With the impending launch of our trial offerings I have been asked to sit down and summarize the changes that the game has seen since the launch last year. I think the first thing I can say was that actually compiling this letter into a digestible size for you all was actually another good affirmation for me as to the effort the team here has gone to in order to realize the potential of Age of Conan. I am very proud of the efforts that have been undertaken since launch to address the various issues identified by our players, as well as the improvements and additions that we have made to the game.
So what exactly has been done since launch?
- New Content - We have added countless hours of more content through updates such as Ymir’s Pass – the largest playfield yet that comes with an entirely new storyline inspired by the classic Howard tale ‘The Frost Giant’s Daughter’. Then you have Xibaluku, a new end game dungeon packed with dynamic and engaging boss encounters for maximum level players. In addition we have added countless more quests and rewards to the game for players of all level ranges. The launch dungeons have also been revisited, revamped and generally improved to provide new and more interesting game-play and rewards.
- Enhancing PVP - The world of King Conan is a brutal one and we have made sure to focus on building on the PVP offerings. One of the key elements that players reported enjoying in the game was the ability to be part of a bloody and exciting game-world and we wanted to build on that. Not only have we added a full PVP leveling system, with a host of rewards – we have also built upon this with a full PVP consequence system that adds a true meaning to PVP combat and allows those that would tread a darker path to actually become criminals based on their actions, opening up a whole new game-play experience.
- Improved Sieges - Building on the desire to have truly meaningful and engaging PVP in every update we are continuing to refine, add to and improve the Siege warfare PVP elements. We are striving to keep adding new features to make guild vs. guild game-play matter more. In the most recent updates new PVP specific resources required to build and repair battle-keeps have been added. These resources must be fought over between players, and can be looted from vanquished foes corpses, adding more intensity and drama to the siege experience.
- Stability and Performance - Our technical team has been hard at work ensuring that there are constant improvements being made to performance and stability. Framerate has been increased on a wider range of computers, memory leaks have been corrected and bugs have been ironed out making the game-play experience a lot smoother and stable for the user.
- General Improvements - The big main features always get the headlines and previews, but we have also gone to great lengths to ensure that the smaller points and general polish also get some care and attention. A huge amount of general improvements and enhancements have been made, some small, some larger, but all combining to provide a better Age of Conan experience. More travel options have been added, more voice-overs, a new friend interface, the raid interface has been improved, a new GUI options mean it’s now easier to locate and get into PvP mini-games, tradeskills have been improved, loot rewards have been re-distributed, vanity pets are available as a special reward for those who adventure through the new Xibaluku dungeon… and the list goes on! These changes may never be in the spotlight but they all contribute to improving the experience for players each and every time they log in
- An Amazing World - While we already have a fantastically realized game-world we have been hard at work ensuring it continues to shine as the most stunningly rendered MMO world to date. First and foremost in this development is the new DX10 functionality that will allow players to see the kingdoms of Hyboria like never before. Launching soon the DX10 version will bring more spectacular visuals to the beautiful vistas of King Conan’s world.
What the future brings
During the development of the game the key phrase that was used to establish the goals of the project was ‘Combat, Combat, Combat’ and I think that goal was perfectly realized in our combat system, and element of the game that continues to be a key feature and unique element players enjoy with our game. When we set out to define the goals for the development team for the ongoing production we decided to keep with the ‘C’ theme, so the goals of the team are to focus on ‘Content, Conflict, Character and Community’
- Content – Our continued desire to keep providing exciting and engaging new content for players
- Conflict – Build on the game’s strong PVP elements and continue to expand on the brutal world of Hyboria
- Character – Strive to provide better options for character development, something that is a key focus at the moment with our impending revamp of items and statistics in the next major game update.
- Community – One of the key goals for the next year will be improving upon the community and guild functionality in the game to give the players more tools to craft their own space and identity in the world of Hyboria
All of us on both development teams are looking forward to telling you even more about it soon!
Age of Conan
Check out our GDC interview with Craig Morrison.