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News & Features Discussion  » Age of Conan: Correspondent - Exploration in AoC

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  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  8/27/08 9:24:26 AM#1

MMORPG.com Ag of Conan Correspondent Jean Francois Doyon writes this article about his dissapointment with the exploration factor in Funcom's MMO.

Who hasn't dreamed of running through far reaches of sand and stones, humid forests and windy plains wearing only a loincloth and the necessary belt to hold it and your trusty, ridiculously badass-looking sword in place?

Okay, maybe not that many people, but in the vast and rough world of Conan, these are the kind of images that my mind would have expected, along with the scantily-clad women tied to a nearby pole as if we were meant to cross the desert to come across her... Happy was I to find the scantily-clad woman tied to a pole within the first five minutes of Age of Conan, and the rest of the world was lush and lively (for the most part), as I hoped. A pity it was nowhere as vast, however.

Read the article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Pandrax

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/17/04
Posts: 373

The gates of Hell are open night and day; smooth the descent and easy is the way.

8/27/08 9:28:29 AM#2

Sadly Age of conan is pretty bland in the area of exploration, but most games nowadays are just as bad. Warhammer has the feeling of a small world also.  Hopefully Some of the future MMO's put more depth into their games.

 

 

Edit: also wanted to chime in on this bit:

 

To counter the unavoidable overpopulation of these small zones, there are instances. You may not choose first hand in which instance you will end up, and even though you can usually switch instance easily enough by running to a respawn point, joining friends, unless you're grouped with them, is somewhat difficult since there are usually at least a dozen instances to scroll through when you're looking for someone. "

 

On my server(Scourge-USPVP), There has not been any duplicated zones(instances) for about a month. At most there are only 10-15 people in Kheshatta, mostly all powerleveling at certain spots on the map. Every single zone, including capital cities are empty, even during primetime.  I guess I got my wish for not wanting to deal with duplicated zones. 

/sigh

~ ~

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

  afoaa

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/15/07
Posts: 575

8/27/08 9:42:22 AM#3

The exact size of the entire AoC world is 42 Km2. But that is the size of the maps. The real land you can explore is about 50% to 60% of the mapped area giving it about 10 square miles of area for the entire world.

WoWs base world before BC were 8 to 9 times bigger.

DaoC is 11 times bigger if you count the TOA regions only once since they are reused in each realm.

"You are the hero our legends have foretold will save our tribe, therefore please go kill 10 pigs."

  kujii

Novice Member

Joined: 6/10/07
Posts: 188

8/27/08 9:50:15 AM#4

Glad to see he played the game for 30 minutes, became an expert on it, and successfully missed 90 percent of the content.   Gratz.

  mike470

General Correspondent

Joined: 2/11/08
Posts: 2429

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand" - Randy Pausch

8/27/08 10:23:10 AM#5

One thing I loved about Vanguard was the ability to explore wherever I saw.  If you see a mountain; you can climb it.  If you want to swim to an island, go right ahead!  There was nothing stopping you, the whole world could be explored.

__________________________________________________
In memory of Laura "Taera" Genender. Passed away on Aug/13/08 - Rest In Peace; you will not be forgotten

  araliun

Novice Member

Joined: 7/04/08
Posts: 6

8/27/08 10:40:36 AM#6

In response to Pandrax:

LOL - all servers are experiencing the same!  When I first joined this game back in June, the cities were filled with players and there were multiple instances in the gaming areas.  No more.  As of August - the cities reflect FUNCOM's stock price and the realities which others players have decided upon - the stock price has tanked and the players left the game and canceled their membership in the thousands.

According to FunCom's Director of Development for Conan, they sold over 800,000 copies of the game and have an active member subscription of 400,000 as of August.  Really?  Where the heck are they - because they sure are not online playing the game!  The towns are empty - as if ghost towns.  The economy is in ruins.  Empty promises, too little provided to fix issue - too late.  Changes that have been released are entirely off-base, adding inane content not required and just entirely missing the mark of what is required TO FIX a broken game client. 

It's all that our guild can do on the GWAHLUR server to keep going.  I lead a guild with 300 unique members; most using Ventrilo.  Day in and Day out I continually and repeatedly listen to the players frustration and anger erupt towards the game.  The crashes are the #1 killer of this game - period.  Players experience at least 20 crashes a day.  Three months into the game's release  - all the crashes taking place tell me one thing:  the engine cannot be repaired and the development team knows it.  The lack of FULL DISCLOSURE as the WHY, HOW, WHEN these crashes are occurring with the client, by FunCOm, is the most epic snow job ever.  The lack of integrity and responsibility to the paying customer, the player base, by FunCom is disgraceful and disgusting.

