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Age of Conan, One Year On 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-alive dept.
One year after its rocky launch, Age of Conan has stabilized and seen a growth in its player base, reports FunCom. What's more, they say, is that players seem to be playing for longer periods of time as well. Game Director Craig Morrison said in his May letter that work on the next major update, 1.05, is nearing completion, and provided some more details about the new features. This is the same patch which, due to the sweeping stat and equipment changes, will allow players who have a character at level 50 or higher to create a brand new character already at level 50. Reader Kheldon points out a two-part interview with Morrison in which he discusses the laundry list of changes they've made in the past year to improve the game, as well as some broader thoughts about storytelling in the MMO genre. FunCom also released some early details yesterday on two new, free-to-play MMOs they're working on, one of which is browser-based and one of which is Java-based.
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Age of Conan, One Year On

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  • WoW is still better (Score:2, Informative)

    by GinRummy33 (629101)
    I tried it the first month, then cancelled. I know they've done a lot of upgrades since then, but I don't think they will ever replace World of Warcraft for most people, including me.
    • by Aranykai (1053846)

      I tried it the first month also, never subbed. Quality and creativity cant be replaced with marketing and budget. This game was proof.

      • by MrMista_B (891430)

        I dunno, in my experience, WoW was the marketing and budget, and AoC got the quality and creativity.

        • by Tridus (79566)

          Quality? AoC was up there with Vanguard for absolute worst game at launch, ever.

          I mean, DX10 support was listed as a release feature. AFAIK it's STILL not working properly. Load times were pathetic, crashes were frequent, a lot of stuff flat out didn't work, class balance was hillariously pathetic.

          Maybe now they're getting to what the game should have been released as, but AoC and "quality" don't belong in the same sentence.

          • I've been tossing around the idea of reinstalling this behemoth and giving it another go, but a combination of a nearly 40gig install and remembering just how obscenely unbalanced the crap was I really doubt I will bother.
          • by Vohar (1344259)

            No kidding. When a game releases with its BASIC CHARACTER STATS not implemented, you know something has gone horribly wrong.

            I tried the game again a couple months ago and they have come a long way since release. Of course the 4.0 students aren't the ones who get 'most improved' awards...

        • by murdocj (543661)

          I played Conan briefly, but when it comes to quality and creativity I don't think you can rate it ahead of WoW. The world just did not feel "open" to me. It felt like you were very constrained as to where you could go, what you could do, and how you do it.

      • by audunr (906697)

        Quality and creativity cant be replaced with marketing and budget.

        I was at AoC's launch party. It had free food, free drinks and dancing women in cages, and I think the game is great!

    • by jwhitener (198343)

      Most people didn't really know how to play AoC, given that it's shielding and combat system were totally different.

      I bet if you got into the game again, and tried a melee character, you'd be hooked.

      The graphics alone are amazing (assuming you have a dx10 card and machine to support it).

      Having come from EQ1, then played WoW, and then AoC, I'll say this:

      If EQ1 is the baseline, WoW is EQ1 with training wheels, and AoC is somewhere in between. And I'm thinking of the relative level of skill required.

      AoC's shie

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bloodhawk (813939)
        I played a Guardian for the first 4 months of AoC (as well as a few other classes, but guardian was my main), The combat is utter crap, they billed it as an innovative complex combat system, in reality it is just a reimplementation of 80's arcade game combo systems, The direction attacks make it incredibly easy for those with less lag to take advantage of those with lag, overpowered combos and ridiculously broken stat mechanics. I will give you that the graphics were amazing as was some of the detail put i
        • The balance was atrocious and that was one of the factors that made me leave after about a month and a half (yeah, I actually left half way through a paid month. I'd had enough). FWIW I liked the combat. I played on a PvE server but some of the duelling videos coming out of the PvP servers were sheer ballet. I'm too old for all that competitive finger waggling but I've a real appreciation of those that can play to that kind of level.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by slackbheep (1420367)
            For anyone unconvinced the class balance really WAS bad enough to warrant quitting. While assassins were absolutely useless twits who could barely take care of equally leveled monsters without cooldowns, any healing class was capable of tearing the very stars from the heavens. They could only be torn down by Guardians, or by exceptionally skilled players in a lesser class(And I do mean lesser). Grouping was also a complete joke. The game plan every single time boiled down to "Let tank pile up mobs, spam ao
            • by jwhitener (198343)

