Age Of Conan Continues To Prove Popular

By John Walker on May 26th, 2008 at 4:20 pm.

I'd make a joke about football fans here, if I knew what colours any of the teams wear.

Age of Conan, with modest to decent coverage in the earliest days, continues to proclaim impressive numbers.

Not only did Funcom declare that a million signed up for the open beta, and indeed boast that the Collector’s Edition sold out pre-launch, but now it appears to be one of the fastest selling PC games of all time.

400,000 people are already playing in the lands of Hyboria in the first few days, announce Funcom, rather excitedly. YouGamers point out that this is still a couple of hundred thousand short of the server capacity, but it’s only been available for the weekend – helpfully a holiday weekend in both the US and UK. Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas states,

“The initial sales and reviews are very encouraging, and it’s great to see that so many are enjoying Age of Conan. This is just the beginning, and we already look forward to massive updates and cool new features. We believe our focus on making Conan unique and groundbreaking is a key reason for the initial success. This is a focus we will keep and reinforce, and players can expect continued quality and innovation as we enter a new era for the game.”

He failed to add: and here is a video of the game where a lady shows her boobies.

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65 Comments »

  1. Meat Circus says:

    But is it actually any good? Or yet another level treadmill of doom?

    ANSWER ME.

  2. derFeef says:

    I so wish this game is going to be successful. I love it already, even if there are things missing. Go Funcom! The Video is dumb btw….

  3. Orange says:

    I’ve been playing quite a lot, now up to level 40.

    However I think AoC has lost members already and I can’t see it being more than a niche player once Warhammer is released.

    Going up the levels the game has been looking increasingly unfinished. Broken quests, broken instances and a distinct lack of high level quests. There’s also been too much backtracking to old zones as well, which is not as exciting as having a fresh new zone for every round of quests.

    I’d say 7/10 is about right, the game feels like it could have benefited from 6 months more of hard graft rather than going straight from Open Beta to release.

  4. Al3xand3r says:

    That’s expected with MMORPGs, WoW also offers a shitload more content now and is much more stable and bugfree than on release time (even pre-expansion).

    Anyway, I’ll only try Conan once the buddy system is activated again. I’m not too hardcore with MMOs either, so it’ll probably take me some time to reach max lvl and look for end game content so the current lack of it won’t affect me much hopefully, as there’ll be more by then. If I decide to buy it after the buddy trial of course…

    I doubt Warhammer will compete with this, being a whole lot more about PvP and RvR with PvE being of smaller focus and looking a lot more similar in style to WoW. It’ll compete with WoW for its PvP addicts probably, people looking for something familiar enough but new enough etc.

    I was very excited for it but then they focused on PvP and as I prefer PvE by far, it’s not my thing anymore.

  5. Arsewisely says:

    Why has this game caused such a fuss? It doesn’t look very special, it reminds me of Asheron’s Call. I don’t see the attraction of the Conan licence, was that not just a camp Arnie flick from ages ago? I can see the Warhammer MMO stomping all over this one – it just seems far more compelling to me.

  6. nabeel says:

    You’ve been neglecting to thank GT, so let me do so for you. Thank you GT!
    nabeel

  7. Schadenfreude says:

    Boobies!

  8. much2much says:

    Don’t know much about AoC but used to read a lot of Conan black & white comics. These had a lot of visual styles for the different races which I think is the main benefit. It is an a very well developed fantasy setting that is very human based. Different races of humans create the variety instead of elves, dwarves, etc.

  9. Al3xand3r says:

    Arsewisely if all you know about the Conan name is the Arnie flick, you must be too young for this game’s rating anyway…

    It’s appeal, other than the licence, comes from the fact it seems to use one of the more advanced engines, for a MMO at least, has an interesting, semi unique combat system, and appears to be one of the few titles with the potential to gather a decent enough following and not be just another title killed by WoW (in the West at least, as it also doesn’t appear to be a Korean grind fest)… We’ll see how it goes half a year after release.

