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Message From the King

Glen "Famine" Swan from Funcom's Age of Conan answers questions, and discusses the game, life, and the industry. Let us know what you would like to hear about.

Author: FC-Famine

The Advocates

Posted by FC-Famine Wednesday March 18 2009 at 10:53AM
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It looks like our resurrection entry was a success last week. I’m very happy that we are off on the right foot now after being dead for so long.

That being said, I was hoping to get some more developer focused content out today but due to the crazy week, me attracting the death plague yesterday, and the update shooting out today. I think it would be best to share some info on the next big community announcement, the Advocate program. The program itself was suppose to kickoff sometime this week but again due to everything that hit this week it has yet again been pushed off a little. We do however have most of the Advocates contacted and they are just waiting to be released on the community.

The Advocates for those who don’t know, is a volunteer program to improve feedback from the player to the developer and vice versa. In short, it’s like a player lead program based on certain aspects of the game like classes for example. Speaking on classes, we have also been actively recruiting 2 Advocates per class in Age of Conan. We will also expand this later on to include not only class Advocates but also role-playing, player-versus-player, crafting, and etc for the Advocate program.

Since the announcement I have seen many people become excited about the program but I have also seen many concerns with the program failing. Thos concerns are either with maintaining the program or the feedback process with the program itself. Addressing some of the concerns, I can see how many could view the program as something that will be hard to maintain as well hard to make succeed in improving feedback. However, maintaining such a program is not something new to us as we have done similar programs for years and years before as well had our ups and downs with it. Such experience will only help strengthen the program to really benefit everyone in the community with maintaining it and improving the feedback process.

Another concern is why we need such a program when you can just read the forums! We can read the forums all day and all night but that does not guarantee connection to the in-game communities that do not post on the forums. As many of you know, the community is far more than just the official Age of Conan forums. Thus, the Advocates are not just there to help us read the forums but there to also ensure we have a deeper connection with the in-game community as well forum community.

The program itself has been done many times before over many titles including our own. We have seen great success and great failures in them all. Our program will take those into consideration as well hopefully improve based off that same consideration. Other than that, we are just happy we can involve the players as much as possible with the developers as well getting those issues and concerns that matter smashed.

The Advocates will hopefully be announced later this week or next week. I also plan to have some more updates on the developer front early next week. That way we can really start getting into the main purpose of this bad boy with snagging those developers.

Oh and before I forget, we will also touch on some issues pre-launch and what we have done to correct those up till now. *cough*KyleHorner*cough*

The Resurrection

Posted by FC-Famine Monday March 9 2009 at 1:28PM
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Long time no see!

I think it’s time we resurrect this blog as it seemed to have died around the launch of the game. Sadly, I wanted to keep the blog going but the launch sucked a lot out of our time in keeping it updated. Now that it’s over, I think this would be the best time to bring it back to life and really hurl some good information out to the MMORPG community!

As you might have seen, I’ve changed the name from “Ask Funcom” to “Message from the King” to fit the new theme of the blog. Speaking of the new theme, I plan to bring more communication on the game with the upcoming updates, developer chatter, and other community ramblings. Hopefully the new theme, new name, and new activity will take this blog to new heights with promoting developer blogs on the site (our goal with MMORPG.com).

Now that’s said and done, let me get everyone up-to-date with the current news with Age of Conan. Then we can save the big guns for the next entry later on.

(Slaughterhouse Cellar - Update 4 Series)

 

Update 4 Series (1.04.0 – 1.04.3)

The recent update is update 1.04.0 and has been the main focus of the development team for the past month. The update itself introduces several brand new high level dungeons to the Hyborian world such as ‘Xibaluku’, ‘The Slaughterhouse Cellar’, ‘Cradle of Decay’, and also the opening up of an additional part of the level 80 raid dungeon ‘Black Ring Citadel’. As you can see, we hit a lot of high end and mid level content with this update. We also addressed various game mechanics with raid loot options, GUI updates, new PvP resources for trade skills, tweaking several raid boss encounters and quests.

 

(Xibaluku - Update 4 Series)

 

Letter from the Game Director

If that big content update wasn’t enough then we have a nice peek into the next big update series from the game director himself. The letter covers the focus with enhancing items and statistics based on the feedback since launch as well some additional tweaks from our developers on ends that we thought could use some loving. Item wise, we have concluded that we had misjudged the importance of items and statistics to character progression. While the intention had always been to be less item-centric than other titles as Craig ‘Silirrion’ Morrison points out, we probably went a little too far in the other direction. Therefore we have set out to expand and develop the RPG system so that it offers better and more interesting character progression and customization.

What this all means from a game director point of view is that the ‘average’ gear will not feel a great change in the game, but you will have the potential to get better by working up towards higher end gear. In short, the new system does incentivize keeping your gear up to date and it adds more weight in the core attributes (i.e.: Strength, Dexterity, etc). You can check out that letter on our community portal.

Ending…

Now that everyone is on the same page on where we are right now, we can shoot out some more juicy topics later in this week or the following week. I know to most this information is not as informative as it should be to the majority but this is only the resurrection post to get us back on track with the blog again. My goal if it wasn’t clear enough is to enhance the blog so it’s a good read for everyone and not just the Conan player. Then of course complete all of this while mending another good source of communication from us to you with all the rawness that should be expected from a great dev-blog written by one community mouthpiece.

Cheers!