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The Casual Gamer

Helping put a perspective on the MMO genre from someone who doesn't have time to hit the maximum level inside two weeks.

Author: grimmbot

Like Smacking Into a Wall: Age of Conan Post-45

Posted by grimmbot Sunday June 1 2008 at 12:44PM
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So with my limited time, I got myself to Level 45 in Age of Conan last night. And it hit me, as if I smacked into a wall:

I'm bored with this game.

I have a thing about grinding. Granted, quests themselves involve grinding, but quests give direction and -- more importantly -- much-accelerated experience. As I marched through Field of the Dead, I ran into a rut where the quests in this Level 40-50 zone almost entirely run out at 44. At 45 I had one quest to do, and one or two others that I was too low a level for. So I head to the mountain zone next door, where mobs start at Level 50, and pounded on some of those hoping that the challenge would sustain me.

But it didn't.

When I have to essentially fend for myself for experience, whacking the same things over and over, with no quests to help speed things up, I feel like a hamster in a wheel. Even the fighting mechanics -- as great as they are -- don't save it here; I found myself using the same combos in the same order on the same mobs.

And according to many people, the entire 50+ game is like this, where zones only give you a small number of quests. Most in my guild who have gotten over 60 have done so while grinding half the time over 50. Unfortunately for me and my guild, I no longer find four-hour sits at my PC doing the same thing "fun".

And that's another thing: My guild has had hardly any reason to group up at all. Why bother? You finish the quests quicker, okay, but then you've still got to grind the rest of the way.

This wasn't a one-day decision, mind you. I had been skipping quest text for the last week because not much of it was interesting -- and the story was a big selling point for the game! It's ironic though because a story that stops for 20 levels is... not a complete story. I hadn't been truly engaged nor immersed for a while as it was. I was also extremely frustrated that I needed to hit Level 50 before I could harvest materials in the zone I was in, bashing mobs at 40.

My original plan as I approached 45 was, "Yeah, I'll have to grind... but the endgame will be worth it."

But is it? Nobody actually knows, because nobody was able to test it. That's an awful lot of time I'd waste on hamster-wheel grinding if the endgame also turns out to need too much work.

So I've made a decision: The guild I'm in can get the city up and running to Tier 3, yadda yadda, and go hit up the endgame. If it turns out to be worth it, I'll jump back in and do what I need to do to get there.

If not... no skin off my back. I'd be happy I didn't waste my time.

I've been burned far too often by far too many MMORPGs to put blind faith in any game, no matter if it's Sony, Funcom, Mythic or otherwise.

samuraislyr writes:

I feel you, I just hit 45 myself and I really don't feel like logging in. I don't care about endgame at times... if I even have to grind once (not for money or quests) then I pretty much hate the game. I'm willing to give Funcom the month to finish fixing bugs and some other things but after that, I think I'm quitting. Hopefully they will add some content or something in the next few pathces

Sun Jun 01 2008 3:05PM Report
Ascension08 writes:

That's not good =\

Sun Jun 01 2008 3:39PM Report
Ascension08 writes:

That's not good =\

Sun Jun 01 2008 3:39PM Report
Death1942 writes:

i think you people need to slow down.  there is a reason why you dont rush through a game after release and that is because there is almost no endgame to speak of.  you have to wait a few months before you get a good number of things to do (and rightly so) as the devs should not need to delay the game to make lots of endgame content.

Sun Jun 01 2008 4:35PM Report
grimmbot writes:

Death1942:

In most MMORPGs, the endgame is more sparse because the developers know that players will need months to get that high. But we're not talking endgame -- we're talking halfway-to-endgame. Big difference.

If quests were sparse Post-65, I'd feel differently than I would right now.

Compared to other games, there will be an awfully high percentage of the population that hit this mark before their month is up. This could very well spell trouble.

Sun Jun 01 2008 4:54PM Report
grimmbot writes:

Samuraislyr:
I wouldn't expect anything in the first month other than bug fixes -- there are plenty of problems that need fixing on the "bug" end.

I'm willing to wait to see how the endgame is, which is important because it's one of the primary sells of the product. If it's good by the time people start partaking in it, then I know I have something to grind towards.

Sun Jun 01 2008 4:58PM Report
Grunties writes:

I got to 48 and have experienced the same thing you have. I cancelled my subscription today as there was simply no interest in playing further, and certainly not just to grind. Everything dried up around that level like they just stopped implementing the game at that point. pre-48 it was decent but it really did just come to a screaching halt all of a sudden.

Sun Jun 01 2008 5:44PM Report
Smintar writes:

after reading some of your previous post I'm somewhat surprised, that you find this game boring??

 

 

Sun Jun 01 2008 5:54PM Report
grimmbot writes:

Smintar:

Many of my posts were arguing against flamers on the AoC forum, but it had much less to do with the game's flaws than how they're being presented as a doomsday scenario.

There are more than enough things to complain about in AoC (like with any game) without people trying to stretch the truth and repeat opinions as facts until people start believing them.

I had always reserved my judgment on the game in its entirety (I would say the launch went well, but that's just the launch) because of all the things I heard about the lack of questing at the level I am now.

I really don't want to knock the game entirely though, because the 1-40 game is excellent. If the 40-80 portion were half as good, or if the grind started later (60ish), this would hardly be an issue.

But 45 is too early to run out of content. :/

Sun Jun 01 2008 6:43PM Report
samuraislyr writes:

Aye, the first month is probably going to be mostly bug fixes but if they do fix all the bugs (I'm talking about game-breaking ones) then basically we will have a lot of content back in the game. I've run into at least 15 broken quests..chains, dungeons etc. If these could get fixed, there would be a few more quests to help with the push to about 40 and give a bit more content for getting to 45 and up. I don't think it would improve it terribly but a little bit always helps.

Sun Jun 01 2008 7:48PM Report
Dethnoble writes:

One of the trends in MMOs is terrible loot systems.  A very good loot system can offset the bore of grind.  Of course, devs nowadays focus on generic, formulaic loot systems based all the way back to EQ.  

Though AC's loot system has it's flaws it still blows any loot system out of the water introduced so far.   Note: You need to have reached the higher levels to fully appreciate it.

I think once devs start focusing more heavily on loot system in MMOs we'll start seeing less of the bore and grind feel.

Sun Jun 01 2008 8:26PM Report
Dethnoble writes:

One of the trends in MMOs is terrible loot systems.  A very good loot system can offset the bore of grind.  Of course, devs nowadays focus on generic, formulaic loot systems based all the way back to EQ.  

Though AC's loot system has it's flaws it still blows any loot system out of the water introduced so far.   Note: You need to have reached the higher levels to fully appreciate it.

I think once devs start focusing more heavily on loot system in MMOs we'll start seeing less of the bore and grind feel.

Sun Jun 01 2008 8:26PM Report
illyana writes:

im so glad im still playing GW ^_^

Sun Jun 01 2008 8:27PM Report
Athyr writes:

I really don't see what you guys are talking about.

I just turned 55. And the only real reason that I've done any 'grinding' is for money. I wanted to get my horse before I turned 60.

I still have a lot of quests that I can do. All the quests that you have from all over the world weither they are grey or not will give you xp. This lets you check out all the different ares in the Hyborian world.

I'm really sorry you guys are not liking this game. The PvP is pretty good, the RP is there is you look for it and XP is there if you really search for it. Unlike some games things aren't just spoon fed to you!

Sun Jun 01 2008 8:44PM Report
grimmbot writes:

Dethnoble:
Are you referring to the Need-Greed type of loot system, or about the quality of magic loot in general in the game?

I'm a fan of how Funcom incorporated the magical equipment and the way they incremented improved armor as levels increase. New armor is certainly better, but not necessary the moment it's available.

AoC is the first MMORPG in a while where I don't feel *dependent* on equipment, and that's a good thing.

Sun Jun 01 2008 8:45PM Report
Tron420 writes:

You must have missed something...

I am about to hit 51 and i haven't done any grinding or run out of quests. In FotD there are plenty of quests to do. I estimate that I will be about 52 before I am really done there. Did you do all the undead quests at the south part of the zone? What about the elite lieutenant quests for the north part of the zone?

Did you do all the non broken quests in the Tarantia Noble District?

I have two comments about your problem:

1. I have read a lot about people getting stuck at this level or that level and so far most of those claims have been because they don't know where to go. I am starting to get annoyed with people going "OMG I QUIT" cause they refuse to figure out where they need to be.

2. How ridiculous is it to complain about lack of end game content 2 WEEKS after release? WHAT, ARE YOU NEW HERE (here being MMOs)? srsly.... (yeah i know that 45 isn't end game, but generally speaking).

 

My impression is that people are getting pissed at mid levels because you aren't inundated with quests and actually have to look for stuff. God forbid that you have to figure stuff out! If you are looking to get spoon feed content mebbe you should try out WoW? =P

Sun Jun 01 2008 9:12PM Report
Dethnoble writes:

grimmbot,

Need before Greed etc. is fine.  That is actually a standard and something I like.  But, beyond that, when you get to the loot itself it's actually fairly boring compared to AC's loot system.

A looted item in AC has randomized stats with a boat load of different randomized magical spells, etc.  For example, a cantrip called Major Strength (+15 str) could be found.   The key though is finding the right pieces to put together your armor suit.

Though, loot was important in PvE and PvP you could easily compete but yet the loot system was highly important.   Even several years (to this day) there is no decay or bind on equip type stuff and yet there still is a market.

Getting good loot was fairly easy but finding GREAT pieces to you finished (ultimate suit) was a real challenge.   Furthermore, you didn't have to be in a RAID, pray you beat the other 20 people for that particular item you need, etc.  You could go out solo, or in a group, and hunt and enjoy looting. 

Loot also have several different options for it.  You could salvage it, trade it, tinker it, wear it as is or sell it to the vendor.  It's quality level and stats, spells, etc determined what it was good for.  High quality items were best salvaged into materials you could tinker other stuff with.

Anyways, every creature you killed (boss or minion or random critter out in the open) could drop useful loot.  Though highly rare you could get needed armor pieces.  

Overall, I like many people who have reached high enough levels to get an appreciation it long to this day for a system like it in the new mmos coming out.   It is really a good system it just requires some innovative thinking of the parts of the devs.

Sun Jun 01 2008 9:22PM Report
mehhem writes:

I felt the same when when I first hit 45 in WoW.  After STV and I didn't know where to go, but I was intrigued by the general chat in cities, LGM Scholo, Strat, etc...

Sun Jun 01 2008 9:50PM Report
shmig writes:

my thoughts:

1. you're missing something? like where you should be or where the quests are.

2. power questing? In many games if you have someone run you through solo quests you'll complete them faster than your xp game. Not that help isn't nice, but it can be problematic.

3. the game's too new? they can't work out all the bugs, or add every bit of content one would like at release. If you want people to play a game and pay a monthly subscription, you have to be constantly adding content (like other things you subscribe to, ie magazines).

Sun Jun 01 2008 10:20PM Report
gvidal writes:

I reached 52 (demonologist) without really any grind. The fact that I can now kill mobs 4 levels above (1 at a time) so I can complete red quests helps a lot. And you have the repeatable posters quests to relieve the grind if you feel doing some.

My real regrets are the lack of true dungeons (either bland or broken or a total mess like in noble district), the broken craft I chose (Alchemy, missing a lot of components), the economy (why allowing horse at 40 nwhen you can only afford it between 55 and 65 ?) and the guild cities (not working atm).

Mon Jun 02 2008 1:46AM Report
tazarconan writes:

I said it 1 week before the launch..the game will look like the way it should,after3-4 months after release..things,will happen,u ll meet bugs,lack of quests some classes feats/talents will be rebuild, e.t.c.

