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Age of Conan's "Kinda" Launch and Massive Pre-Orders 582

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the david-and-goliath dept.
While some are already enjoying the joys of Age of Conan via the early launch, many more will soon be enjoying the fruits of Funcom's labor. An amazing 700,000 copies of the game are being shipped to retailers for day one sales and in some locations pre-orders will not be filled due to server limitations. Between this and the new Warhammer game on the way, should Blizzard be worried, or will Wrath of the Lich King continue to hold their competitive edge?
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Age of Conan's "Kinda" Launch and Massive Pre-Orders

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2008 @01:52PM (#23464738)
    I played under early launch, and the experience was surprisingly smooth. I had zero server or client crashes. A number of minor graphical glitches, and one bugged quest. Other than that, it was a great experience. Oh, and I was playing on a Mac, running Vista, via Bootcamp.
  • Fancy MMO's MEH... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hyperz69 (1226464) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:05PM (#23464914)
    Give me my Red Dragon and Exiled. The old BBS days. We had Ansi Colored Text... and we LIKED IT like that.
  • Re:PvP games (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:07PM (#23464940)

    Just based on the fact that it's a PvP oriented game, I know I'm not really going to be interested in it.
    Actually AoC is not heavily PvP driven if you don't want it to be. Both PvP and PvE servers have a huge amount of PvE content. The only difference between the two are the PvP servers have open world PvP and the PvE servers do not. Their is raiding, dungeons and quests and you could very easily never PvP in the game at all and still have a huge amount of things to do.

    If you like PvP then the game has a lot to offer, with world PvP, PvP minigames, and larger scale seige warfare. If your looking for only PvE you won't be disappointed. I've been playing the beta for several weeks without doing any PvP and have had no lack of stuff to do. From what I've seen stated even the seige warfare will be open to PvE only players, with your enemy being played by NPC's instead of other players.

  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:10PM (#23464992)
    I dumped City of Heroes after I got my MAC. I was tired of having to log out of Linux to play COH and decided I was just going to dump it entirely and just install WOW on my Mac. I can also play it on Linux via Cedega/WINE really well. Yes this is maybe 10% of the desktop market total but WOW caters to it and as a result is the dominant MORPG for Linux and MAC players. Windows players have a million options to choose from for MORPG's and tons of people fighting for their dollars while 40% of college students are all purchasing Macs and nobody is fighting for this disposable income market.

    Seems like someone other than Blizzard would see the wisdom in supporting OpenGL and this expanding market

  • by morari (1080535) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:20PM (#23465096) Journal
    I don't like MMOs and never will. The very fact that I have to pay to play the games keeps me from caring. Outside of that however, I find that Age of Conan (in theory) fixes a lot of the problems inherent within popular MMOs. The most obvious of these problems being the ridiculously dumbeddown combat. Clicking on an enemy and watching as your character takes turns attacking it is not fun. I don't know how well Conan's system works, but real time, actual skill-based combat is sure a step in the right direction anyway you slice it.

    Robert E. Howard's "Hyborian Age" is the perfect setting if done correctly. It certainly puts to shame all of the weak "high fantasy" out there. It's just a shame that it's being relegated to an MMO which may or may not even catch on with the population.

  • Re:Conan will... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WankersRevenge (452399) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:26PM (#23465166)
    hahahaha ... great quote ... My wife and I just watched Conan the other day. She rolled her eyes when I popped it into the dvd player, but after the first ten minutes she was hooked. At the end of the movie, she said she was surprised that she liked it. Besides the T&A elements and the horrific lines ("Two or three years ago, there were just another snake cult, but now, they're everywhere") and Arnold's wooden stares, it's a great fantasy flick with a great soundtrack. I mean, how many Hollywood fantasy films hold a philosophical question at the heart (what is the riddle of steel). And James Earl Jones was a kick ass villain, using his charisma as a weapon. Check it out again if you have some time to kill.
  • The Answer is No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moore.dustin (942289) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:30PM (#23465200) Homepage
    ...and it is an emphatic No.

