Age Of Conan: Hyborian Hyperbole

By Alec Meer on September 18th, 2008 at 11:32 am.

The Blue Man Group go to desperate lengths to stave off their increasingly irrelevancy

Remember Age of Conan? That MMO everyone was dead excited about until it turned out to be just a less compelling and slightly broken version of mmmpmmmpphgggrraaamppphmmmle [gagged by his fellows to protect him from death at the hands of Angry Internet Men]?

Anyway, clearly it’s still alive, and after a few patchless weeks is now working hard to stop the rot, even in the face of terrifyingly strong competition. The current focus is on reworking the PvP element of the game, which I suspect was what a lot of people signed up for in the first place. I confess I don’t know how Conan’s PvP worked/will work, but apparently this update involves specific PvP XP and gear, with some Notoriety system incoming. More details on Massively, who speculate Conan might be getting its second wind. Anyone agree? Anyone here still playing it, in fact?

Someone who doesn’t agree is Funcom co-founder Gaute Godager, who’s quitting the company as a result of Conan not being what he’d hoped. “I have done my very best making this fabulous game, but I have concluded there are elements which I am dissatisfied with,” quoth he. His shoes are to be filled by the guy who heads up Anarchy Online. Did he fall or was he pushed? More details on VG247.

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32 Comments »

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  1. YaRisse says:

    I’d love to return to Conan at some point, but this isn’t enough to lure me, nor is the timeing very good. Its going to be a very hard year for Conan with the other two lurking about but I’m still hopeful they will improve on it and make it worth playing eventuly.

  2. Ketch says:

    If when you ask do i remember it you mean do I remember it being a waste of £26? Then yes, I do. And this sure as hell isn’t enough to subscribe.

    Not to worry though, the void has been filled, Warhammer has filled that space where WoW used to hover before it got tedius!

    This comment is now about Warhammer Online.

    Level 7 Black Orc, I’m very proud!

  3. Nimic says:

    I’ll probably start playing again at one point, to try out the improvements. It wasn’t only that it’s a slightly broken game, it didn’t help that my chosen class (Barbarian) was a weak and broken class.

  4. Ben Abraham says:

    How much wiggle-room can there be in the MMO market? Isn’t it all about having other people to play with and against that makes them fun, and if they’re all playing WoW or WAR how do you convince any to come (or come back)?

  5. araczynski says:

    i still love the game, granted, i’m not playing right now. just seemed to run out of content (quests/xp options dwindled after a certain higher levels).

    i hope to come back to the game if it should ever be fleshed out further.

    i love the conan lore, the story was great, the graphics were great, the art direction was great, the music was great (i still listen to the soundtrack regularly), and it was the most solo friendly mmo i’ve EVER played in my life. there’s a lot to like about the game. but then again i never gave a crap about pvp/crafting/guilds/raids/etc. the conan lore epitomized my gaming preferences, the lone wolf doing his own thing.

    and yes, i thought the combat system they’ve implemented was brilliant. at least in comparison to what 99% of the other mmo’s use.

    there’s nothing on the horizon in the next few years that i’m aware of that i have any interest in playing, mmo wise i mean. i hope they manage to turn this beast around and make it work.

  6. shon says:

    “It wasn’t only that it’s a slightly broken game, it didn’t help that my chosen class (Barbarian) was a weak and broken class.”

    I never played the game but I have to wonder how devs could make a Conan game where the barbarian is broken. I want to hear more about that.

  7. Zsinj says:

    I stopped playing after about a week or so and never looked back.

    It lowered my expectations enough for me to probably not be disappointed when I play WAR, which I just ordered earlier in a mad bout of “It’ll be good for the economy!” impulse purchasing.

  8. Orange says:

    I so dearly wanted to love Conan, but what a disappointment it turned out to be. Broken economy, non-existant pvp system and unfinished content at higher levels.