By sells the 2 best mmo's are wow adn L2. After playing 3 years wow i got bored to death,it was cool at start ,many things and areas to explore but after i reached 60 lvl till 2 months ago ,meanming 3 years it was all about farming even in pvp in order to become grand marshal,or marshal. No need to remind you how WOW looked like on release ^^..

As for L2 no quests at all all the way to max lvl's only grinding...

So dont give me the crap of lack quests ,i havent much things to do...the whole world is an adventure in AOC..EVEN AFTER 45+ there are few quests..u still have your gatering and crafting proffs,to raise ,ENSTRENGTH your guild with resources ,cause dont lie to your selfs... the endgame here is guild vs guild sieges...if our guild destroyes your guild fortress, you are dead, and maybe your guild will collapse and if guild collapse no pve endgame either, unless ofc guild members split to other guilds,or start a new guild.

As for pve content end-game , it will be applied in time..as i said 3-4 months after the launch the game will look more like what the devs had in their minds..be patient..

And just so you dont think im a funcom agent..i have my own complains..but they are more essential concerning really usufull thingies like active blocking which doesnt work as it should be.

Funcom maybe should wait 2-3 months in conclusion before they launch to fix probs and make more quests so ppl may not complain..

Mon Jun 02 2008 4:21AM Report
grimmbot writes:

A Notice To People Who Want to Make It Seem Like I Demand Raid Bosses Already:

I'm in a PvP guild. Our endgame is city sieges, not these PvE raids and such, which get boring after a while. I want to know whether city sieges and Endgame PvP are broken in their implementation before I spend my time trying to get there. Cities themselves are already not fully implemented.

Tron:
Ignoring your flamebait, halfway to max level is not the endgame.

And if it was the endgame, you would be missing a big point: Most MMOs don't allow levelling this fast into an empty "endgame". Complaints like mine would be reserved for people with no life who spent every waking hour levelling. Now those people have been 80 for days and I can't imagine what they'll do except gank newbies.

And yes, I already blasted through the Noble District; I started it before 40, and moved to the Field of the Dead around 42.

Shmig:
"Power Questing" brings no long-term benefit the way the system is setup. While quests are completed faster, there are not enough of them, so you've still got to grind the difference.

In a game like WoW where there were more quests at a level than you could finish, this would be a great tactic. Here, it has little benefit.

Tazarconan:
The harvesting setup is going to cause big issues before long. Funcom made the huge mistake of having static spawns of resources, and bunched a good deal of these into a small number of zones.

There are already downloadable XML resource maps for these zones, so the camping will start early.

Also, as I mentioned above, I'm not complaining about endgame content -- my endgame is the City Siege system -- I'm complaining about midgame content, which most MMOs have at launch.

Mon Jun 02 2008 6:31AM Report
fansede writes:

Have you tried any questing in the Noble Quarter in Old Tortage? That help me get a few levels. Be warned, though, there are some buggy instances in the villas. Meaning you cna't complete some quests there.

There are some connecting group content areas 45+ tucked away in the guild regions Potain (Imirian Ravine), Lachesish Plains (Frost Swamp) and Purple Lotus Swamp  (Oasis of Zaara) . Why they are there is beyond me.

Noble district has group dungeons Catacombs and Cistern, but prolly for 50+ I believe.

Here is layout I found.

http://www.got3n.com/wp-content/gallery/age-of-conan/aoc_2.png

Mon Jun 02 2008 7:30AM Report
craynlon writes:

im lvl 56 now and im still madly in love with conan

i dont feel like there is a lack of content, i went from  fields of death to the mountains and even if its only bounty hunter quests its technically still quests.

well coming from lineage 2 where all you do is waiting for mobs to spawn in a small catacomb room my treshhold to grinding may be a bit lower :)

its not perfect at 40+ but i find it hardly boring or unplayable. yet i wouldnt mind spending another 1-2bucks a month to have funcom build a special content team to do voice overs over all quests like the 1-20. that actually impressed me the most and id love to have that thruout the game