              "While assassins were absolutely useless twits who could barely take care of equally leveled monsters without cooldowns"

              I take it you played until about level 30?:) Assassins are very strong if played correctly.

              Healers have been toned down quite a bit, and the ToS is scheduled for their last nerf soon. In general though, sins can destroy any healing class in about 3 attacks.

              "Grouping was also a complete joke. The game plan every single time boiled down to "Let tank pile up mobs, spam aoe, repeat."

              So you'r

          • by jwhitener (198343)

            People keep mentioning 'balance', but AoC has never claimed 1v1 balance. They said it was group vs group balance, and that works fairly well.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jwhitener (198343)

          "The direction attacks make it incredibly easy for those with less lag to take advantage of those with lag"

          Since when has lag not effected game play? If you have a laggy connection, you'll be at a disadvantage in any game.

          "the list of bugs at the time I left was mind boggling, the poor balance, and add in the lack of any real communication from funcom"

          The list of bugs at the 4 month point is drastically smaller. They had a smoother launch than most games. Most people who complained about the bugs were co

      • by Aranykai (1053846)

        The graphics alone are amazing (assuming you have a dx10 card and machine to support it).

        Sorry, you lost me there. The game has yet to support dx10 at all, so having a card that supports it is irrelevant. Perhaps you were one of the lucky ones who won the hardware lottery and the game actually worked decently. Many of us, despite having top notch rigs, were incapable of getting decent performance regardless of the settings we used.

        • by TyFoN (12980)

          Performance is actually a lot better now, my GF's aging laptop was able to run
          the game at low quality for about 5 fps at launch.
          Now the same computer (Core duo 2 ghz with a gfx card approx nvidia 7600) runs
          conan on high quality at 15-20 fps.
          My gaming rig (Q6600 3 ghz, 9800 GTX, 4gb ram) runs the game on high quality in 1920x1200
          with about 100-150 fps.
          And DX10 has been in for a few months now.

      • by murdocj (543661) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @07:42AM (#28009697)

        If EQ1 is the baseline, WoW is EQ1 with training wheels, and AoC is somewhere in between. And I'm thinking of the relative level of skill required.

        I played EQ1 for years, and in terms of actual skill, WoW requires way more skill than EQ1. The more serious boss encounters in WoW require that everyone in the raid know what to do, when to do it, how to move, and if just ONE person screws up, it's a wipe. What WoW cuts out is not skill, but a lot of sitting and waiting that EQ1 requires. For example, the stuff where a boss in the open world spawns only once every week or so and then guilds have to rush to get to see who can kill it isn't in WoW. Some people may miss that sort of competition, but I sure don't.

        • by vux984 (928602)

          I played EQ1 for years, and in terms of actual skill, WoW requires way more skill than EQ1.

          roflmao ... gets back on chair...

          roflmao

          The more serious boss encounters in WoW require that everyone in the raid know what to do, when to do it, how to move, and if just ONE person screws up, it's a wipe.

          "A wipe"? roflmao

          When did you start EQ? And when did you quit?

          The more serious boss encounters in EQ1 "back in the day" required everyone in the raid know what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and if just ONE pers

          • by dabas (1531555)
            eq1 was my first mmo and what got me hooked. I started when kunark came out and got out when they released GoD. Good times, but man, I don't miss 8 hour corpse runs in TOV cuz the only guild necro was MIA. I hear they got some kind of fancy corpse summoner npc now though!
          • by brkello (642429)
            So you laugh at the guy for his statement...then make excuses a mile a minute for EQ. I have not done high end raiding in EQ. Probably most people haven't done the current versions of EQ and WoW to really compare.

