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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

Age of Conan Dev Talks Problems, Future Plans 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the polishing-is-an-endless-task dept.
Jørgen Tharaldsen, Funcom's product director, recently spoke about some of the problems with Age of Conan and how they are planning to make the game better. "I think it's okay to say that we simply didn't deliver as good as we should have on all the launch features." He goes on to talk about how they're working on improvements to the PvP system, tradeskills, and class balance. Tharaldsen also spoke with Strategy Informer about the development of the Xbox 360 version of the game, which he said was "not our key priority as there are a massive amount of PC gamers already playing the game, and we rightly have the focus on them."
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Age of Conan Dev Talks Problems, Future Plans

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  • Let's face it, the real MMO money to be made is on the PC. With the PC version, you get to compete with hundreds of other MMO's, including World of Warcarft. With a 360 version, all you would have to compete with would be a crappy Final Fantasy MMO. And how could you possibly make money being the best (and pretty much only) game in town? No, better to focus on the PC and get lost in the sea of better competitors. Yeah, that's the smart move to make.
    • Unfortunately, for my money, AoC suffers the exact same problem that FFXI did (I played them both very briefly before encountering said problem).

      Very pretty, no fun. And definitely not work 35 GB.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I had a hard time getting engaged in the game past the first month (though I might go back now that they've fixed a lot of issues), but it was at least fun taking in a new world and playstyle, even for just a month.

        I'd be less worried about the 35 GB (which is worth about $5 today, and is returned upon installation) than the $50 spent on the game -- but then again, I've paid more for less before, so I don't really count it for loss.
        • I'd be less worried about the 35 GB (which is worth about $5 today, and is returned upon installation)

          Just for the edification of those who may misunderstand: 10GB is returned upon completion of installation. The remaining 25GB is returned upon completion of UN-installation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "...there are a massive amount of PC gamers already playing the game, and we rightly have the focus on them".

      As stated, Funcom is choosing to work on improving the product already delivered to PC gamers, people he notes are already playing the game, rather than dropping what they admit is a less than perfect product simply to whore out a console port to be a large, mediocre fish in a small pond. Any company willing to improve the lot of their existing customer base over turning a quick buck at the same customer's expense is to be applauded in my opinion. Frankly, I'm surprised that you could be so snide about a

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:20PM (#25304985)

      With the PC version, you get to compete with hundreds of other MMO's, including World of Warcarft. With a 360 version, all you would have to compete with would be a crappy Final Fantasy MMO.

      Thats exactly the problem. Console MMOs end up being a watered down crap attempt at making some console game into an MMO so you're competing with every other console MMO out there.

      There are a lot of different PC MMOs out there. They're generally much better and not just some watered down crappy console game made into an MMO. They're also not all the same. World of Warcraft doesn't compete with Eve Online or a lot of the other MMOs out there. They're very different games from different genres targeting people with different needs & interests.

      Also, the Xbox 360 has sold 20 million units? of those, how many are connected to the internet? A tiny number compared to how many hundreds of millions of PCs are on the internet. The PC has been helping people communicate with one another online for years. Theres enough PC users around for AoC to becomes 10 times the size of WoW.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Caboosian (1096069)

        Also, the Xbox 360 has sold 20 million units? of those, how many are connected to the internet? A tiny number compared to how many hundreds of millions of PCs are on the internet. The PC has been helping people communicate with one another online for years. Theres enough PC users around for AoC to becomes 10 times the size of WoW.

        Well, there's an inherent flaw in your logic. While, yes, AoC could potentially become that large on the PC, it won't. The reason? Well, just because a PC is connected to the internet doesn't mean there's a gamer sitting behind that keyboard. With a console, your odds of landing a hardcore gamer are significantly higher.

        Furthermore, the prevalence of MMOs on PCs causes problems. In general, many people don't play more than one MMO at a time, and if you're competing against WoW, Guild Wars, EQ, etc., your ma

        • Well put, only I doubt piracy is an issue with MMOs considering they're either completly free, or the software itself is free (well eventually) and the only thing you're paying for is accessing the servers. Dunno, perhaps you meant cheating? I mean heck that third paragraph would work just fine with piracy replaced with cheating.
        • Finally, there is one HUGE incentive for developers to switch to consoles; piracy. Say what you want about it, but piracy is a cancer on the PC market. Is your game actually going to do well, or is it gonna get pirated to hell and back? Will you even make a return on that investment? Consoles have significantly lower piracy, and that makes them a safer bet.

