Age Of Resubscription?

By Jim Rossignol on July 8th, 2009 at 7:05 pm.


Funcom send word that they are promoting the encroaching one year anniversary of Age Of Conan with a chance for lapsed subscribers to see how the game has changed in the past months. And it’s expanded fairly extensively, with a region full of giants, a “cityscape”, and loads of tech fiddling, including the DX10 stuff. The re-evaluation offer apparently contains no subs obligation, and will be entirely free for Age Of Conan owners for the next two weeks. Here’s the link.

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45 Comments »

  1. Jockie says:

    Just got a mail from Funcom about exactly this. As an AoC apologist I’m gonna give it a shot and then probably write some things about it.

    Age of Conan comments threads/forum psots always seem to turn quickly to angery cries of “they lied to us!!” but hopefully 14 days free will convince a few people to give it another shot.

    Oh, also worth noting I got a mail from GOA saying they’re doing the exact same thing with WAR, but for 10 days instead.

  2. JimmyJames says:

    The addition of stuff that was promised at launch is good, but is it fun to play now?

    When I left, crafting didn’t work, several types of resources couldn’t be harvested at all, sieges weren’t really implemented, there wasn’t enough content at level 60+, etc., etc. AoC used to (may still) boast the worst dungeon experience I’ve ever had in any game – The Cistern/Main System. I have a bad feeling that even if all this was sorted, it still wouldn’t be much fun to play.

  3. Sagan says:

    I played Age of Conan when Eurogamer had the 7 day trial. Right before Age of Conan I was playing Bloodlines, which gets kind of crappy at the end. I was just past that atrocious dungeon in Hollywood, where you get bored because you have to fight way too many enemies, when I decided to stop, and try Age of Conan instead.

    And Age of Conan starts off exactly like that. You have to walk down a very long path fighting against probably a hundred very boring enemies.
    And after that it didn’t get much better…

  4. weegosan says:

    I was so close to really liking AOC when it first came out, then I got to the 40 zones and memory leaked my way to a cancellation. Been looking for a reactivation trial since the other trials came out.

  5. Clovus says:

    Jimmy said: there wasn’t enough content at level 60+…. I have a bad feeling that even if all this was sorted, it still wouldn’t be much fun to play.

    Did you just hear this about level 60+ content or did you play until leve 60+? I’m just curious ’cause it seems like it would take quite awhile to get to level 60+. If the game wasn’t much fun to play, why would play that long? I’m probably asking a silly question since every MMORPG has people making very similar complaints about it.

    I also find the “WoW begins at lvl 80″ stuff confusing. I have to play a tutorial for 160 hours before the real game? I can’t even get through the backlog of single player games I own with 20 to 40 hours of gameplay. I definitely stop playing them as soon as they are no longer fun or interesting.

  6. Clovus says:

    Oh, bother, I guess I forgot to close my blockquote. ::mourns edit button::

  7. Jockie says:

    Last time I checked it, mem leaks were fixed, content gaps should be nixxed (new areas at 50&70 as well as new quests throughout).

    @Sagan, thats just the combat tutorial really, things get better when you hit tortage and start getting involved in the quests there, most of which are fully voiced and interesting enough. It’s after Tortage most people had issues, because it basically widened out into a normal mmo with a lot of kill this, sabotage that, fetch 12 herbs quests. But thats not a unique problem for AoC, it’s simply a bit jarring after the quality of Tortage.

    @JimmyJames – Agreed, Cistern/Main system was dire. When I played through it there was a large group of level 80′s from the local ‘Gank the lowbies’ griefer guild, delighting in killing us repeatedly.

  8. Jubaal says:

    The thing I really lamented that they promised but never delivered was NPC armies attacking your Guild City. Does anyone know if this has been introduced yet?

