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News & Features Discussion  » Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures: The Road to Most Improved: Jan - Mar

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48 posts found
  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  1/14/10 9:46:50 AM#1

MMORPG.com Age of Conan Reporter John Humphrey writes this multi-part article detailing Age of Conan's 2009 progress toward being named MMORPG.com's Most Improved MMO. In today's addition, he discusses changes and events for the game from January to March.

Part of Age of Conan’s recovery involved server merges, and there was much controversy as a result of it. On January 9, 2009, FunCom merged their host down to eight North American Servers and twelve European servers of various languages from the 49 originally populated servers. In truth, this event was inevitable. FunCom had set up a substantial number of servers believing that their game would rival WoW. When the dust settled in 2008 and 1.2 million boxes sold turned into 400,000 (or less) subscriptions, it turned out to be a business decision to maintain the game by reducing the maintenance on servers and the number of support personnel needed for technology and customer service, not to mention having players on the same servers.

The publicity surrounding this act was a two-edged sword. While many players now found a lot of new players to associate with, other veterans lost favorite player names and guild names, and the healthy RPG servers had to adjust to a large number on non-RP gamers being thrust into their previously large and happy populations. Opponents of Age of Conan had a field day, announcing that this event signaled the demise of the game, and it was only a matter of time before the plug was pulled on the remaining servers. Looking at this event a year later, I can say that though unwelcome by some players, the merges did more good than harm, and healthier populations can be found on each remaining server, evidence that the game is not yet dead.

Read The Road to Most Improved: Jan - Mar.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Valentina

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/28/06
Posts: 1651

1/14/10 1:39:47 PM#2

Nice article. It really points out alot of the changes made to the game since it's release...The new update is going to bring  pretty big changes to the game as well, including the guild overhaul.


  Axeion

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/03/06
Posts: 423

1/14/10 1:57:39 PM#3

Looking forward to this.Hopeing AoC contiues improving an growing .

"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." — Robert E. Howard, The Tower of the Elephant (1933)

  Frobner

Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/08
Posts: 663

1/14/10 3:23:08 PM#4

Soooo...

There is a HUGE public opinion amongst MMO gamers that tells you to "STAY AWAY" - from this title and every MMO title that Funcom touches.

Now... Let me tell you few things that have not improved and will not improve in the coming "expansion" (payed for patch with 1-2 zones added at release and 1-2 dungeons and 2 new mounths = same as most MMOs release now for free).

THey are NOT changing the basic flaw of the entire game.  The fact that the entire gaming story is built around the fact that you were left stranded on an Island like EVERY other person playing that game.  And your alts... and your PVP oponents.. and your friends... 

Yes ... ALL go throught the same nighmare of a starting story that is then involved EXACTLY the same (no branches for 80 lvls) to the end.  This is what FUncom calls MMO settings.  The rest of the MMO genre actually sees how naive this is... how TERRIBLE job was done in the entire making of the game (is really just a single player storyline) and since the starting zone cost millions to create - their "expansion" is not changing this at all.

This is all I have to say about AOC at this point.  You can fix everything you like - but the game had fundemental flaws in ALL departments at the start.  And it still has.  Even 50 articles on how it has improved will not change that.

[Mod Edit]

  Zorvan01

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/07/09
Posts: 398

1/14/10 3:29:25 PM#5
Originally posted by Frobner

[Mod Edit]

 


 

I'm sorry, was WoW also chosen as "Most Improved Game of 2009"? No? Then why would their be an article on WoW?

They are showing WHY they chose AoC as "Most Improved Game", more than likely to appease the countless whines of "Why did you choose AoC over X?".

I find it amusing that the scrubs who always come out accusing mmorpg.com of only picking a game because of advertising money still come here instead of one of these obviously better sites that are just so full of journalistic integrity compared to mmorpg.com ( lol if you can name one, I'll be amazed and if you say Massively or TenTonHammer, I'll laugh my ass off ). If the place is so horrible, why come at all? Oh, yeah. Gottta have somewhere to bitch, moan, and groan.


]

  Frobner

Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/08
Posts: 663

1/14/10 4:08:08 PM#6
Originally posted by Zorvan01
Originally posted by Frobner

Soooo...

Where is the author of that ten part article on what WOW has been adding to their game in the same time ?  Oh... Is Blizzard not paying MMORPG.COM the same advertisement money as Funcom is ? .... Ahhh.. I see.

 


 

I'm sorry, was WoW also chosen as "Most Improved Game of 2009"? No? Then why would their be an article on WoW?