          That's all great, but that isn't a problem you have with mmo's, you can't copy the game and play, you need a unique key (ie cd key) to create an account, and it's the account your paying for, not the game. You can give the games away, copy it as much as possible, but it's still useless without account. MMO's have a much lower piracy rate then a console... Console mmo's will never been huge, for a reason you stated above, unless it's made for the console from the ground up, it's not going to sell, just look

        • by Dan667 (564390)
          How exactly is piracy on a console going to be any different than a PC for an MMO. That is almost as silly as saying console gamers are more "hardcore" gamers. To be honest, hardcore games don't want watered down crap, and I have a hard time seeing how you could not have it watered down on a console with, what, 8 buttons. They should make a basketball or football MMO for the consoles. That is about the right audience for it.
      • by Dutch Gun (899105)

        so you're competing with every other console MMO out there.

        Hmm, exactly what current-gen MMO would they be competing against now?

        World of Warcraft doesn't compete with Eve Online or a lot of the other MMOs out there.

        I'd guess all the MMO developers who *don't* have 10 million monthly subscribers would be pretty surprised by this news.

        Also, the Xbox 360 has sold 20 million units? of those, how many are connected to the internet? A tiny number compared to how many hundreds of millions of PCs are on the internet.

        The correct answer is: At least eight million of those. [wikipedia.org]

        Here's a question: of those hundreds of millions of PCs, any guesses as to how many of them can actually play a modern videogame like Age of Conan? I believe it will likely cut that number down substantially.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AioKits (1235070)
      I'm going to agree with you here, sarcasm or not as I'm a bad judge of this. If they admit they've problems with the PC version, why go ahead with an admittedly already less than stellar version of the game port to the 360? Downloading patches hurts, no matter where they come from, but only in the sense they cause a delay in me getting my fix.

      I kind of want to address the FFO part of your post. Have you played the FF MMO on the 360 (or PC)? This game is so niche it's not even funny (opinion here folks
      • They have a PC game with problems. They can fix the game on the PC by issuing patches. They can even improve and polish it, making it a better game

        If they publish the game as it is now for the XBox360, it will suck and they will have no way of fixing it.

        • by AioKits (1235070)

          They have a PC game with problems. They can fix the game on the PC by issuing patches. They can even improve and polish it, making it a better game

          If they publish the game as it is now for the XBox360, it will suck and they will have no way of fixing it.

          I am fairly certain they can patch the game if it were on the 360. It would just be a bitch of a patch tho.

        • by elrous0 (869638)
          If they had designed it from the ground up as a console MMO, they could be rolling in cash right now. Instead they took the same old route everyone else does and blew their chances at being anything more than another forgotten wannabe-WoW-killer.
    • one word.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:35PM (#25305195)
      keyboard.

      What's the point of being in a fantasy world with millions of other people if you can't communicate effectively with any of them?

      And yes, I know there are keyboard attachments of various kinds for the consoles, but have any of them ever really taken off? They defeat the purpose of the console.
      • this was supposed to be a reply to the parent
      • All the current gen consoles take ordinary USB keyboards, I think.

      • by snuf23 (182335)

        Voice chat. Not great for things like trade channels but better than typing for group and raid play. Most guilds in PC MMOs use voice chat in one variety or another.

        That said, a USB keyboard would also be pretty much required. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 can use a standard USB keyboard (I think the Wii can too).

        • (I think the Wii can too)

          Yup, I confirm. After a firmware upgrade. One of the official upgrades added support for USB keyboard, which is useful, specially if you have to enter Wifi keys, etc.

      • by Saffaya (702234)

        Millions of PSO (Phantasy Star Online) players disagree with you.
        The DreamCast's keyboard was widely available.
        PSO for the Xbox had an (exclusive) USB adapter sold with it.(in addition to Xbox Live audio chat)
        The Gamecube had a combo keyboard/pad designed for it.
        etc ... etc ...