    They’ve been promising mega patches for ages and not delivered on them at all, so can’t say I’m confident at all about the latest mooted pvp patch. Even if they do bring out some great patches the ship has sailed for me, too many other games to play and WAR has shown what an mmo launch should be like in terms of gaming content and polish.

  9. Brian says:

    I’m such a sucker for buying well-marketed games on opening day. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson after Hellgate London, but I fell for it again with AoC. The AoC launch featured such treats as primary character attribute points that had zero effect, a high price in currency to reallocate those points to working attributes, no DirectX 10 support as was advertised on the box, such a divisively instanced world that you were lucky to get ganked by the same guy twice, and many rousing rounds of “wait for the group quest item to reappear so the next guy can click it”.

    I’m glad the game takes so very long to install because it gives me time to check the forums, reconsider, and uninstall time and time again. If it’s still up in 2009 maybe I’ll try it again, if for no other reason than to reduce my cost per month which stands today at about $75 for that one month.

  10. Nimic says:

    @ shon:

    Well, it wasn’t always that broken, and honestly I don’t know what it’s like now. We had a couple of very good abilities at the start, and that almost made the class overpowered (in PvP, which I didn’t do). Then, as is always the case, they came down on the class with fury, and completely ruined those abilities, while at the same time ignoring that the rest of the abilities were less than impressive. It’s like they didn’t want anyone to think they favoured the Barbarian class just because Conan was one O.o

    Part of the problem was that since there are so many classes, there was always something better than Barbarian. Couldn’t tank (three tank classes miles better at it), couldn’t DPS as well as the casters (even some of the healers!), and couldn’t solo half as well as most of the classes.

    To be fair, the Assassin class (one of the other two ‘melee dps’ classes) was even worse when I quit. Less health than the Barbarian (hard as that was), and not much more dps if any.

    That said, like araczynski said, the main problem is the lack of content at higher levels. The music was great, the graphics were very nice, combat system felt much more involved than the usual ‘click a button’, etc. The areas felt much more alive and real than something like WoW (though even in WoW I sometimes liked to just ride around in an area and sight-see). It was a very beautiful game. So I’ll almost certainly try it out at one point later. Just maybe not now, with all the games already out and all the games coming out this fall =P

  11. Chris R says:

    I bought the game for cheap back in May, and have yet to install it, hah!

    I don’t see myself installing it anytime soon either… Crysis Warhead just came out and that is lots of fun for me.

    AoC… I’ll get around to it eventually. :)

  12. Scandalon says:

    Hah! I’m skimming these comments while in a meeting, and the speaker said “Tabula Rasa”…in it’s normal usage, not as a game name…took me a second to figure out the context.

  13. Carra says:

    I gave up on it rather quickly. I got frustrated by getting beaten uptime and time again.

    Played a bear shaman till about level 17. Now, I had to pass a few bottlenecks where there were two enemies of about my level. Even when using all my skills, I got beaten time after time by them… Sure, after about 15 tries I did manage to kill them but that’s not fun to me. Aren’t the first few levels of a game supposed to be easy to drag in the player?

    Or maybe I just rolled the warrior (WoW) class. I remember how my little gnome warrior got beaten up a lot at lvl 17 too. It did get easier after a while but it’s no hunter class ;)

    Would like to invest another 15 euros and try it a bit more but didn’t manage to drag me in from the first minute on like WoW did.

  14. undead dolphin hacker says:

    I got a Demonologist to 60 or something in the first month.

    There was a black hole of content and every feature listed on the back of the box — siege, guild cities, all that jazz — was broken in some way. Or simply absent.

    I unsubscribed and uninstalled with a prejudice.

    My guild melted in a weekend. We were the biggest, hardcore-est guild on the RP-PVP server (Cimmeria?). And a bunch of us hit the 50s-60s one weekend. The next weekend, the guild was gone.

  15. Tei says:

    I sell a used car. For full price. Really nice painting.