They are showing WHY they chose AoC as "Most Improved Game", more than likely to appease the countless whines of "Why did you choose AoC over X?".

I find it amusing that the scrubs who always come out accusing mmorpg.com of only picking a game because of advertising money still come here instead of one of these obviously better sites that are just so full of journalistic integrity compared to mmorpg.com ( lol if you can name one, I'll be amazed and if you say Massively or TenTonHammer, I'll laugh my ass off ). If the place is so horrible, why come at all? Oh, yeah. Gottta have somewhere to bitch, moan, and groan.

 

No - why I come here is to point out that just like in Massively and TenTonHammer - things are not based on facts.  The fact that MMORPG.COM is run by adds that are very much sponsored by certain companies should be pointed out to everyone that thinks - OH this must be a great game cause a "gamer site" is picking it.  

TTH actually woted Runes of Magic in pretty much every department as their "game of the year".  Considering that ROM was a new release in 2009 and ALSO added 2 new races - LVL cap - new starting zones and end zones and ALL for free!.. YOu must start to wonder if we should listen to the gamers.... or the "experts" that are beeing payed for their opinions.

And btw - just to point one thing that shows you how rosie this Article is.

"Full implementation of DirectX 10 went live the last week of March 2009."  This is a LIE! DX 10 is STILL in Beta and is NOT fully implemented.  I will take this point to the headquarters of MMORPG.COM and point out that an author that is writing in their name is actually LYING.  

 

  Thorgrimm

Age of Conan Correspondent

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 274

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

1/14/10 4:57:58 PM#7
Originally posted by Frobner

And btw - just to point one thing that shows you how rosie this Article is.

"Full implementation of DirectX 10 went live the last week of March 2009."  This is a LIE! DX 10 is STILL in Beta and is NOT fully implemented.  I will take this point to the headquarters of MMORPG.COM and point out that an author that is writing in their name is actually LYING.  

 


 

DirectX 11 is in Windows 7:

http://www.microsoft.com/games/en-US/aboutGFW/pages/directx.aspx


DirectX® 11, the next generation of graphics technology, arrives with Windows 7. This is great news for players as many of the newest Windows games will take full advantage of this technology to create more immersive and detailed worlds and experiences. Game developers will utilize new features to create rich worlds, realistic characters, and more fluid gameplay.

DirectX 11 features include:

Tessellation – Tessellation is implemented on the GPU to calculate a smoother curved surface resulting in more graphically detailed images, including more lifelike characters in the gaming worlds that you explore.

Multi-Threading – The ability to scale across multi-core CPUs will enable developers to take greater advantage of the power within multi-core CPUs. This results in faster framerates for games, while still supporting the increased visual detailing.

DirectCompute – Developers can utilize the power of discrete graphics cards to accelerate both gaming and non-gaming applications. This improves graphics, while also enabling players to accelerate everyday tasks, like video editing, on their Windows 7 PC.

While Windows 7 is fully compatible with games and hardware that use older versions of DirectX, the new DirectX 11 features are available with a DirectX 11 compatible graphics card and games designed to take advantage of this new technology.


 

Drakkenfel Xfire Miniprofile
  Zorvan01

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/07/09
Posts: 398

1/14/10 7:34:08 PM#8
Originally posted by Thorgrimm
Originally posted by Frobner

And btw - just to point one thing that shows you how rosie this Article is.

"Full implementation of DirectX 10 went live the last week of March 2009."  This is a LIE! DX 10 is STILL in Beta and is NOT fully implemented.  I will take this point to the headquarters of MMORPG.COM and point out that an author that is writing in their name is actually LYING.  

 


 

DirectX 11 is in Windows 7:

http://www.microsoft.com/games/en-US/aboutGFW/pages/directx.aspx


DirectX® 11, the next generation of graphics technology, arrives with Windows 7. This is great news for players as many of the newest Windows games will take full advantage of this technology to create more immersive and detailed worlds and experiences. Game developers will utilize new features to create rich worlds, realistic characters, and more fluid gameplay.

DirectX 11 features include:

Tessellation – Tessellation is implemented on the GPU to calculate a smoother curved surface resulting in more graphically detailed images, including more lifelike characters in the gaming worlds that you explore.

Multi-Threading – The ability to scale across multi-core CPUs will enable developers to take greater advantage of the power within multi-core CPUs. This results in faster framerates for games, while still supporting the increased visual detailing.

DirectCompute – Developers can utilize the power of discrete graphics cards to accelerate both gaming and non-gaming applications. This improves graphics, while also enabling players to accelerate everyday tasks, like video editing, on their Windows 7 PC.