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        Unlike most PC MMO's, a console MMO (especially for the 360) would have voice chat already built in. And even if you didn't like VC, you could always buy a keyboard (I think the 360 controller even has an optional keypad for the controller).
        • Heh, I can hear it now..

          "ELLL EFF GEE! ELL EFF GEE!! LVL 16 WIZARD! WHY DOES NOBODY WANT TO GROUP WITH ME??:

          It's annoying enough on the screen, but can you imagine having to hear that shit all day?

          • by elrous0 (869638)
            Yeah, but VC is untouchable at the guild level. Trying a real WoW raid without VC is an exercise in frustration. And with a console, at least it doesn't require a third-party VC app.
        • by Achoi77 (669484)
          I think companies are a bit cautious about adding voice chat support, especially if the customer is going to end up in situations like this [youtube.com]. Might not make for a positive experience.
      • by Mattsson (105422)

        And yes, I know there are keyboard attachments of various kinds for the consoles, but have any of them ever really taken off? They defeat the purpose of the console.

        How about them there keyboards and mice that attaches via usb? They're pretty popular amongst computer-users, why wouldn't they become popular amongst console-users if game-makers took the time to actually add sane support for such devices?
        The various keyboard attachments you mention have usually been proprietary, expensive, low quality and unsupported.
        With usb, you remove all weaknesses except for "unsupported".

        The main strength of consoles is the "instant play" capability. Adding a keyboard as a possible

        • With usb, you remove all weaknesses except for "unsupported".

          The main strength of consoles is the "instant play" capability. Adding a keyboard as a possible game-controller doesn't alter this.

          But it does alter the fundamental experience of playing games on a console. The difference is PC gamers expect depth in their games, whereas console gamers are more interested in instant access, intuitive controls, and shiny special effects. How many people do you think would play Halo with a keyboard and mouse if it was available to them? I might, but I'm one of few. There is a place for both console and PC gaming in this world, and the target audiences have always been very different.

  • by RocketScientist (15198) * on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:05PM (#25304819)

    The only thing they got right over WoW on launch was their server capacity. It was a very stable experience with no lag. This is because of their very nice instancing architecture. It works really really well. While WoW may set the standard for polish and finish on games, AoC definitely did a great job on server capacity. Hats off to your ops team.

    However, Funcom managed to screw up almost every other aspect of the game, from UI layout to weapon speed, at launch. Itemization at low levels, lack of quests in middle levels, guild housing that just plain didn't work, and so on. Females had a lower weapon speed than males, because it took more time to animate the jugglies. I have a very hard time believing there was any QA done on the game despite the long beta period.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      It's easy to get server capacity when no one logs in to play. Not much of an accomplishment.
    • Actually (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:23PM (#25305039)

      At launch WoW's capacity was fine. For about a month everything was good. Their problem was they didn't think it would grow as big as it did, and certainly not as fast as it did. That isn't to say they dealt with it well once it became a problem, but it wasn't a launch problem, it was a problem a bit later when people really discovered it.

      The difference, of course, is that as you noted WoW is fun, AoC really isn't. So with WoW they didn't realize that there were so many people who'd like to play MMOs but hadn't encountered a good one. Thus sales took off and crushed their infrastructure. Their initial sales were nothing compared to what was to come. It has basically been nothing but growth. With AoC it was the opposite. They figured they'd steal tons of WoW players, and so were prepared on the infrastructure. However the game isn't good, so it has had trouble keeping people. Thus they may well have seen their peak on launch, and it'll only go down from here until it stabilizes.

      • by zannox (173829)

        When WoW was launched the first time,(The game on the users PC) it asked what your time zone was. It would then dump you into a server (Eastern Time Zone had Bloodhoof, Central had Garona etc) Thus everyone wound up on the same servers. It wasn't until a patch or two later that that was removed. That is what lead to 4 realms being WAY over populated and the others untouched. At least in the US.

      • I had a much different experience than you've described at the time WoW launched. There most certainly were significant issues with the higher population original servers within a day or two of their opening (I was on Stormreaver). From general login issues to mail/auction house lag to the ever-popular stuck-in-looting-animation bug left over from beta. Some of these went away after queues were implemented, but not all.

        Aside of that, though, I absolutely agree. Even with the issues, WoW was fun. AoC
    • In spite of the beta period, and the number of people in it...we could all see, a month before launch, a week before launch, a day before launch... it wasn't going to be ready, the patches were coming in too slow.

