Axetheism: Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer

By Kieron Gillen on August 19th, 2009 at 2:36 pm.

I wrote a comic called GODHUNTER which you can order now. Out in October. I keep on calling it GODSLAYER when talking about it, which says much.

To all good things, a sequel. To pretty much all things, an expansion pack. News breaks that Funcom are releasing an expansion for Age of Conan. GODSLAYER! Which is the sort of thing which demands capital letters. The add-on pack promises “more brutal, sexy and savage adventure” which is something that RPS is all very fond of, except Walker who prefers kindly, affectionate and sensitive staying-in. The game site is here and you’ll find a screenshot gallery over at Blues. The press release follows…

Update: Added in trailer.


Durham, USA – August 18th, 2009 – Funcom is proud to reveal `Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer’, the first expansion for the critically acclaimed, best-selling new MMO of 2008 `Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’. Inspired by the rich and colorful cultures of eastern Asia, `Rise of the Godslayer’ will send players on a voyage through the Empire of Khitai where countless hours of more brutal, sexy and savage adventure awaits. `Rise of the Godslayer’ not only introduces a whole new storyline and a vast new world to explore, it also adds new features such as faction gameplay and an alternate advancement system.

“Since the turn of the year the team has been working hard on bringing the Empire of Khitai to life,” says Craig Morrison, Game Director and Executive Producer on `Rise of the Godslayer’. “Our focus now is on expanding on the strengths of the game by providing massive new regions of the world to explore, and the Empire of Khitai offers a whole new perspective on the Conan lore and universe. `Age of Conan’ has evolved leaps and bounds since its launch last year, and we are making sure to build on the existing qualities and expand them further with the brand new content and gameplay in `Rise of the Godslayer’.”

`Rise of the Godslayer’ tells the story of an Empire slowly spiraling into chaos, as a consequence of the actions of a young Conan many years ago. After killing the Elephant God in the famous Robert E. Howard story `The Tower of the Elephant’, strange and horrible things have been happening to the Empire of Khitai. As a player you must explore the dark roads of the Empire and walk the path of the Godslayer as you unravel a mature and deep storyline full of brutal conflict and political intrigue.

Go to www.riseofthegodslayer.com for more information such as a complete list of features.

Players will discover vast new locations in `Rise of the Godslayer’, such as the far-stretching Northern Grasslands, the deceptively serene Chosain Provinceand the magnificent Pillars of Heaven. Adventurers will find that the new regions are torn apart by conflict between its inhabitants, and you will be able to take part in these conflicts by joining up with many of the warring factions. Faction gameplay plays a large role in `Rise of the Godslayer’, presenting the player with choices that earn them both allies and enemies in Khitai. Through questing and adventure players can advance through faction ranks, rewarding them with incredible treasures such as epic new armor and weapons. Players can choose to continue their adventures with existing characters, acquiring new combat abilities and spells through a robust alternate advancement system, or start over again as a Khitan – an all-new culture. No matter what the choice may be, adventurers will find a wealth of new high-level content, but also low-level content in Khitai available immediately after leaving Tortage Island. The expansion also introduces new mounts such as the Tiger, and through adventure players will see them grow from a weak cub into a ferocious fighting companion.

“Development on `Rise of the Godslayer’ is progressing very well, something gamers can see and experience for themselves this week,” says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. “We have the game up and running on the showfloor at GamesCom, and we encourage everyone there to come visit us and give the expansion a try. We believe `Rise of the Godslayer’ will be a strong addition to the `Age of Conan’ brand.”

GamesCom is one of the world’s biggest gaming shows, and runs from August 19th to August 23rd in Cologne, Germany. Visitors can find `Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer’ in Hall 9 all days of the show.

Launching in May last year `Age of Conan’ quickly became a smash hit in retail, shipping over 1.2 million copies around the world. In North America, the most prominent online gaming market in the west, `Age of Conan’ became the third best-selling PC title of the year only beaten by `Spore’ and `World of Warcraft’. In the weeks after launch `Age of Conan’ simultaneously topped the charts in 17 countries, and the game received critical acclaim from gaming press across the globe. `Age of Conan’ is now available in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and Polish, and is being prepared for launch in Korea as well.

