According to Kira, Asheron's Call 2 is going the way of all digital flesh. Now comes the culling, post WoW.
AC2 and Turbine did a great job -- the monthly content updates, where the world genuinely changed from month to month, has never been matched in any of the big game designs. The game was constantly fresh, each month a fevered hunt for clues to the unfurling stoy arc of the year. Websites were set up to track incoming new bits of lore and assemble them. They just couldn't beat the weight of the established franchises.
AC2's first version, Asheron's Call (which is apparently still up and running) was the home to one of my favorite in-game episodes. For the culmination of a multi-month plotline, all the world servers had a massive "Destroy the Crystal for Booty" cave system created. As to be expected, the players assaulted the cavern, destroyed the crystal for their reward -- and released the Big Bad for the rest of the arc.
However, on one server, a group of players revolted. They spontaneously organized to defend the object against the depradations of the other players on the server. They scheduled, worked in shifts. For days, while the story progressed on the other worlds, they kept the crystal intact and the Big Bad entombed.
They hijacked the narrative.
This, to me, was fantastic. These players moved from story-consumers to story-actors. It wasn't somebody else's story anymore. In theory is the reason people play on-line games is to own the story, but in reality they're like old passion plays, never varying as you hunt from well-documented quest to well-documented quest in order top chase the same objects everyone else is. The fun is in maximizing your character, tweaking the stats -- computer on-line games are much more in the spirit of collectible card games, when you think about it. Probably the same root of their monetary riches are in that soil of addictive pursuit of perfection ...
Eventually, in order to keep the servers synched, these rebels were given a special in-game honorific and then the Big Bad was sprung. But I'll always be inspired by that little moment when a bunch of strangers all sitting in different dark little rooms all over the world decided "You know what? NO. We're going to tell our version of the story."
(NOTE: Edited to correct the timeline)