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Editor's Note

Jon Wood, the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, gives his opinions on news, games, and all things MMORPG.

Author: Stradden

Launch Day Preview - Some Thoughts on AoC

Posted by Stradden Tuesday May 20 2008 at 10:47AM
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Well, today is the day that many have been looking forward to for quite some time. For some, it has been as long as five years. In case you have been living under a big ‘ol MMO rock for the last few months, and don’t know what I’m talking about, today marks the launch of Funcom’s Age of Conan.

To celebrate, or perhaps commemorate the event, I decided to write this little entry in my ever-expanding blog. No, this isn’t an official review. I haven’t spent nearly enough time in-game to properly review the game. What I can do though, is put together an article on my thoughts about the game from my experiences in Closed Beta and in Early Access.

Let’s start by talking a little bit about Funcom’s beta. I’m going to go out on a limb here and proclaim the Fileplanet Open Beta to have been a bit of a gaffe on Funcom’s part. By that I mean that it shouldn’t have happened. My opinion may have changed if they had called it a Fileplanet Preview or something similar, but it left a bad taste in the mouths of some people, being told they had to pay for a beta (actually, they weren’t paying for the beta, they were paying for a Fileplanet membership, but why muddy this with logic?), and then being brought in for an extremely buggy experience (not that everyone was having the same bad time. Personally, I hardly crashed at all and experienced very little lag).

It was this very buggy experience that had a large number of people expressing concerns about the game’s launch, pointing back to Funcom’s Anarchy Online launch and its issues (it had a few) and suggesting (ok, suggesting is the wrong word, let’s say loudly proclaiming) that Age of Conan would fall flat on its Hyborian butt come the 20th.

Well, today is the 20th, and it seems as though Funcom has pulled through. I’m not saying that there are no bugs, what MMO launches totally without them, but the game that people will be playing today is vastly improved from the one that they got to see during “Open Beta”.

But in the end, you know all of this. I’m here to give you my opinion. Not on the rigmarole that led up to the game’s launch. That’s two or three different blog entries right there, but on the game itself.

When I look at a new MMO for the first time, there are a number of different factors that I try to take into account. From this, I have a good chance of knowing within the first eight hours of gameplay whether this game is the game for me.

I know these aren’t the same elements that everyone uses, and that this isn’t universal, but I do want to share them just the same, and let you know how Age of Conan stacked up in my mind:

Story:

Do I have a good sense of who my character is and what they are doing in the game world?

Age of Conan:


The opening cinematic in AoC does a pretty good job of introducing me to my character. There’s nothing like a little bit of drama to help out in this department. I think though that the best story decision that Funcom made comes in the form of Tortage - Night, where players can move apart from the multiplayer aspect of the game for a time and move through their own stories solo.

I know what some of you are thinking, and it’s one of the first thoughts that I had when I first heard about this. “Why should I play an MMO that’s really just a single player RPG in disguise?”

The answer to the question, I’ve come to realize after playing through a few times, is that while yes, you can segregate yourself off from the rest of the population, no, it doesn’t play like a single player game. Not quite.

In order to make this mechanic work, Funcom did a couple of things right:

First, they give the player a good, solid storyline grounding as a reason for the shift.

Second, they gave the players complete and total control over a) when they switch from day to night and b) whether they do it at all. Even without the night time solo adventures, players can still be entertained by what seemed like a plethora of daytime quests.

Third, they made the night quests engaging, immersive and full of life. As I’ve said in previous writings about AoC, the dialogue and voice acting are stellar. It was through these night quests that I really got a firm grip on each of my characters and their motivations.

Gameplay:

Is the gameplay innovative and interesting?

Age of Conan:

Gameplay is one of those tricky words. Everyone uses it and no one quite has the same definition for it. For me, I’m using it to mean the way that I interact with the game world. Combat always seems to play a large role in that and in Conan, where I haven’t had the chance as yet to do much else, it plays a huge role.

