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News & Features Discussion  » Age of Conan: Unchained: Celebrating 600k with a Player Reward

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32 posts found
  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 13471

 
OP  11/11/11 9:32:27 AM#1

According to new metrics released by Funcom, over 600,000 players have checked out Age of Conan: Unchained since the free to play launch in July. To celebrate this milestone, players logging into the game between now and November 21st will be able to claim the "King's Reward Pack" from the item store for free!

The reward pack, which can be found in the 'special offers' tab in the store, contains a selection of potions and is yours absolutely free - a thank you from us for your loyalty to King Conan! Remember to be on the correct character when you claim it however, as these are limited to one per account! So make sure you log in and claim your reward!

Read the full announcement on the Age of Conan: Unchained community site.

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  sibs4455

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/22/08
Posts: 355

11/11/11 9:39:26 AM#2

It's a shame that not many of them stayed to play this game, even with all the eu server merges Crom feels very empty. My fingers are crossed that aoc does not lose alot more players to the new aaa mmo's that are about to be released. 

  niceguy3978

Elite Member

Joined: 6/14/06
Posts: 1995

11/11/11 11:36:06 AM#3

Wow, this puts into context the announcement that after a bit more than a week, DCUO had over a million new people checking it out.  I wonder why the difference?  AOC has a lot more content, though alot more of it is locked (from what I remember).  And DCUO didn't really make nearly as big a deal out of going f2p as AOC did.


  marinrider

Novice Member

Joined: 4/18/06
Posts: 1574

11/11/11 11:37:43 AM#4
Originally posted by niceguy3978

Wow, this puts into context the announcement that after a bit more than a week, DCUO had over a million new people checking it out.  I wonder why the difference?  AOC has a lot more content, though alot more of it is locked (from what I remember).  And DCUO didn't really make nearly as big a deal out of going f2p as AOC did.

Play with batman or play with a barbarian.  

Batman is more mainstream.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10636

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

11/11/11 11:38:20 AM#5


Originally posted by niceguy3978
Wow, this puts into context the announcement that after a bit more than a week, DCUO had over a million new people checking it out.  I wonder why the difference?  AOC has a lot more content, though alot more of it is locked (from what I remember).  And DCUO didn't really make nearly as big a deal out of going f2p as AOC did.


AoC probably had at most 60,000 players before they went F2P. 600,000 is a HUGE increase in their player base and probably gives them a decent revenue stream as well.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  niceguy3978

Elite Member

Joined: 6/14/06
Posts: 1995

11/11/11 11:42:31 AM#6

Originally posted by lizardbones

 





Originally posted by niceguy3978

Wow, this puts into context the announcement that after a bit more than a week, DCUO had over a million new people checking it out.  I wonder why the difference?  AOC has a lot more content, though alot more of it is locked (from what I remember).  And DCUO didn't really make nearly as big a deal out of going f2p as AOC did.








AoC probably had at most 60,000 players before they went F2P. 600,000 is a HUGE increase in their player base and probably gives them a decent revenue stream as well.


 



 


I agree, I wasn't trying to put down the game, I enjoyed it for a while.  I guess I don't really see how DCU is such a superior game as to garner so many more people in a much shorter period of time with (what I consider) much less content.  It's a bit odd to me, and I wonder if it has more to do with how each of the games handled what is free and what you pay for,  because AOC seems like a superior game (in my opinion of course).  So the only thing I can really think of is the difference in what is available for free and what is paid for.


  Zippy

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/24/03
Posts: 1428

11/11/11 11:46:26 AM#7

AoC has 4 total NA servers.  Which means they likely have a max of  500 to 1k during prime time per server or 5k total population per server or 20k toal population.  Quite far from the 600k figure they would want people to believe.   It is a dead game. That has been dead since a month after release.  But then again AOC was not made for long term subs just to maximize box sales.

  niceguy3978

Elite Member

Joined: 6/14/06
Posts: 1995

11/11/11 11:48:59 AM#8
Originally posted by Zippy

AoC has 4 total NA servers.  Which means they likely have a mx of 1k during prime time per server or 5k total population per server or 20k toal population.  Quite far from the 600k figure they would want people to believe. 

Their direct quote from the announcement is that "more than 600,000 players have tested the free to play version since July"  I don't really read that as them trying to get people to believe they have 600,000 peaple playing.