            As the guy said, for some raid bosses, if one person make a mistake, it will screw it up for everyone. Yeah, you don't lose all your gear or levels, but I never really liked that and that really doesn't say anything about how interesting or difficult the fight is. I think that is the key...th
            • by vux984 (928602)

              .then make excuses a mile a minute for EQ.

              What excuses?

              EQ1 was punishing, then got tedious, than got complex. All are valid definitions of 'hard' at least to some people.

              As the guy said, for some raid bosses, if one person make a mistake, it will screw it up for everyone.

              Same has always been true of EQ. Although, yeah, during the tedious period, most of the raiders just needed to wait until they were told to attack. Nowadays, its similiar to WoW in that players must be actively paying attention the whole f

          • by murdocj (543661)

            I played EQ1 from 6 months after launch till a little after EQ2 came out. So I'd say I have something to judge by. I'm sure EQ1 raids have gotten more complex. Guess what, the WoW raids aren't getting any easier either.

            And as far as the non-raid game, EQ1 is NOT more difficult than WoW. The old EQ1 was certainly more boring than WoW. Find a good camp. Pull the same mobs in the same sequence as long as you can take it. Certainly not difficult at all. Way slower than WoW, but not harder. Unless you c

            • by murdocj (543661)

              And as far as raiding goes, when I left, there wasn't any danger of losing your gear, your corpse just popped at a graveyard, or you had someone summon it. And you got your 99.999% rez, and guess what, that death cost you... nothing. Death in WoW is actually more expensive than death in EQ, because you take gear damage. In EQ, unless they've changed things quite a bit, even a 90% rez pretty much eliminated XP loss, and they've probably given just about everyone the ability to rez now... or put "rez stone

            • by vux984 (928602)

              Find a good camp. Pull the same mobs in the same sequence as long as you can take it. Certainly not difficult at all.

              Why would you do that? Sounds dreadful. Me, I mostly did dungeon crawls with friends the whole way up.
              There were occasions where I had to hunt a 'camp' (generally for an item I wanted) but I was usually on the move. Granted, I might have leveled faster and died less had I sat at safe camps. But so what? Its not like the end game content wouldn't be there if I took an extra month or two gettin

              • by murdocj (543661)

                Well, once LDoN came out with instanced dungeons all I did was dungeon crawls, and I agree, that was infinitely better. Way more fun, way faster experience, and you sometimes picked up a bit of loot, and you picked up some rep or currency with a particular faction... don't recall the details.

                I know there were some dungeons before then but since they were open-world there was always the issue of competing with other groups. I did a bit of that but it just wasn't as much fun. Not to mention the hassle if yo

      • by bryan007 (103063)

        This is basically how I feel. I tried *very* hard to stick with AoC -- The idea behind the design is exactly what I'm (still) looking for in an MMO -- "Skill" based *open* PvP (which was not the case when I played -- I assume this has been sorted out (only need the last press of a combo to hit to deal the combo damage, healers/guardians owning everyone)), gear not making a substantial difference (just grab the appropriate level crafted stuff & go fight on relatively even terms), active defense (shields

    • I tried it the first month, then cancelled. I know they've done a lot of upgrades since then, but I don't think they will ever replace World of Warcraft for most people, including me.

      What is the reason you cancelled? Lack of content (unlikely, after just 1 month of playing), bugs and stability, the unusual combat system, lack of depth (very unlikely if WoW is your baseline for comparison), lack of groups or friends, PvP/ganking, poor quests and storyline, or something else?