Since this is just a launch day preview and I can go into detail on other stuff later, let’s talk combat:

In my opinion, Age of Conan has the single most innovative combat system to-date in MMOs. I have, of course, read the criticisms that many people have about Conan’s combat system. I’ve read the posts from people who call the system “a button mashing mess” and I’ve read the posts from people who say that combat in AoC is just like the combat in every other MMO. To those people, I respectfully suggest that you haven’t taken the time to actually look at the system of combat.

Let’s start with the melee combo combat, since that‘s where most of my experience is at this point. On the surface, I can see how people might mistake this for button-mashing. After all, you’re really just pushing a button for your combo, and then pushing another button to activate it. That’s not just button mashing, that’s twice the button mashing that you’d get in your average MMO that only requires one click to activate a move.

That particular argument falls apart though when you look at the fact that that buttons you choose to mash, and when you mash them play a more significant part in the combat than mashing the buttons alone.

For those of you who may not know, Age of Conan takes a number of factors beyond an armor class and weapon type into account when deciding combat. The primary example of Conan’s unique combat is in shield placement. Enemies in Age of Conan protect themselves using shields, swords and the like. If you attack a defended side, you will do less damage than if you manage to get them on a side that is undefended. While my explanation of the system is quite poor, we just happen to have a video that explains it nicely: http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/191/view/videos/play/1223

My point is that because of this system, Age of Conan combat goes way beyond simple button mashing. Instead, players need to make a number of decisions on the fly, and since the shielding on an enemy shifts during combat, what worked well at the beginning of the fight might not do so well at the end.

Personally, I found the combat to be a decent keyboard simulation of the thought processes that go through your head during a real sword fight: Where is my opponent weak? How do I attack that area? Where should I be standing for optimum effect? Which of the moves that I know (in real sword fighting for me, it’s like two) will hit him hard and where he’s not defended?

To me, that’s the key to the combat and what makes it so much fun. It keeps me on my toes and engaged far more than any MMO combat that I’ve played up to this point.

Obviously, melee combat isn’t the be all and end all of combat in Age of Conan, though I should admit that I’ve spent most of my time playing melee classes so I will only touch on ranged and magical combat.

Both seem to use the same principle of combat as the melee, requiring players to be in the right position to cause the right amount of damage (or in the case of healers, to heal). It’s a tricky balance, using twitch combat, but Age of Conan seems to have done it well. Look for more on ranged and magical combat in a full review.

Visuals:

Sure, some people call it graphics, but in the end, for me, it comes down to how it actually looks on the screen, and not how technically impressive the graphics are, so I’ll go with visuals.

Age of Conan:


Again, a big win for the team at Funcom. This is one of the best looking games (forget just MMOs) that I’ve played on my PC recently. I’ve read the posts that speak against the graphics in Conan and they very rarely criticize the actual look of the game. Instead, they criticize the technical issues that are raised by a graphically intensive game like this.

First, there are complaints about the level of system that is required to run the game. While this has certainly improved since the beta, I can see their point. It is a well known fact that World of Warcraft was successful in part because of the fact that it would run on systems that were out of date and there are those who feel that Funcom should have done the same thing. I respectfully disagree.

While I do agree that making Conan so that it would be accessible by the largest number of people possible may seem like a great idea, and should, logically, just make good business sense, I just don’t think that that was the game that Funcom was interested in making.

I suspect that the look of Hyboria was as important an element to this game as the combat or any other game mechanic in creating the game that Funcom wanted to build. If the world didn’t look as gritty and “real” as it does, something would be lost not only graphically, but more universally throughout the game in terms of immersion and capturing the essence of Conan.

By creating a game with higher system requirements, Funcom has:

a) broken away from the WoW mould. While both are MMORPGs and share a number of elements, their purposes and goals (other than, of course, to make money) are quite different. This decision pretty clearly says “we’re not trying to be WoW, and aren’t just trying to steal as many players away from it as possible”.

b) helped to set a new standard that will help to drive MMOs toward the top end of gaming.

c) placed longevity on their game from the other side. By this I mean that while the higher system requirements may be a deterrent to some initially, they should keep the game looking nicer (compared to its peers and other games being developed) for longer, maybe even extending the life of the game. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not this turns out to be a good move.