  Grunty

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/06/04
Posts: 6831

11/11/11 12:04:50 PM#9
Originally posted by niceguy3978
Originally posted by Zippy

AoC has 4 total NA servers.  Which means they likely have a mx of 1k during prime time per server or 5k total population per server or 20k toal population.  Quite far from the 600k figure they would want people to believe. 

Their direct quote from the announcement is that "more than 600,000 players have tested the free to play version since July"  I don't really read that as them trying to get people to believe they have 600,000 peaple playing.

Well, reading comprehension does take greater skill than just reading.

http://www.zazzle.com/zippy_reality_t_shirt-235497302931783950

  Zippy

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/24/03
Posts: 1428

11/11/11 12:42:11 PM#10
Originally posted by grunty
Originally posted by niceguy3978
Originally posted by Zippy

AoC has 4 total NA servers.  Which means they likely have a mx of 1k during prime time per server or 5k total population per server or 20k toal population.  Quite far from the 600k figure they would want people to believe. 

Their direct quote from the announcement is that "more than 600,000 players have tested the free to play version since July"  I don't really read that as them trying to get people to believe they have 600,000 peaple playing.

Well, reading comprehension does take greater skill than just reading.

http://www.zazzle.com/zippy_reality_t_shirt-235497302931783950

The pont of the article and Funcoms hype is to make people believe that people are actually playing AoC and that it is not a dead game.  Like everything else from Funcom it is misleading.  Who cares if 600k have registered an account.  The problem is no one plays the game.  A much better story would be, "why did AoC die?"   Rather than just mindlessly repeating Funcom's talking points.  But then again MMO journalists not asking questions and turning a blind eye to Funcoms lies and deception prior to release was a big reason Funcom sold so many boxes at release. So why should they start being objective now? 

The lack of MMO jourmalistic standards  is why companies like Funcom can focus on box sales over long term subs and  focus on eye candy and hype over quality and content.  Because sites like MMORPG.Com focus only on page hits and advertising they have no interest in journalism.  Their interest is in hyping poorly made games to genreate page hits for this site.  That is where their interest begins and ends.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10636

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

11/11/11 1:08:11 PM#11

I thought reading financial statements would be boring, but some of the information is interesting, such as the difference in hosting costs between the time that AoC launched and for when TSW is getting ready to launch.

The important part of all of this is that AoC is generating a positive cash flow and is actually making money as opposed to losing money. So whatever their number of players is, they are making money. It's some kind of miracle really.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Grunty

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/06/04
Posts: 6831

11/11/11 1:18:29 PM#12
Originally posted by Zippy
Originally posted by grunty
Originally posted by niceguy3978
Originally posted by Zippy

AoC has 4 total NA servers.  Which means they likely have a mx of 1k during prime time per server or 5k total population per server or 20k toal population.  Quite far from the 600k figure they would want people to believe. 

Their direct quote from the announcement is that "more than 600,000 players have tested the free to play version since July"  I don't really read that as them trying to get people to believe they have 600,000 peaple playing.

Well, reading comprehension does take greater skill than just reading.

http://www.zazzle.com/zippy_reality_t_shirt-235497302931783950

The pont of the article and Funcoms hype is to make people believe that people are actually playing AoC and that it is not a dead game.  Like everything else from Funcom it is misleading.  Who cares if 600k have registered an account.  The problem is no one plays the game.  A much better story would be, "why did AoC die?"   Rather than just mindlessly repeating Funcom's talking points.  But then again MMO journalists not asking questions and turning a blind eye to Funcoms lies and deception prior to release was a big reason Funcom sold so many boxes at release. So why should they start being objective now? 

The lack of MMO jourmalistic standards  is why companies like Funcom can focus on box sales over long term subs and  focus on eye candy and hype over quality and content.  Because sites like MMORPG.Com focus only on page hits and advertising they have no interest in journalism.  Their interest is in hyping poorly made games to genreate page hits for this site.  That is where their interest begins and ends.

I learned a long time ago how to read promotional material and advertisements. One of those first instances was when Cracker Jacks changed their on-box statement from "Prize inside" to "Surprise inside". Some people take longer.

  MMO.Maverick

Inquisitor

Joined: 3/05/10
Posts: 7792

The middle road is the place to be!

11/11/11 1:19:53 PM#13
Originally posted by Zippy
Originally posted by grunty
Originally posted by niceguy3978
Originally posted by Zippy

AoC has 4 total NA servers.  Which means they likely have a mx of 1k during prime time per server or 5k total population per server or 20k toal population.  Quite far from the 600k figure they would want people to believe. 

