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News & Features Discussion  » Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures: How Important is Marketing to Conan?

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33 posts found
  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  11/18/09 10:26:50 AM#1

MMORPG.com Age of Conan Correspondent John Humphrey writes this look at marketing and how Age of Conan, a totally revamped game with an expansion on the way, can learna thing or two from Blizzard.

Bringing new players into a product is always important but for a game like Age of Conan, that has launched and fallen flat, but rallied to make changes and additions to the game that bring it more in line with what players were originally expecting, it is absolutely critical to draw new players to the game and old players back. The best way to do this is by getting the word out, and with a new expansion on the way, there may be no better time for Craig Morrison and the team at Funcom to step up the campaign and maybe learn a thing or two from Blizzard, the current kings of MMO advertising.

Read How Important is Marketing to Conan?

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Zorvan01

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/07/09
Posts: 398

11/18/09 10:32:47 AM#2

They wasted their marketing when they went all out and hyped a broken and incomplete AoC outrageously before and during launch.

Any marketing they do now will only effect the few stragglers who haven't heard of AoC before ( of which there are few, due to that over-hype I mentioned ) and maybe a few people willing to give a second or third chance ( of which there are even fewer ).


]

  CyanSword

Novice Member

Joined: 7/26/09
Posts: 266

11/18/09 11:22:48 AM#3

Both AoC and EVE seem to spend a lot on advertising though. I recall the finacial guy from EVE saying they spent 10m USD ish a year on advertising, that has to be a HUGE chunk of their income even if they have 400k subs, and AoC seems (since launch) to advertise almost as much as EVE so I imagine they are also spending a LOT keeping it afloat..compare that to WAR which has been cut off from advertising funds by EA and will die a slow death.

At least the independent devs can keep a title going that the majors would just can as throwing good money after bad. MMOs can turn around and as long as they keep spending to bring in new players to offset those that leave (or enough of them to keep their levels up at any rate) so I think games like AoC (and EVE) advertise a lot compared to their incomes.

  Darkjinxter

Novice Member

Joined: 4/03/05
Posts: 177

11/18/09 12:46:15 PM#4

I refuse to even read the article, since its lead-in proclaims AoC as a 'totally revamped' game. It's nothing of the sort, I've been playing it since launch, it's been tinkered with at best.

  Manestream

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/10/03
Posts: 561

11/18/09 1:26:39 PM#5

I just got an e-mail from funcom last week for a 14 day free play comeback trial. Now i havent been in a while (not since beginning of the year) and since then 1.5 was released and i got a 14 day comeback trial back then of which DX10 sucked bigtime (unable to play, though you could turn and then watch the game tick by each frame for 5 minutes before stopping to where you stopped) with DX10 notched up. DX9 everything was ok, no lagg, no game problems.

Having said that, the game still had no community and the 30 minutes of DX10 LOL took most of that time logging out changing the settings and logging back in after trying to move. and the 2-3hrs of dx9 play but constantly being told not to bother with any instances or group required quests as you simply wont get any, and i was told this in chat by several players on Crom server (EU) and was the main reason i fobbed the game off back at the beginning of the year after only 2mths.

Anyways, got this e-mail from funcom offering 14 days free but you have to pay for a month to get it, to me that is not free comeback trial at all, there's no way i am going to pay for a month to get extra days when i am not sure, if the game has changed or is just the same with an almost deceased community.

  Alienovrlord

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/28/07
Posts: 1528

11/18/09 1:48:01 PM#6

Microsoft spent millions marketing Vista.   Remember the Seinfeld ads?   The whole 'Mojave' experiment?   In the end, people still ended up hating Vista and it ended up being considered a failure.    A bad product is a bad product.  

The fact that Funcom is slapping on bandages to AoC won't be covered up by clever marketing.

It's not ActiBlizzard's marketing that made WoW into a juggernaut.    We should all remember that all the ads with celebrities and South Park episode came AFTER the game became huge, the ads were just ActiBlizz's efforts to make the game even bigger.