  9. JimmyJames says:

    @ Clovus

    I got to about level 63 before I canceled – I am definitely not in the “real game starts at the level cap” camp, but when I got to that level range, my options were to

    A) Grind villa instances
    B) Go out and compete with all the other poor souls grinding their way through the 60s.
    C) Unsubscribe

  10. Clovus says:

    But the game was good till then? I’ve actually enjoyed about 40 hours of WoW, and I figure I’d enjoy the first 40 or more hours of AOC, especailly the early voiced missions. Also if I can get out of paying for the client, I’d essentially get to play a good single player RPG (with other people around) for $20 or whatever a month or two costs.

  11. Xercies says:

    Age of Conan leaves so bitter a memory for me that I will never try the turgid piece of crap again.

    On the other hand I did like the combat system, yes I know it was basically auto attack made with keys but I was so bored of auto attack that little evolution makes it great.

  12. Nimic says:

    It had a lot of faults, which is why I eventually stopped playing, but I’d be lying if I claimed I didn’t have a whole lot of fun for 58 levels or so. Playing it almost exclusively with a friend definitely helped.

  13. Aphotique says:

    I enjoyed the crap out of the beginner island when it first came out, but once I hit the mainland and didn’t know where to go, I lost interest.

    Still, it was amusing and fun when it didn’t crash, and it’ll give me something to do beyond playing Spellforce for two weeks.

    I’m also still remarkably amused and saddened at the whole, ‘get to level 50, get another 50 free’ thing they have going.

  14. Jesse McLaughlin says:

    A friend and I played this together during a two week free trial. Even playing together, it was an unbelievably boring grind. Neither of us launched the client again after day two.

  15. Christian says:

    Damn…and just a few days ago I re-subscribed. Should have waited some more :-/

    But: I got close to level 60 before quitting about a year ago (+/- a few months) and had a great time. Beautiful landscapes and areas and quite some fun times experimenting with the different spells, abilities and the combat system. And I really didn’t experience any major, game-breaking bugs. Some inconsistencies in some quests, but if you just try to have fun it’s really a great game and well worth the time (I just unsubscribed because of not having enough time, and the whole thought of MMORPGs in general is a bit boring to me).

    But anyway: they really seem to have changed a mighty lot, I really didn’t have that much trouble finding things to do with my near-60 char (which is by now around 65 somewhere).

    Nice thing is that it’s very easy to team up with a few people just for the hard quests, but are also able do go solo (which I enjoy more because it’s simply more fun..having time to read the quests and all).
    I’d recommend trying it out, and remember to have fun and not just look for errors or forcing yourself to compare it with WOW. I think this just ruins it for most people..being too focused on some expectations.

    Has anyone tried the PvP-’minigames’? That sounds fun, but I didn’t try yet..

  16. Jeff says:

    One thing you can say about Conan is that I think it has some of the best writing and dialog in an MMORPG BY FAR. The only game that I think will be able to compare will be Knights of the Old Republic.

    It also had some quests that went far beyond your usual fetch quests. Remember the one that had you engaging in a philosophical dispute?

    I don’t think the game gets nearly enough credit for what it brought to the table in term of NPC dialog and quests.

  17. Tei says:

    This is a game that sould have follow the LOTRO design more: Start small, and add nice areas in a 4 month base, or something. And with new areas, I mean not just endgame areas, but make some areas optional, so you can fork your leveling trough different areas. LOTRO adds a nice touch to that, the epic quest, that guide you trough interesting areas, and make people join in teams to make these quest. AoC has that, but most of these quest are solo (?).
    I hope the game become better, I may redownload these 30 GB again one day.

  18. Ketch says:

    I bought this game on release but I really didn’t enjoy it, the instanced gameplay just didn’t warrant a subscription fee so they can buggar off as far as I’m concerned. They do it to same money on servers which deeply disappoints me because I could play on an open world for my £9/mo and enjoy much better gameplay.

    I have however today been invited back to Warhammer Online for 10 days for some free items and stuff, definetly giving that another try now its had some time to mature!

  19. Azhrarn says:

    I have a limited edition box sitting in a closet here, I doubt I’ll muster up the courage to reinstall the 35 or so GB client to try it out again. But tbh, I loved the game until lvl 20 (the island) and after that enjoyed myself in Stygia until lvl 35 or so.
    My character managed to get herself up to 53 before I cancelled, mainly because you completely ran out of content by then and basically had to grind to 60 to be able to continue.