Their direct quote from the announcement is that "more than 600,000 players have tested the free to play version since July"  I don't really read that as them trying to get people to believe they have 600,000 peaple playing.

Well, reading comprehension does take greater skill than just reading.

http://www.zazzle.com/zippy_reality_t_shirt-235497302931783950

The pont of the article and Funcoms hype is to make people believe that people are actually playing AoC and that it is not a dead game.  Like everything else from Funcom it is misleading.  Who cares if 600k have registered an account.  The problem is no one plays the game.  A much better story would be, "why did AoC die?"   Rather than just mindlessly repeating Funcom's talking points.  But then again MMO journalists not asking questions and turning a blind eye to Funcoms lies and deception prior to release was a big reason Funcom sold so many boxes at release. So why should they start being objective now? 

The lack of MMO jourmalistic standards  is why companies like Funcom can focus on box sales over long term subs and  focus on eye candy and hype over quality and content.  Because sites like MMORPG.Com focus only on page hits and advertising they have no interest in journalism.  Their interest is in hyping poorly made games to genreate page hits for this site.  That is where their interest begins and ends.

You making a statement that AoC has been dead a month after release doesn't lend any credibility to your statements, in fact it heavily detracts from it and makes you sound biased against the game to the point of ignoring any facts if they aren't negative about the game.

Hard to make a case for objectivity if you show none of it yourself.

Get over your grudge and move on, is what I'd advise in such cases.

 

As for the article: it's a nice number of people checking it out, but with the upcoming AAA MMORPG's that will arrive the next 6 months, I fear all current MMO's are going to take some considerable hits, AoC included.

 

Originally posted by lizardbones

I thought reading financial statements would be boring, but some of the information is interesting, such as the difference in hosting costs between the time that AoC launched and for when TSW is getting ready to launch.

The important part of all of this is that AoC is generating a positive cash flow and is actually making money as opposed to losing money. So whatever their number of players is, they are making money. It's some kind of miracle really.

What was the expected difference in hosting costs?

And did the report state why that difference?

The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
Fratman: "I'm saying Spring 2012 at the earliest [for TOR release]. Anyone still clinging to 2011 is deluding themself at this point."

  Reizla

Elite Member

Joined: 12/09/08
Posts: 3032

MMORPGs are no longer about the mass multi-user anymore *sadly*

11/11/11 1:22:50 PM#14

Originally posted by lizardbones

I thought reading financial statements would be boring, but some of the information is interesting, such as the difference in hosting costs between the time that AoC launched and for when TSW is getting ready to launch.



The important part of all of this is that AoC is generating a positive cash flow and is actually making money as opposed to losing money. So whatever their number of players is, they are making money. It's some kind of miracle really.



THIS ^^ is what I think the most important thing for a MMO. Make money to further develop the game and/or develop a new MMO. Don't look at the number of players running around. As long as YOU enjoy this game, and the game makes money (and thus can continue to exist), the game is a success.


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  pharazonic

Novice Member

Joined: 8/22/11
Posts: 900

11/11/11 1:30:10 PM#15

Shame because it doesn't mean anything.

 

I am IN LOVE with this game (got a level 64 and a level 42) and boy are the mid levels DEAD. Life at 80 seems VERY active though (and I mean VERY). But that doesn't mean much because everything's one huge grind at 80: PvP, PvE, AAs, etc. So you're at a disadvantage as a new player. And FC doesn't care about players any longer so abandon all hope of getting the system reworked to make a better gaming experience (or just wait a year for FC to realize there is a problem).  

 

Honestly, AoC is probably the best-made themepark MMO out there. Best-made but worst-maintained. FC doesn't care about its game, it disrespects its playerbase and the cherry on the icing is that whatever they do, they do at a glacial pace. As I said, it's a bloody shame because the game is brilliantly-crafted... it's just that it's lacking almost everything else (developer support, first and foremost).

 

I quit RIFT to play AoC and I'm having a really good time. I honestly don't care if they only have 4, well 3 servers (Deathwish is dying). The community is far more active, and gregarious than RIFT's (have experience of over 4 shards and have played since headstart). The aesthetics are amazing, and the game graphically is stunning (especially for a 3 year one). 

 

My advice? DON'T PLAY IT. You will run the risk of falling in love with it... and meet the crushing realization that the developers have - unfortunately - erroneously abandoned it for some odd reason (TSW perhaps, who knows). And that'll make you very mad and sad :|

 

PS. Be wary of TSW. One would hope FC learns from their mistakes... *snort*

 

"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."

I need to take this advice more.

  Zippy

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/24/03
Posts: 1428

11/11/11 1:36:49 PM#16
Originally posted by MMO.Maverick
Originally posted by Zippy
Originally posted by grunty
Originally posted by niceguy3978
Originally posted by Zippy

AoC has 4 total NA servers.  Which means they likely have a mx of 1k during prime time per server or 5k total population per server or 20k toal population.  Quite far from the 600k figure they would want people to believe. 

Their direct quote from the announcement is that "more than 600,000 players have tested the free to play version since July"  I don't really read that as them trying to get people to believe they have 600,000 peaple playing.

Well, reading comprehension does take greater skill than just reading.

http://www.zazzle.com/zippy_reality_t_shirt-235497302931783950

The pont of the article and Funcoms hype is to make people believe that people are actually playing AoC and that it is not a dead game.  Like everything else from Funcom it is misleading.  Who cares if 600k have registered an account.  The problem is no one plays the game.  A much better story would be, "why did AoC die?"   Rather than just mindlessly repeating Funcom's talking points.  But then again MMO journalists not asking questions and turning a blind eye to Funcoms lies and deception prior to release was a big reason Funcom sold so many boxes at release. So why should they start being objective now? 

The lack of MMO jourmalistic standards  is why companies like Funcom can focus on box sales over long term subs and  focus on eye candy and hype over quality and content.  Because sites like MMORPG.Com focus only on page hits and advertising they have no interest in journalism.  Their interest is in hyping poorly made games to genreate page hits for this site.  That is where their interest begins and ends.

You making a statement that AoC has been dead a month after release doesn't lend any credibility to your statements, in fact it heavily detracts from it and makes you sound biased against the game to the point of ignoring any facts if they aren't negative about the game.

Hard to make a case for objectivity if you show none of it yourself.

Get over your grudge and move on, is what I'd advise in such cases.

 

As for the article: it's a nice number of people checking it out, but with the upcoming AAA MMORPG's that will arrive the next 6 months, I fear all current MMO's are going to take some considerable hits, AoC included.

Certainly it is a subjective statement.  But the game IMO was dead 4 weeks after release.  The servers were ghost towns.  The game had no tested conetnt past level 30, the design of the game along with the target audience was not directed towards players that would subscribe longterm, and games that have failed at release in almost all exceptions (AO but that was more a techincal failure as one could not stay logged in and released in a different era when gamers had more patience and less choices) means its over.  Not to mention  the  poor reputation Funcom earned from its open beta bait and switch and its lies about what would be included at release.  AoC was made for short term box sales not for long term sub revenue.  Which explains the lies, the poor quality, short development time and targetting the over excited kiddie demographic by marketing the game on juvenile themes of nudity, profanity, blood, gore and a simplistic follow the arrow combat system. 

Whether you like AoC or hate it the game is dead.  It does not have enough people playing it to keep enough devs employed to provide any meaningful content.  If you like the game then its even sadder and I feel for you.  Look at Vanguard's sad death.  Many people will argue it was one of the greatest games ever made.  Certainly one of the broadest  MMOS developed in terms of horizontal 1-50 content.  But sadly it recieved no support once SOE took over in May, 2007, dropping from over 100 devs to 1 dev within a year.  There it has remained on life support.  Dead with no content but still existing.  This is what happens to games that do not have the sub base to support new content.  They wither and die while the fanboys post about how things will eventually change and all we be right in the universe one day.  Sites like MMORPG.Com will periodically write a nice hype piece (after their writer plays the game for 6 or 7 minutes) telling people how game X is thriving and people are coming back in droves with the expectations of new content.  But don't believe it. It is all a lie. 

  Nadia

Elite Member

Joined: 7/26/03
Posts: 11491

11/11/11 1:39:01 PM#17
Originally posted by marinrider
Originally posted by niceguy3978

Wow, this puts into context the announcement that after a bit more than a week, DCUO had over a million new people checking it out.  I wonder why the difference?  AOC has a lot more content, though alot more of it is locked (from what I remember).  And DCUO didn't really make nearly as big a deal out of going f2p as AOC did.