      Maybe some people just have

      • "What is the reason you cancelled? Lack of content (unlikely, after just 1 month of playing)"
        You could easily max out your character and have at least a weeks worth of grinding under your belt within the first month the game was officially open. Fastest levelling game I ever saw.
  • It's interesting that he says player retention improved a lot when they added PvP. I wouldn't have thought that would be a major selling point. I haven't played AoC so I'm not sure what's going on with it. Is it a case of PvP giving players at max level something to do where there previously wasn't anything/much?
    • by murdocj (543661)

      PvP was supposed to be the main selling point of AoC. That was what they pushed when they first advertised the game. Big battles, sieges, etc. That was where the marketing campaign was aimed. So it makes sense that by adding it they are going to get and retain the players that their marketing has targetted.

  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @04:06AM (#28008575) Journal

    Coming up next: the Pope's guide to good sex and the Dalai Lama's tips on cooking meat.

  • Jack Black [yearone-movie.com] as Conan the Barbarian?! Oh, hell no.
    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      They removed boobie? I think the more important issue is why were they removed in the first place, I don't think I want to do business with an anti-boobie company
  • by FadedTimes (581715) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @04:31AM (#28008699)

    Pretty sad that by the end of the interview they are talking about 4 year old WoW content.

  • by jwhitener (198343) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @04:37AM (#28008727)

    I can say that it is by far the best mmorpg I've ever played.

    Well, let me step back:) It is by far the mmorpg with the most potential I've every played.

    Currently gear gives you at max, a 25% increase in power overall. The latest patch will push that to closer to 50%. This will give most "wow'ish", or older "EQ1'ish" players a more familiar feeling concerning item power.

    This has been one of the harder selling points of AoC since its launch: namely, there seems to be very little you can do to improve you character. Once you reach max level, and even if you raid and dungeon crawl for all the best gear, you are, quite literally, not much more powerful than a naked max level character.

    Funcom decided to make the game skill based, focused on pvp, and gear was to be secondary. However, what they found was most players preferred an even mix. Hence, Funcom chose to do 2 things:

    1. PVP levels. You can reach up to pvp level 5, which unlocks new gear upgrades along the way. PVP level 5 is VERY hard to get (assuming you don't cheat grr). And I come from EQ1, so saying "hard to get" means a lot here.

    2. Patch 1.05 will increase the benefits of gear, as well as give and overhaul to the under used crafting system.

    Now, back to the original point: AoC being the mmorpg with the most potential.

    It has all the traditional things that an mmorpg has, plus a very real feeling in terms of maturity. That aside, what sets it apart is a feeling of control when in pvp combat.

    The thing most overlooked by new players, is the shielding and directional attacks of combos. You see, not only do you have cc (crowd control) and other standard mmorpg moves, you can also choose to direct attacks to certain areas of a person (top left right down, etc..).

    The defender can move his shields to block those attacks, and in addition to active blocking, sacrificing endurance/stamina to block more damage.

    Thats pvp. In the pve world, the game is fantastic, and getting better each patch. While I do think that raids are a bit too simplistic right now, the general pve is equal to any mmorpg or better, and the graphics are light years ahead of wow or other like mmorpgs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Bunzinator (1105885)
      That kind of PVP is all and good, but for those of us in Oz and other far flung reaches, with normal ping times of 250-300 ms, we just can't compete with the LPBs in the US. So PVP, even if I liked it, would be a total waste of time. As for the game in general, the noob area was fantastic. Exquisite graphics, interesting quests with voice acted interactions, mature content. All this fell apart once you left the noob area. And the notorious 10k ping problem. It became totally unplayable. I left. Did they e
      • Exquisite graphics, interesting quests with voice acted interactions, mature content. All this fell apart once you left the noob area.