Blizzard made a decent product, no matter what some may think.    It sold itself.  

  toddze

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/02/08
Posts: 2195

I am not a hater, I call it like I see it.

11/18/09 1:59:17 PM#7

They cant fix AoC, without a major overhaul. Its broken at the core. Only way I would ever give it a second chhance would be if they made a bigger world, and did away with all the instances. AOC did not have an MMO feel to me It felt like a cheezy online rpg.

Waiting for:EQ-Next, ArcheAge (not so much anymore)
Now Playing: N/A
Worst MMO: FFXIV
Favorite MMO: FFXI

  Nhoj1983

Novice Member

Joined: 9/12/08
Posts: 183

11/18/09 2:07:02 PM#8

 To answer the last commenter, dx10 isn't finalized yet and won't be till the expansion.  Personally I get around 40 fps with it on in the more cluttered zones but yes that is with a bit of tinkering.  I'm hoping for better but it's not as bad as some say.  This is one of my sticking points about the game.  I really think that many say the game is bad because they don't have the hardware to play it.  Admittedly on dx9 I get 70+fps anywhere so yeah it's more stable but... if you can play dx10 why not?:P  The game is different... not inherently but bugs and content problems have gone a long way towards dissapearing.

Why am I not playing?  I can't get my friends to even try the game.  Simply because with all this bad hype and that hype is basically a bunch of hot air.  I know bad and this isn't that.  Some just like to hold grudges.   I still think that an mmo should not have to be completely polished to be good.  Especially if that game tries to be different.  So many here want "innovation" and when they get a rather innovative game like this.  They call it a wow clone because it has quests and raiding.  Oh my how horrible.  I enjoyed my first six months in AoC.  Did I see the issues?  Yes and I lobbied to get them fixed.  I'm not saying it's even close to done(like any mmo ever is<shakes his head>) but a company that continues to listen to they're playerbase and has made as much progress as funcom has deserves at least a nod.

In the end though there are many mmos out there.  Most are very good and we don't have time to play all of them.  AoC lost out when my guild went to Aion.  Which is the best pvp experience I've had.  Guess it all comes down to community. 

  Suvroc

Novice Member

Joined: 1/09/07
Posts: 2405

11/18/09 2:11:11 PM#9

As difficult a decision this may be for any company trying to rejuvenate their subscriber base maybe they could try lowering their monthly sub by a significant amount. Make it easy for people who are already likely playing other MMO's to justify paying for two. Make it a great bargain and I'll bet you'll get many new or returning players.

  CujoSWAoA

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/27/04
Posts: 1848

"Pablo Picasso said art is a lie that tells the truth."

11/18/09 3:43:50 PM#10

So many uninformed people making up opinions without having any actual knowledge of what Age of Conan is like.

Thats the problem.

The idiots are winning the word of mouth game.

"The game is broken at its core."

"DX10 is junk!"

"The game's had a complete overhaul like SWG!"

This is what people are being told, by individuals that have no idea what they're talking about.

Yeah, Age of Conan had a bad launch. But, Age of Conan is a great game.

Buuuut, word of mouth is a powerful hell beast and in this case the Uninformed Fools are winning and probably ultimately will continue to win. Humans are a negative creature, they love being negative about things and in the circles of MMO nerds AoC is one of the prime targets of "Lets all be Negative about it!".

  liberalguy

Novice Member

Joined: 4/14/09
Posts: 122

11/18/09 4:54:07 PM#11
Originally posted by CujoSWAoA

Buuuut, word of mouth is a powerful hell beast and in this case the Uninformed Fools are winning and probably ultimately will continue to win. Humans are a negative creature, they love being negative about things and in the circles of MMO nerds AoC is one of the prime targets of "Lets all be Negative about it!".