For an exclusive insight into the expansion pack, please visit IGN (US), Eurogamer (UK), Meristation (Spain), JeuxVideo (France) Buffed (Germany) orMultiplayer (Italy) for details and developer interviews.

My favourite part of the press-release is that it says “Exclusive insight” followed by a list of pretty much everyone on the planet. For exclusive details of Age of Conan, go speak to the vagrant gentlemen who hangs outside the cornershop.

Well, he’s more likely than us. I admit, I’ve still got an unused code and the disks sitting just to my right.

The obvious question: Anyone still playing Conan? Anyone returned after the launch?

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46 Comments »

  1. Gutter says:

    How interesting will it be to read all the comment explaining how Age of Conan sucks!

  2. vasagi says:

    hmm may get it, afterall expansions be cheap and i got a free copy of AOC off of eurogamer!

    as far as i can tell from my experince is that the main sore point of it was lack of content which became apparant very fast on release.

    fun combat sytem for an mmo mind you :)

  3. Slaphead says:

    I played AoC for about half an year after it was published, and I have to say I loved it. The game captures Robert E. Howard’s Hyboria brilliantly, though it did have some major flaws, some of which have no doubt been fixed by now. Mainly the lack of loot, and convoluted and confusing stat system.
    Admittedly, I played on the PvE RP server, but the game had the best community spirit I’ve seen in any MMO so far.

    If I still had the time for MMOs, AoC would be my first choice.

  4. Novotny says:

    Oh rofls. First Napoleon, and now this. My two biggest gaming mistakes of the last year or two announce expansions at the same time.

  5. Low Quallity Beard says:

    I’ve heard Age of Conan enjoys a relatively nice player base, and from what I can gather they’ve fixed a lot about the game that made people quit in droves in the first place.

    So this expansion may in fact be what’s needed to bring back some of the old blood and maybe some new blood too.

  6. StalinsGhost says:

    I tried going back into when there was some free days. Got killed almost the second I logged in. Logged off.

  7. Fede says:

    first expansion for the critically acclaimed, best-selling new MMO of 2008

    PR talk, or at the end it did really sell well?

  8. Chiablo says:

    Oh, it sold well… over a million copies at launch, if I remember correctly. Except after that first free month, they had a hard time hanging onto subscribers. All but a few jumped ship for Warhammer Online, which was released 3 months later, and then Wrath of the Litch King which came out 2 months after WAR.

  9. KnightOfCydonia says:

    Why do I get the feeling this is just Guild Wars: Factions, rehashed with more boob?

  10. Riotpoll says:

    I tried to retry it when they gave people who’d bought it at launch a few days free, but it didn’t play nice with my 4890 so I gave up and un-installed it!

    @Fede; I’m pretty sure it did sell well, but not many people even played the whole of the 30 days you got with the box!

  11. Citizen Parker says:

    Like @Low Quality Beard (misnomer by the way), I keep hearing good things about Age of Conan too (particularly the PvE experience there). The Eurogamer Re-Review also made it sound pretty darn tootin’ fun.

    I may have to finally dip my toes in the Hyborian waters, especially since Champions Online is looking more and more underwhelming every day.

  12. VHATI says:

    and this is why they took so long to fix the game in the first place.

    sorry funcom. im playing Fallen earth now, and it already beats your game and it is just in open beta.

  13. derFeef says:

    I still play it and everyone saying “it sucks” needs a second look. It still does not attract to everyone, but its getting better and better and its a full-fledged mmo now. I cant wait for the addon.

    But god help us all by the GuildWars 2 reveal tomorrow.

  14. DMJ says:

    @KnightOfCydonia: This is a bad thing?

  15. Xercies says:

    Never again…never will play this turd again. Instanced world, rubbish quests. Combat was nice but soone got boring. Never again I tell you.

    I’m not bitter…

  16. Azazel says:

    @defFeef
    Guild Wars 2 reveal tomorrow you say? Well colour me extremely interested.

