Age Of Conan Beta Proves Popular

By John Walker on May 13th, 2008 at 12:19 pm.

If this were Ultima Online, someone would have to play as the person who clears the shit up behind these things.

Age of Conan’s open beta should certainly provide a decent stress test of the servers. Eidos announced this morning that the game’s had one million people sign up so far. Biggest ever? Funcom and Eidos (cautiously) think so. Funcom’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Morten Larssen, says,

“Funcom has not been able to find any higher beta numbers for MMOs in the western world. We believe it represents the largest ever beta sign-up figure in the history of the genre.”

While throwing figures around they report 800,000 people signed up to their newsletter, and 115,000 posts on their forums. We’ll have more about Conan soon, when we report our findings in the beta. Meanwhile, Rock, Paper, Shotun is proud to announce over 8 million typos have now appeared, and the posting of the 400 billionth comment about piracy. Handshakes for everyone.

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33 Comments »

  1. Butler` says:

    Looking forward to Saturday’s Early Access. I still think AOC is exactly what RPG-partial PC gamers need atm.

  2. Pavel says:

    Ergh, why do talented devs keep wasting times doing MMOs? We need more story driven emotions arousing games, not another grindfest, albeit with boobies and big swords.

  3. araczynski says:

    Actually Pavel, AoC DOES have a good story, in fact I made myself reroll a bunch of alts just so that i wouldn’t progress far in it. (during my 3 days of beta access).

    got my vista64 dual boot all ready for this bad boy.

  4. Feet says:

    Do we know if there will be a free trial offered from launch? My PC is a bit decrepit nowadays and I wouldn’t want to buy this without trying it first to test directly how it will perform, but I can’t be bothered with signing up for the beta, I’ve been in too many betas for rubbish MMOs and been disappointed. The ludicrously large client is quite off-putting for a download as well, but I’d do it if there’s a 3 day trial of the published game and if people say it’s one of the very few good MMOs.

  5. Ging says:

    Don’t most MMOs offer some form of free trial these days?

    Though it is a bit big for a demo disc, with the installer weighing in at 8 / 9 gigs (my actual installation was around 23 gig, others have reached 33).

    I’ve only played a few hours worth of the beta, I liked the ability to swap into a single player “night” mode. I do however hope that the immense loading times are reduced with the final client.

  6. Rook says:

    Free trial is usually after the early boxed copy sales turn out to be relatively poor and there aren’t as many subscribers as they intended.

    I’ll be surprised if Age of Conan turns out to be a hit in any sense of the word simply because of the male-centric take on the genre.

  7. DigitalSignalX says:

    I’ve been running conan as a technical tester and then pretty extensively in closed beta. I think I can say without compromising the NDA that it still needs a LOT of work. My excitement level is no where near as high now that I’ve gotten a good taste of the game mechanics, character development, and over-all playability of what it has to offer. In fact, there’s a sour taste in my mouth.

    Hopefully things will improve significantly.. dramatically.. as is sometimes the case between early beta and eventual release. However now my “hopefully anticipating a WoW competitor” attention is on AION and Stargate only. Not Conan.

  8. Butler` says:

    @Rook: The Western, subscription-based MMORPG market being saturated with female gamers an all…

  9. Ging says:

    Butler – you’d be surprised just how many women get into MMOs, they like the social aspect of it.

  10. derFeef says:

    My excitement level is very high – and I know why *coughsbeta* This game will rock. Hard.

  11. Nimic says:

    I’ve already got my Early Access lined up. Actually, I’ve already got the Early Access part of the game downloaded and installed (the game folder is 24 gig). Can’t wait!

  12. Rook says:

    Either way, an MMO full of horny 13 year old boys isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. Shall pass it on to the Catholic church though, they might be interested.

  13. chenghiz says:

    One wonders just how much positive publicity Funcom got from this beta, what with it being nearly unplayable simply due to their apparent inability to properly manage video memory. I’m of the opinion that in the majority of cases (that is, MMOs that are not as polished as WoW) having an open beta is a bad idea. I, for one, was definitely turned off from buying it on release, and I know of at least one other who was, as well.