Well, I am rapidly running out of time for this brief preview, so I’m going to just lay all of my cards down on the table and answer the question that you probably started reading this preview to have answered.

Should I go out and buy Age of Conan?

My answer to the question is pretty simple. If you are a fan of MMOs, and are looking for something that’s close enough to the games that you know to be fun, but different and innovative enough to catch your interest, I would highly recommend Age of Conan.

I wouldn’t suggest going out and buying a lifetime membership (not that it exists), because the game is stylized enough that it’s not going to appeal to everyone’s tastes (what could), but even just to try it out and see what it has to offer, Age of Conan is more than worth the box price (30 days free with purchase).

Parting Words


Please keep in mind though that while I say quite honestly that AoC is an innovative new MMO, it isn’t a sandbox game. For some, anything that isn’t a sandbox will be called a “Wow clone”, and that’s fine.

For my part, Age of Conan has provided me with a new and exciting game to play, different from any other guided experience MMO not only in terms of mechanics like the combat I talked about earlier, but also in terms of look, feel and story presentation. Gamer to gamer, I think you should check it out.

Player_420 writes:

great post

 

mainly when I hear people complaining about graphics....

I think they would also complain if it had bad gpx too

Tue May 20 2008 12:03PM Report
openedge1 writes:

Agreed...

What people fail to realize is that a new system for only 500 bucks...yes...that is all it takes...to build a system to play the game fluidly is not that much at stake..

And they could be ready for the next gen of games...

Also, the whole "combat is button mashing" argument is so old...as I just have to say...no...it is not, as you must not understand what needs to be done...shield placement, active blocking, attacks based on their shield placement...yea...you could mash all the buttons you want...but the true finesse of totally controlling your fatalities is just a winner in my book.

Tue May 20 2008 12:20PM Report
kitsunegirl writes:

lol. AoC isnt button mashing, its button mashing x2! I still might get it, the graphics alone are making me want to try it.  And Im a sucker for great graphics.

Tue May 20 2008 12:22PM Report
Jupsto writes:

people been complaining that mmo's aren't trying new things. now one comes along they complain because its too different. if you don't like it fair enough, but let others enjoy it.

Tue May 20 2008 12:39PM Report
Dubel writes:

Combat sucks, way to much button mashing.  Whats the big difference between pushing 3 buttons all the time insted of 2?

Tue May 20 2008 1:08PM Report
m0ck writes:

I really enjoy the combat.. I think it's interesting, visceral and gives a great feeling of control of your character. I don't find it mashy at all I must say. If you want your regular mmo clicky-combat roll a caster.

Tue May 20 2008 1:17PM Report
Garfunkel writes:

I was in the tech beta and the fileplanet one. Overall I found it wasn't for me and cancelled my CE preorder. Nothing to do with bugs - you expect them in beta - but I didn't like single player game, combat or graphics. The existing combat system in games like WoW and Lineage2 is better IMO. - and the graphics really aren't up to standard. LOTRO looks better and it's a year older. I might give it another try in 6 months or so as my tastes and opinion may change over time but for now I don't regret my decision to cancel at all.

Tue May 20 2008 1:44PM Report
shaon94 writes:

Im sorry but if it was reactionary combat it would rock, but what they give you is ridiculous.  I swing at his head and THEN he moves his shield there....Good job, now you die from a gut shot....Oh now I swing at your head, you  block there then I swing at  your gut.  Over and over again.  Not very revolutionary.  They just give you more buttons to mash.   I really wanted to love this game, but cant. 

Tue May 20 2008 2:24PM Report
Ozmodan writes:

I like the game, but I have great reservations about how the implemented some things.  Number one, I enjoy pvping and the way they implemented the ffa-pvp servers is just asking for problems.  Been tried exactly the way they are doing it and failed in others games, what makes Funcom think it will work this time?

I also enjoy crafting and making crafting virtually unavailable until level 40 is ridiculous in my view.  I think it was a horrible decision on their part.  I also do not like how they implemented stealth, it will play havoc in the pvp areas.  Of course these are personal dislikes, you shall have to try it to make your own determinations.

As to performance, recommended if you have at least the recommend specs or better, if you meet the minimum specs, avoid wasting money on this game, you will not have a pleasent experience.  For the guy who says you can build a system for 500 bucks to play this game I laugh out loud, I build systems for a living, minimum price discounted is around a $1000, that is if you have a friend who doesn't mind building it for you.  If you like to pvp, the price goes up, you better have a much better system than recommended as you will continually be owned, especially in the larger fights.

For a pvper, I recommend middle to upper end dual cpu processor, 3-4gb of memory, an 8800 or better graphics card and if you can afford it a couple 10,000 rpm hard disks in raid 0.  My friend has such a system and it is like night and day playing on his verses mine.

So my feeling is now, I will not renew after the 30 days.  I will then wait and see how funcom resolves some of the issues.  .

Tue May 20 2008 2:36PM Report
shava writes:

First off, if the earlier poster thinks $500 is trivial, I want your job.  Or, I want to see how you do with my job, an artist for a fiance, a teenage son, and an aging mom in the house...:)  Do you know what the median income in the US is?  Do you know what the average person has for disposable income?  Gah.  Digital divide isn't a new term.  Gamers are gearheads, but not all gamers are equally funded.

Second, respectfully, reviews of a game that is splashed all over the site with BIG ADS that qualifies down every objection to the game (with possibly some irony?  it's hard to tell) makes you sound bought Jon.  You should be careful of your reputation.   Use less passive language or more emoticons (be daring and leet!) and we'll have a better idea what you really mean...;)

Thirdly, you missed the "locked out of pre-order early entry" issues.

 

Tue May 20 2008 2:40PM Report
ioryadragon writes:

good post, but on the combat, think about pvp, and then will talk, i am still not convinced how well the combat works in pvp, and what about instanced houses, where is the mmorpg feeling in that?

Tue May 20 2008 2:40PM Report
Stradden writes:

Shava,

So, we can't write anyting about a game that is positive if they happen to advertise? That's just silly. It's my job to write about the game. I liked the game. I'm not going to write something else just so that you don't think I sound bought. I'm tired of having my integrity called into question every time I write something.

My reputation is just fine, thanks for your concern. If I were to write things that I didn't believe then yes, I would have cause to worry.

As to the ads. Big deal? Every MMO has advertised here at one time or another. It has nothing to do with me or the way that I do my job. To imply otherwise is kinda rude, don't you think?

Tue May 20 2008 2:52PM Report
Tenebroso writes:

i agree bro, i m hooked

Tue May 20 2008 3:08PM Report
Tenebroso writes:

i agree bro, i m hooked

Tue May 20 2008 3:08PM Report
Tenebroso writes:

i agree bro, i m hooked

Tue May 20 2008 3:08PM Report
singsofdeath writes:

This advertisement criticism is really getting ridiculous. I keenly remember when the page was entirely splashed in LotRO Ads. I don't quite remember if it was for launch or for a special event, no matter. It was the same amount of Advertising as AoC has now.

 

Nobody complained then that any positive review of a site-employee was a bought one. No one complained that the site as a whole had been bribed. It's really ridiculous to think that advertisement on this page has anything to do with the reviewers integrity. So he liked the game, and you don't. Tough. Such is life and opinions will always differ. That's no reason to go on a crusade to denounce the reviewer in question and call him a sellout.

 

That's just plain rude.

Tue May 20 2008 3:24PM Report
Warlord01 writes:

Atm this game works fine for me, its refreshing

 

Tue May 20 2008 3:29PM Report
grimfall writes:

For all you people who haven't played and think that it's just 'mashing three buttons instead of two' or the slightly sadder group who have played and still think the same, it's not!

Your  targets move their shields depending on where you're attacking.  So you can set them up to open themselves to your most devistating combo attack by not attacking where you really want to, or as Jon alluded, use combos based on what openings are presented.  I prefer the former, but even if you have tripe for brains, you can do the latter and it makes it more engaging than any other MMO melee combat system/

Tue May 20 2008 4:40PM Report
elocke writes:

Only $500 bucks?  Are you daft?  That's alot of money for those of us not being spoonfed by our parents.  When you have 3 children, mortgages and other bills on top of a collapsing economy and growing gas prices, upgrading a PC for $500 bucks every 6 months is not worth the hassle just to play one MMORPG.  THIS is why WoW gets it right about making the graphics playable on old pc's and why WAR I think will blow this category out of the water while still raising their graphic level a tad bit over WoW's.

Tue May 20 2008 5:00PM Report
tazarconan writes:

For whoever played in past Severance : blade of darkness and oblivion

the combat system of aoc is more than just good..concerning mmo standards ofc.. Whoever havent played severance so far, go get it so u can understand what a truly awesome combat system IS like =]..

And yes many players that have tasted only automated combay systems like wow, everquest,lineage may complain but we know the majority is 12-16 y old

Tue May 20 2008 5:25PM Report
TeranHawkins writes:

LOVING AOC SO FAR.....PERIOD!

Tue May 20 2008 7:59PM Report
mangox writes:

i just know ,we can build our city in AOC ,its great ! we fight together and live together in AOC .

ITSgoldsale

AOC 

GOLD

Tue May 20 2008 9:03PM Report
Razorback writes:

Im kind of enjoying it. But I just can not seeing it holding my interest unless there are dramatic improvements to what I have seen so far. I dont disagree with Jon on almost any of his comments, however there was always supposed to be "more" to this game that just has not been delivered.

The combat system was billed as far more intuitive and flowing. It is very much in the button mash category at this time. I can see it has potential, but it is pretty ham fisted right now. To compare it to Severence is more like a wish than a bad call. I really wish it was like severence but if you think it is... I suggest you go play severence again because AoC is nothing like it, SV/BoD is how it SHOULD have been.... not how it is.

The "feel", AOC was billed and promoted as a "dark and adult" game. A game that did justice to the feel of the Conan universe. This is for me where it falls down the hardest. The game feels light and childish and does almost nothing to convey the feel of Robert E Howard's world. This above anything else was the biggest let down to me. Its all just too bright, clean and un scarey.

So right now Im going to keep playing... I pre-ordered so I will at least run out my early access and 30 days... beyond that... Id say its back to EQ2.

Sad... and typical Funcom...

Tue May 20 2008 10:36PM Report
Vodun writes:

I concur with all your points. The game will not appeal to everyone's tastes but as a long time Conan fan I spent the money I needed to anyway on a new system and can now play this beautiful game.

I big congrats to Funcom for all the hard work and hope they have great success with this game.

Tue May 20 2008 11:01PM Report
Jeff44 writes:

I am not of the opinion that advertising on this site buys a company a pass on a bad game, to be sure, I've never seen such a thing in the years I have been reading here.

However, it is unfortunately true, that some *other* sites have had problems with just this situation, and their poor choices have consequences - for them and sadly, for the rest of the gaming press.

It is unfair to call a foul without proof, nor is it fair to tar some due to the faults of others.

But Stradden, it's gonna happen.

Just keep your cool and keep on doing a good job.

Wed May 21 2008 12:01AM Report
Zorndorf writes:

THIS IS SO TYPICAL MMMO.RPG !

Sorry, but otherwise guys you might not read it.

By its sheer attitude towards hype created over any new MMORPG, this website is responsible for the WORST bunch of launches in MMO land in these last 3 years.

The website has LOST all credibility in these last 2 years in "advertising" and help "promote" these launches.

Enter about every other game launched in these past 18 months. So many people lured in through MMORPG.COM. So many bad game designs MMORPG.COM supported from the very beginning.

The only THING going for this Conan is the so called visuals. Problem is these aren't visuals for an open MMORPG experience. Conan is an offline game with loading screens. Not most but a LOT of its problems are caused by these visuals.

Hence SINGLE entry points between zones that give "death by loading" or "escape to next universe" problems. Closed cities when too many people are in that city. Stuttering Frames when too many people fight. Hence very dull lineair "old hat" quest designs. For Gods sake "loading graphics for entering an inn ??? in 2008 ???

So conclusion: the only NEW thing in Conan is that the future of MMORPG would be VERY bleak if we follow this line of lineair instanced preloading single point entry stuff. NOT the half naked women laid out on Hi Res graphics.

Pixels never sold anything.

And MMORPG.COM again helped again to create hype around a dog.

 

Wed May 21 2008 1:33AM Report
Mekismo writes:

Crap game, boring and far too easy to level, expect people to be max level before the start of June.

Wed May 21 2008 2:33AM Report
boinged writes:

I really like the combat. It's not too far from 'standard' hotkey combat and at the same time it doesn't have you doing crazy mouse gestures to swing your sword. It's a happy median and I'm seeing a lot of comments from people on the two extremes here.

The single-player aspect to the tutorial zone is fresh too. Perhaps not the idea as we had single-player instances in LOTRO, but the scale of it and the sheer amount of work that has gone in to making these quests so compelling.

Around level 20 the tutorial ends and you are out in the big bad world. The quests are well written and there is a reall RPG (think Knights of the Old Republic) feel.

Crafting starts at 40 which is a pain for me, but hey some people think levelling is too fast so it shouldn't take too long to get there ;)

I'd be interested in Stradden's thoughts after playing the game a bit more, trying out the pvp minigames, crafting, city building, fort seiging and raids. These are the meat of the game once you leave Tortage.

Definitely worth a months trial. I've signed up for 6!

Wed May 21 2008 4:41AM Report
Zorndorf writes:

The biggest technical headache so far has been the loss of the Traders and the shenanigans of exploiters. Traders are in-game NPCs that serve as a player bank, an auction system and a mail system. As earlier games have found out, launching without a viable auction system is a major handicap; while Funcom has stated that the issue is minor and it's working on the problem, this is an issue that needs to be resolved quickly.

An equally bad issue has been a few unscrupulous guilds who have apparently discovered some type of exploit that lets them gain money and experience far more quickly than intended -- so much so that players have reported seeing level 50 and 60 characters (out of 80) running around after only three days of play. Given the inevitable influx of gold farmers into the game, this is an invitation to economic disaster.

Certain aspects of the game also suffer from a distinct lack of polish. The UI, for example, is a clunky collection of buttons and controls that hide rather than highlight important information. A tiny triangle on the radar, for instance, allows players to switch instances in common areas. This is important because in order to keep the game smooth and populations in common areas fairly low, the game is heavily instanced. That means that getting groups together takes an extra five minutes just to get everyone in the same instance.

The game's chat system is also atrocious. It uses poor color choices and tiny fonts for text that can't be changed from within the game. It's also annoyingly difficult to properly tab conversation channels or subscribe to the right ones. Guild controls are weirdly split between the "Friends" and "Guild Management" buttons.

Wed May 21 2008 5:08AM Report
Trowar writes:

Is it possible to track someones earlier posts here in mmorpg.com? Because Zorndorf seems to be on a one man crusade vs AoC, his name pops up in almost any AoC thread out there. ;)

Zorndorf if you don´t like then don´t play it.

Easy isn´t it? =)

Wed May 21 2008 7:12AM Report
ZeGerman1942 writes:

Good early preview. However too much time is spent on the combat of the game and nothing else is mentioned in terms of gameplay and mechanics.