While Windows 7 is fully compatible with games and hardware that use older versions of DirectX, the new DirectX 11 features are available with a DirectX 11 compatible graphics card and games designed to take advantage of this new technology.


 


 

What exactly are you trying to show, Thorgrimm? He was referring to DX10 in AoC, not saying DX10 was not in Windows.

And he is correct that it is a test version of DX10 that is still not optimized fully with AoC and that Funcom has never said DX10 was implemented, only the test version. Although I doubt the author of the article was outright lying as Frobner acccuses him of, more than likely he just didn't notice the "TEST" part of the DX10 description when playing.


]

  Thorgrimm

Age of Conan Correspondent

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 274

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

1/14/10 9:47:59 PM#9

GameSpot- July 2009

"In addition to new content areas already added, the team is now simultaneously working toward full implementation of DirectX 10 support, toward the game's next update House of Crom, and on a full retail expansion pack, which will be revealed in August. DirectX 10 support is currently in a beta state and a portion of the game's active players are already using and testing the game, but Funcom is continuing to test the game and accept player feedback--according to Morrison, the inability to have broader testing among a range of systems to make sure DX 10 works OK is what has delayed the full implementation. However, Morrison suggests that the team is "getting close" and hopes to have full DX 10 support in the game in the next month or two."

Eurogamer - April 2, 2009

"In the last few days, Funcom has even managed to put to rest one of the biggest criticisms levelled at the game, the lack of the heralded DirectX 10 support. It has finally rolled out, albeit in a "test" form which needs to be switched on by the user. It's not perfect, but it does look pretty - the most notable changes are to foliage in the game, with trees and lush grass swaying gently in the wind, but other additions like "god rays" (sunbeams piercing the clouds) and enhanced underwater lighting are also very nice to look at."

Craig Morrison - January 2009

"Last, but by no means least, the Direct X10 version is also starting to shape up nicely. While we aren’t going to allow it hold back the deployment of the rest of the update we are hard at work ensuring that we concentrate on optimizing the DX10 features and making sure it’s ready to launch as soon as possible. A huge thanks to everyone who has given us excellent feedback from the test server, it really does make this stage of the process much easier."
 

Craig Morrison - November 2008

"We are now preparing to take the DirectX 10 version of the game from our internal testing servers out to the public test servers, so you can see it for yourselves. The next major game update will include this version of the game and make it available for everyone with the appropriate hardware to enjoy. Since the outset we have been determined that the new DirectX 10 functionality would not just be a ‘gimmick’ addition to the game and would add visual quality to the game, we feel that the version we are preparing now for testing does achieve this and in a way that will find the right balance between visuals and performance. We have also gone to great lengths to try and make virtually all the DirectX10 features customizable so that you can find the right balance between features for the performance level of your hardware. What we did not want to do was push this version out too early and not see the real added benefits this technology can bring. I am really looking forward to players getting to experience some of the new visual improvements that this new technology allows. It really brings an even further splendor to the game world." 
 

Drakkenfel Xfire Miniprofile
  Thorgrimm

Age of Conan Correspondent

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 274

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

1/14/10 10:13:28 PM#10

I am the author of the article, so I am setting the record straight above.  The "official" report is that the Direct X 10 is deployed in a "Test" form, but it is still deployed.  I went back to my AoC Client Config, Video Options, tonight, and the Video Settings still say "DirectX 10 Test".  So my statement was incorrect. It was not a LIE.  I gathered material from various sources and, in summarizing the information, I misquoted.  Some of the material that I reviewed simply said it was finished or delivered.  This is what I remembered.  Age of Conan was the first MMO to deploy DirectX 10.  As stated in July 2009, the only reason it was not listed at "fully deployed" was "the inability to have broader testing among a range of systems to make sure DX 10 works OK is what has delayed the full implementation".  Other companies have since deployed their versions of DirectX 10 in their MMOs, and I think we can all agree that none of the others are near as "pretty" as Age of Conan is in its "test state".  I have 39 different games on my rig that I have played or tested in the last fifteen months, and Age of Conan is the best looking of all of them.  Funcom could not guarantee performance across all platforms that it would work correctly, and in honesty, they listed it as "test" to clarify this.  Funcom wanted to err on the side of caution.  They could have released it as is, and no one really would have known the difference.  In the long run, it always boils down to how a user configures their own system and which software and patches they load for their choice of OS.  A developer cannot guarantee what patches and updates for DirectX are on every machine that installs their client.  Other companies pushed out what they had and claimed they were finished.  I have been using DirectX 10 since April 2009, and there is a huge difference in the performance between DirectX 9 and 10.  I have not had a crash attributed to the implementation of DirectX 10.  It works for me, and I run it all the time...