  14. araczynski says:

    @DigitalSignalX:

    being a wow competitor implies it should play/look like wow. if someone wants wow, they’ll go play wow. those that don’t like wow want something different, not a wow clone. this is different. there’s a reason why i quit wow after 3 month (when it first came out) and have been waiting for something different since then. i haven’t been waiting for a wow clone.

    @Rook: its a mature MMO, geared for those 18 and over, if kids get into it then the problem is their ignorant parents, not the game. your god forbid that there’s games out there that don’t appeal to your morals/beliefs. and indifferent to your religious beliefs, you can tell your church to shove it, like their priests do to kids…

    conan will be successfull specifically FOR its atmosphere, because there’s plenty of adults out there that aren’t wasting their time with crappy WoW games (i.e. chat/social engines with a graphics layer on top, that people want to pay for)

  15. heartless_ says:

    NDA is gone, and has been gone for a week at least.

    As a tech tester from the first test, and open beta, the game absolutely blows chunks. It is an adult skin on World of Warcraft, and I hate to make such lame analogies. Level via quests? Yep. Raid-central end game? Yep. Mini-game inspired PvP? Yep.

    The thing that irks me the most is all the “big features”, such as city, siege warfare, spellweaving, etc., ARE NOT IN THE GAME. They are probably on some development server somewhere, but they are not in ANY of the beta clients I’ve tested. I don’t know what their plan with any of those items are. Players will be max level within a month, so I hope Funcom is ready for the “WTF now?” cries.

    Essentially, AoC is the same old Diku style leveling, with a promise of some sort of end game. Unfortunately, that trek is plagued with clunky, wrist-slaughtering combat. The combat system, while probably cool for a console, blows chunks on a keyboard/mouse setup. It is the same combat system we’ve seen a million times over, but with the caveat that you don’t get auto-attack and actually have to click to attack with a weapon FOR EVERY SINGLE ATTACK. I guess Funcom didn’t do a little research to figure out why auto-attack existed in the first place.

    AoC has so many strikes against it, that I can’t see how it will have a successful launch. First, it requires a fairly beefy machine. Second, it is rated mature, a fairly significant sales killer for a PC game. Third, long-time beta testers have unanimously agreed it is not ready.

    Oh, and 1 million signups != one million testers. It’s almost like LotRO telling us that they had 4 million characters created, absolutely fucking pointless information meant to drum up media coverage.

    Avoid AoC. It is launching into disaster.

  16. Rook says:

    @araczynski: It was a joke was about catholic priests and 13 year old boys, rather than some kind of religious objection.

    And a bunch of breasts on display does not make the game “mature”.

  17. cliffski says:

    wow.
    I was casually tempted but 23 GIGS? How much is that in peggles.
    Too much by far, I’m not THAT casually interested. That’s over half my ISPS monthly limit. what a joke.

  18. chenghiz says:

    The beta download was something like 13 GB, and as far as I know it didn’t include content past level 13, so I’m not surprised. This will pretty much be a game to buy in stores, methinks.

  19. fluffy bunny says:

    “Avoid AoC. It is launching into disaster.”

    Like Anarchy Online, then… Funcom, you’re no good at this MMO-thing. Make a Dreamfall-sequel instead.

  20. friday says:

    @heartless: wow you really hate this game don’t you? I am in beta too and the NDA has only been lifted up to lvl 13, so I think you said a little much. How long have you been in the real beta, not just the tech test? Fact, the beta community’s outlook on the game they are testing tends to become more and more negative as the game gets closer to launch. Give it time man, the launch may be rough (like almost all MMO’s) but it will be good. And auto attacking is dumb, sorry you can’t watch pron while you kill stuff.

  21. Xaero says:

    I’m really surprised at the negative beta comments here. I personally really liked the beta. Its not a WoW clone, thats for sure.

  22. Fat says:

    I don’t see the reason for all this bad press from people, specially those in beta. I’d like to know what they expect from a beta. Sure it’s releasing this week, but it’s no worse than any other beta i’ve played in recent years (L2, WoW, D&L, DDO, LOTRO, prolly some other crap ones i forget).