    Tomorrow, I am going to eat a biscuit for every idiot that says something to the effect of ‘Guild Wars – No Jump Button lolz!1′, thus diverting their evil to the power of good.

  17. Jazmeister says:

    GODSLAYER!

  18. Psychopomp says:

    The name could only be more manly is it was PUNCH BALLS

  19. M.P. says:

    I took up the re-evaluation, had a level 72 Barbarian on a PvP-RP server. I found the game overall improved, but I’m very ambivalent towards some of the changes, responding to them with a “Great! But…” attitude. Mind you, I enjoyed it even in the messy state it was in at launch, so my experience probably won’t reflect everyone’s.

    For instance, while the game is more stable, with fewer memory leaks and higher framerates, the underlying codebase and server infrastructure are still inadequate, as evinced by the fact that sieges still crash frequently.

    Another example, the revised combat mechanics are great. Stats are simpler to understand and it’s easier to min-max your character. The downside is, they upped the power of gear. I know a lot of people wanted this, especially people who came over from WoW and were used to the steady trickle of being rewarded with a new, more powerful item every 20 minutes or so. It’s a nice feeling, getting something new and shiny, and it keeps you playing and interested. But the end result is that, now, gear in Conan can make a big difference in pvp, which is an unwelcome change for those of us who thought that the flat equipment curve was a good thing. I don’t enjoy raiding, and shouldn’t have to grind lengthy raids for gear in order to stand a chance against someone the same level but better equipped than me! Even WoW has made good gear easier to get than they currently are in Conan right now! Again, this is my personal perspective, so I reckon some of the people who disliked the itemisation at launch would actually like it better now.

    Other impressions: class balance is better, but still skewed towards casters. Combat is more fluid now that they’ve made combos easier to pull off, and, while it’s still more actiony and enjoyable than the typical “click the skill” RPG system they have in every other MMO, it’s not really a _proper_ combo system like you would find in a hack’n'slash action game. They did have such a system, but it was changed to the current one before launch. I find it fun, but knowing what it was originally promised to be in the pre-launch hype leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

    Overall, I think some aspects of it are better and some aspects of it are worse. However, the specific issues that drove off the majority of players (lack of content, performance, itemisation, impenetrable combat mechanics, fiddly combos) have been fixed, and the stuff that I personally find disappointing are things that only a minority of players care about, so most people would actually enjoy it more if they returned to it.

  20. Paul says:

    “Anyone still playing Conan? Anyone returned after the launch?”

    Nope and nope – didn’t make it to the end of the initial 30 days. Combat was quite fun but the world was soo badly designed there’s no way they’ll have fixed that. Teleporting between small unconnected rooms totally killed any feeling of being in a consistent world and thus any decent feeling of immersion you get from any of the good MMOs…

  21. invisiblejesus says:

    I’ve got back to it a couple times, the last being the free re-evaluation period. I liked it, it was still rough around the edges but much improved from the release version. If I were in the market for another MMO I’d probably go with Conan, but my friends are on City of Heroes and I’m still having fun with that and don’t really see the need to pay a second monthly subscription fee. I do have to say that the DX10 client, which didn’t work for me at all when it was first patched in, looks beautiful now, and that’s on my Radeon 3870 and a 2.3 gig quad core Athlon. A more powerful machine could presumably run it at higher settings than mine and get it looked even nicer. The graphics and art design are really my favorite parts of it, everything just looks gorgeous.

  22. Serondal says:

    This may have been said before, but I’ll say it again. Conan was only good because it had CONAN IN IT! Without Arnold Swarzenager Conan is stupid! It would be interesting if it were a single player game where you’re a lovingly hand crafted Arnold Swarzenager model going through one of the plot lines from the movies, or even co-op with your friends playing the supporting characters, but who wants to be in the world of Conan and not BE Conan?