  10. dishwasherlove says:

    Arsewisely: Go read a book.

    I’ll be interested if this isn’t just grind.

  11. SwiftRanger says:

    When there aren’t any serious or frequent PC releases like in this first half of 2008, anyone will buy anything. I think that’s a big lesson for publishers to learn. A year shouldn’t be only about the last four months…

  12. Nimic says:

    I absolutely love it so far. It’s obviously not without its faults. There’s quite a few minor bugs, a few broken instances and quests, and the world itself isn’t very big (area-wise, quest-wise, etc). But these are all highly fixable faults, and the game has only been out for a week.

  13. Al3xand3r says:

    Yes, obviously people are willing to buy a shit game and pay monthly for it simply because not many titles were released during the same time frame. Obviously every one of the people who got it have already bought and played to death everything else released this and the last year. Obviously, I’m writing bullshit.

  14. Ozzie says:

    Heh. :)

    But why has AoC nudity all over the place while they cut it out of Dreamfall!?
    Hrmpf…..it totally made no sense that Zoe was running around in Winter in her underwear…

  15. Mr. Brand says:

    A million signed up for the beta, huh? That may be true, but a million didn’t get to play. Such creative (player) accounting :)

  16. Arsewisely says:

    So does the game have a 24+ rating then?
    Also, you failed to explain what else there is to Conan? What cultural jewels have I missed out on?

    *grammar Nazi* Oh, and it’s “its appeal”, pur-lease. */grammar Nazi*

  17. Matt says:

    The thing I don’t get is how the game is “unique and groundbreaking” in any way. I’m not saying it is a horrible game or anything just I don’t agree its success is down to those factors. To be completely honest it just felt a lot like most mmos to me.

    If you like quite nice graphics and the setting of Conan then you will probably like the game but it is heavily instanced. They are going to need to do quite a lot to keep people playing for any length of time I didn’t feel there was a lot of depth there either.

    I thought it was ok, I suspect eyecandy is pulling people in and the game has been quite well marketed, not totally over hyped but certainly kept itself in the public consciousness.

    One thing I have never really understood with mmo settings is that very few people are online role-players. If people are running about whacking things and focusing on getting levels and loot, why does it matter about the setting? It does to me on a surface level but you don’t need that much depth, just a good sense of atmosphere. The strength of an mmo is in it online aspect. Invariably most mmos make me feel like I am being put on a track and encouraged to race through things quickly. Is it really important that there is a wealth of pulp fiction behind the game? Is Conan really that popular? More so than Lord of the Rings for example, although perhaps LotR fans are just a bit more precious about people tinkering with Tolkein’s source material. I’m am not sure the setting can be the reason for it doing well.

    I’m inclined to think it is just marketing. The game looks good on screenshots, has gore, boobs (that got made bigger in a patch on request) and has more of a gritty feel about it than WoW. I agree timing is probably a factor too. The real success will be decided later, a good initial rush is a great boost but they need to keep people playing to start really making money.

  18. brog says:

    Arsewisely: Google loves you, why must you reject her? It hurts her so.

  19. James says:

    I think it’s pretty fun. I’m only at lvl 17 but so far it’s the combat system and it’s use of combos that I like and what makes it feel different to WoW. Everything else is standard MMO fare, but that’s not a bad thing. I’m only a casual MMO player anyway, I dip in and out of them when I feel like playing, so I can’t comment on the ‘End Game’ stuff that people hark on about but holds no interest to me.

  20. Bitkari says:

    I was enjoying this game until I ended up locked inside a broken instanced quest.

    I’m now in support-ticket purgatory.

  21. Al3xand3r says:

    Yes, your use of English sure can be superior to mine, being Greek and all that. I doubt pur-lease is a word though.

    If you really cared about the subject more than being a grammar Nazi you would have done a quick google search for what you’ve missed out on since it would be faster than typing all that.

    Conan material includes books, graphic novels and comic books. Then came the animated series and the movie adaptations, which, as most licence based movies, didn’t do the source material any justice. I’m not saying the game does as I haven’t played it yet.