Yes the Combat is innovative. Though i'd guess it is far from what Funcom originally intended (look back through some E3 videos and interviews with Gaute and others). It's a watered down system of what they originally planned.

But what bothers me the most about the game is the underlying technology which is 10 years old. Zoning? UI design and functionality? All this is based on AO, which in turn copied EQ.

I would think that zoning into a small hut in Tortage Harbour just to talk to a quest NPC, severely kicks gameplay down a notch. I would think that a chat system where i can not open a second window and everything is running through tabs, severely limits usability.

I don't mind small bugs, broken quests, or the fact that i have to run the game on medium setting because i do not have a high end computer. I even like the combat (though spell casting is insanly boring). But things like having 6 loading screens to do one fed ex quest and missing half my chat because of an archaic chat system, really does put a dent into my gameplay experience.

It's all nice and good to talk about the new and innovative things. But it would also be good to look at the bare bones of the game, at functions and options it shares with other MMOs and how it compares in that regard.

Wed May 21 2008 8:08AM Report
Ronald7 writes:

Best comment ever:

**************************************************

Warlord01- Tue May 20 2008 3:29PM

Atm this game works fine for me, its refreshing

**************************************************

Simple and neutral ftw!

 

I haven't played the game yet, will be released in 2 days...in holland that is. Will probably buy the game 2-3 weeks after.

 

gl

Wed May 21 2008 8:25AM Report
Shadus writes:

I just don't see how the combat is innovative.  Being low fantasy is the only innovatation they brought to the table.

Hitting auto attack and spamming specials is very little different from hitting a directional attack and spamming specials.

Wed May 21 2008 9:29AM Report
plateau01 writes:

Zohndorf the lame plaigarist - you might want to at least cite that you lifted that word-for-word from a first-look article on Gamespy:

http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/age-of-conan-hyborian-adventures/875522p1.html

How about posting your own experiences? Good reason for not doing that I'm sure! Are yu able to form your own opinion and express it in your own words for a change or would you rather waste hours trawling the net for quotes to claim as your own 'experience'?

Funcom have stated that the exploit bug and traders are first priority fixes.

 

Wed May 21 2008 9:32AM Report
AOCtester writes:

Again we get a review where not one word is said about the cons of the game.  And ppl are supposed to belive this is something other thand direct promtion from MMORPG.com ?  Considering they are now full time deleting and banning ppl that dare to point out the flaws.

One question to the Op.  Name me 5 bad things about the game.  Then we might have balanced abit out to the 5 best that you mention.

Wed May 21 2008 11:28AM Report
Stradden writes:

If you know of any specific threads that are being deleted, please email community@mmorpg.com. We are trying to investigate these allegations, but can not find any evidence of these deleted threads. Any help would be appreciated.

Wed May 21 2008 12:00PM Report
Flummoxed writes:

> in order to keep the game smooth and populations in common areas fairly low, the game is heavily instanced.

aw damn,  thanx for pointing this out, i didn't realize this before.  Heavy instancing is why i quit Guild Wars. 

When i play mmogs, (and i play a Lot), even if i don't actively interact with everyone all the time i want to have a sense that i'm in a big living world with thousands of others, not playing some scenario alone, connected only by a fancy chat lobby like GW.

The best description of this phenomenon is what someone described as "being alone together" .  You can be doing your own thing solo yet still know that thousands of others are Live and living in that world with you.

Heavy instancing of entire zones is a game breaker for me.  Haven't jumped in game yet, hope it's not as bad as it sounds.

Mon May 26 2008 12:08PM Report
Zorvan writes:

To those calling into question Jons' credibility in his writings, just let me say this: in all the years I've been coming here, I have seen Jon both praise and denounce games ( although he has always been more "tactful" in his denouncements than I have;) ).I have agreed with some of his views/reviews, disagreed with some, and even been indifferent to a few.

I have even grown heated in some posts between Jon and I in threads regarding a few of the more "infamous" games here. But even when I have totally disagreed with him and thought maybe he'd been drinking a bit too much Drano, I still respected his views and his position as editor. And Jon has always treated me with respect ( even when I may not have deserved it ).