    WoW brought non-gamers into the fray and can boast 10 million users as a direct result of tapping a new market of non-gamers(Non PC Gamers at least). Wow did not turn these people onto PC gaming on a larger scale though, it isn't opening doors for others genres (or games in this case) to get these users. These users playing WoW, that would have otherwise not be playing anything on a PC are, 1) Not looking for another a new PC game and more importantly 2) are still very happy with what WoW is giving them given the longevity of its sustained user base. If a company wishes to tap the same users that made WoW wildly successful, they have to earn it! Blizzard created its new market by drawing people to their game and other companies will have to do the same. The point here is that a company cannot just make a game and sell a bunch of copies early on and claim to be challenging WoW. Instead they have to start well, sustain growth AND THEN they may be able to draw the new coveted market Blizzard has cornered at present. Let us not forget that WoW did not really take off with the Average Joe for a good 12+ months after it went gold(at least).

    These other games may get some of the gamers that knew the genre's(MMO) landscape before WoW and actually care to try other MMO's. They will not eat into WoW's new bread and butter - in fact, they are all just scurrying around for the crumbs.
  • by Achoi77 (669484) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:31PM (#23465224)

    I believe most likely that Blizzard isn't going to make any sweeping additions untill they see a proven formula that works. Once they see something that works, then they will jump in, begin development, pump millions to polish it up and resume the top spot.

    I pretty sure Blizzard still has their trump card hidden in preparation for the next wave. The 'world pvp' in WoW is a joke, Blizzard is currently just dropping little breadcrumbs in their pvp space to prevent people from defecting too quickly. But right now they still have technical hurdles they have to overcome (how do you have thousands of people in a zone without excessive lag, all the while not causing the servers to die in a fiery mess?), but they have plenty of time, and a good amount of property, and a large enough consumer pool to deliver a desirable product - when the time is right. It's just not at this moment - which sucks for us consumers.

    Once WAR comes out and Blizzard sees that they are beginning to lose subscribers, they will release their new world pvp setting beyond just Northrend. Right now they are just waiting for to someone to press the big red button first.

  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by morari (1080535) on Monday May 19, 2008 @02:56PM (#23465530) Journal
    To be fair, I rarely go out to the theater in part because movie tickets are horrendously priced. I don't have any sort of television subscription for similar reasons. Just because something is of comparative value doesn't necessarily mean that it's a deal.

    The other thing is that you must first go out and purchase the game before you are even hit with the subscription fee. The game is probably cheaper now than it was originally to purchase in store, but that's still an initial investment on top of a monthly subscription fee. Add to that the growing number of expansion packs that are needed for the entire experience and you could have already bought one or two games that don't require a monthly fee. Furthermore, everyone I know that plays an MMO pays for two accounts so that they can play with their wife or husband.

    This is just how I see it however. I'm more than willing to accept that many people see it as just another competitively priced form of entertainment. I just wouldn't be able to think of it in that light myself if I were considering a purchase. I'd much rather pursue something along the lines of Morrowind or Oblivion, which can easily provide hundreds of hours of gameplay with room for even further expansion byway of user created mods. The only thing you would really be missing is multiplayer (which is a shame, the Elder Scrolls would be great with two or four person LAN play).

    Perhaps I am just more value orientated than most? It's hard to tell. I have a NetFlix subscription, but that's $15 for two (or more) hours of entertainment a day. I get "three at a time" and send them back pretty quickly, which results in six discs per week. That's is a time and price range pretty on par with what I was originally talking about as far as MMOs go.

  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vux984 (928602) on Monday May 19, 2008 @03:10PM (#23465706)
    Why is it that 2 trips to the movies, lasting MAYBE 6 hours tops, is treated as worth $14.95,

    And if you go to a see a major rock band, you can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a couple hours of entertainment. Why these major price differences?

