Age Of Conan: Slips and Slides

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.

Point of interest: those day/night cycles are more than the irritating need to squint every few minutes when the game decides it’s night time. It genuinely affects the game, causing NPCs to change their behaviour accordingly. Even the weather will do this. So let’s say you’re in an instanced valley, trying to sneak past a series of guards on patrol, if it starts raining you can take advantage of their trying to seek shelter. Or wait until night when the guards will huddle around campfires, or switch duties as each takes a sleeping break. The idea is to increase the volume of tactics employed while approaching what might otherwise appear routine quests. This isn’t WoW, where you aggro and pull your way through each crowd. If it works, if they deliver on their promises, then you can start to use the AI against itself.

Another thought: looking at the footage, it’s quite easy to compare it to contemporary third-person action games on PC or PS360 and dismiss them. But quickly, boot up WoW and take a look at how it suddenly looks incredibly archaic.


  1. ɹǝʌo llǝɟ ı poƃ ʎɯ ɥo says:

    Oh yes, it looks teh shiny alright.

    But Age of Conan and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning both launching in the same narrow window? There’s gonna be BLOOD as the two Ages fight to the death to see which is the bestest.

  2. Mike says:

    The graphics don’t actually look /that/ good though, do they? The lighting is okay, but the textures look quite crispy and a lot of the environments seem sparse in a bad way. Maybe Crysis is turning me into a whore. A whore that expects everywhere green to be jungle.

    I’m always a bit skeptical when people mention the environment affecting the world. For instance, if there’s a week of unseasonable sunshine and the guards are holding a luau in the exact spot I want to pass through, that’s not going to be fun. But I just don’t really want realism in games, so maybe I’m being overcritical. Stupid day/night cycle.

  3. DigitalSignalX says:

    Curious how all this yummy shiney will be translated into a reasonable minimum system spec for online play. When taking a comparative glance at WoW, also make a mental note of what hardware it’s running on. Imagine the bandwidth slash hardware required to synchronize such complex physics for multiple perspectives. Granted, some of it is non-interactive client side, but we still get laggy WoW Mondays :(

    I’m also hoping “games for windows” doesn’t mean “Games for Vista” or they will be shooting themselves in the foot before it even launches.

    All that aside, *jumps up and down and waves hand desperately for alpha/beta application entry*

  4. Okami says:

    I’m curious about how long it will take RPS to run out of clever captions for embedded GameTrailer videos…

  5. Kieron Gillen says:

    Well, strictly speaking, we ran out of clever ones some time ago.


  6. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    Well, there go my hopes of possibly running this game on my laptop. Gonna go cut meshelf now.

  7. Okami says:

    Well, most english sentences that are even remotely funny sound extremely clever and witty to me… So I might not be the best judge…

  8. Runciter says:

    What were the tech specs for this demo? For all I know, the system could have been 2 * GeForce 8800 Ultras and an Intel QX9650, running at the piddly resolution of 1024×768. Great graphics are useless if hardly anyone has the hardware to show them.

  9. ɹǝʌo llǝɟ ı poƃ ʎɯ ɥo says:

    Thanks, Gametrailers. We’ll, er, trail your, er, games any, er, day.

  10. Elos says:

    I really don’t think they’ll make a game only a small minority have enough juice to run. I mean they’re here to make money, not art or technology demos.

    Half the time I’m very excited about AoC and its new ideas and promises, then I start to compare it to previous MMO’s and… well, I still can’t believe they’ll have implemented everything promised and still run it lag free.

    Argh, I want it to be out already so I’d know for sure.

  11. Baksheesh says:

    I agree with Elos. I am half excited about AoC (WAR too).

    I really hope this game will be as exciting as the hype (or somewhat close) and I am certainly going to be trying it out.

    But my experience with most MMOs is that after a while they all lose illusion of true character progression/development and instead they feel like a treadmill. The better the MMO the longer that illusion last for me.

    The high-end game in most MMOs leaves me cold.

    I hope AoC will be worth a few months of obsession at the least but the more time they take to polish it the better IMHO. Its great to see companies take the time to polish up their games.

  12. Garth says:

    “But quickly, boot up WoW and take a look at how it suddenly looks incredibly archaic.”

    The textures in WoW absolutely curb-stomp what that video shows. I’m not a WoW-fanatic by any means, but seriously, let’s not pretend Warcraft is an ugly game. Blizzard has proved that you don’t need a million poly’s to make something look good.

    (Also, I found that video actually disappointing graphics-wise. I can only think that it’s the aforementioned Blizzard texture skill I’m used to.)

  13. Solario says:


  14. Chris R says:

    Hmmm, I dunno Garth, Wow doesn’t look bad, you are right. But I thought the tech video looked better than Wow.

    Some of the scenes reminded me of Cyrsis actually.


    MMO developers: lets move away from the “dice system”! I don’t want to swing my sword through an enemy, only to be told “Miss” because of some damn random dice roll.

  15. Oasx says:

    Is the game still going to start as a Single Player game and then evolve into a MMO?