Gordo’s Gaming Blog

My adventures in the many worlds of gaming.

Age of Conan

with 5 comments

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve recently started playing Age of Conan. This game has been anticipated for a long time, and has been delayed many times over recent months. All of this, I think has compounded people’s interests for it, and it has been described as the ‘first next-gen MMO’.

So far, I’ve got to level 26, and I must say, I’ve really enjoyed it. The first 20 levels took place in ‘Tortage’ – a dank and corrupt harbour town full of pirates, prostitutes and political intrigue. Ruled by the tyrant Strom, who you aim to eventually overthrow, you meet many characters from the ‘Resistance’ a movement put together to fell Strom, and put an end to his dictatorial ways. I won’t spoil the storyline for you, but needless to say, it’s a very satisfying way of being thrown into a game, it’s a small story that your actions affect the outcome of, and your decisions lead to the climax of the storyline.

However, it’s not just a pretty storyline that makes Tortage such a bundle of fun; the comabt system in Age of Conan has been a major selling point for many people – it’s not based on the traditional ‘auto-attack’ system seen in countless MMOs previously; instead, you control your characters swings of their weapon – you find the weaknesses in your enemies’ defense, and you exploit them. It really means you get involved in the combat much more – I remember in WoW, I could set a fight going, go afk, get a drink, and come back to see my character standing over the corpse of my enemy. Well – that’s not the case in Conan. To put it bluntly, if you did that in Conan, you’d find a ressurection screen when you came back, or if you ran, you might have a few points of health left.

The graphics in Age of Conan, truly are spectacular, providing you have the PC to run it – not everybody does; and I can only afford to put it onto high ocassionally. However Funcom promise in the patches to come in the upcoming weeks that they will optimise the game even further, leading to better performance for players.

So, you might be asking; where does Age of Conan fall short? I was thinking that too… until I read some posts about the game on different blogs, when I realised that, in truth, it is nothing new, apart from a) Realised graphics as opposed to stylised which many MMO developers have preferred and b) The faster paced, action RPG style melee combat. Questing, NPCs, party dynamics, I think every other game mechanic is the same. Well; does that make it bad? You might well ask, and, upon reflection, I’m undecided. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it gives it pretty alloys and tyres.

If I had to sum up Age of Conan in a sentence, it would be this:

Fast paced fun, with great graphics (if you can run them), evolutionary combat, but in general, it’s just the ‘EveryMMO’ with with eye candy.

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Written by Gordo

May 27, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Age of Conan, MMO

Tagged with , , , ,

5 Responses

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  1. good summary 🙂

    Thallian

    May 27, 2008 at 9:06 pm

  2. I dunno about the combat system requiring more “skill” per se. It’s still turn-based combat, we just don’t have auto-attack. We don’t “find” a weakness in our opponents’ defenses, we’re outright *shown* those weaknesses. My analogy is Simon Says. Simon Says the mob is not shielding his head! What do we do? Hit the mob on the head! Wait for the next combat round and see if the mob moved his shielding or not. The rounds are fast (for an MMO anyway) at least, about the same (perhaps very slightly faster) than WoW’s so it’s not “twitch” by any stretch of the imagination.

    The combos can be deliciously fun to watch but, honestly, if you can play DDR or Guitar Hero on Easy Mode, you can play AoC’s combos. Hit the combo skill, then watch the screen for each round to see when to press the matching 1,2,3 button. Nothing particularly skillful there either, assuming you’re able to press 1,2,3 within the alloted time (one full combat round).

    All in all, it’s seeming like more of the same with less depth and more button-mashing.

    Talyn

    May 27, 2008 at 9:42 pm

  3. Yeah, I think you’re right. I think a big thing about the combat in AoC, which you may view as positive OR negative, depending on your viewpoint is the fact that it’s not as accessible. Whereas WoW’s combat system is simple enough to pick up in a few minutes for even the least game-fluent player, yet deep enough to require many days of practice to totally perfect.
    Now, I’ve not put my… sister or mum (just examples of non-game fluent people) in front of my PC and got them to play AoC, but I think they’d find it harder to play (assuming they played a melee class). I can’t quite place my thumb on it, but I think if I got them to play WoW, they could do it. But I don’t think they’d be able to play AoC.
    And while the combos are simple; the act of pulling them off in frantic PvP or tense PvE dungeons at endgame is a thought that really excites me; pulling off a sucessful combo could be the difference between life and death. I think that’s where the combat in AoC will really flourish (or fail). The brutality of a guardian pummeling his opponent whilst the barbarians attack from the side and assassin’s approach from behind. It could combine to make a really fun raiding exprience. Or, it could just not ‘work’ and be incredibly dull and impossibly difficult.

    Gordo

    May 27, 2008 at 9:54 pm

  4. On the other hand, put yourself in the role of a tank in a raid, and you’ve pressed 1,2,3 several thousand times before you even get to the first boss…

    Age of Conan: Carpal Tunnel Adventures…

    Regarding PvP, I’m nowhere near that stage yet, but since a lot of the combos involve staring at the screen for timing (hopefully you’ve memorized it by then but…) the PvP action itself may end up being less intense, while viewing the fatality action, knowing it’s another player not an AI mob, will be perhaps more rewarding.

    Talyn

    May 27, 2008 at 10:40 pm

  5. Yeah; I tanked in LOTRO, and although I’d used the same skills over and over many thousands of times before I got to my first raid boss, I was still really excited when it came.

    I took part in some PvP in the open beta – although basing it on level 13s is kinda silly, as a lot of things change between 13 and 80, I did enjoy the PvP, it was pretty fast-paced; my only problem with it is that is was rather ‘clumsy’ – there were a lot of missed combos, wasted strikes as people dodged and ran away. But the ability of being able to strike while running is quite cool, and the sprint feature I think is really good, as well as everyone being able to stealth.

    Gordo

    May 28, 2008 at 10:25 am


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