 

Unfortunately much of the negativity directed towards AoC is completely justified. I went back for the 14-day trial and didn't see much that would indicate the game has been revamped. The lesson that people should take from AoC (and WAR) is that no amount of pre-release hype will save your game if it's in bad shape at launch. AoC was a horrible game at launch and it's not a very good game now.

  Thorgrimm

Age of Conan Correspondent

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 274

War is won by inches, not by miles...

11/18/09 5:24:08 PM#12

Current Promotion from FUNCOM to Entice New and Old Players (At about $8.25 per month and an Expansion FREE, this is a GREAT DEAL!):

Come back to Age of Conan, play for free, and level up twice as fast!

Re-evaluation launches with double experience boost throughout November.


Durham, USA – November 11th, 2009 – Funcom has decided to repeat the successful re-evaluation campaign that went live earlier this year for the best-selling massively multiplayer online role-playing game ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’. Previously active players are encouraged to come back to the game and play free of charge for two entire weeks. As an additional incentive for players to come back and play for free, they will also receive a double experience boost throughout their free period. Those who decide to continue playing beyond their free period can also look forward to fantastic rewards such as guaranteed access to the beta test for The Secret World, a free copy of the expansion and more.

“We are very proud of what have been able to do with the game since launch,” says Morten Larssen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Funcom. “The game has grown and improved at a remarkable pace, and we continue to introduce new content, new features and new improvements. We are introducing these fantastic rewards as we know that coming back to an MMO demands effort, and we want to make sure that as many former players as possible are exposed to the new and improved ‘Age of Conan’.”

Besides receiving an incredible experience boost throughout November, players who choose to continue subscribing to the game after their free period can look forward to a range of exclusive rewards:

•Subscribing for 1 month gives 7 days extra game time for no additional cost
•Subscribing for 3 months also guarantees a spot in open beta for The Secret World
•Subscribing for 6 months also gives a level 40 helmet with a 10% XP modifier
•Subscribing for 12 months also gives a free copy of the Rise of the Godslayer expansion


In addition, the rewards for the lower tier subscriptions are also included in the higher tier subscription, which means that you will get all these exclusive rewards if you choose to subscribe for 12 months. This is a time-limited offer only, and is also available to current players. Players who have signed up for these subscription plans in October have already secured their respective reward. The Secret World beta reward includes access to the later stages of the closed beta, and a date for access will be announced later. The free download of the expansion will become available when the expansion launches.

New players are also encouraged to take advantage of these offers. New players who purchase the game now and signs up for one of these subscription plans will also have secured their respective rewards.

Since launching last year, ‘Age of Conan’ has seen a vast number of improvements, new content and new features. In fact, the game has received such a significant make-over that Funcom decided to create a new website that introduces both former players and everyone else about how the game has grown. Previous players will find new content such as the adventure region of Ymir’s Pass, new dungeons such as The Iron Tower, and new features such as the player vs. player notoriety system and a complete re-design of the items and character statistics mechanics of the game. The technology platform has also been vastly improved, allowing for better performance across a wide range of computer systems.


Read more about what’s happened to ‘Age of Conan’ since launch on the new website!

http://www.ageofconan.com/updates/

 

Drakkenfel Xfire Miniprofile
  Thorgrimm

Age of Conan Correspondent

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 274

War is won by inches, not by miles...

11/18/09 5:45:15 PM#13

ALL NEW SINCE LAUNCH (May 2008):

Ymir's Pass Level 50+ (Giants and Giant-kin)

Tarantia Commons 70+ (Gang Wars)

Slaughterhouse Cellar 80+ (Solo Area Needed for access to Xibaluku)

Xibaluku 80+

Stability Patches for ALL areas of the Game!!!

Notoriety System for PVP to hunt other players...

Improved Siege Warfare, Guild City Upgrades, New Veteran Rewards/ Points System and New PvP Rewards
 

The Next Major Update will include even more PVP content...

