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Age of Conan, One Year On 119

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 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @03:45AM (#28008443) Homepage
    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 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.

  • by malice ( 82026 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @06:05AM (#28009215) Homepage

    The the Dalai Lama is not a vegetarian... so he very well may know how to cook up a mean meat dish.

  • 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 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.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler