I like to use Political quotes and twist them into propaganda that expresses freedom of thought, speech, and creative growth. It is an old school cyberpunk thing. I call it a “reversal” which is highly referenced in entertainment and politics across our blue globe in marketing. Word of mouth falls right into that category of media marketing or community interpretation. Especially for events that affect the gamers such as the angry mob mentality when a Nerf occurs or a studio decides to change a live game and flat out lies to their customers causing years of drama until someone comes along and says “It is time to take care of the community and the issues of our loyal customers, let us fix this mess”. Those are the workers who I really respect. They don’t need the propaganda spin as much as the politician who can never seem to answer a question directly. Their actions speak louder than their words. From my perspective the AoC Producer Craig Morrison is trying to head in the direction of “let’s fix this mess”. From a PvE perspective and technological view from my temple of evil I have to say AoC seems to be improving in steps, minus the PvP issues which I can’t comment on because I do not PvP. Any comments would be a disservice to the AoC PvP over lords. More power to you and work it out in the AoC PvP threads. Say it with me “Evilllll”.-KIDDING
Some of the evil designs for Age of Conan that have spread through the greater tri state area are their recent updates to the Dream World engine with two directives. The first was allowing lower end PC’s the ability to run the game with a direction that would increase performance, unless you have a card that dates back to 2003. The second was also to integrate new technology from their coming game “The Secret World” into Age of Conan. It has taken the Funcom Studio some time to do this. As a result new content has suffered. But this is a massive development task to accomplish when you’re changing the foundation of a home for future deployments and development. To begin with I can’t imagine having to edit millions of lines with code and to integrate new code into an existing engine. It is very easy to fall into a complaining vocal battle stance without having a clue how development works. For anyone who likes to complain about games try and reference over one million lines of code to edit. It is not an easy task. Still, we love our results to be perfect and want our tempting apple baskets to be full as paying Hyborian’s.
Many of us who play Age of Conan tested this engine update on the test server. We diligently gave as much feedback about the bugs as possible because we know that certain cannibalistic tribes in Hyboria can go savage on the drop of a coin. I am a savage Barbarian and Assassin who wanted to enjoy the coming changes for eye candy. The AoC studio kindly responded with fixes and posted many responses on the test forums. Issues with NVidia and ATI cards were addressed based on testing and communication from developers, programmers, artists, and community testers. We were surprised to see NVidia add a form of anti-alias that uses less power on the GPU. That was kind of a surprise. As the testing progressed we also witnessed the changes in lighting, bloom, and performance. You can definitely see the difference in lighting compared to the update due to the new technology. There is no debate on that which is why I am hoping for tweaks to occur for Godrays and Bloom in DX 10. There are substantial differences between the update and the games previous version. But the beauty of the art work has not suffered. It is just softer. For me it still looks amazing. After weeks of testing a final version was ready for release. And in the end a result was something that AoC needed and that was a performance increase that allowed lower end PC’s to enjoy aspects of the games beauty and playability. That’s exactly what occurred for end users with decent DX 9 and DX 10 hardware. High end hardware just plugged along as normal. Clearly this is a long term solution for the loyal gamers in AoC with no spin and just intention. It might even mark the day it will go free to play in the western market. But like any software update or patch day, there are always issues for any studio.
The God slayer expansion has the largest maps to date for AoC. Fact-when the expansion was beta tested and released the load times were long for these terrain maps. Crashes were common with operating systems that were 32 bit in the Grasslands. With the engine update this issue has been addressed for most end users. Load times are extremely less than what they were for the expansion. It is a noted change for a positive direction with Age of Conan. For example, in Chosain I can enable the grass in DX 10 and not get the lag spikes from all the eye candy. Catapults can launch in battle between factions with no lag spikes. I can certainly crank my settings now with no issues. This doesn’t rule out that end users are not experiencing issues or there weren’t any issues that occurred in others areas of gameplay. NVIDIA users with GXT 200, 400, and 500 series have reported issues such as a Dark UI or choppiness. ATI users with 5000 series have reported the same issues. Many other end users have reported positive results. Users with ancient desktops, laptops, and video cards will still need to upgrade. But that doesn’t mean that these issues are being ignored from this studio. Issues are currently being addressed and patches have started to roll out.
The village members of Hyboria are killing Picts and killing the engine issues that have occurred with NVIDIA and ATI cards. And perhaps for once in a long time Age of Conan might just start kicking your brains as other issues are resolved and content is added.