        It is clear that a lot of love went into the noob area, and the quests outside the main storyline indeed lack voiceover. But the game really doesn't "fall apart" outside the noob zone. I saw this comment from a few reviewers, who probably levelled a character out of Tortage and then got disappointed by the Cimmerian village or Tarantia, before writing their review. I jus

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I had a long laundry list of issues, but many ewere game _Design_ and not the usual rants about bugs. PVP? There were no real 'enemies' estabnlished; you can be an an open pvp server, which means free for all .. no goal or reason, just people ganking randomly (usually when you were talking to NPCs due to the really bad design of zoom while chatting, and the fact they couldnt' code enough to put an if-statement to disable gank-while-zoomed). Anyway, there needs to be 'war' of some sort designed in, or its j
  • meh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by waspleg (316038)

    i played hte first 2 or 3 months

    this game is really really bad, it only has a player base because of tits and stupid kids who like to sit in huge groups at the entrances to low level zones and kill lowbies over and over and over

    what killed it for me after defending its shittastic launch was that every subsequent patch introduced more problems than it fixed, like 10k ping spikes and CTDs where there were none.

    class balance is a total joke etc.

    the only thing i miss and think should have been put in to other g

    • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hyfe (641811) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @05:53AM (#28009155)
      Please don't mod parent up.

      Conan is an enjoyable game. I'm not playing it currently, as the wast majority of people here, as it isn't really my type of game.. but still, it's an enjoyable game. If you're wondering about playing it, try the 7-day trial. It's free.

      That said, I'm sick and tired of whiners making uninformed, poorly written posts. The Conan forums were full of them a month after launch. Why?! It's not going to help, it's not going to solve anything and it's ruining the forums for the people who actually play and enjoy the game.

      Furthermore, why on earth are native speakers the ones with the most spelling mistakes? When they're ranting, can't they include some details on whats wrong, instead of just " tihs game suxx".. so atleast the people reading would get some information and some basis for discussion? Seriously, why are so many people acting like utter retards?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You ask why people whine? Could it be the fact that some of the promised features wasn't delivered? (Bar brawls, directional combat that mattered, DX 10 support).
        Or was it that the most convenient way to travel was by way of death?
        Could it be that PVP was all about preloading your combos while running around and then hitting with the last strike, because the others didn't really matter?
        Could it have been lack of content at some levels meaning that everyone (except those who's classes happened to be broken a

        • "Or was it that the most convenient way to travel was by way of death?"

          I'd completely forgotten about that. I remember at first I was indignant that people were doing it but by the end I was only indignant if I couldn't find a high enough ledge to jump off to kill myself. Did they ever do anything about quick travel? I left just before they significantly dropped the price of steeds so I had never been able to afford one.

        • by bryan007 (103063)

          Speaking of fast travel -- Can you still run your mount into the water & swim @ mounted speed?

        • Don't forget pissant volunteer GMs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ogive17 (691899)
        Just because someone doesn't like the game doesn't make them whiney or uninformed. My guild that I played SWG and WoW with moved to AoC at launch... and within 3 months people started moving back to WoW. I made the mistake of paying for 6 months worth of AoC when I first created my account, about 3-4 months in I was completely bored of the game. The class I chose was horrible playing solo (barbarian). I can't remember what level I reached but I didn't come close to hitting the max.

        I think the combat
      • Congratulations, you played the first 20 levels. Now play the rest of the game.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      i played hte first 2 or 3 months

      this game was really really bad 9 or 10 months ago when I last played, it only has a player base because of tits and stupid kids who like to sit in huge groups at the entrances to low level zones and kill lowbies over and over and over 9 or 10 months ago when I last played.

      what killed it for me after defending its shittastic launch was that every subsequent patch introduced more problems than it fixed, like 10k ping spikes and CTDs where there were none which were present 9 or 10 months ago when I last played, but could be patched now. I don't know, though, because I haven't played in 9 or 10 months.

      class balance was a total joke etc 9 or 10 months ago, when I last played.

      the only thing i miss and think should have been put in to other games is the horse-sprint

      i only know one person who still plays, and they're a huge EVE fan too.

      Fixed that for you. Tenses corrected in italics, additions in bold.

      Anon as I've modded you "Overrated"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Thaelon (250687)

        Which perhaps goes to show that you should make sure your launch isn't an abomination, or otherwise you'll lose a bunch of players who won't give you a second chance.