      Even that, maybe, could be tolerated. But the gameplay was lame, some basic concepts were way off, the combat was a confused attempt at visual realism but "real time", the net result was suck. The game felt like it was being designed for the console in terms of focus on graphics and style over func

      • The game needed another year or two to bake in the oven, some good professional therapy, and a clear direction.

        1. I know you're probably trying to be funny about "some good professional therapy", but they did exactly that for Anarchy Online. After it lost 2/3 of the initial (pitifully low) peak of players, and fast, and their first attempts at fixing it didn't do anything to stop the exodus... they actually hired some external consultants to tell them what's wrong with the game and how to fix it.

        Those exter

        • by elrous0 (869638)
          I just hope that Bioware is smart enough to hire the guys behind Star Wars Galaxies to help them with their new Knights of the Old Republic MMO. After all, they have a lot of experience working on a Star Wars MMO.
  • by utahraptor (703433) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:18PM (#25304967) Homepage
    Funcom lies like the truth tastes bad. If you purchase the game it says it features DirectX 10 and 64 bit enhancements and in game drunken brawling as well as dual core optimizations. All of those features are missing.
  • AoC early bugs lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by myowntrueself (607117) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:26PM (#25305071)

    My personal favorite was a patch note to the effect that:


    Coins taken from the bank will now be added to the coins in your inventory instead of replacing them.

    I mean even with drunken, meth-addict monkeys doing testing how does THAT make it into the live game????

    I gave up.

    He, funcom? You want to know how to get people back into the game? Everyone who actually went out and bought the game, give them 2 free months. I'll come back if you do that and not before.

    • by Hognoxious (631665) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:36PM (#25305205) Homepage Journal

      "Coins taken from the bank will now be added to the coins in your inventory instead of replacing them."

      I mean even with drunken, meth-addict monkeys doing testing how does THAT make it into the live game????

      Given the current state of the economy, you should be thankful it didn't subtract them.

    • The bug that annoyed me the most (and it still exists) is that it's impossible to remap the WASD keys from their default action. The UI supports this but when you try it the mappings get all screwed up. How can a game leave beta with issues like these?

      That said, I like the combat mechanics in AoC more than any of the other big MMOs (except Guild Wars, if you consider that an MMO). They'd have a pretty solid game on their hands if they polished it a bit.

    • by argStyopa (232550)

      That's better than mine - "Light, Medium, and Heavy armors will now protect the character proportionally more".

      I mean, I understand some trivial stuff would slip through the beta process, but nobody noticed that ARMOR wasn't working? When the game is all about combat?

  • by bugnuts (94678) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:40PM (#25305253) Journal

    ... and any new MMORPG is wearing milk-bone underwear.

    It takes 2-3 years to get a product designed, written, art and models done, network code debugged, levels and scripting designed, UI and plugin code writtent, infrastructure installed, and anti-cheat security implemented. It's a lot of crap, and takes a LOT of money.

    The competition has 3+ years of polish and debugging.

    Is your new game really going to justify all the expense above? Is your new game going to be polished? Because a fanboi can claim "oh, it's a new game, of course there are bugs." So... uh, why play it when you can play an older, polished one without as many bugs?

    New games have to deliver polished, bug-free code, and it has to be fun to play.

    AoC did not deliver those things... Instead they got a lot of the requirements right such as cool models and art for the 1-20 range, but dropped the ball heavily on content, bugs, and "fun factor".

    If there was no competition, they would've done fine (like they did with a horrible Anarchy Online launch with tons of bugs, unplayable lag, etc). They do not have the same privilege to screw the pooch like they did with AO.

    I'm not sure AoC can recover, but they do have many parts of a potentially excellent game.

    Consumers rightfully should not buy craptastic ship-now-patch-sometime online games. Yes, you can patch it as you go, but AoC demonstrates that shipping crap and trying to patch it into something good doesn't get rid of the consumer disillusionment of opening a shiny new box of crap.

    • by Aereus (1042228) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @04:32PM (#25305869)

      I think the major baffling thing to this is Funcom did it AGAIN. You think they would have learned from Anarchy Online, that you just can't release a buggy and/or content-lacking game and hope to "patch it in later".