Guilds are collapsing everywhere or are consolidating like mad.  To complicate matters; the scale of the game was based upon thousands of players being online and active in their guilds.  The scale of the game in relationship to building cities, sieging, etc. has not been adjusted to reflect the diminished player base and as a result it is nearly impossible to continue building your cities due to the overwhelming amount of resources required.  This further discourages players from continuing the game and feeds into the cancellation of active subscriptions.

I am wondering now if someone will bring a class-action lawsuit against FunCom: (a) false advertising on the retail box with content and functionality not provided as advertised, (b) a faulty product that crashes continually and gray-screens its players, (c) lack of FULL DISCLOSURE as to how bad their problems are in the game itself vs. players spending hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading their computers thinking their PCs were at fault.

Age of Crashes (Age of Conan) must be going down as the most epic failure of an MMO ever released.  In three months time, the company's stock has peaked at 51 and bottomed at 13.65.  Over 65% of the player base has left the game, canceled their subscriptions or never purchased a subscription; opting instead to cancel, quit and say good-ridens.  This is all a reflection of just how terrible a job the loser of a Director of Development has done, with his team, in this game. 

And now we receive more promises.  Now we receive "we hear you" messages from the team.  Still all more of the same; marketing propoganda in hopes of stemming the vast bleeding that has taken place. 

Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS):  fix the client crashes first and foremost (in fact - FUNCOM just needs to come completely clean and provide full disclosure as to why and how these crashes are occurring in the first place - well past due imo), fix the server crashes, fix the internal mechanics of the game which are BROKEN, then add your content for level 80.  Oh, and by the way, put yourselves on notice and TELL US EXACTLY the DATE in which PvP will be released.  FunCom has lied, deceived, mislead, and abused its player base for this game in the most extreme manner ever in the history of an MMO from my point of view.  The Director of Development for CONAN and the CEO of FUNCOM should be fired immediately.

Am I frustrated?  You bet.  Do I love the graphics of the game?  You bet.  Am I trying to keep the faith?  You bet.  The game has so much potential - and their are egotistical idiots giving us more of the same, day in and day out, in hopes of keeping what few are left. 

FIRE THE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT and the CEO!

 

  Hardas

Novice Member

Joined: 5/10/07
Posts: 27

8/27/08 11:07:44 AM#7

AoC world comparing in size with EQ2 or WOW expolorable areas could fit under microscope and even then you only have one linnear option of moving ...pretty much there is no exploring in AOC. This game suffers from seriously retarded design. It does look pretty if that is all you expect from MMO but fails in every other aspect.

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6814

8/27/08 11:24:48 AM#8

Yep the reviewer nailed it, the game is exactly Dungeon Siege with better graphics.  So for all the hype we got a game where you are sheparded throughout.  Sorry that is NOT a MMO in my opinion.  Exploration has to be part of the game, without it, it is a second rate FPS.

Sorry Funcom you just blew it!

  ExtraMedium

Novice Member

Joined: 8/27/08
Posts: 5

8/27/08 11:41:19 AM#9

I agree with the article 100%. One of the things that kept me interested in EQI despite the horrible downtime and timesinks, punishment for leveling and painful death experience was the feeling that I was living in a huge, complex world.  Exploring it was a good portion of the fun for me.  As games developed this feeling sort of started to wear off, but never have I felt so much NOT a part of a living, breathing world as in AoC.

Follow the preset paths... port from one zone to another... nothing feels connected, invisible walls everywhere.. and even without the walls, there just isn't that much space to explore.  The zone maps are small compared to even WoW at release, and that game was smaller than others of its time.  I got to about lvl 50 in Conan before giving up just because I couldn't get into the game world.   

True, tt was as pretty as a single player RPG, but that's exactly what it felt like to me- a single player RPG that happened to have a chat room built in where everyone talked about WoW.

  Sinkael

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/05/06
Posts: 72

Go home, nobody loves you.

8/27/08 11:52:34 AM#10

You know I have seen the 800k with only 415k still active (yea you  missed 15k people) thrown about as the demise of AoC for a week or so now. It is utter crap, AoC is not floundering nor can it be considered a failure, yet.

Notice the yet at the end of the above sentence.