Play with batman or play with a barbarian.  

Batman is more mainstream.

good point but still surprising

 

DCUO announces 500k PC f2p after its first week   (1m if you include console)

AOC announces 600k f2p after 4 months

 

altho AOC did announce 300k after its first month

http://massively.joystiq.com/2011/08/11/age-of-conan-unchained-conquers-300-000-new-players-doubles-re/

  pharazonic

Novice Member

Joined: 8/22/11
Posts: 900

11/11/11 1:41:32 PM#18
Originally posted by Zippy

Certainly it is a subjective statement.  But the game IMO was dead 4 weeks after release.  The servers were ghost towns.  The game had no tested conetnt past level 30, the design of the game along with the target audience was not directed towards players that would subscribe longterm, and games that have failed at release in almost all exceptions (AO but that was more a techincal failure as one could not stay logged in and released in a different era when gamers had more patience and less choices) means its over.  Not to mention  the  poor reputation Funcom earned from its open beta bait and switch and its lies about what would be included at release.  AoC was made for short term box sales not for long term sub revenue.  Which explains the lies, the poor quality, short development time and targetting the over excited kiddie demographic by marketing the game on juvenile themes of nudity, profanity, blood, gore and a simplistic follow the arrow combat system. 

 

So wrong that it isn't even funny. 

The game had a bad launch because it was a forced launch and not because of your conspiracy quick buck theory. 

 

Also AoC combat is probably the best combat in any hotkey twitch MMO in the West (can't speak for Asia as I have no experience) and the combat system was a lot more complicated at launch. 

 

Not even going to dignify the other fallacious hyperboles with a response.  

"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."

I need to take this advice more.

  MMO.Maverick

Inquisitor

Joined: 3/05/10
Posts: 7792

The middle road is the place to be!

11/11/11 2:59:17 PM#19
Originally posted by Zippy

Certainly it is a subjective statement.  But the game IMO was dead 4 weeks after release.  The servers were ghost towns.  The game had no tested conetnt past level 30, the design of the game along with the target audience was not directed towards players that would subscribe longterm, and games that have failed at release in almost all exceptions (AO but that was more a techincal failure as one could not stay logged in and released in a different era when gamers had more patience and less choices) means its over.  Not to mention  the  poor reputation Funcom earned from its open beta bait and switch and its lies about what would be included at release.  AoC was made for short term box sales not for long term sub revenue.  Which explains the lies, the poor quality, short development time and targetting the over excited kiddie demographic by marketing the game on juvenile themes of nudity, profanity, blood, gore and a simplistic follow the arrow combat system. 

Whether you like AoC or hate it the game is dead.  It does not have enough people playing it to keep enough devs employed to provide any meaningful content.  If you like the game then its even sadder and I feel for you.  Look at Vanguard's sad death.  Many people will argue it was one of the greatest games ever made.  Certainly one of the broadest  MMOS developed in terms of horizontal 1-50 content.  But sadly it recieved no support once SOE took over in May, 2007, dropping from over 100 devs to 1 dev within a year.  There it has remained on life support.  Dead with no content but still existing.  This is what happens to games that do not have the sub base to support new content.  They wither and die while the fanboys post about how things will eventually change and all we be right in the universe one day.  Sites like MMORPG.Com will periodically write a nice hype piece (after their writer plays the game for 6 or 7 minutes) telling people how game X is thriving and people are coming back in droves with the expectations of new content.  But don't believe it. It is all a lie. 

Well, I have played it over the years from time to time and maybe you were on an unlucky server, but the servers I played on weren't, even a few months after release they were pleasantly populated. This summer when I checked back again I counted 2000-2500 online at the same time on some servers, which is pretty damn good considering that the highest populated LotrO servers a year or so ago when I checked counted 1000-1500 and a usual 'high population' MMO server has on average 1250-2000 online at peak times.

As for what Funcom implemented, the game after 1.5-2 years was in a much better state than at launch, no more leveling content gaps, some great zones added, the expansion was interesting and they implemented quite a number of stuff and features in the past few years that belie any statement that the game was merely for box sales. It's gotten way, way more support and content added than a game like Vanguard got or even WAR.

If you dislike AoC, nothing wrong with it, but distorting facts and outright lying just because you don't like to see a game or company you hate/despise/dislike do well... I don't see any merit in it at all.