Mon Jun 02 2008 8:19AM Report
Vexe writes:

II haven't gotten past 25 yet cause I don't have more than a few hours of free time any given day, but what I have been able to see so far and from what other people have said is this: What AoC does well is the beginning experience. But after that it dips off a bit because they didn't have as much time to work on it. I think this game was rushed (5 years, though it was). It's still only 2 weeks old, though. Give it time. It will fix the mistakes. If Funcom doesn't, though, I'll leave if I get bored.

Mon Jun 02 2008 8:34AM Report
Wizardry writes:

You and most of the posters seem to be playing the game for a ridiculous reason that is why you are bored.You are playing for no other reason than to see your level number rise,that is crazy to waste time and money as that is your sole purpose.If AOC has ANY merit or content there should not be even one player past 35 after only one week of release,it's apparent your not the only one speed levelling like it means something.

Mon Jun 02 2008 8:47AM Report
grimmbot writes:

Craynlon:
I deleted your duplicate posts, just FYI. And I have no idea how you stomached Lineage 2 lol. Really, I don't. I'm glad that you're having fun, although my grinding tolerance is much, much lower than yours seems to be.

Wizardry:
Your flamebait will be ignored, as it's obvious you posted to hear yourself talk, instead of paying attention to anything being said.

Vexe:
You'll be 40 before you know it haha. I only played a few hours a night (and I didn't play every night) before I hit 35, save weekends, although I did have the advantage of guildmates' experiences in bunching up quests to do at once.

Fansede:
Yes, I cleaned out the Noble District, probably because in my impatience to grinding, I started there early. The quests in places like the Oasis would be much more doable if they weren't elite-only and people were more likely to make the trip -- but because I don't play for too long per night, if a group's going to take a long time to gather, then I can rarely bother unless it's on a weekend.

I like that mind map of the zones you linked to, btw -- although it does make it clear that the number of available places does drop off around mid- to late-40s.

The good news seems so be that it doesn't get *worse* in the 60s; it just doesn't get better.

Strangely, that's a little reassuring. :P

Mon Jun 02 2008 5:42PM Report
Nadia writes:

Funcom made a recent post

Update on the end game PvE content

http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=56425

Tue Jun 03 2008 8:50AM Report
Psymyn writes:

Thats just sad, and i feel sorry for you honestly everyone else is right this game has only been out what 3 weeks?!!?!? Slow down, your not going to pop a boner  that fast are you? Find somthing else to do, and follow the developers and not the noobs.. some of the other comments stating that it takes a few months before things are a bit more balanced are true, even if your a hardcore player you beat everyone to the punch your gonna find yourself alone! I mean do you pvp? what do you do, if you allow yourself to grind all the time than youll find yourself just grinding, try single player, have you gotten throug that any? im LvL 13, im a casual player and honestly i find it more excitying at my lvl im smashing newbs left and right already and loving it, ofcourse im still on Tortage but so what! every step is still so intriguing and exstensivley intense!! Im still giving cheers and thanks to Funcom and Eidos for making this game because im such a huge gamer, as well as an MMOer, and from day one ive waited for this game, and now that its hear i know it wont let me down!!

Tue Jun 03 2008 9:51AM Report
grimmbot writes:

Psymyn:
I was much, much more confident about the game at Level 13. It's phenomenal thru 20 -- just note that the voice acting ends after you leave Tortage. It's still great at 30. You've got to experience the game all the way though the mid-40s to fully grasp what I'm saying here.

Nadia:
I read that post -- it's good to know that there's something to do in the endgame in PvE. Unfortunately there's still that mid- and late-game gap. :/

I'm interested, btw, in seeing how raid dynamics work. Specifically I wonder how "zerg-like" the dungeons are, how much strategy they entail. I'm comfortable waiting for that too. ;)

Tue Jun 03 2008 11:09AM Report

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