Drakkenfel Xfire Miniprofile
  Manestream

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/10/03
Posts: 561

11/18/09 6:20:54 PM#14
Originally posted by liberalguy
Originally posted by CujoSWAoA

Buuuut, word of mouth is a powerful hell beast and in this case the Uninformed Fools are winning and probably ultimately will continue to win. Humans are a negative creature, they love being negative about things and in the circles of MMO nerds AoC is one of the prime targets of "Lets all be Negative about it!".

 

Unfortunately much of the negativity directed towards AoC is completely justified. I went back for the 14-day trial and didn't see much that would indicate the game has been revamped. The lesson that people should take from AoC (and WAR) is that no amount of pre-release hype will save your game if it's in bad shape at launch. AoC was a horrible game at launch and it's not a very good game now.


 

would like to have taken the 14 day trial myself, but it wants me to pay with full credit card details and other information for payment. I wont do that, the previous trial re-evaluation didnt require you to input your card details. I wont risk gettign charged for a game that (in my current opinion) should be closed and finished with because of lack of players (now that my experiance from 8 mths or so back) on teh EU servers anyways.

The game must just about be making a profit for them to work and bring out an expansion. A previous poster said that the DX10 has issue's and wont be fixed untill the expansion, thats BS, i heard that with 1.5 patch's and thereafterwards. Warhammer online has dropped for 80+ servers in the US to just 6 (6 only show when logging in under the forever free trial but only 2 are able to be logged onto), i also hear that there are only 4 EU servers thats 10 servers in total with word of rumours saying with the staff release's and other things that the game could be cancelled within the next 1-4 mths. Big name title, big hype too, massive crash down.

I havent heard mush about Darkfall, but after all the reviews and player feedback i dont bother reading much about it either anymore, put that down to yet another big hyped failure. Aion i also havent read much about, not even bothered but have been told its basically a complete wow ripoff.

Many people dish and curse warcraft, but right now i still have to say it is the #1 online subscription based game that hands down beats everything else thats out there without even breaking a sweat. I think to get my fix i will have to resubscribe again to warcraft and just wait for something that actually does stand a chance of uncrowning the king. Nothing else out there right now even comes close (and i am not a wow fan) just dissapointed in whats been released in these past 2-3 yrs (everythings been a complete load of utter junk) nothing innovating at all, just rips of whats been done before but not as good, which is why WoW has never come close to being toppled. I do believe that if wow is actually toppled it will be done by blizard themselves with their new online mmo that they are working on that many thing will be a sci-fi sort of game. 

  Soupgoblin

Novice Member

Joined: 4/30/05
Posts: 337

A mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is OPEN. -

11/18/09 10:25:58 PM#15

 This article was cute...

Marketing seems to be the only thing that Funcom excels at.

 

 

 

  User Deleted
11/18/09 10:36:09 PM#16
Originally posted by Thorgrimm

ALL NEW SINCE LAUNCH (May 2008):

Ymir's Pass Level 50+ (Giants and Giant-kin)

Tarantia Commons 70+ (Gang Wars)

Slaughterhouse Cellar 80+ (Solo Area Needed for access to Xibaluku)

Xibaluku 80+

Stability Patches for ALL areas of the Game!!!

Notoriety System for PVP to hunt other players...

Improved Siege Warfare, Guild City Upgrades, New Veteran Rewards/ Points System and New PvP Rewards
 

The Next Major Update will include even more PVP content...

 

Ok, but all that 'new' stuff is stuff they put in to adress lack of content issues, i.e. stuff that should have been there at launch.

So they've spent the last 1.5 years trying to get the game to its launch state, and the xpac will just be their attempt to finish it. THEN they can start polishing it. Frankly thats just too far behind the curve to appeal to most players.

  sfc1971

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/05/08
Posts: 422

11/18/09 10:57:30 PM#17

The fans and haters of AoC will never agree. The reason is simple, they expect a different game.

AoC for me failed because it did what the NGE did to SWG. It tried to add twitch to a game that wasn't build for it.