 

With all the content, changes and continued developing that AoC has gotten over the years, personally I rank it in a current top 5 of AAA MMORPG's, along with WoW, LotrO, Aion and Rift.  The game has gotten just that good. IMO of course.

The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
Fratman: "I'm saying Spring 2012 at the earliest [for TOR release]. Anyone still clinging to 2011 is deluding themself at this point."

  pharazonic

Novice Member

Joined: 8/22/11
Posts: 900

11/11/11 5:08:20 PM#20
Originally posted by MMO.Maverick

Well, I have played it over the years from time to time and maybe you were on an unlucky server, but the servers I played on weren't, even a few months after release they were pleasantly populated. This summer when I checked back again I counted 2000-2500 online at the same time on some servers, which is pretty damn good considering that the highest populated LotrO servers a year or so ago when I checked counted 1000-1500 and a usual 'high population' MMO server has on average 1250-2000 online at peak times.

Hey MMO.Maverick,

{{Aside: I never had the experience of being there from the start, but from what I have read, FC changed AoC's game director close to/shortly after launch or something? I read that this new director, while good at solving some major bugs eventually decided to push the game from niche PvP-intensive, awesome  themepark to the mass-market WoW direction. How valid is this? Because from what you wrote and from other things I have read, the game's progression from launch onwards confirms this. }}

 

Also, I don't know what game Zippy played, but by inference alone from the various threads dating back to 2008, posters and the myriad servers they came from, this game seems to have been populated - they way you describe it. To compare: As someone who was there at RIFT from the very beginning, I have a feeling that RIFT was "consumed" faster than AoC. That is, players stuck longer with AoC than they did with RIFT (I occasionally peruse through the RIFT forums and gone are most of the faces from beta, headstart and the first three months. These weren't randoms, mind you; they were testers, theorycrafters, really prominent people from other games, etc). 

 

As for what Funcom implemented, the game after 1.5-2 years was in a much better state than at launch, no more leveling content gaps, some great zones added, the expansion was interesting and they implemented quite a number of stuff and features in the past few years that belie any statement that the game was merely for box sales. It's gotten way, way more support and content added than a game like Vanguard got or even WAR.

 

I really agree. I do think though that this was a classic case of too little too late. But to keep it on track, I'll quote you:  "... the game after 1.5-2 years was in a much better state than at launch...".

If you dislike AoC, nothing wrong with it, but distorting facts and outright lying just because you don't like to see a game or company you hate/despise/dislike do well... I don't see any merit in it at all.

 

With all the content, changes and continued developing that AoC has gotten over the years, personally I rank it in a current top 5 of AAA MMORPG's, along with WoW, LotrO, Aion and Rift.  The game has gotten just that good. IMO of course.

 

Matter of personal preference but I honestly think AoC is the best-made themepark right now. It's not been well-maintained at all, and is lacking serious support from its creators. But taking into account things like graphics, aesthetics, and game design make it a brilliant game.

The MMO world still maintains a sense of vastness despite the horrid loadscreens and instancing.

The graphics can give msot 2011 games a run for their money and the game can run for older systems whiles till looking reasonably attractive unlike RIFT for instance.

The races while all human ones maintain distinct flavour, as do the classes. A great foundation for PvP exists.

There are features in the User Interface taht provide an extra layer of personalization for the user (such as looping music, or enabling/disabling cutscenes). Many 2011 games lack these features!

Cool, little mechanics like fatalities (!), siege mounts, and so on.

"Sandbox" elements like making your own city. 

(you have played the game, you'd know better than me!) 

 

As someone who had the highest of hopes and the greatest of expectations for RIFT, I have to say with a heavy heart that RIFT appears to be a generic (but beautiful) MMO that does everything and nothing. The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that it was made to check boxes and not provide a satisfying experience. RIFT happens to have the godly fortune of being backed up by a STELLAR company, however. I have nothing but praise for TRION Worlds. 

 

Perhaps in the ideal reality, Trion takes over AoC? :)

 

Anyway, I have gone off the trail quite drastically; will reign it in: I agree with you that AoC is definitely a contender for a "premier" AAA MMO.  Interesting to think that for the MMO people, it had kind of died. It's unfortunate because I think this game has always had the cards decked up against in NA. I feel that this game is better marketed in EU and that this was the case back at launch as well. It appears that the EU servers today are still slightly more populated than the NA ones.

 

"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."

I need to take this advice more.

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