    Try following dishwasherlove’s advice (his response was also a good answer to your question anyway, but you ignored it) if you really wait for the movies to bring you information about such franchises. You don’t have to like it or even find it interesting but you could at least judge it on its own merits and not Hollywood’s or Arnie’s.

  22. Erlam says:

    I surpass the “Recommended” specs, but the game is a slideshow for me. I had 5 or less frames pretty much anywhere in Tortage. With Low graphics settings.

    I had enemies suddenly pop into existance about 30 seconds after attacking me.

    I honestly can’t say if the games any good, because I really didn’t get to play it. My second death to an invisible enemy kinda ruined my want to play it more.

  23. Quaker says:

    Erlam, this doesn’t sound right at all. Either you need to overhaul your machine, stop your torrent uploads when playing.. or make sure AA or shadows are turned off.. which would be a pity as Age of Conan looks amazing.

  24. Erlam says:

    As I said, my computer surpasses the specs (in some cases, by far). I turned everything to low, had NOTHING running in the background (not even MSN).

    I was talking to people in the (surprisingly bad) chat menu, and there was a huge range of things like this – people with 4 gigs and a quadcore getting 7 frames, and people who barely passed the min getting 60.

    /Shrug. Guess that means I won’t play it. I’m not really willing to tweak my machine, buy new stuff, etc, to play a game I should already be able to.

  25. K says:

    That video put me off.

  26. cyrenic says:

    I think this proves there’s a huge market of WoW refugees just itching for a new MMO to play. Having been through the launch of Anarchy Online, it doesn’t surprise me there’s a bunch of technical issues with the AoC launch :P. But the fact so many people bought it regardless shows how much people want a new MMO. We’ll see if they stick around past the first month, and this can only be good news for Warhammer Online.

  27. malkav11 says:

    I’d be far more willing to plunge into MMOs immediately post-launch if they’d leave off charging as much for the box as a brand new singleplayer game. I’d much prefer to have a free download and associated monthly fee right from the beginning. Or maybe pay $10 or something. That’s the price on which I plumped for LOTRO, and I definitely feel I got my money’s worth there….$50, though….that would have left me feeling cheated. It’s also what I paid for Tabula Rasa, DDO, Everquest II, Asheron’s Call, and slightly less than what I paid for Auto Assault’s CE: $15. It’s easy to give them a shot at earning my subscription fees if they just don’t make an enormous entry barrier at the outset.

  28. calabi says:

    I was in the beta and I didnt see much of it either because of the huge stuttering Erlam described. Although it did get patched and was almost eliminated near to before it was released.

    It didnt seem that great really, like a single player RPG but a bit less fun. But then I didnt get anywhere near the so called cool end game content, and other stuff.

  29. Kadayi says:

    Good to hear it’s doing well. I’ll probably pick up a copy of the game at some point (if nothing more than for research purposes), but I’m going to give it a couple of months until they sort out any bugs and stability issues. Certainly I wouldn’t expect it to be a serious challenger to WoW, but I’d say it got a strong enough name to it that it should hold it’s own assuming the content is there.

    With respect to the ‘what is this Conan thing about?’ Get your parents to buy you this:-

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/complete-chronicles-Conan-Centenary/dp/0575077662/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211831682&sr=8-2

    Easy to read and very enjoyable. ;)

  30. Optimaximal says:

    Fairplay to the game for not skimping on the boobies, allowing its amazonian warriors to truely live how they did, whilst their contemporaries chase sales in the god-loving/ID populations.

  31. Erlam says:

    I know everyone is complaining about the stability and whatnot (including myself), but keep in mind WoW was just as, if not worse, off when it started. Game crashed, servers went down, servers were laggy, etc. That said, I never had 5 frames, and I’m just going to wait, myself. Maybe it’ll get better.

    The basic combat was at least more involved than WoW is.; that sound however:

    -Lack of invert view? Awful.
    -Terrible UI? Ouch.
    -Still no idea how to enter FPS mode? Oops.