    Note: engine, tires, windows, not included.

    Check here If you want it:
    [ ] I am a idiot.
    [ ] I am soo rich, I don’t care anyway.
    [ ] I like to play full price for a used car, with no engine, tires, etc.. but with a nice looking painting. I am painting FAN.
    [ ] I have no idea what I am accepting here, but here we go!.
    [X] Other

  16. Alec Meer says:

    Is there still a huge lack of endgame stuff, or have they fixed that?

  17. Jarmo says:

    The (awesome) name of the Funcom co-founder is Gaute Godager, not Gaute Godage. As a bloody foreigner with a difficult-to-spell name I feel I must point this out. Here’s a relevant link: http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=159843

    Otherwise, carry on.

  18. Riotpoll says:

    I gave up before my initial 30 days was up, hit 50 before the lack of content started hitting really hard. Playing a female character was a mistake, “lol, wut? Female characters attack 30-40% slower than males, so my demon skill isn’t supposed to make me attack faster?” (The Avatar of Xotlii’s change into a demon skill used a male skin for the demon).

    Also, the scenery was crap, Guild Wars looks better. The game doesn’t do the engine justice. Don’t get me started on the armour sets either, every character from level 1-80 looked exactly the same!

  19. Konky Dong 23: The Apocalypse Shuffle and the Blue Twenty Two says:

    I played AoC up until around lvl 50. I had some fun times ganking people and being a dick (I played on an FFA PvP server with some friends) but outside of the typical open world PvP mayhem the game doesn’t have much going for it. Besides the boobs.

  20. derFeef says:

    Just dont level too fast, search a nice guild and wait for more content. Its MUCH more polished and balanced like it was at launch. I love it.

  21. Marcelo says:

    You mean the WoW Killer? Yeah, good job.. I had it for a few weeks, lost interest.. GG

  22. Rudolf says:

    i got through 6 mobs, thought meh and that was it with conan for me. And in comparison to Warhammer or Warcraft, which are essentially two sides of the same coin, Conan has absolutely no lore. At least none I know of.

  23. Janto says:

    Define ‘lore’?

  24. Harlequin says:

    I hope this news is a sign of the game being in its death throes already.

    I still consider this game the atrocity of the MMO industry. Simply put, I found nothing to like about this game.

    Broken at launch. Ridiculous class imbalance. Instanced zones. Attributes and “feats” that did next to nothing. Poorly laid out NPC cites (with the exception of the capital city) that felt dead. Gear that all looked the same…regardless of class. An “innovative” combat system that was simply a more annoying form of the same old button pushing.

    Oh, and as someone above mentioned…a broken barbarian class. The caster classes could wipe out legions of enemies without breaking a sweat, but the barbarian was lucky if he survived a one-on-two fight.

    Sorry for the little rant, but I thought Hellgate: London was bad…then I played AoC.

  25. luminosity says:

    I just picked this up the other day when it was cheap on Steam. I’m enjoying it so far, but I suspect maybe it’s just because I’m happy to treat it as if it were a single player game, and just quit when I run out of content. No high expectations going in seems to be a good idea for MMOs.

  26. M.P. says:

    I unsubscribed about 2 weeks ago due to not having enough free time to play. I plan to go back to it in 2009. I took it easy levelling so never ran into any lack of quests at all, except for about a week when I was stuck in the late 60s and it seemed like all the available quests I had were just a little bit too hard. When I hit 70 the game opened up again with 3 questing areas within my level range. Don’t know about 80 content cause I’ve yet to reach it, but there’s at least 5 raid dungeons that I know of. Sure the game was thin on content but I never saw that as a major problem – I was much more concerned at the bugs, broken class abilities/skills/spells and particularly the state of the sieging – when the first guild that ever participated in a siege posted on the US forum that siege weapons were broken, walls could be clipped through, and game performance during sieges rendered them unplayable, I lost any will to play the game for about a week.
    The game was clearly unfit for release – if FC had the cash to hold on to it until 2009 they might’ve had a winner on their hands, but they evidently couldn’t afford to keep developing it. Now that they’re slowly starting to fix things there’s nothing much wrong with it, and I have to admit that even when it was most frustrating I still found it enjoyable overall.