    I can’t really understand why the hate that endgame isn’t in place properly. You won’t be 80 in a single week, they will implement the stuff in time, if not at launch.

    The beta has come on leaps and bounds in the past few weeks especially (i’ve been in for quite a few months) and the client runs super smooth compared to a month ago.

    For those complaining about the size, it only applies to people who are downloading for 6 days early access. You can buy a boxed copy on the 23rd… same time as our own retail copies will arrive. And the comments about how badly the game runs… as i already said, i’ve personally noticed a HUGE improvement in how fast the client runs the past few weeks. Those who were in the open beta weekend got a bad slot really, if they’d of let you test it this week, i think you’d of had a slightly higher opinion. No huge resource loading lag spikes anymore, beta is practically over after all.

    Anyone looking for a change of scenery should consider checking it out. You might like it, you might not… same as any other game… but imo, it’s the best MMO to release in the past few years by far.

  23. Larington says:

    Whats this – People thinking beta is representative of the fully released game shocker?

    With regards to a Dreamfall sequel – They already are, not much info available at the moment, other than the phrase “Dreamfall Chapters” (Chapters being representative of an episodic format for the game), which reminds me, I should check and see if any more info on it has escaped the presses…. EDIT: Unfortunately there hasn’t been any mention of it since march 07, so I’m beginning to wonder if Funcom are too busy dealing with the AoC release to talk about it or if somethings happened to it…

  24. araczynski says:

    @Rook: actually in this day and age and religious zealotry, breasts on display is sufficient to making a game “mature” in the eyes of the ESRB I believe. breasts aside, there’s plenty of blood, gore, crude talk, decapitations/etc to round out the rating.

    as for the beta, i was in it for only 3 days, but everything was as slick as could be, no issues, no lag, nothing, just great graphics and a very enjoyable experience. i’m sure there’s problems with the beta client, but when aren’t there. heck, i’d be shocked (although impressed) if something didn’t creep up during the first month or two while they ramp up the infrastructure to accommodate hundreds of thousands of players at once.

    my early access client downloaded in about 18 hours, about what i expected.

  25. Nick says:

    “Whats this – People thinking beta is representative of the fully released game shocker”

    Uh, usually it’s a fairly good indication in an MMO to what will launch. Especially this close.

  26. John Walker says:

    I chatted with Ragnar Tørnquist recently about Dreamfall Chapters, and there didn’t seem any doubt in his mind that he’d be making it.

    Don’t forget that Ragnar isn’t working on Conan. He’s working on the other, shhh, whisper, MMO.

  27. Razerious says:

    Funcom released a patch last week that improved the performance and stability considerably. The latest client has yet to crash on me (which it did quite a lot only a month ago). And you have to remember that the beta debuggers, etc are going to be removed from the client before release, so that may help as well.

    Most of the issues I had with the game a month ago have been fixed. Well, I like it, anyway. I have a feeling I’ll be playing this and FM Live quite a lot this summer…

  28. Wildbluesun says:

    I LOVE THE AGE OF CONAN FORUMS. They had about three threads mocking The Endless Forest…they were so amusing.

    Because, y’know. If you want to relax in a pretty forest while casting spells on deer, The Endless Forest is amazing.

  29. Rook says:

    @araczynski – You seem to be missing my fundamental point. “Mature” as written on the box as a game descripter, is not the same “mature” that people would use in everday life.

  30. The Dread Pirate Roberts says:

    Rook, you will be surprised if a male-centric game takes off in a male-centric hobby? hmm.

    Anyway. I stopped playing the WAR beta and started playing the AOC beta instead. I was super hyped for WAR, but AOC feels like a more polished product in almost every respect. Read that how you will.

  31. Nick says:

    MMOs tend to have a lot of female players as well. Not just men pretending to be women/having a female avatar either.

  32. Quaker says:

    So who has been playing the early access? I can tell you now, it’s a different game from the Beta. Haven’t had so much fun in a looong time..

  33. Ryan says:

    Looking forward to this game. A co-worker is on the beta and says it is great!

    lessons in brevity

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