMORPG's in the world, but because it was really great. I still haven't played any game quite like it in many ways and there's something about a community that sticks around for something that long (17 years), that makes it special in ways the game itself can't really measure against.
I find it strange that I'm sitting here feeling somewhat like AC dying off is also a sort of death for this site. I started MassMOG in 2000 -- Creation Date: 23-feb-2000, to be exact -- spawned largely due to the excitement and novelty of the burgeoning gaming genre of MMORPGs (I didn't like the acronym and tried to make my own in "MassMOG".. which obviously never really caught on. Heh.) I had played in the AC1 beta and was really excited about the genre as a whole and the potential of persistent worlds with thousands of players.
Of course, over all these years, the genre turned into a mess in many ways, mostly driven by the typical onslaught of copycats and rushed-out money generators. There have been many gems, of course, but the original excitement faded for me overall in the recent decade, where it started looking like the notion of the MMO was being relegated to more of a gimmick. Some great games are still flying high on the concept though, so I guess my melancholy over AC1 is getting the better of me at the moment.