    Conan has absolutely no lore. At least none I know of.
    0_o

  27. Kommissar Nicko says:

    I played it for the first month after it came out and only got to about level 30. My first overall impression was that they worked really hard on Tortage, and said, “This will last people several months while we whip up some content after that.” Lots of the quests after Tortage were pretty uninspired, and tended to be broken; there were some fun PvP moments (and as a ranger, all PvP was a treat), but not fun enough to keep me around. I was excited about crafting professions, until I found out that gathering material was worse than pounding nails into your fingertips. However, my largest complaint was the gear…

    Frankly, all MMOs are manly games of dolly-dress-up. My smokin-hot ranger lady (with the same tattoo as everyone else across her much-vaunted teats) could choose from three different outfits: a) long leather skirt and hauberk, b) short leather skirt and hauberk c) raggedy leather skirt and hauberk; all in charming shades of leather. My girlfriend, an assassin, wore the same clothes at level 50. My younger brother, an assassin, wore the same clothes at level 70. Dammitall, if I’m going to grind my inexorable path along that level treadmill, I want to look pretty, and I want to see more boob. At least when playing WoW, some of the plate or mail looks unbelievably and impractically skanky.

    EDIT: This edit function is the bee’s knees.

  28. Raff says:

    There’s really nothing big to complain about since this last patch. The memory leaks are fixed, and PvP is fixed and loads of fun again now.

    Unless you found ‘massive content gaps’ of course. But I’ve never managed to find those myself. There’s your hyperbole.

  29. undead dolphin hacker says:

    There is no reason to play Age of Conan.

    WAR has better (possibly the best?) PVP and better, richer PVE.

    WOW has the best PVE on the market and has slightly better PVP than Conan.

    The Conan books have the best Conan lore. Hell, Conan fanfics have better Conan lore.

    Take it from someone who did: Don’t waste your Ulysses.

  30. NeoTheo says:

    i’ve just recently re subbed, the game is definatly improved.

    however i have re roll so am doing the whole Tourtage thing again on a server thats got more people on it than the original one i rolled on.

    i am havinga blast so far the game is totally beutiful.

    only reason i re subbed was that i bought warhammer and was utterly “meh” about it, feels like reskined daoc with the cool bits pulled out.

    allong with the fact that its 2008 and it just feels so 2001, and not in a good way. warcrafts graphics are not high poly count or technically good, but they make up for this with superb artwork and a funcombat system. War just feels like there is no graphically effort to me. that and the combat / pvp just seems so dated and mashy the same button.com

    anyhow back to AoC, its improved but definatly still with a truck load of issues, ill see how long they keep me subscribed this time.

  31. Kanakotka says:

    The problem is not the PvP in Conan, the problem is that the game is garbage. If any class worked, they went and destroyed it, their patches only made more bugs turn up, it feels like there weren’t a beta phase, it crashed every 2 hours. Just about everything in it felt wrong… not to mention alot of pre-teen and teen children around for hope of nipples that quite never were there. :P

  32. Jeff says:

    To the person saying there’s no reason to play AoC because of Warhammer, how is the dialog for the NPCs in Warhammer? Because AoC had BY FAR the best written dialog for NPCs I’ve ever seen in an MMORPG. Honestly that made Conan the only online RPG where I actually was eager to talk to NPCs, since they feel far more alive than any NPC I’ve ran across in other online RPGs. (Sadly I don’t think Funcom gets the credit they deserve for NPC interaction).

    If the NPC interaction isn’t up to Conan’s level I’ll just stick with Conan. I’d love to be wrong though.