The "innovative" hit three buttons in-stead of one system

Some players like it, it makes the game feel active and indeed, there is some small constant challenge to do it right so that a move hits the least shielded area.

Others, like me, see this as a console/simplistic fighting system and want some more meat, more strategy as exist in games of WoW where it is knowing each skill and when to apply it that determines the fight.

Take healing, can't be arsed to look up the name, but the priest that throws lighting spells was so simple and so powerful it needed a massive nerf, but STILL it plays extremely simple. Active Damage Over Time and Heal Over Time and watch both power each other up. Affects your entire group.

No emergency heals, no desperate last minute stands.

When they added the grey elites, fights in instances became just endless slapdowns, grinding down endless boring hallways with randomly dotted enemies you slapped down one by one. Gone were the big fights outside with messy finishing moves.

I tried the last welcome back and deleted the game in half an hour.

The combat was just to boring. And that is for me and many others why the game is failing but it also got a small group of dedicated fans.

A lot of us want the established slow, tactical skill based fighting that exist in WoW-clones. 

A few hate that type of combat with a passion and scream for twitch-reaction fighting. Some found something close to that in AoC but it doesn't seem to be what the masses want.

Like non-eq clones (planetside and such), AoC seems to be offering a game play style that just doesn't appeal to enough players.

But the haters of the "auto-attack" combat in EQ/WoW have found a champion in AoC. Although you would expect the game to do better, considering how often people complain about the EQ like system.

 

 

  GPrestige

Novice Member

Joined: 5/01/08
Posts: 521

11/18/09 11:49:50 PM#18
Originally posted by dhayes68
Originally posted by Thorgrimm

ALL NEW SINCE LAUNCH (May 2008):

Ymir's Pass Level 50+ (Giants and Giant-kin)

Tarantia Commons 70+ (Gang Wars)

Slaughterhouse Cellar 80+ (Solo Area Needed for access to Xibaluku)

Xibaluku 80+

Stability Patches for ALL areas of the Game!!!

Notoriety System for PVP to hunt other players...

Improved Siege Warfare, Guild City Upgrades, New Veteran Rewards/ Points System and New PvP Rewards
 

The Next Major Update will include even more PVP content...

 

Ok, but all that 'new' stuff is stuff they put in to adress lack of content issues, i.e. stuff that should have been there at launch.

So they've spent the last 1.5 years trying to get the game to its launch state, and the xpac will just be their attempt to finish it. THEN they can start polishing it. Frankly thats just too far behind the curve to appeal to most players.

Whether this is true or not, it doesn't mean the game can't be enjoyed. So, when it is at the point you consider "complete", you will go back to the game? Is that what you're saying. I'm not quite sure what you're getting back, but I'm most definitely looking forward to the expansion and pretty much any patch that adds new content.

I find myself never bored in this game, and how people rushed to 80 with nothing to do the entire time blows my mind. I'm casually playing and I have not run out of content once. Although I'm only level 50, they have added all new areas for higher levels where people complained there was nothing, so I don't see myself running out of anything to do then either.

-Computer specs no one cares about: check.

-MMOs played no one cares about: check.

-Xfire stats no one cares about: check.

-Signature no one cares about: check.

------------------------------------------------------------
-Narcissism: check.

  Thorgrimm

Age of Conan Correspondent

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 274

War is won by inches, not by miles...

11/19/09 6:47:45 AM#19

For those folks that are still straddling the fence... Age of Conan has received numerous high reviews since the beginning (May 2008). Even when obviously glaring issues surfaced in the first three months, the following reviews were still offered.  Yes, many players were upset, but the Dev Team at Age of Conan has been working round-the-clock to fill in the holes, repair the problems, and make the game playable for more models of PCs with lower graphic capabilities. 

Despite that, a 9.4 or 90% sounds like a great score for "Demon's Souls". I am glad to hear it, and kudos to their publishers and developers.

Upon release (before all the patches, upgrades, additional voice content, and new content), Age of Conan had the following ratings by unbiased media:

Gamezone.com - "Editor's Choice" - 'A benchmark MMO.' 9.4/10

PCWorld - "GREAT" - 'I can honestly say that I believe Funcom has made a winner here, and is on to something big'

Gamezone - "GREAT" - 'Age of Conan is one of the finest online RPGs available.' 8.5/10

Sci-fi.com = "A" - 'If Robert E. Howard had been a game designer instead of a pulp writer, this is the Conan he would have invented' A/A

Vandal.com = "95%" - 'An essential title that nobody should miss. This is one of the most spectacular games nowadays'

Warcry = "94%" - 'Age of Conan is set to be a mammoth MMORPG. '

Gamer 2.0 = "90%" - 'Age of Conan does all the major things right'

GameSpy.com = "GREAT" - 'We'd like to think Conan himself would have approved.' 4/5

DreamStation = "85%" - 'Funcom did well'

Play.TM = "84%" - 'Bloody Engrossing'

Ten Ton Hammer = "4/5" - 'For those of you that haven’t taken the plunge into the world yet, I strongly urge you to check out the game'

G4 TV = "80%" - 'Fun and active combat'

USA Today = "80%" - 'Those interested in an epic, open-ended online fantasy adventure will find Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures worth the price of admission.'
 

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  Thorgrimm

Age of Conan Correspondent

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 274

War is won by inches, not by miles...

11/19/09 6:53:07 AM#20

I had shared the above scores in another forum entry and another poster commented on negative reviews from Eurogamer, so I looked them up.  This is what I discovered in my research into the negative reviews.  Please consider?

There were FOUR reviews by EUROGAMER who is practically in Funcom's backyard; a Team's Local Fans are often the most critical and hard to please.  I was half-tempted to repost the review in its entirety, and, as I continued to read, I realized that reading the source material directly, making your own assessments and judgments, and absorbing the context directly makes a lot more sense. They are VERY LONG articles, but they show many hours of dedicated depth of playing, not the two hours cited above. I encourage ALL readers, fans and foes alike, to go to these links and read for yourself. Yes, there is negative commentary, and I DO ENCOURAGE everyone to read that as well. A lowered score was offered based upon what they "expected the improvement to be" after four months in the Second Review, but they also listed it as much better than the original version and the context of the Review clearly stated that.

EUROGAMER Review #1: Rating = 7/10, 23 May 2008

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/age-of-conan-week-the-verdict-hands-on

"Single-minded, shallow, slick and highly entertaining in the short term, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is definitely a solid proposition - as an RPG. As an MMO, it's unproven - probably compromised, possibly somewhat limited. That doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. This is a game with broad appeal that does what it set out to do with verve and polish, and will please a great many of its players. Those looking for complex social systems behind their slaughter have Warhammer Online to look forward to. Those who just want to mash monsters into a bloody, particle-shaded pulp with friends need look no further." ..... "The next couple of months are still make-or-break for Age of Conan, but by pulling such a professional launch out of the bag, Funcom has given its baby the best chance of success."

EUROGAMER Review #2: Rating = 6/10, 14 October 2008

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/age-of-conan-hyborian-adventures-re-review

"Age of Conan remains one of the most innovative and interesting additions to the MMORPG family in recent years - but for now, it's a tough game to recommend. In absolute terms, the game you'd play now is a better game than the one we played at launch."

EUROGAMER Review #3: Rating = ?/10, 2 April 2009 (8/10, Finally living up to early promise - Timing is Everything)

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/conans-second-coming-article

"Between Ymir's Pass, a little more work on my Destiny Quests (a character-specific quest chain which runs from the start of the game the whole way to level 80) and a handful of trips into group dungeons, I made 70 in no time: clean across the former content gap. Moreover, the whole journey was incredibly good fun - the best fun I've had in an MMORPG since I first got to rampage through the Death Knight's starting zone in WOW. But in Conan's case, the enjoyment lasted for a couple of weeks rather than a couple of hours."