    Next up Age of Conan : Gorgon-Zollia the expansion pack where you can kill various Gorgon’s and turn them into food O.o wtf

  23. KnightOfCydonia says:

    @DMJ – Uhm… yes? Factions was the weakest Guild Wars chapter for me, and as someone who can get real boob from my wife whenever she hasn’t got a headache, I don’t need to play games to see pixellated areolas. Therefore, GODSLAYER!’s two main selling points (eastern vibe and boob) both fail to appeal to me.

  24. abhishek says:

    I wonder about all these comments which say that ‘it’s much improved from how it was on release’. While true, it doesn’t accurately reflect that the game was a steaming pile of shit at release, and that they had nowhere to go but upwards from rock bottom. ‘Much improved’ today still means fairly average at best. About the only thing they seemed to have gotten right is the general Conan theme/atmosphere, which they didn’t really have to do themselves. Apart from that, it’s just another average MMO that is trying to clone WoW.

  25. Jockie says:

    I’ve subbed to it a couple of times, though the first time was not quite at launch so I can’t comment upon the state of it then.

    But overall it’s an enjoyable game to play through with a few friends, the combat, whilst not perfect is just a hell of a lot more fluid, action orientated and enjoyable than in any other MMO i’ve played.

    I wrote a re-review kinda thing about a month ago on Conan for an MMO website, which i’d link to, but copy/paste doesn’t seem to be working for me on RPS today!

  26. rei says:

    Probably not a coincidence that they announced this right before Blizzcon and the inevitable announcement of a new WoW expansion later this week.

  27. Railick says:

    World of Warcraft : Azeroth’s Got Talent

  28. cullnean says:

    @Serondal

    “This may have been said before, but I’ll say it again. Conan was only good because it had CONAN IN IT! Without Arnold Swarzenager Conan”

    you are wrong on this point matey, the hybrian world are a good solid fantasy backround with good solid stories in them.

  29. Railick says:

    World of Warcraft : Fist Full of Draenei . . . No ?
    World of Warcraft : The Good The Bad The Orcly ?
    World of Warcraft : Goblins Gone Wild ?
    World of Warcraft : Wrath of the Sham-Wow guy? No? I give up

  30. ExplosiveCoot says:

    I greatly enjoyed the first 20 levels, after that I saw no reason to keep playing AoC over WoW. The one line about GODSLAYER that interests me is: “low-level content in Khitai available immediately after leaving Tortage Island.” If this content can provide an experience similar to the first 20 levels for another 20 levels or so, it may well be worth a purchase.

  31. Adam says:

    I liked playing Conan for a bit at beta/release.

    There was tremendous promise in the melee system.

    Collision detection and push? Yep
    Sword arc determines hit? Yep
    Combos? Hmm ok might not be bad.

    Healers have to aim? Mostly.

    Ranged has to aim? Nope.
    Ranged has to combo? Not really.

    I want to thank AoC for making me realize that autotargeting/tab target is absolute trash in a pvp game. It took a few months of warhammer for it to really sink in.

    Playing Darkfall (it’s fps style) and very happy now.

  32. Railick says:

    @Cullnean – The Hyborian Age and world may have a good solid fantasy background with good solid stories but the game is called Age of Conan! With no Conan, how can it be age of Conan ? Who wants to be the dude Conan beat up :P

    I think they would have been more succesful if they’d just called it The Hyborian Age and left mention of Conan the Barbarian out.

  33. Azhrarn says:

    @Railick:

    Conan is present, he’s the king of Aquilonia. He’s even present on the throne and everything. You’ll meet him in the game too. =P

    As for the Conan world, it’s not so much Fantasy, as LOW Fantasy, less magic, more muscled men with axes. The stories are all free to read online because someone forgot to extend their copyright.
    (Project Gutenberg Australia has them all listed in order of publishing)

    Looks for “Robert Ervin HOWARD” here: http://gutenberg.net.au/plusfifty-a-m.html#letterH

  34. Railick says:

    Just ignore me guys I haven’t even played the game I’m just spouting some good old Hyborian hyperbole. Also I’m still rather upset that Arnold is a governator and not a terminator.

  35. We Fly Spitfires - MMORPG Blog says:

    This is exactly what AoC needs – a new race, good new content and more depth. So glad to see Funcom have hit the mark with this expansion.

