Hand-me-downs are for the weak. Real fictional computerized barbarians use hand-me-ups, because they don't abide by tradition. They destroy it. Actually, no, they don't do that at all. Instead, if Age of Conan's any indication, they observe it closely and make a series of measured decisions based on heaps of empirical data - in this case, data collected by The Secret World and its recent successes. And then I guess that somehow leads to enemies being driven somewhere - in some variety of environmentally friendly automobile, presumably - to provide community service for lamenting women? Sounds about right anyway, but I should probably brush up on my barbarism.
Most impressively, Conan's set to integrate The Secret World's excellent single-server structure, which allows players to move between shards for instances, PVP, and questing. It will, however, take time, and Funcom is still ironing out some of the finer details.
"This process is now in motion and will continue in stages until probably early next year. Retro-fitting a new system like this is not just 'plug and play' when it comes to not just an existing game (that wasn't originally designed to support it), but an existing game with over four years worth of data. This means that to mitigate risk, we have chopped the process up into smaller steps so that we can ensure it is done as smoothly as possible, and that we aren't all hanging around waiting for a year before absolutely everything we want to do with it gets done."
"It is important to again note that the single server technology will not be able to unite the US and EU dimensions, as the technical considerations are just too risky... There will be some decisions to be made along the way, for example do we allow PVP and PVE players to mingle freely, or do we put restrictions on it?"
Funcom's also looking into delivering more frequent content updates - even if that comes at that expense of larger updates. It's a model that stands to mirror aspects of TSW's "Issue" system, although presumably with less of an emphasis on story.
Obviously, Funcom's main focus is still on The Secret World, but it's impressive to see an MMO that's been fighting the good (and insanely violent) fight as long as Conan attempt to evolve at such a fundamental level. Only time will tell whether or not it pays off, but I'm rooting for it. I mean, yeah, I don't think we've created an expiration-date-less game just yet, but we're getting close. And goodness, if a virtual space could transcend time, trends, and generations, well, that'd really be something, wouldn't it?