SO if you feel his view or opinion doesn't jibe with yours, it's a free world and that's your perogative. But don't disrespect the man in regards to his ethics or motives in his own backyard, as he hasn't done anything to deserve it.

/end rant

On topic, I agree with your assessment, Jon. Good job. :)

Tue May 27 2008 4:12AM Report
Manchine writes:

Pretty much its a good game.  Its not a perfect launch, I have seen better.  I have also seen FAR worse launches.  I am playing it and I would rather play this then WoW. 

 

One thing I have to say.  Every 5 years MMORPG's go through an Upgrade.  This is one of those upgrade times.  I have to say all other MMORPG's should strive to be this good in terms of Graphics and Gameplay.   When I think of Upgrades to MMORPG's I think of Ultima ---> Everquest ---> World of Warcraft ---> Age of Conan

Tue May 27 2008 9:20AM Report
refurbished writes:

So far I'm enjoying AoC and I agree with most of Jon's comments on the game.  It is true, the game requires a pretty beefy system to run "comfortably".  So if your current system doesn't meet the recommended requirements, I would suggest waiting until you can afford to upgrade your system before purchasing the game.  And go ahead an upgrade either way, because as some folks mentioned before, the next gen PC games are going to use that extra hardware.

When first trying out AoC, I would suggest making several character classes.  I've played several classes for several hours each before I finally decided on one to concentrate on.  Melee combat is very different and it does force you to pay a little more attention to what you're doing when in combat.  Where in WoW, you could turn on auto attack, walk to the fridge to get a drink, and the enemy would be dead upon your return.  In AoC, your character would be dead when you return.

Another suggestion would be to find the OOC (out of character) channel and ask questions.   So far I've been impressed with how helpful folks have been, especially those who were in beta.  So if you get lost, turn to the community before you lose all hope and run naked into that group of Picts....

 

Lastly, don't let the folks who point out some short comings of AoC deter you from giving this game a chance.  Yes, AoC does some things different, but thats a good thing and the game will only improve with time, patches, and expansions.  The MMO world needs to continue to evolve and this seems like a good step in the right direction.

Tue May 27 2008 10:32AM Report
Mjollnir88 writes:

The open beta ruined it for me, not going to buy this one......yet.  Constant crashes and lagging, maybe Vista issues?

Tue May 27 2008 12:00PM Report
Aerig writes:

Fairly accurate review except in one respect, the system spec required is not necessarily that high. My machine (about 4 years old) played the game well throughout Closed Beta.

AMD 3500+, ATI X800 Pro, twin raptor raid0, AC97 onboard sound, 1Gb RAM, 5Gb virtual memory.

I would say the game is good. The graphics are very nice and the use of ingame videa cutscenes when talking to NPC's is very atmospheric.

It does fall down very badly in one area, at least when last I played. The level of grouping that occurs is relatively low as the result of the speed which most quests are completed at (I played to around level 28 or something).

The result of that is that the game tends to feel very solo, which is the main reason that I am not actually playing it now.

The second reason that I am not playing it now is that I dont think the above, in combination with fairly standard MMO gameplay justifies paying the higher than average subscription.

Generally, from a solo perspective the game beats all other MMO's that I have played (EQ, EQ2, AO, EVE, LOTRO, NEOCRON, WOW) but the lack of encouragement to group resulted in a rich world that felt stale to me because of the lack of player to player interaction.

The character classes are many and diverse and that variety compares favourtably with FunCom's othere MMO, Anarchy Online, though at the time I played, there were concerns over some class balances and a lack of depth in the pure magic classes in particular.

I agree with the conclusion of the opening article though. AoC is basically an excellent game that is well worth trying out for at least the first free month of play.

Some people will absolutely love this game even if the low level of grouping has not been improved upon.

 

Sun Jun 01 2008 9:30PM Report

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