Here is what those numbers do tell us;

1.   AoC had a lot of hype.

2.   A lot of people bought into said hype.

3.   Funcom FAILED to deliver on hype.

4.   AoC is still a successful MMO (14.99 x 415k = $6,204,250.00 a year - off just subscription fees / 49.99 x 800k = 39,992,000.00)

5.   The true tell tale signs will be in November when pre-paid subs start to run out and we see how many are renewing.

So take the boxed sales + a year of service at the 415k mark and we get 46,196,250.00 in the first year (this doesn't include CE sales, just the pricing at 49.99 for every box sale, actual amount from boxed sales will be higher).

If you consier nearly 50 millions dollars of revunue in the first year a failure, well enjoy the tin foil hat chicken little.

Once again, all the numbers tell  us is that somewhere between 40-50% of the AoC population came into the game expecting way more then they got. This isn't surprising when you look at the pedistol they AoC was put on, it was suppose to be the second comming of the MMO messiah and instead you got a decent title that needs some work.

sinkael Xfire Miniprofile
  tkobo

Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/06
Posts: 472

Current MMO dev teams = Keystone cops.A pure comedy of errors,sadly its not as intentional.

8/27/08 12:36:08 PM#11

Oh for the love of all the myths man embraces, someone PLEASE explain to the above poster how box sales work ................

  Terranah

Novice Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3618

8/27/08 1:45:09 PM#12

Exploration is one of the aspects I love most about mmo's, and it was one of my favorite components of SWG.  Exploring all the planets kept me rivited to my computer screen for hours upon hours upon hours. 

 

As I recall, the first planet I visited after scraping together the coin was Endor.  I was a low level character and it was really expensive for a new character.  I explored for hours, skirting around mobs and sometimes running for my life.  I got a few cute pictures of some kittens though :)

  araliun

Novice Member

Joined: 7/04/08
Posts: 6

8/27/08 1:55:42 PM#13

Replying to Sinkael's post:

 

Regardless of the financials; everything in my initial post stands.  FunCom is a mis-managed company, mislead the gaming community, stockholders and ultimately abused its players/customers.

Its nice to know there are emoployees of FunCom using these forums and spoofing themselves to the rest of us.

FACT:  the number of CONAN players on XFIRE have dropped continually and significantly over the past 3 months.  Hmm - wonder why.

FACT: FUNCOM's stock price has TANKED to a all time low over the past two years, only 3 months after the release of CONAN.  The stockholders know why - LOSS, LOSS, LOSS.  To be at $51 a share in the end of May 2008 and a record low in the past two years of $13.65 as of a few days ago, tells much.

FACT: at the end of the day - it does not matter how many initial copies the game sold - what matter is the individual experience each one of those customers have/had with the game.  The clear truth is that players have quit the game, uninstalled the game from their computers, cancelled their subscriptions, and it is VERY EVIDENT in the game!!!  Gwahlur is EMPTY, DEAD, GHOST TOWN!  And I am reading the same for all the other servers as well.

 

WHERE is the full-disclosure regarding the client crashes?
WHERE is the directx-10 that is clearly labeled on the retail box?
WHERE is the PVP system labeled on the retail box?
WHEN will we see fixes, WHEN will we see directx-10, WHEN will we see PVP?

Continue your SPIN MACHINE, FUNCOM - its just more of the same from you - and you have people in these forums serving us exactly that.

  sadnebula

Novice Member

Joined: 8/17/03
Posts: 261

8/27/08 2:38:18 PM#14

well said,  A world made up of eye candy and little more.

  Grunties

Novice Member

Joined: 9/16/07
Posts: 871

8/27/08 2:55:37 PM#15
Originally posted by kujii

Glad to see he played the game for 30 minutes, became an expert on it, and successfully missed 90 percent of the content.   Gratz.


 

What a coincidence - so did the developers!

Glad to see there are some correspondents out there willing to tell it like it is, and not just treat the position as an opportunity to advertise the game more.

Waiting for: A skill-based MMO with Freedom and Consequence.
Woe to thee, the pierce-ed.

  User Deleted
8/27/08 2:59:23 PM#16

So what happened to Avery? Couldn't think of any more ways to spin it and gave up being the correspondent?

I hardly think this game is in need of more than one correspondent, and so far Jean is the only truthful one.

  Lasair

Novice Member

Joined: 8/16/08
Posts: 15

Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.