  36. Kommissar Nicko says:

    Stopped after the first month. I’m not really an MMO guy, and my younger brother is TOO MUCH of an MMO guy. He ran into the high-level doldrums in about a week or so, and basically informed me that I had nothing to look forward too. My girlfriend was also doing 3D design at the time, so the number of angry comments about clipping issues and poor modeling was eye-opening as well. These obviously are things that could have been fixed since then, in that long year of BLOCKBUSTER SALES HOLY CRAP, but I’m the kind of guy that won’t make the same mistake every month.

  37. Stupoider says:

    Hmmm, is it safe to say that the “COME, ADVENTURER. COME AND FIGHT ME!” thing that appears in almost every trailer for an expansion or fantasy MMO a cliché now?

  38. Stupoider says:

    Oh, and the expansion looks very pretty. I’ve never tried Age of Conan, but I remember a time when most of the leaders in the WoW guild I used to be in migrated to it at launch.

    They came back a few months later, because of the grind that appeared at level 20. :< I was incredibly close to getting Age of Conan before they came back.

  39. Melf_Himself says:

    Lol @ ‘critically acclaimed’
    Lol @ skirting around actual subscribers remaining (boxes shipped? give me a break)

  40. Adam says:

    Funcom is, imo incapable of making a decent mmo.
    Anarchy Online was almost unplayable for the first year.
    Even now, glaring issues and bugs go unfixed.
    Though, it was actually pretty amazing, but not for casuals with its dozens and dozens of stats, and its insane equipment and crafting systems (which I presonally love).
    I am seeing the same mistakes made in Conan.
    There just seems to be nothing getting done by the devs.
    I’m not sure if its lack of resources, or poor leadership.
    Funcom’s ideas are among the best i’ve ever seen.
    Their execution of those ideas are among the worst.

  41. Schrodinger's Lolcat says:

    Better Trailer!!!

  42. M.P. says:

    Howard’s stories are out of copyright?

    Damnit, and I bought them all in those expensive Fantasy Masterworks omnibuses a couple of years ago… :/

    I have to say that in terms of setting AoC is fantastic, really manages to bring the Conan lore to life (not just the original stories but stuff from the films too). Plus the zones are very dynamic – it’s not just an NPC village with random monsters wandering pointlessly around it, there’s usually a plot-related justification as to why there’s loads of people with red names just over there. In most MMOs the mobs are just there for no reason and the only justification for their existence is to give you something to kill.

  43. M.P. says:

    Howard’s stories are out of copyright?

    Damnit, and I bought them all in those expensive Fantasy Masterworks omnibuses a couple of years ago… :/

    I have to say that in terms of setting AoC is fantastic, really manages to bring the Conan lore to life (not just the original stories but stuff from the films too). Plus the zones are very dynamic – it’s not just an NPC village with random monsters wandering pointlessly around it, there’s usually a plot-related justification as to why there’s loads of people with red names just over there. In most MMOs the mobs are just there for no reason and the only justification for their existence is to give you something to kill.
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  44. Al Harron says:

    Seronda: you seem to forget the fact that Conan did pretty damn well for over 50 years before Conan the Barbarian came out. That’s like saying Batman would only be good if Adam West was in it. As for “not playing Conan in Age of Conan”… well no kidding, it’s an MMO. It’d be pretty damn stupid to play an MMO where every single player was the same person, wouldn’t it? Besides, there’s already a Conan game out there where you play the man himself.

    M.P..: Not all the Conan stories are out of copyright: “The Black Stranger”, “The God in the Bowl”, and most of the fragments/drafts are not in public domain. So at least you got something for the Fantasy Masterworks edition, though I would recommend if you really want the definitive articles, seeking out the three Del Rey books with unabridged, unexpurgated texts is the best option.

  45. Bluefunk says:

    AoC is now where is should have been at launch. I personally absolutely love Aoc now and have been having a blast for months. Most of the bad comments are from people who haven’t played it in months and quite rightly were agrieved by the shambles of a launch.

    AoC is ace now!!! :)