    I enjoyed exploring their world, it wasnt particularly vast, although lacking a fast-travel system beyond the capitals made it feel bigger. It certainly looked ace all over, but without content there was no reason to stick around.

  20. Fat says:

    I couldn’t believe how dull the game was after the beginner area. It was smart of them to have all the voice acting and fun stuff in that starter area because many people like myself didn’t want to level too far in beta or wanted to try more than one class, so never got too far until a few days into retail. Infact i can’t even remember if you could level beyond the starter zone in beta, i forget. I didn’t bother to anyway.

    But yes, it was naff after that. The combat system was a good idea with bad implementation, making combat a chore and look kind of awkward if your timing was ever off. Not to mention the bugs. We had a whole ZONE shut down for a few days on my server, anyone inside it was locked in, and couldnt play their characters.

    Character balance was terribad, and the quests just ran out around mid-40s. Which i normally wouldnt mind, i mean, i’ve played Lineage 2, so i can grind. But when you give people quests until 75% through the game, then nothing… it’s a bit lame and obivous it was a rushed release.

    I got to about level 49 and gave up on it all. I liked a few things about it, like knockbacks. Hated most things, like the fact the whole world was seperated into different instances.

    Kind of takes the “MM” out of the “ORPG”.

  21. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    I’ve got 5-day invitation for Eve and 10-day for WAR (8 bloody GB, not happening, I think…) already. I wonder whether the EQ2 one is coming…

  22. Benjie says:

    My sub ran out a couple of days ago but I wasn’t really getting any enjoyment out of it.

    It is a very pretty game but what annoyed me was the bloody 846 mb huge ass mother of a patch! I’ve already done this twice so why do I have to keep downloading such huge files each time I come back!

    So… yes its pretty but annoying.

  23. Feintlocke says:

    Bought a brand new AoC box for £3 time last week. Surely the thing is worth £3 for the first 90 days (I’m adding 2 weeks free trial to the 4 weeks that come with the box). I don’t expect I’ll need any more time than that to get my fill of this game.

    It’s a shame that they’ve stopped giving out new trial keys while this promotion is on, citing a wish to give returning players the best experience possible. It would have been nice to open my account while the servers were well populated.

  24. TariqOne says:

    I played from launch for about 5 months. Played on an RP server and there was quite a bit to like about it. Like many others, I got sick of Age of Villas and low fps, then intrigued by Warhammer, then Lich King, then a period out of MMOs entirely.

    Me and my pal just resubbed a couple weeks ago. We rerolled and are taking it slow, just having some fun running around. It’s a well-designed, lovely world with a robust character creator. The gritty low-fantasy setting makes it unique in the MMO market. Combat, and specifically melee combat, is fun and somewhat challenging.

    Ultimately, it’s not an amazing GAME (and many MMOs are not) and it still seems to have a troubling population problem despite gutting most of its servers. But for 15 bucks a month you could do a lot worse than running around Hyboria for 10-15 hours a week. I don’t think there’s any other MMO out today that’s more worth playing, and most on the horizon don’t look particularly promising either.

    I just can’t hate on FunCom for this one. It was pretty borked, but I got my money’s worth and more.

  25. Davee says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been hoping for. Yes, it was pretty bad at launch (and months after) and yes, it was missing lots of content at higher levels. But I sure enjoyed most of my time (up to level 56 I belive?). Definetly gonna re-evaluate!

  26. Gorgeras says:

    Still waiting for a real PvP MMO that can come closet to EVE.

    It’s funny, if they are to be measured by their artistic and cultural merit, WoW and EVE are evenly matched, yet every friggin MMO of the past five years has been in some way obsessed with being WoW whilst not being WoW. Why can’t they just not be WoW and take a few lessons from EVE regarding player freedom and sandboxing?

  27. Jockie says:

    @Feintlock, if your’e looking for a trial experience Eurogamer are giving out 1000 free copies of the game & 30 days sub on friday. If you’re wanting a buddy to play alongside you just point them to eurogamer.