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  Papadam

Novice Member

Joined: 12/09/07
Posts: 2127

1/15/10 3:26:04 AM#11
Originally posted by Thorgrimm

I am the author of the article


 

Oh, that explains alot... So can you tell us why AoC won this when very little new content and improvements was made during 2009 compared to alot of other MMOs? Funcom and thier advocates are great at marketing so I guess thats the how they won.

Thorgrimm said:

"Age of Conan was the first MMO to deploy DirectX 10. "

Eh Lotro had dx10 6 months before the AoC launch. DDO also had dx10 before AoC did.

If WoW = The Beatles
and WAR = Led Zeppelin
Then LotrO = Pink Floyd

  CultOfXtc

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/24/09
Posts: 363

1/15/10 7:12:57 AM#12
Originally posted by Papadam
Originally posted by Thorgrimm

I am the author of the article


 

Oh, that explains alot... So can you tell us why AoC won this when very little new content and improvements was made during 2009 compared to alot of other MMOs? Funcom and thier advocates are great at marketing so I guess thats the how they won.

Thorgrimm said:

"Age of Conan was the first MMO to deploy DirectX 10. "

Eh Lotro had dx10 6 months before the AoC launch. DDO also had dx10 before AoC did.

Technically you're right DDO and LOTRO both had DX10 before AoC.  However their Implementation of it was pretty much 'wank' at best.  AoC is the only one to use it to great effect, adding many extra features.
 

 

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  CultOfXtc

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/24/09
Posts: 363

1/15/10 7:17:20 AM#13
Originally posted by Frobner

Soooo...

There is a HUGE public opinion amongst MMO gamers that tells you to "STAY AWAY" - from this title and every MMO title that Funcom touches.

Now... Let me tell you few things that have not improved and will not improve in the coming "expansion" (payed for patch with 1-2 zones added at release and 1-2 dungeons and 2 new mounths = same as most MMOs release now for free).

THey are NOT changing the basic flaw of the entire game.  The fact that the entire gaming story is built around the fact that you were left stranded on an Island like EVERY other person playing that game.  And your alts... and your PVP oponents.. and your friends... 

Yes ... ALL go throught the same nighmare of a starting story that is then involved EXACTLY the same (no branches for 80 lvls) to the end.  This is what FUncom calls MMO settings.  The rest of the MMO genre actually sees how naive this is... how TERRIBLE job was done in the entire making of the game (is really just a single player storyline) and since the starting zone cost millions to create - their "expansion" is not changing this at all.

This is all I have to say about AOC at this point.  You can fix everything you like - but the game had fundemental flaws in ALL departments at the start.  And it still has.  Even 50 articles on how it has improved will not change that.

[Mod Edit]


 

Right so you think the bbigest problem with AoC is the same start area of the game for each toon you build?  WHAT?  Nearly every mmo has that function.  I know WOW doesn't as I am sure you are about to bring that up...  This shows you know zero about AoC (and mmo's in general I suspecT) as the biggest problem with AoC is the lack of PvP content (which is about to start getting addressed.)

AoC truely has improved greatly and justly deverves this award.  :)

THE SECRET WORLD - PAY ONCE PLAY FOREVER - Give it a go!

http://www.thesecretworld.com/buy/

OR PM ME FOR A BUDDY KEY (need your email address).

  Frobner

Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/08
Posts: 663

1/15/10 9:17:12 AM#14

Thank you Torgrimm for clearing things up on the DX 10 still beeing in test but not officially launched. I hope you will change that part in the article asap. As a reporter you have an obligation to bring out true statements.

I have sent an Email to MMORPG.COM regarding this article and pointed out that in its current state its not a report - but a promotion on an MMO game. There is no reason for a gaming site like MMORPG.COM to not stick to facts in their writings - and I hope my points will be taken under consideration when it comes to future reports.

Like I said in the Email - DX10 is a huge issue when it comes to AOC. It was a feature that was big part of the orginal promotional campaign. In the end the game did not lauch with this feature - even when a statement on the retail box claimed so. So for a gaming site to bring out false statements regarding this feature in the current state of the game is not wise. Specially considering that the author is obviously very well informed about the earlier history of DX10 in AOC.

As for if DX10 was first in this MMO or that MMO.  I do not care.  This is about reporting facts - not stating opinions.