      First impressions matter in games just like with people. Releasing a game missing content or with major mechanics like banks, mail, and stats not working is virtual suicide.

    • by typidemon (729497)

      New games have to deliver polished, bug-free code, and it has to be fun to play.

      Excluding the fact that there is no production code that is entirely bug free:

      It's simply not realistic to expect a game with the complexity of a MMO to be entirely bug free. Especially when you consider many bugs simply won't appear until you get exceptionally heavy loads, or might only happen, infrequently, to 1:500 users.

      Besides, using this logic, nobody would have played WoW on release. I mean, WoW was anything but a

      • by Il128 (467312)
        "It's simply not realistic to expect a game with the complexity of a MMO to be entirely bug free."

        Complexity? Cleaning drinking water is more complex than a MMO and clean water costs a lot less to make too.

        I wish I were kidding.

        You take clean water for granted and worship MMO games... Therefore you're trying to say that making a God Damn game must be the hardest thing in the whole world to do!

        Well, it's just not true. Accounting software? Ever even noticed? Taken for granted is it?
        Ga
        • by fractoid (1076465)
          Haha... bitter much? Your Full Sail degree didn't get you anywhere and you now spend your days making Microsoft Access databases for middle management?

          MMOs are a helluva lot more complex than most of the IT/workflow/papertrail software that you're talking about. I've worked on business software for half my career. I know. I've also worked in robotics R&D, computer vision (just illustrating that I have relatively broad experience here), and I'm currently working for a games company on a commercial MMO
        • by donatzsky (91033)

          You might want to check out http://thedailywtf.com/ [thedailywtf.com] before making any more of those statements.
          Oh, and it's "their skills", not "they're skills".

      • AoC has finishing moves, certain critical hits spark an animation showing you killing the enemy with a single attack, chopping of their head, sticking your sword in them and laughing in their face etc etc.

        Nice, except it only works on human opponents since of course the animation needs two actors to work.

        But for some reason, the game did NOT make all human enemies the same size. Fair enough, you need some variety, but still, the animation needs to align up. So during a finishing move, you and your enemy w

  • R.I.P. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by archen (447353) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @03:59PM (#25305469)

    Age of Conan is a dead man walking. World of Warcraft is solid and polished, although getting a bit... drab if you've been playing it for a while. While I haven't played it; most people I've talked to thought Lord of the Rings Online is a pretty good game. Aside from that you still have EQ2, Eve, and FF Online. So what exactly is this game going to give us that these other games don't? Alright... boobies.

    Anyway, it's easy to see that you're going to have to go for some sort of niche and as it just so happens World of Warcraft is dropping the ball big time in PvP. Warhammer is all over this, and I think this is why that game will survive. Age of Conan? Just having a game online isn't going to cut it anymore. You've got to offer something better or different, and Age of Conan offers neither.

    • The Alternatives (Score:3, Informative)

      by PrimalChrome (186162)
      Just to list a few :

      EQ - Will run on just about anything with a 3d card. Huge world with many expansions already live. Death penalties require real dedication...not the best for the casual player.

      EQ2 - Very fun game since they did their revamp. Friendly to casual players, but is a more complex game than WoW.

      Eve - Amazing scope for an MMO. Hard to establish yourself unless you have friends already in game.

      FFOnline - Do not start unless you have a good group that will be levelling with you, or already kn

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'll have to respond AC, since I've been using Moderator Points on this subject, but my comments on your list:

        EQ - spot on evaluation. There are too many time sinks and other things that restrict content. For the hardcore gamer more than a casual player. Still, the king for 5+ years of the MMO landscape.

        EQ2 - again, a very accurate description. It is a much more complex game than WoW, but it offers a lot more for a lot of folks. A more mature player base is one of the added benefits. A much better exp

        • WoW - The BIG CHEESE of MMOs. Or, as my wife calls it, "MMO for dummies". Lack of expansion content is starting to hurt them some, as are the continual moves to force more folks into the Arena model of PvP. Probably the game that has blended PvE and PvP together the best, but the PvP aspect still causes too many problems to trickle down into PvE. The most immature crowd of the major MMOs.