8/27/08 5:08:01 PM#17

Thanks for the article! I experienced similar feeling of the game -- nice graphics, decent quests, but one is forced to the particular path and it feels artificial. I WoW my druid char swam from Auberdine to Feathermoon Stromghold, just for the sake of it (and to get the flight point :)). In AoC I just could not immerse myself into the game after level 20, everything is instanced and walled in :( Even taverns in a city are instanced!

But, on a positive note, I should say that my AoC game client have not crashed even once (new PC with Vista 64bit). Not that I care, as I quit two weeks ago.

  User Deleted
8/27/08 5:20:18 PM#18

Why would you pick a topic that the game is clearly not about?

  Elsabolts

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 2695

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of those that would threaten It

8/27/08 5:22:45 PM#19

He is trying to be positive and not get folks upset.

  Sinkael

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/05/06
Posts: 72

Go home, nobody loves you.

8/27/08 5:52:31 PM#20
Originally posted by araliun

Replying to Sinkael's post:

 

Regardless of the financials; everything in my initial post stands.  FunCom is a mis-managed company, mislead the gaming community, stockholders and ultimately abused its players/customers.

Its nice to know there are emoployees of FunCom using these forums and spoofing themselves to the rest of us.

FACT:  the number of CONAN players on XFIRE have dropped continually and significantly over the past 3 months.  Hmm - wonder why.

FACT: FUNCOM's stock price has TANKED to a all time low over the past two years, only 3 months after the release of CONAN.  The stockholders know why - LOSS, LOSS, LOSS.  To be at $51 a share in the end of May 2008 and a record low in the past two years of $13.65 as of a few days ago, tells much.

FACT: at the end of the day - it does not matter how many initial copies the game sold - what matter is the individual experience each one of those customers have/had with the game.  The clear truth is that players have quit the game, uninstalled the game from their computers, cancelled their subscriptions, and it is VERY EVIDENT in the game!!!  Gwahlur is EMPTY, DEAD, GHOST TOWN!  And I am reading the same for all the other servers as well.

 

WHERE is the full-disclosure regarding the client crashes?
WHERE is the directx-10 that is clearly labeled on the retail box?
WHERE is the PVP system labeled on the retail box?
WHEN will we see fixes, WHEN will we see directx-10, WHEN will we see PVP?

Continue your SPIN MACHINE, FUNCOM - its just more of the same from you - and you have people in these forums serving us exactly that.

Angry much?

I want to address a few of your points.

  • Xfire is not an accurate way to measure the number of people or the amount of time they play. My xfire account hasn't been logged into for months and seriously doubt I am such a unique individual that no one else has opened an Xfire account because it seemed cool and then grew bored with it.
  • The only thing the stock price tells us is that a companies stock maintained a steady increase during the development of a new product and then had a rapid growth right when it launched and then leveled out. Please, go do some research into the market, it will show you that this is the rule and not the exception.
  • No one is arguing that there has been a sharp drop in customer numbers, that is evident, what is being argued is that AoC is as bad off as some would have us believe. I personally play Cimmeria which is quite active and doesn't seem to be suffering any population problems, I am not saying they don't exist, just that not every server is empty.
  • When you ask for "full disclosure", what do you mean? Do you want them to explain in detail the causes of the crash, the code that is the problem, the origin of the bad code, the writer of the bad code, explain each and every step of the fix proccess? Or do you simply want a yes this is broken and we are trying to fix it. I have never seen ANY game give Full Disclosure on CTD bugs, why you would expect this from Funcom confuses me.
  • DirectX10, there is simply no exscuse for this to be listed on the box and not in the game. /agree
  • Fixes are being patched, last ones were August 19th 2008, perhaps with you canceled account you missed the patch.
  • Once again, I agree that the lack of DX10 is unexscusable.
  • Last I checked, PvP was in and working, perhaps not to what you expected it to be, but it is there, in fact I was in some PvP just yesterday, getting ganked on White Sands. This may not be what you mean, but PvP is there.

As for you saying I work for Funcom, I wish, I could afford my truck payment then. The initial sale of the game is a very important factor, it means they can pay back much of the capital they got to build the game and keep developing.

After reading your post, I wonder if you even read my response or if you simply saw someone respond and not spit vitriol at Funcom and assume I was a fanboy. Quite the contrary, I don't really enjoy AoC all that much and I knew I wouldn't from the get go, the only reason I play is because it's a different flavor candy, I have had all the WoW I can stand need something to kill time until WAR releases (I am a Mythic fanboy). Like I said in my previous post, we can't claim doom and gloom until November when the prepaid time starts running out, this will tell us how many are renewing.

sinkael Xfire Miniprofile
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