It's clear that Funcom is toying with ideas for evolving its endgame PVE encounters; several of Xibaluku's bosses came with mechanisms that had to be puzzled out, rather than being straightforward tank-and-spank fights. It's a step in the right direction, as are the technical fixes to the endgame PVP sieges, which are pretty much in working order now. The game is moving towards having enough to entertain its level 80 population."

My cursor hovered uncertainly over the Tempest's character panel for a moment - but really, there was little doubt in my mind. Age of Conan isn't perfect yet, by any means, but the game is finally living up to its early promise. It's intense, entertaining and rewarding to play - and bringing a third character up to the level cap is looking like a pleasure rather than a chore. If it can sustain this rate of improvement - and that is a big "if" - it won't be long before Funcom has one of the best MMOs in the world on its hands."

EUROGAMER Review #4: Rating = 7/10 (8/10 if this were offered a year ago), 10 July 2009

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/age-of-conan-re-review

"Age of Conan, at the end of its first year, is a game which has progressed in massive leaps and bounds. It has a solid, gorgeous-looking engine, a visceral, connected combat system (although a reduction in the number of spells and abilities for each class would be very welcome - most have far too many confusingly named, peculiarly similar abilities in their arsenal) and enough content to pull you through the experience. PVP is too chaotic for my blood, but I'm not much of a PVP player to be fair - those of a more combative nature seem to revel in Conan's offering. The ever-expanding endgame has plenty to keep hardcore players occupied, even though they'll never be satisfied - which is just how things should be.

In other words, Age of Conan is living up to much of the promise which led to my initial, over-optimistic 8/10 score. Even now, it's a flawed gem. It doesn't have the breadth, scope, polish or charm of WOW, Warhammer Online or Lord of the Rings Online, and it's hard not to see it as a second-string MMO - but unlike last time I returned to Age of Conan, it now feels like a game with direction, and a team that's capable of delivering on its promises. I was wrong 12 months ago - too forgiving of faults that ran deeper than I imagined. Today, Age of Conan is growing into the game I'd hoped it would back then. If only it hadn't taken so long to do so."


So, the reviewer is VERY HARSH on Age of Conan. But he also states that for others it may be exactly what they are looking for. I felt the reviews were SPOT ON, but I would have been more generous in my rating than the reviewer. He is a Professional, and he is entitled to his Criteria for Scoring; it seems a bit biased to me in that he is evaluating based upon what HE THOUGHT it should be, not as the evaluation of what it really was. His dialogue and description of what he (and his team) discovered would make I and many others run out to buy the game. In truth, we would be hard pressed for anything to live up to a PEDESTAL that we place a person or SERVICE upon. The Reviewer consistently compares a one-year old game to what World of Warcraft became after five+ years. Comparisons have also been drawn to LoTR and WAR, which many existing players have already stated are weaker that Age of Conan. The over-riding issue is that AoC requires a high-end machine to really shine; these other MMORPGs are designed to run on lower-end systems. If you try to run high-end settings on lower-end boxes, you are asking for lockups and freezes. AoC will scan a box and create a "recommended best setting"; if you tary to far away from the recommended setting, you are responsible for your own performance, and you cannot really blame the game.

In closing, PLEASE read these reviews. I feel the reviews really speak for themselves. I would not look at the numbers in the summaries, so much as I would look at the initial complaints from players. Take the list of complaints that you or others revealed in the beginning when they dropped their subscriptions, and go down the list on what these articles have revealed as COMPLETED and TESTED. This should answer all our questions in a very clear fashion. I have recently spent hours meandering amongst the zones, and I have done many missions with guildmates. I did the Holiday/Seasonal Quests, and I was challenged often needing the teamwork of my guildmates or group-partners. I am very pleased with where AoC is now, and I intend to continue playing for a while.
 

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