    How about: supply and demand? and cost of the product?

    but a game needs to be played "several hours per day every day" to meet the same value?

    Lets compare WoW to other video games, because that actually makes sense.

    For the price of WoW+expansions you could buy buy a new game every couple months. If you are only playing a few hours here and there this is probably better value. If nothing else, at the end of a year you've got half a dozen different games to play whenever you get the itch.

    Plus, if you are only playing a game like WoW sporadically, its almost impossible to accomplish things, you are perpetually miles behind your friends, you are left out of the social element, its hard to get into a worthwhile guild or group when you do login... so now you are paying $15/month for a much poorer experience than the game has to offer.

    On top of that, relativism kicks in. The people gettin the most out of the game, playing 60 hours a week, are paying 0.6 cents per hour. And sees FAR more of the game for that price. Me, on the other hand, averaging 10 hours a month, was paying 1.50 per hour for a much reduced experience... I was paying 25x times as much per hour as the hard core player to futz around in crappy neglected parts of the game struggling to find groups to go into crappy instances, while he explored the end game content that was actually interesting. That's a tough pill to swallow.

    We'll assume 30 hours per week as a nice approximation of "several hours per day every day". What you're then saying is that an entertainment venue is too expensive to you until it gets below $0.50 per hour. Just how broke are you?

    30 hours per week is 12.5 cents per hour. And yes, he's saying MMRPG entertainment isn't good value until it hits about that threshold. Personally I think that sounds about right. Other forms of entertainment have different price thresholds, there is nothing strange about that.
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday May 19, 2008 @03:31PM (#23465998) Homepage Journal
    You have to compare your thought about waiting even two years between expansions because it gives a false impression about the game. WOW released a lot of content between opening day and TBC and is doing the same between TBC and WOTLK. Is progression restricted to leveling? If releasing expansions at a regular clip was all it took to be a success then how do we explain the lack of population for EQ and EQ2 now? Yes they are both big but not on the scale of WOW.

    AoC is coming out way way too early. It just isn't ready. What Blizzard did that was more important than being friendly to all players was to raise the bar in perceived quality. They may have actually raised it too high as most gamers no longer tolerate buggy and unbalanced software that we used to accept for granted. WOW presents a polish. Yeah it covers some major dings underneath but the overall effect is that looking at it most players never encounter anything game breaking. The same can't be said for some major releases post WOW or even post TBC. Blizzard also allows for an incredible amount of interface customization, beyond what many other games can even conceive. Don't like a certain display - change it. If not you then hundreds of others have and it all is "protected" by the fact the game client knows what it can do so you don't have to worry about your password/account being mailed to china for installing a plug in

    Hell Turbine came down with two of the biggest and storied names in Fantasy and flubbed them both. D&D Online and LOTR Online. What was the difference? Polish and usability. Those two games should never had an issue yet they failed to hold onto any significant numbers. Turbine likes to use the line that they don't release numbers on their servers because of "professionalism" but the simple fact is they are embarrassed.

    I am quite sure that most people playing WOW won't even notice AoC's effect on the population of their favorite server for very long if at all. I bet a sizable portion doesn't even know it exists. Simply put they don't care to look. That is a magic you can't buy. I am very sure AoC or any other MMORPG would love to just have WOW's churn as their account numbers!

    No it didn't dumb down MMORPGs, the closest comparison I would make is what Apple did for Unix based operating systems when they released OS X. They took a good, known to work system, and made it easy to use, understand, and accessible. That isn't dumbing down, thats doing it right.
  • More nitpicks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Z34107 (925136) on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:18PM (#23466690)

    Either your definition of "supply" is screwed up, or else your definition of "physical good."

    Providing service to 16 million players requires lots of servers, hefty storage and redundancy, and bandwidth. The supply is how many accounts worth of capacity they choose to support - every user takes up a variable amount of bandwidth, in addition to the sunk costs of software development (new content, bug fixes).

