Age of Conan has some promise behind it, but I don't think it is bringing enough to the table to keep it afloat. Using an evolved form of combat just simply isn't enough. It seems as though everything else in game is the same old thing we see in past mmo's.
While Questing, Funcom has decided to use a cut scene style of quest view, which I think is a huge mistake. It's very single player and drags you away from your surroundings, for example: When you talk to an NPC, your user interface goes away and your camera zooms into you and the NPC, you are then cut off from your friends until you're finished reading the quest.
It's my thought however that this style may only be used levels 1 through 20. Since roughly level 1 through 20 is mixed with solo/instanced play and multi player aspects. It's also thought Funcom may have used this method to give the story line a more epic feel.
It's my hope that they use a quest book style (See WoW) after level 20.
The story line quests are very tedious and require a lot of running from place to place. Also questing in general seems like any other game, there is nothing new, it's just the same Go find X, kill 30 Y's and return when your done.
Age of Conan's combat system is probably the games flagship feature. There is still a few things that hasn't made its appearance in Beta, but should be in by release day. For example, Spellweaving. This is supposed to allow a caster class the ability to weave spells in combat like no other game before it. The best way I can describe it would be like this (I could be wrong however, as I have not seen nor tested it before), lets say you have a basic fireball spell. You hurl a firey mass at your opponent which then hits and does damage. Well, a spell weave would take that basic idea, and transform it. Depending on how you weave, would create different effects. Maybe adding a DoT to it for example?
I have read that spell weaving puts your character into a channeling state where he/she cannot move while in this trance. And some powerful weaves could take up to 40 seconds to complete!
Sounds very interesting, lets hope the beta testers get to see this in action before release day!
Basic melee is also very interesting and directional combat is something pretty new. Rather than targeting an enemy and clicking Auto attack and waiting, you'll have to put in a bit of work for your kill.
When you initiate combat, you'll see your opponents Shield Bars pop up. You then need to attack his vulnerable sides to deal effective damage. If he moves his Shield Bars to his Left side, you attack his Right side. If he's protecting all three sides, normally you just hack at one side until he moves more bars there, then counter by attacking his open side. Easy enough.
It may get a little more complicated once you start getting combo attacks. Where you open with an attack then issue in sequence other directional attacks to create a sort of a final blow. This is where the “fatalities” come into play. It's my understanding that when you start a combo and land a critical blow that kills your opponent, you'll have the chance to see a somewhat unique finishing move. For example; the infamous decapitation!
Shield Bars are a visual representation of where you are protecting yourself, and not a physical object on your character. It also doesn't block damage, it just reduces damage taken.
A new player starts out with three basic directions (with two more later on) he can protect, using a max of three Shield Bars he/she can use at any given point. The three areas are; Top, Left side and Right side.
Players also have an active Block they can use at any point to manually block attacks. Doing so drains stamina.
Players will also have available to them a “Dash” technique. For example; If you double tap your forward key just before attacking, you sort of dash or lunge at your enemy. When you do that you get a small attack buff. If you double tap your backward key, you dart away from the mob, and get a small evasion buff. It's kind of a nice touch and additional tactic.
Fighting in general is pretty quick. Most NPC's your level (one on one) might last around 10 seconds. If you get additional opponents into the mix, it may take a little longer.
Another nice little thing Funcom added is when you fight multiple NPC's and get consecutive kills, I believe you get some sort of experience bonus.
All of this creates a pretty unique fighting experience early on. How this plays in end-game or PvP, who knows? It has the potential to get very tedious yet at the same time, in PvP could open up tons of tactical possibility's I think.
|Aside from gameplay, the graphics are very cool. It's pretty much what you would expect in todays mmo's. Your supposed to be able to use DX10, but that's something not in beta yet. So I can't comment on it unfortunately.|
I mention in the title Shadowbane 2.0, from what I can remember of that game, Age of Conan has a very similar feel to it. Less the directional combat and Shield Bars mind you. Since I haven't seen Siege Combat or PvP in AoC I can't give that aspect a fair review, however my gut feeling says I can see Age of Conan becoming Shadowbane 2.0 (cool ideas but implemented poorly or not taken far enough) if Funcom doesn't play their cards right.
Aside from my over all personal feelings on it, I think its pretty fun and I know a lot of people will enjoy it.
It's just my opinion, yours may vary!