For people keeping score. Griefing: very funny. Benny Hill theme: makes me want to die.
Thanks attack: Martin.
By Jim Rossignol on May 29th, 2008.
After Kotaku’s highlighting of Age of Conan’s Best NPC Of All Time (above) I was reminded to ask Tom Francis at PC Gamer UK to post his account of what is probably the Second Best NPC Of All Time, Thedret The Exaggerator. Possibly my favourite story of an in-game bug, ever.
I love my Thedret because no-one else has one. It took Valve six years to make Alyx a likeable aide, but this piece of sloppy code has made Oblivion’s Thedret far more important to me.
If I could have anything, I would have a Thedret like Tom. Anyone have any other nominations for what I will now call “The RPS Inadvertant Best NPC Awards 2008″?
By John Walker on May 26th, 2008.
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.
By John Walker on May 16th, 2008.
Blizzard appear to take a very approachable attitude toward rival MMOs. But then, I suppose if I were a 5000 foot mountain, I’d probably not make too big of a fuss about the surrounding hillocks spoiling my view. However, it’s nice that they don’t take the attitude of “DESTROY THEM! DESTROY THEM ALL!” In fact, they’re humble enough to concede that their reign will one day come to an end. Speaking to Eurogamer, producer J. Allen Brack explained that he doesn’t see Age of Conan or Warhammer Online as enemies.
“We don’t make games in a vacuum, we don’t just play World of Warcraft, I love online games, I play a lot of online games, and I’m really excited about those games coming out because I want to play them… I think there’s room for all three of those games to be successful.”
By John Walker on May 13th, 2008.
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.
By John Walker on March 13th, 2008.
Dear me, a few days ago the fine-feathered folks at PC Gamer put my preview of Age Of Conan on their website and I didn’t notice. That’s being remedied RIGHT NOW.
Be tantalised by this excerpt, and read the rest here:
Six months ago, Conan looked to be in a spot of bother. The beta began, and the players let out a unified “Erk”. The problem? The combat. In trying to move away from the standard MMO fare, Conan’s esoteric approach to online fighting left many players bemused. Now, only about four months from the delayed release date, it’s that element of the game that’s seen the most work.
The good news is that it’s still different enough from every other MMO to be interesting. The better news is that it’s very easy to play. Perhaps even too easy. Every enemy in the Robert E Howard-inspired game has three points where they can be attacked: left, right and above.
By John Walker on February 5th, 2008.
See, using the word “bonanza” implies something exciting, doesn’t it? But does it ever amount to more than there being more than one of something? No. No it doesn’t. Here’s more than one video preview of forthcoming PC games! Below are clips of Age Of Conan, Conflict: Denied Ops, Faith And A .45, MTB Target and Marble Blast Online.
By John Walker on January 21st, 2008.
Something I meant to write at the bottom of the Age Of Conan preview was that I fully expect the game to slip to the summer. Somehow I forgot to write it, and today it was announced that there’d be no sign of it until May. I’d have looked so knowledgable and astute. Pretend like I wrote it, eh? I’ll extend that prediction and say we’ll not be in Hyboria until July.
Anyhow, to keep us interested with the longer gap, a tech demo has been released by Funcom. No, there’s no need to go looking for it – it’s right here!
Thanks, Gametrailers. You can ride on the back of our rhino any time.
By John Walker on January 17th, 2008.
An MMO in development is like a soufflé made to an improvised recipe. People know which ingredients to include, but what quantity of each, what temperature to cook it at, and how long for? So many come out heavy and inedible, or completely sunk in the middle. Others, well they’re delicious and we can’t stop going back for another bowl. The difficulty is, spotting which will be which before they’re out of the gaming… oh this metaphor has made me want to die.
Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures has so much potential. So much. Source material is key, and Robert Howard’s novels could almost have been written with a computer game in mind. Hardcore, stubby, violent. I’m going to write that Howard invented fantasy fiction, just so people get cross in the comments. Howard invented fantasy fiction. The madman mother’s boy demonstrated a vast amount of historical knowledge, working it into his intense novels, before offing himself in his 30s. So ignoring the utterly abysmal Arnie movie, Funcom – developers of the Longest Journey games, and previous MMO success, Anarchy Online – have a lot of material with which to work.
By John Walker on December 6th, 2007.
I recently took a trip to visit Funcom – the creators of the game that means more to me than any other, The Longest Journey – and had a good poke around Age of Conan. The results of my findings will be appearing in magazines across the land come the new year, as well as the rather extensive results of chatting with TLJ’s creator, Ragnar Tørnquist.
While I was out there, I was guided about the very many offices by Funcom’s lovely project manager, Jørgen Theraldsen. At the end of the day, he took the opportunity to show off a forthcoming trailer that he’d written and directed, despite being the busiest man in the universe. And now even you, the non-Funcom-visiting scum, can watch it too!
Thanks Gametrailers. We love you. In fact, will you marry us?
Hurrah! Plenty of head-chopping-offness and giant monsters, which the game is all about. Interestingly, it’s also a game that focuses heavily on story, but I’m not allowed to say any more or Eidos will come round my house and steal my taps. I should add that all in this trailer is in-game footage, including the rather pretty sunsets. Oh, and the combat – let’s just say it’s better than it was.
By Jim Rossignol on October 4th, 2007.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Funcom’s troubled Conan MMO is its proposed 50-aside sieges. These massed assaults are one end of its multi-tiered PvP (at the other end of which lies drunken bar brawling, where the more you drink, the more damage you can do) but we’ve not yet seen much in the way of details about how they’ll work.
This recent trailer shows a tiny, mocked up glimpse of what we should expect. The fact that camera cuts away from showing the actual wall breaches or any such significant siege action does not seem to bode well, but I’m still interested in how the overall resource-control and larger land-grabbing game will work. After all, system sieges in Eve Online are the most tedious thing imaginable, and yet the struggle for control over territory remains one of the game’s driving forces.
Anyway, thanks Gametrailers!
By Jim Rossignol on August 31st, 2007.
I have to admit that the MMOs we can expect in the next year don’t really excite me. The one that I hold a candle for is the mystic-barbarian romp Age Of Conan, which was beautiful-if-awkward when I played it earlier in the year. The developers at Funcom are keen to create a combat system which doesn’t just have you press a button and wait for the turn-based hitting to occur. Their solution is the ‘combat rose’ which allows you to pick your melee swings for both attack and defence, via a small mouse and key graphical interface. It didn’t really seem to work when I played it – one swing was much the same as another – and I understand that, after the closed beta, this was one of the systems that the team are reconsidering. The game has, it seems, been delayed until next year. Perhaps the beta did its job.
But there’s more to this beast than a weird control system, as I’ll report after the jump.