  32. Lh'owon says:

    Honestly that video needed far more boobies, ’cause it did the combat no favours at all.

  33. Thiefsie says:

    Just watching 2 people in justabout every mmo just standing in front of each other aimlessly swinging some sort of weapon at each other with no visible consequence whatsoever totally puts me off MMOS. That’s what 90% of the gameplay is. Dull boring, repetitive combat. Yawn

  34. Arsewisely says:

    Ok, noted. Conan fans: touchy about the Arnie films.

  35. Al3xand3r says:

    I wouldn’t know, I’m not really a fan as I’ve only read a few b&w comic book issues (thich as they were) some decade or so ago.

  36. Al3xand3r says:

    Yeah that was meant to be “thick”…

  37. malkav11 says:

    I have no idea if the movies are any good (I’ve never seen them), but it’s like saying “Why is the Cthulhu license so attractive? Isn’t that based on some shitty B-movie?” Or “why is the Dracula license so popular? Wasn’t that just some Gary Oldman flick?” The idea that you are so culturally bereft as to have never even *heard* of Robert Howard’s original pulp stories is rather appalling (or any of the later followups from other authors, for that matter). You don’t necessarily have to have read them – I hadn’t read any until sometime last year, and still haven’t read the majority of them. But most people at least know whence they came.

  38. Al3xand3r says:

    Made all the worse knowing that just about 5 seconds in google are enough to find out there’s more to it than a pair of movies…

  39. darkripper says:

    The first movie was kinda respectful of the original material and not camp by any stretch of the definition. Then yeah, John Milius hated teh hippies and wanted to decapitate them in a feature film, but that shouldn’t obfuscate the fact that the movie was a good piece of fantasy, with a lot of very howardian moments.

    The sequel was like a D&D Campaign written by my ex-roommate, and we probably should just forgot about it like it never existed.

  40. DigitalSignalX says:

    Click for every single swing? No thanks. Follow the big GUI arrow to do a quest? No thanks. Chunky frame rate on a decent pc? No thanks.

  41. Wildbluesun says:

    IF Age of Conan allows MEN to dress in nothing but thongs, then it gets a green light in my book.

    I mean, c’mon. Whatever happened to sexual equality?

  42. J.A. says:

    DigitalSignalX: What’s wrong with clicking for every swing? Certainly is more exciting than the WoW “click once and do something else for five minutes”-model.

    I don’t think I’ll be getting this. It looks like the kind of game everyone loves to bits the first year after release, then it gets dull and stagnates because of a severe lack of content.

  43. araczynski says:

    i’m having a blast in this game. PERSONALLY, it’s the best mmo i’ve ever played (EQ/AC/DAOC/WOW/Lotro(beta).

    it seems however that it is not a game for the ‘hardcore’ folks. which should overall make it very popular with the general gamer.

    the hardcore folks keep whining that its not hardcore, but whenever a hardcore game comes out it sells like crap (eq2/vanguard/etc). the hardcore crowd just seems to think that they ARE the mmo market, period. whatever.

    this game is very casual friendly and is a blast. if you’re interested in a 2 year long grind to accomplish anything, you have other choices you can spend your money on.

  44. Arsewisely says:

    I’m sorry you think me culturally bereft, but that is a very unfair criticism. I’m sure there are holes in everyone’s knowledge for which they could be accused of cultural bereavement. I am not particularly ashamed that Robert Howard is one of mine. Anyway, regardless of Conan’s hallowed gestation amidst the annals of American pulp literature, and the fact that he is, as we have now established, not simply an Arnie character, I maintain my opinion that the Warhammer franchise will still prove the more compelling as basis for an MMO. However, I enter this with the caveat, however ill informed and bereft of culture it may be, that this is merely my own opinion.

  45. Klumhru says:

    UO, EQ, EQ2, Eve, AC, L2, WOW.