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          Which perhaps goes to show that you should make sure your launch isn't an abomination

          Unless of course your game is Abomination Online.

  • Obvious (Score:3, Funny)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @05:27AM (#28008975)

    Age of Conan, One Year On

    will be one year more than his age now.

  • I'm not surprised their playerbase went up--with numbers as low as they had, there's not much more you can go than up.

    I'm sure the game is still total garbage. Listen to us (the people that made the mistake of buying AoC)--NEVER, EVER buy a Funcom game. The bugs, the imbalance, the itemization, the missing features, the unimplemented stats, the game would have been comical had I not paid 50 bucks for the box and 15 more for a month's worth of playtime.

  • by Vandil X (636030) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @06:06AM (#28009217)
    As much as I applaud Funcom for their work with Age of Conan, I still think they should make a next generation Anarchy Online game instead. The original AO has such a unique, rich world, that is only limited by its EverQuest 1-era graphics and engine.

    They make AO2, and I am there.
    • I commented positively about AO on Lum the Mad's site once and he or one of the other posters described it as "Spreadsheets Online", which as a former longtime player I thought was pretty funny, and not a little apt. I'd love to see an AO makeover.
    • by baldr (1155711)
      Funcom are actually working on upgrading the graphics. (They are changing to the Ogre graphic engine.) It is supposed to be released sometime later this year.
  • If I wanted to play a PC MMO, I'd choose WoW or any of a dozen other better MMO's. You've pissed away the opportunity to be a stand-out on a console to be just another also-ran on the PC.
  • Funcom had a pre-release and allowed players to pay $10 or so to download the game and start a week early. A few hours of playing the laggy, buggy mess and I uninstalled. Fortunately then I was able to return the box for a refund.
  • by piggydoggy (804252) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @06:36AM (#28009345)

    If you read the negative comments here, you can easily spot the trend: "had high hopes, preordered the game, played for a month, it *sucked*, and even though I haven't touched it for a year I'm sure it still sucks (because I'll be damned if I give Funcom any money to try it again)".

    At launch the game wasn't finished and complaints were grounded in reality. But the fact that Funcom has worked hard on the game for a year, fixing problems, adding content, rethinking bad design decisions and actually ended up with a polished, *genuinely good* MMORPG has gone completely unnoticed.

    AOC's main problem isn't the game, but its public perception that was throughly ruined by the game's post-launch half-bakedness. If you ask newcomers who've just signed up to AOC about how they feel about it, they're usually having fun and are very much puzzled about the hate it's getting.

    Funcom is facing a heck of a task battling people's existing prejudices in order to try and convince its 600,000 lost customers that they have indeed made the game playable and fun.

    • by rugger (61955) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @06:51AM (#28009411)

      This isn't a post to bash Vista or AoC, just pointing out the similarities between the two.

      Both had horrendously terrible releases, and while the products may have ended up reasonably solid after much fixing and tweeking, nothing is going to fix the bad release publicity.

      Maybe this is a message to publishers that releasing a half-finished product, then fixing it later, is really a terrible terrible idea that should be avoided at all costs. Microsoft certainly is trying VERY HARD to avoid the mistakes of vista with windows 7, even though they are quite similar OSes.

      • by tieTYT (989034)

        As an indie game developer, I'm concerned about this problem. I need people to play my game for their feedback. But, if I let them play my game early and they don't like it at that time, they may be unwilling to try it in its future state. Seems like a catch-22.

        • by rugger (61955)

          Use trusted friends and family as your unwilling victims (ahem ... testers)

          At least at first, because simply getting it loaded onto many different computers will start showing the defects you have missed.

    • by Hubbell (850646)
      They're facing a heck of a battle with the fact that their game sucks. It was billed as a PVP game, yet the PVP is horrendous. If you want a game with actual sieging, player politics, city building, and full loot/ffa pvp (anything less is merely a pve game with pvp tacked on), try Darkfall Online.
    • by murdocj (543661) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @07:58AM (#28009813)

      At launch the game wasn't finished and complaints were grounded in reality. But the fact that Funcom has worked hard on the game for a year, fixing problems, adding content, rethinking bad design decisions and actually ended up with a polished, *genuinely good* MMORPG has gone completely unnoticed.