  28. Davee says:

    @Gorgeras: Yeah, I’m waiting for my dream MMO too; World of Evecraft – and so is Rossingol I belive. He wrote an article about it a while ago I think.

  29. Davee says:

    Here it is: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2007/10/19/world-of-evecraft/ (old, I know, but still good)

  30. Anthony Damiani says:

    You know, on the whole, these changes don’t really seem that significant.
    I checked out their forums today. They still manage to make the ever-miserable WoW forums seem positively content. I think I may give it a pass.

  31. Gutter says:

    The only problem (right now) with AoC is that it suffer from being made after WoW. Yes, I know, it was bad at launch, blah blah blah, but it’s not that bad now. But the whole “We expect resources mining! We expect character changing items! We expect… We expect…” mentality from hardcore WoW player killed any chance of AoC making money.

    The writing in AoC of far superior than in WoW, where they could replace the quests by sets of icons and no one would notice. The graphics aren’t half bad, I like them better than WoW (I know, sacrilegious) and the dungeons don’t all feels the same as in WoW (IMHO… a cave is a cave is a cave in WoW, even if one has spiders in it, and the other has Dwarves)

    Yes, WoW is a superior product. But AoC, for people who aren’t MMORPG freaks, isn’t a bad choice either. Certainly better than many, many MMORPG out there (I’m looking at you, City Of Heroes/Vilain!)

  32. Bleeerg says:

    I just resubbed last week and the only thing I can offer is Don’t Bother. Funcom has abandoned all of the unique design principals that made the game interesting and has decided to implement a WoW clone with a small playerbase and horrible technical performance.

    Also, if anyone thinks that AoC is a good game for people who aren’t MMO grinders consider this: your gear is now critical to your success, get used to grinding pve raids and/or pvp XP so that you are on an equal footing with the kids living in their parents basements.

  33. invisiblejesus says:

    I played a while back and liked it pretty well, and the changes seem like they could be interesting. I’ll likely give this a whirl, but given how little game time I have lately I doubt I’ll stick with it. I’m already not able to put in as much time playing with my SGmates in City of Heroes as I’d like.

  34. Agrajag says:

    Warhammer are doing the same. Keep getting “come back, see how good it is now” email from them.

  35. Azhrarn says:

    @Gorgeras:
    The trouble with being like EVE means being rather small the first few years.

    It took 2 to 3 years to slowly hand the economy over to the players, and any MMO that wants to emulate EVE’s total market freedom is going to need to do the same to allow it to take off. Most of it was handled with NPC sell-orders at first, slowly removing those to let the players take the reigns more and more.

    Most people don’t realise that almost everything about EVE’s freedom rests upon that economy. Without it most of what people see in EVE wouldn’t even be possible. Alliances don’t just fight over space for the hell of it, they do so for economic advantage, for market power.
    Those regions of EVE containing the rarest resources are the most fought over and can make their holders trillions of ISK.

    Without the constant PvP losses the market would eventually saturate, now it keeps flowing. Supply and demand changing as tides of the wars flow and the economy supports it all. That is what EVE rests on, and what is so hard to emulate.

  36. Azhrarn says:

    @Gorgeras:
    The trouble with being like EVE means being rather small the first few years.

    It took 2 to 3 years to slowly hand the economy over to the players, and any MMO that wants to emulate EVE’s total market freedom is going to need to do the same to allow it to take off. Most of it was handled with NPC sell-orders at first, slowly removing those to let the players take the reigns more and more.

    Most people don’t realise that almost everything about EVE’s freedom rests upon that economy. Without it most of what people see in EVE wouldn’t even be possible. Alliances don’t just fight over space for the hell of it, they do so for economic advantage, for market power.
    Those regions of EVE containing the rarest resources are the most fought over and can make their holders trillions of ISK.