  Kungaloosh1

Novice Member

Joined: 1/16/09
Posts: 264

1/15/10 9:21:51 AM#15

I am a big fan of the dx10 test settings. If i see AoC bring in a dx11 test i'll take the plunge and upgrade. (though i am always afraid of upgrading windows.....)

  RavingRabbid

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/11/09
Posts: 1110

Remember Rabbids cant play MMO's, but they can dance!

1/15/10 9:22:34 AM#16
Originally posted by Frobner

Soooo...

There is a HUGE public opinion amongst MMO gamers that tells you to "STAY AWAY" - from this title and every MMO title that Funcom touches.

Now... Let me tell you few things that have not improved and will not improve in the coming "expansion" (payed for patch with 1-2 zones added at release and 1-2 dungeons and 2 new mounths = same as most MMOs release now for free).

THey are NOT changing the basic flaw of the entire game.  The fact that the entire gaming story is built around the fact that you were left stranded on an Island like EVERY other person playing that game.  And your alts... and your PVP oponents.. and your friends... 

Yes ... ALL go throught the same nighmare of a starting story that is then involved EXACTLY the same (no branches for 80 lvls) to the end.  This is what FUncom calls MMO settings.  The rest of the MMO genre actually sees how naive this is... how TERRIBLE job was done in the entire making of the game (is really just a single player storyline) and since the starting zone cost millions to create - their "expansion" is not changing this at all.

This is all I have to say about AOC at this point.  You can fix everything you like - but the game had fundemental flaws in ALL departments at the start.  And it still has.  Even 50 articles on how it has improved will not change that.

[Mod Edit]


 

So you wanted Funcom to come up with several different starting and endings? They did have a limited budget, so  give them some money for the programming......LMAO I thought it was a great way to start the game. The beginning AOC story is so much better than most of the games out there! The above post is being stupidly nick-picking.

(AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH  raises plunger in salute to main article!)

 

All my opinions are just that..opinions. If you like my opinions..coolness.If you dont like my opinion....I really dont care.
Playing: SWTOR, STO, and WOT

  RavingRabbid

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/11/09
Posts: 1110

Remember Rabbids cant play MMO's, but they can dance!

1/15/10 9:29:38 AM#17

Good Article OP! Its great to see the resurgance and how it happened!

(AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH..bom bom...bom bomm.....raises double plunger salute to Op!)

All my opinions are just that..opinions. If you like my opinions..coolness.If you dont like my opinion....I really dont care.
Playing: SWTOR, STO, and WOT

  Frobner

Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/08
Posts: 663

1/15/10 9:29:44 AM#18
Originally posted by bluefunk

 

Right so you think the bbigest problem with AoC is the same start area of the game for each toon you build?  WHAT?  Nearly every mmo has that function.  I know WOW doesn't as I am sure you are about to bring that up...  This shows you know zero about AoC (and mmo's in general I suspecT) as the biggest problem with AoC is the lack of PvP content (which is about to start getting addressed.)

AoC truely has improved greatly and justly deverves this award.  :)

 

Nearly every MMO does not have the entire population of a MMO game go through the same Single person story line.  This has nothing to do with just one starting zone.  It has to do with the fact that every single character that is played in AOC is going down the exaclty same path.  The person next to you also stranded in exactly the same spot and is talking to the exact same person to do exactly this.  NO other MMO has so naive storyline.  None! 

And agian - this has NOTHING to do with one starting area.  Even Warhammer online has now turned their game into just one starting area.  But there the STORY starts with you as a soldier of either Order or Chaos going into war and from there your are free to do EXACTLY what you want as part of that story.  

There is a huge diffrence. Something that I find not acceptable when it comes to AOC.  You are welcome to spit on me all you like and claim I talking nonsense.  That does not change my opinion nor does it make it any less of an opinion.

  maji

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/15/04
Posts: 1820

1/15/10 9:30:24 AM#19

Is that an article or advertisment?

Let's play Fallen Earth (blind, 300 episodes)

Let's play Guild Wars 2 (blind, 45 episodes)

  Jonolinb

Novice Member

Joined: 7/06/08
Posts: 66

1/15/10 9:44:10 AM#20
Originally posted by maji

Is that an article or advertisment?

My thoughts exactly. It's commonly understood that this is isn't a very fun game. It's not something that minor improvements are going to fix. It's the core gameplay. I'm not talking out of my ass obviously, as (literally) the majority of those who played at launch and shortly thereafter quit and haven't started playing again despite multiple offers of free game-time.

That being said, I don't hate Funcom. I <3 AO

 

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