      The problem is that the initial impression from launch is the impression that people are left with. It's a constant problem for all MMOs, not just AoC. Releasing a buggy, incomplete MMO pretty much guarantees failure, because the people who are excited about it are going to jump into it and come away very disappointed. It's not hard to predict this, anyone who is familiar with the industry understands this. That's one reason that WoW succeeded where other games have failed... it worked well, right from launch. I got into it about a month after launch and one of the things that made it work for me was that it just... worked. After playing EQ1 for years and just accepting the fact that the world was buggy, having a game that you could just play and enjoy was quite a revelation.

    • by montyzooooma (853414) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @08:23AM (#28009993)
      "Funcom is facing a heck of a task battling people's existing prejudices in order to try and convince its 600,000 lost customers that they have indeed made the game playable and fun."
      A two or three month free trial for those original accounts that played from the beginning would be a start.
    • That's exactly what killed Hellgate London, they never got over the stench of their launch. By the time the game got axed they'd fixed most of the problems and had a fun little game, but not enough people were willing to give them a second try, or even a first try after reading the reviews.

      You'd think developers and publishers would be able to predict that kind of result, but obviously not.

    • by Thaelon (250687)

      Which is why you should really make sure the game is ready before you release it. I'm not saying this to be a jerk. Customers are fickle and will find something else to do if they don't like the experience. Getting them to come back to give you a second chance after you've made their experience so horrible that they took deliberate action to cease paying you for it is a difficult thing to do. It's because it's so so difficult to get players back that you should make certain your launch is a good experienc

    • by Endo13 (1000782)

      I finally gave in and tried it 2-3 months ago. I think I lasted about 5-10 hours. It just wasn't fun. The 'directional combat system' was basically irrelevant. Sure, maybe it matters later on, but that's not the point. If you want players to stick around, the game has to be fun out of the box. Of course, it also has to stay fun. WoW accomplished that for me for about 3500-4000 hours of gameplay, compared to 5-10 for AoC.

    • When I think about AOC, I get angry, and think about LIARS and LAZY BASTARDS. These guys can't code a quit button, or a math formula to save his life. And AOC itself is a linear theme park with a bad end. Theres a reason people that has not played the game will tell you "I'll be damned if I give Funcom any money to try it again". And is not what our friend piggydoggy suggest.

      AOC is the only MMO I have deleted from my harddisk, and I have played all, even the really bad ones.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      At launch the game wasn't finished and complaints were grounded in reality. But the fact that Funcom has worked hard on the game for a year, fixing problems, adding content, rethinking bad design decisions and actually ended up with a polished, *genuinely good* MMORPG has gone completely unnoticed.

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you got Funcom-ed!

      I don't trust them in the slightest.

    • Once bitten, Twice shy. I wasted my share of money on Age of Conan, and I will not be taking that gamble again. A certain other MMO got it right from the start, and has enjoyed a massive growth since it's introduction. Perhaps Funcom should have waited until they got it right too.
    • AOC's main problem isn't the game, but its public perception that was throughly ruined by the game's post-launch half-bakedness. If you ask newcomers who've just signed up to AOC about how they feel about it, they're usually having fun and are very much puzzled about the hate it's getting.

      Everything in your post is true, but then again even at launch Tortage was a good experience. (Aside from the lack of traders, I didn't really hear that many complaints about the first 20 levels)

      Based on that, I wouldn't just take the word of a newcomer unless they at least had a level 60 character. Otherwise they wouldn't have gone through the part that used to be a horrid villa grind.

    • by Spit (23158)

      That's business; deliver or GTFO, don't expect favours from paying customers.

  • This is the same patch which, due to the sweeping stat and equipment changes, will allow players who have a character at level 50 or higher to create a brand new character already at level 50.