    Without the constant PvP losses the market would eventually saturate, now it keeps flowing. Supply and demand changing as tides of the wars flow and the economy supports it all. That is what EVE rests on, and what is so hard to emulate.
    P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

  37. Tworak says:

    I got a 10-day free trial for Warhammer Online and a 14-day free trial for Age of Conan within 24 hours of each other.

    I feel dirty.

  38. Motherpuncher says:

    Started playing again last night. I have no idea what I am doing with my lvl 52 character. I wish MMO games were good. Please help us APB…

  39. Nalano says:

    I did AoC when it came out, on Cimmeria server. For three months.

    I remember the quests being more fun than WoW when I leveled, up until the “oh crap I ran outta quests now I gotta grind” part of the upper 40s to the level cap.

    I got into the non-instanced instances ’cause a lot of the PvP was between “my guild tag will save me” imbeciles vs “omg its a guild tag!” cowards, and any small, determined group could get more enjoyment from clearing the people more than the mobs. That said, they tended to devolve into boss-camping a la every other bland MMO.

    Then, for lack of anything else to do but the endless solo grind to build a city nobody cares about or can even visit, I did the tiered dungeons.

    And got flashbacks to every wasted night in the three years of WoW raiding that I suffered through to get more useless gear.

    End subscription.

  40. Lafinass says:

    I bought this game on release but I really didn’t enjoy it, the instanced gameplay just didn’t warrant a subscription fee so they can buggar off as far as I’m concerned.

    AoC had lots of issues, but you do realize the instanced gameplay is only for the storyline quests on the introductory island yes? A vast vast majority of the game is open shared world like any MMO.

  41. Nalano says:

    Not exactly. The vast majority of the game is instanced as well – capped at ~100 people per zone or so (when I played it), before it makes a separate zone.

    I’ve helped crash a number of servers trying to stage large-scale battles ’cause of this.

  42. Lafinass says:

    I’d totally forgotten about that actually. The zones always seemed pretty well populated and the only hassle was making sure everyone in your group was in the same instance.

  43. Serondal says:

    Interesting, when they said that the world was instanced I figured it was like guild wars where you were pretty much alone in the wilderness unless you were with a party. Didn’t realize that 100 people could be in the same area at the same time without being on the same quest ect. Still I won’t be trying it out, I just don’t like the setting which is nothing against the game at all. Just because I don’t care for the setting doen’t mean the game is bad ;)

  44. Azhrarn says:

    @Serondal: on release the setting was one of the few things to keep people interested. =) The world is very beautiful, with lots of rich detail everywhere, but beyond a certain level there was just nothing to do in it.

    The quests were for the most part, well written and formed small story lines of their own, especially the destiny chain of your character.

    But once those quests started to run out it got boring very quickly.

  45. M.P. says:

    I’m also an apologist for this game. Although I recognise its flaws, the ones I actually have a problem with are for the most part different than the flaws people whined about when it was released. (Some, like the very smooth itemisation curve, I actually considered a good thing, as I had no wish to play an mmo in which I had to grind gear to play pvp.) Its virtues I could go on and on about (and I have, on forums, so I won’t now).

    So here’s my very brief take on this: the core concepts of the game were sound, even if their execution was in some cases awful. It was given an unfair rap by people used to different things (eg. people who came from WoW who didn’t like zoning and instancing – it’s fair enough you don’t like it, but AoC had never promised a contiguous world).

    Most of all, it had an appallingly mishandled and premature launch caused by Funcom panicking over the imminent release of WAR and WOTLK. If they had held onto it for anohter 10 months, the game would have had a near-flawless launch. (Whether that would have helped it, considering WAR’s launch was pretty smooth but people still abandoned it when WOTLK came out, is another question, but at least the game wouldn’t have gained the bad reputation currently weighing it down.) I know the company had $12 million in the bank, and I honestly don’t have a clue whether that would’ve been enough to keep them operating for another year, but I rather suspect that they were forced to launch for one reason or another, and that may have been one of the reasons behind Godader’s departure.

    Nevertheless, I hope the game recovers and does well (as I also wish for WAR), because it offers something different from WOW, and variety is surely a rare virtue in the MMO business.