          On the upside, those of us with jobs and other commitments can actually (slowly) move forward in WoW. Those of us who
        • one of your points: (quoting)WoW - The BIG CHEESE of MMOs. Or, as my wife calls it, "MMO for dummies". Lack of expansion content is starting to hurt them some... Emphasis mine.

          The lack of expansion content is NOT really hurting World of Warcraft's main player base - the casual gamers. What the lack of expansion content is hurting are the uber-rabid, crack snorting, MMO-heroin to the vein, hardcore "giveittomenow gottahavenewcontentsincei'mdonewithalltheotherstuff" players. You know, the people who - unles

      • by murdocj (543661)

        The death penalty in EQ is way overdramatized, given that you pretty much always are grouped with someone who has a 90% or better rez. The main problem with EQ when I played was that most of the time you sat in spot and killed the same stuff over and over and over again. It wasn't hard, it wasn't "hardcore", it was just monotonous.

        I wouldn't describe WoW as "casual". Yes, you can get into it, play for half an hour, and get out (in EQ you'd have been yelling for a group for at least that long) but if you

    • So what exactly is this game going to give us that these other games don't? Alright... boobies.

      I used to complain about all the griefing that was going on on this game until I realized that it was the only fun to be had.

      *Everything else* sucked about the game. The graphics were pretty, but not that amazing (LOTRO's better), the quests boring, the voice acting bad and unnecesary and the storyline ridiculous for a multiplayer game (so I'm "the chosen one", right?).

      Not to mention that the "zonified" world fel

    • Lotro is the least ambitious of all titles. It is the game that tries nothing new, nothing original, nothing ground-breaking.

      What it instead delivers is simple. It works.

      It is the volvo of MMORPG's. It will never get the chicks like a McLaren or inspire the love of a volkswagen, but it simply works.

      Lotro ain't the best, it is just that everything else if worse.

      WoW, to many 12yr olds.

      Eve, to competitve.

      AoC, to buggy.

      Vanguard, aged incredibly badly.

      SWG, patched to death.

      Warhammer, we shall have to s

  • by Hausenwulf (956554) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @04:38PM (#25305951)

    You really only get one chance to impress gamers. If you lose that initial wave of players, it's almost impossible to get them back. Reports indicate AoC has lost nearly half their initial players.

    So, no matter what they do to the game, it's like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. It's still going down.

  • by Phrogman (80473) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @04:51PM (#25306123) Homepage

    I was looking forward to trying this game out, but almost immediately after getting it set up and patched I decided I would never end up playing it - simply because everything was instanced, and nothing destroys the suspension of disbelief better for me than having to wait to load into an instance, or being aware that I am in an instance and the world around me is only so many yards square in size.

    There were other elements that bugged me, but the continuous instancing combined with new-game lag did it in for me.

    Now playing WAR, which while it does have instances is at least a fun game.

    I long for someone to make a true sandbox like game, a la the original Star Wars Galaxies again, but I doubt it will happen, simply because if WOW doesn't do it, no one will gain support for attempting it again. sigh.

  • I played AoC for about 10 days before I canceled and realized it was really poorly done.

    Warhammer in my opinion has redefined how to launch a MMO. It made me see how really bad AoC was and there's no way that I would ever waste my time revisiting AoC. Even another free month wouldn't be worth the time to reinstall it.
    • by Satanboy (253169)

      I gotta admit, Warhammer is pretty damn amazing. I look at it to only mature and get better.

      What I saw of AOC, it was nice on the surface but there was a lot of murky issues that I could tell would bubble to the surface and drive me insane.

      • by smegged (1067080)
        Yet Warhammer is still not perfect, and if it is to become a giant it needs to fix a few things, not least of which is the animation glitches. In fact the animation glitches and performance issues are so bad that they can be quite jarring and disconnect your feeling of immersion.

        I love Warhammer so far and thought that it had a great launch, but to retain customers they will have to polish the rough edges.
        • by Satanboy (253169)

          I agree with you wholeheartedly, I see some of the animation issues etc, but honestly they are not half as bad as with many current MMOs.

          I'm sure these things will get ironed out over time. AOC had core gameplay mechanic problems and I think that left a lot of problems for devs at the beginning. Animations and models can be updated, core mechanics are tough to redo once the systems in place.