    I don't know about everyone else, but the last thing I'm looking for in a party is someone who just started playing his character yesterday, doesn't know how to play his new class and didn't buy half his spells because "he didn't think they looked useful." Lord knows there's been a lot of incompetent death knights in WoW, though mercifully time passing has culled a lot of the chaff by now.

    • by Sparton (1358159)

      I know no one likes reading the article or even summary, but... from your own quote:

      will allow players who have a character at level 50 or higher to create a brand new character already at level 50.

      People who just started yesterday won't bother your high-level gaming a while.

      • by drsquare (530038)

        He said 'people who started their character yesterday', i.e. they have never played the class before.

  • I played it at launch, and stuck through many of the patch cycles hoping it would get better.
    It looks *great*, and the first 20 levels (through Tortage) are indeed good fun, but after that it went downhill very quickly.

    Each patch fixed one problem and introduced half a dozen new problems. PvP was horribly unbalanced - it was common to be one-or-two-shotted by players several levels *below* you without you being able to do anything about it at all. Players could evade PvP by simply running into water. Major

  • by Bocaj (84920) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @09:36AM (#28010817) Homepage

    People, please do not try to compare World of Warcraft to any other MMO. Why? MMO's have an interesting social variable that acts as a feedback loop. Warcraft's popularity is partly due to is popularity. Yes the game has to be good, but once you gain a certain momentum people stay with the game because their friends stay with the game. You need a sufficiently large portion of friends to leave for another game before you will, even if you like another game better. This is why you sometimes see a mass exodus from games that don't gain momentum. Guilds tend to ban together and move to another MMO as a whole. Most MMO's have monthly fees which limits most peoples budgets to one game. Humans are instinctively loyal pack animals. We ban together in teams to increase our power. If you think about it hard enough, you can probably find at least one other MMO that you would have played if everyone in your guild switched with you. And don't forget World of Warcraft at release time. Remember the guilds that powered through Molten Core and then had nothing to do but stand around Ironforge looking cool? Many of them would have gladly jumped ship to another MMO, but options were more limited back then. Some even canceled accounts to save money and just waited for an expansion. Age of Conan might still survive, but getting WoW-type popularity means getting people to quit playing WoW, which means leaving friends and abandoning charters you've spent years on. It's a tall order.

    • You're 100% correct that there's a snowball effect in place. I sincerely hope this happens to AoC as well since it's the best MMO I've ever played, thanks in large part to the community. The fact that this game is rated M means there's none of the kiddie attitude of WoW. It makes a world of difference.

    • by brkello (642429)
      That effect is there. But it had to at least be better than EQ otherwise everyone would have stayed there for their friends. I think people crave a better MMO.

      I still think it is fair to compare WoW to other games in the genre. If you are talking about comparing as far as popularity goes, then I agree with you. But WoW did a lot of things right. To turn your back on it just because a lot of people are there for their friends doesn't make much sense.
  • All of these problems sounds like they fixed the easy issues. They didn't tackle the horrible network code / load distribution that they're using. There's the way WoW does it, which is throw everyone on the big server and have a bunch of child servers to handle PvP combat and things like that based on locality. There's the way WAR does it, which is "oh look funny lag" where you subdivide into lots of little servers (each of which handles a separate area) plus a separate connection for things like chat.
  • Been playing since Beta, and was also frustrated by the initial crashes and lags. However, I stuck with it, and it's been very much worth it. I currently have 3 toons going--a 65 DT, 45ish HoX and a 30-something Ranger. I play on a PvE server, but still interact a lot with my guild. Major bugs to grouping and much of the lagginess seems fixed.

    I tried the DX10 but wound up sticking with 9 for now; the graphics are still fantastic and drop-dead gorgeous.

    I would urge anyone who dropped this game after the

All this wheeling and dealing around, why, it isn't for money, it's for fun. Money's just the way we keep score. -- Henry Tyroon

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