    All but EQ are crap compared to this. All their launches were bug ridden, in the case of WOW, UO and AC, completely unplayable for the first 2-8 weeks. AoC has had the smoothest MMO launch I’ve ever experienced.

    The game is fantastic. It runs perfectly on my wife’s laptop, and is absolutely gorgeous on my gaming rig. It goes beyond the idiotic, nay, insipid Disney graphics of WOW, and finally delivers a believable world of pretty damn near epic proportions. I don’t know what the reviewers were smoking when he said that the areas were small. It’s far, far bigger than WOW was on launch.

    Invert Yaw is an option, as in all other games I’ve seen so far. Scroll into the head of the char to enter FPS, also same as most 3rd person MMOs. The UI is functional, but most important, very easy to customize, both on the front end and in the backend’s fairly simple xml files, so we’ll see tons of UI mods soon.

    It’s graphic, brutal, engaging and it’s 18+! If you like MMOs in general, or even just dabble in RPGs at all, get this game.

  46. Noc says:

    Mr. Wisely, I think that the OTHER half of their complaint is that you didn’t take that crucial twenty second look at Wikipedia before posting. They’re not jumping on you for being uninformed; hell, we’re ALL caught with our proverbial pants down every so often. It’s the confluence of that initial ignorance with an unwillingness to seek knowledge independently before spouting off.

    But on the game: The video put me off a little, since it looked like standard MMO “Do the same attack a bunch of times until they die” fare. But then I figured that the player was ALSO running around fighting people with a pair of fiery biscuits flapping in the wind, so displaying the subtleties of the combat system against challenging opponents clearly wasn’t the aim.

    I’ll definitely look into this once I get a proper computer, some free time, and a steady income. That is, if EVE doesn’t suck me back in first.

  47. Kommissar Nicko says:

    @Arsewisely: I didn’t know about the books either. In fact, consider yourself a minesweeper, heading off the vanguard of hapless replies that would have proved the doom of some other poor bugger. It’s Memorial Day: we will honor your sacrifice.

    Anyway, I’ve been playing since release. It’s buggy, the graphics are wonky and the demands a little steep, some of the instancing sucks (for example, you might not know what instance you’re in if you’re trying to group with your girlfriend for a quest), and up until level 20, you’re pretty much playing the game alone (though the single-player elements are actually rather well done, so that’s not a real tribulation at all).

    Since WoW is our benchmark, the comparisons are uplifting. The release is relatively smooth. WoW had more serious problems at release (loot lag, server lag, game crashes, and so on) and the demands (for the time) were pretty steep too (recall that the minimum specs asked for 512mb of RAM, and they later changed to 1Gb). Though I’m a very casual player, I’ve found that the first 15 levels have been quite a bit more interesting and immersive than WoW’s first 15. The combat is more interactive: there is probably just as much “button-pushing” as WoW.

    I’m of the opinion that the game actually feels quite like Neverwinter Nights, though I might be alone in this. I will agree with malkav11 and say that the price should be lower, but that’s simply to say that the price tag is intimidating when you don’t know what you’re going to get. I would say that it’s shaping up to be worth the $50 up front, and to its merit, you can imagine that it’s only $35 for the game and $15 for the first month of subscription.

    In general, I would say it’s a serious WoW contender, though in the rough right now. The experience is more adult-oriented, and being an adult, I can appreciate it. I think the timing is fortunate, since it essentially is trying the same vein as WoW.

  48. Butler` says:

    @Klumhru

    GJ declaring the entire WoW launch ~8 (?!!!) weeks unplayable. I played from day one and had next to no problems…

    AoC’s good, for now at least. I’m not sure how long it’ll hold up to the WoW-tainted ultrademanding MMORPG crowd, though. Probably till WOTLK is released.

  49. sane says:

    “Going up the levels the game has been looking increasingly unfinished. Broken quests, broken instances and a distinct lack of high level quests. There’s also been too much backtracking to old zones as well, which is not as exciting as having a fresh new zone for every round of quests.”
    You must [feel differently about the game than I do].