    You think 100-odd realms just materialized out of thin air? This isn't some magic^H^H^H^H^H intellectual property idea here; each player ties up "scarce and limited", very physical resources. When WoW was first released, Blizzard credited a lot of people's accounts for server outages - they underestimated demand, which quickly outstripped supply.

    Even assuming marginal costs are zero, that little "supply" line still enters the equation - either as "supply of capacity" or "supply of competing MMORPGs." If there was only World of Warcraft on the market, I'd bet they could definitely get away with charging $20 or even $30 monthly - heck, you can't get cable for that much. Now, consider that we have City of Heroes/Villains, Final Fantasy XII, or even Age of Conan...

  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SL Baur (19540) <steve@xemacs.org> on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:34PM (#23466894) Homepage Journal

    Add to that the growing number of expansion packs that are needed for the entire experience and you could have already bought one or two games that don't require a monthly fee. Furthermore, everyone I know that plays an MMO pays for two accounts so that they can play with their wife or husband.
    That's still not a big deal. Movies tend to bore me. I've got said 2 family accounts. I'll be in line to purchase WotLK when it is released.

    In no particular order:

    1. I like grinding games. What makes or breaks a game for me is how long it takes to get bored. I've been bored with WoW at times, I didn't play at all between Christmas and April, for example. The boredom has never lasted and I'm back to leveling my second level 70.

    2. Blizzard is unusually responsive to real criticism of game mechanics. I started playing about a month before the BC expansion. In that time, there has been a steady improvement on all the issues of the game that have irritated me the most. I'm sorely displeased with what they did to boar pets in the last patch, but I guess that just means I'll have to change specs on my hunter. The other changes they made, the new island, etc. were all positive, welcome additions.

    3. It's a computer game that works on systems I use. I play on a Mac Powerbook Pro. WoW is also a platinum Wine application. Will Age of Conan or Warhammer support Mac OS X?

    Basically, the cost is negligable compared to the amount of enjoyment I've gotten out of playing it. That's me and apparently to many others as well because the subscription base keeps growing.
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smbarbour (893880) on Monday May 19, 2008 @06:37PM (#23468266)
    It's a common misconception that someone with fewer skill points is always at a disadvantage. Skill points only get you so far, you have to know what you are doing and how to handle every unique situation. For instance, the largest alliance in the game, "GoonSwarm", has a massive amount of members, and a fair percentage of them don't have a clue what they are doing (though there are plenty of them that do). Throw a bunch of them at an experienced player, and the experienced player is going to die.

    Additionally, there are a number of people that buy an experienced account (expressly forbidden, but it does happen). These people are completely clueless, and will die easily.

    It's all a matter of what you are bringing to the fight. A sniper with 20 years of experience is no match against a guy with a suitcase nuke that was trained yesterday to hold the button until it's time to detonate. If the sniper shoots, he's dead. If he doesn't shoot, he's still dead.
  • Re:WoW's peaked. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ichigo 2.0 (900288) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:44AM (#23473132)
    There are two big differences between WoW and Eve. Firstly, Eve is much more PVP oriented. If you're the kind of guy who frowns upon ganking low level players in WoW, then stay far away from Eve. You need to be ruthless to get ahead in Eve and I suspect most of the top players would sell their own mothers for a few ISK.

    Secondly, Eve is not for solo gaming (ok this is pretty much point 1 rehashed, so sue me). The only things that are feasible alone are mining shitty ore in empire space and doing crappy low-level missions. Both are akin to staying in uncontested territories in WoW and mining copper. Except you don't need full epics and 50 level 70 guildmates to cover your ass if you want to go to STV and mine some iron.

    In conclusion, WoW is to Eve as swimming in a pool is to bungee jumping with a broken bungee cord and your hands tied behind your back naked into an acid-filled pool with piranhas and sharks with laser beams on their heads.

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