    • by bug1 (96678)

      "Warhammer in my opinion has redefined how to launch a MMO"

      Warhammer installer for everyone in oceania was broken and once installed there was no way to start the game, the .exe didnt work.

      Lots of complaints about AoC bugs, but it least it could be started without having to download files from third party sites.

      I suspect warhammer is the worst launch of any notable MMO, but despite its disastrous first few days its a great game that might even challenge WoW.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @08:05AM (#25312353) Journal

    I am a player who still longs for Star Wars Galaxies pre-'doc buff', tried Everquest 2, a bit of WoW, varioues Free-to-Play and is currently a lifer in Lord of the Rings Online. I tried AoC for 3 months, or rather, I bought 3 months, tried it for two.

    The game was started BEFORE WoW came out. Remember that WoW by now is a very old game indeed. MMORPG's ain't all that old to begin with and AoC was pretty much started in the early days.

    The best explenation I have come up with for AoC is that the dev's locked themselves up five years ago and never came out. The game just didn't learn from the developments that happened. Not from WoW, but also not from the SWG NGE, Dark&Light, SOE's constant misses, Lotro smooth launch etc etc, Vanguards dismall failure.

    AoC launched with almost year 2000 like values. The screenshots look pretty but the interface is... well crap. Crap tastic. So crap that crap doesn't even begin to describe it. It doesn't do anything for game, it ain't just ugle, is unwieldy, makes the game hard to control and doesn't give the players the options they have come to expect.

    The odd thing is that the map display is very useful, precisly indicating where each quest area is. Clearly someone at AoC went into the development dungeon 5 years ago having looked at the MMO's and their pisspoor maps of that age and came up with a clearly superior solution. But with no outside contact for all those years, they didn't learn that uses would expect a better UI in all areas in 2008.

    Other problems like the famous female attack speed, (females attack slower because their animation is longer) show that the game really had no testing. Did NO dev notice that female toons needed longer to kill enemies?

    While the game is pretty, most dungeons looked like the first amateur levels designed for the first Doom game. Nothing but HUGE square corridors filled with enemies, all the same. No setup, no scripts, settings, no atmosphere.

    And then the real killer. The game was bugged, resource hungry, memory leaking, with a lousy interface but hey, that never stopped an MMO before.

    No, what killed the game was Funcom. They denied all problems. Female attack speed quickly identified? If you mean two months after launch, yeah sure, that is quick. NOT.

    Problems were ignored, things that didn't need fixing nerfed and solutions introduced that just took all the fun out of the game. The "grey elite" has to be one of most ill advised nerfs in the history of gaming. To stop gold sellers (Funcom came up with a far better way to kill them, no more players and all in game items being WAY to expensive in real money, 1500 euro for a horse) they made enemies below your level HIT HARDER. They also made every enemy in group content an elite. This meant that a game that is OUTSIDE about you slaughtering waves of enemies suddenly becomes a 6 players on 1 enemy type game. No fun. The messy finishing moves disappeared and every dungeon just became a long boring crawl. Because of the way healing works in the game none of the elites was a challenge, just of staying awake.

    And now, the server merges. So much for all the fanboys claiming that there are still plenty of players and nobody has left. Server merges are the death of any MMORPG. If you number slightly decrease people just move on their own, you only need to merge servers if their is an exodus and you can no longer afford to keep redundant servers running. It is basically saying, the people left and we ain't going to get them back.

    No, AoC is the third failure of Funcom and this makes me sad, because The Longest Journey developer is working on his own MMORPG and it is also being done by Funcom. Luckily not by the goat who has been shown the door but still. Funcom has had its three strikes (they had a cancelled MMO between Anarchy Online and AoC) a fourth is hardly likely to be different is it?

    Hint to anyone working on a MMORPG. PLAY OTHER MMORPG's and LEARN FROM THEM! You don't have to make a WoW clone, but understand WHY people play WoW.



  • So I'm at work today, and I hadn't checked games.slashdot.org in a while and I go there. I see some fairly positive press on the game that I play; Age of Conan. Then I see there are 50-some-odd comments. After what I've been through in defending AoC across this internet, I asked myself, "Dare I? Dare I read this thread?"

    Well, dare I did, and once again I just shook my head. I was completely unsurprised to see that the entire thread was largely negative towards the game, just like every other commen

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