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MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 05/20/08)  | Pub:Eidos Interactive
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Age of Conan: Ymir's Pass Interview

MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood had the opportunity recently to sit down and speak with Age of Conan Director Craig Morrison about the about-to-be released Ymir's Pass update that will see a new zone and mroe added to the game.

MMORPG.com:

How much content will be added to Age of Conan with Ymir’s Pass both in terms of number of quests and time commitment?

Craig Morrison:

In terms of quests there are dozens upon dozens of quests in the play-field. It’s also the largest, and I think the most impressive, playfield we have added to the game-world. It has the largest population of NPCs, camps and encounters. You could in theory play through almost ten levels of game-play just in this area if you wanted to, so there is a lot of content there, and that’s before you consider there is a new dungeon as well!

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MMORPG.com:

How, if at all, does Ymir’s Pass hope to alleviate the complaints of some players who feel that the game is lacking in depth beyond Tortage?

Craig Morrison:

I think that’s something people reacted to at launch, just due to the difference in quest game-play and how it was presented after Tortage. We have already done a lot to address that, with more voice over and more engaging quest content and encounters throughout the game-world so of course Ymir’s Pass continues in that vein. Personally I feel that the amount of changes, new and re-worked content and more engaging experiences have already addressed a great deal of that complaint even before the introduction of Ymir’s Pass.

The new area though takes it up another notch. There is a really cool story progression throughout the playfield that is inspired directly by own of the most popular of Howard’s original Conan tales – The Frost-Giants Daughter. The player will be aware that something is going almost as soon as they enter the area and they can experience a great quest line that leads to Amphitheatre of Karutonia and ties into the fate of the Frost-Father himself.

MMORPG.com:

What level ranges will be affected by the addition of Ymir’s Pass?

Craig Morrison:

Ymir’s Pass has content for players between fifty five and sixty three. You could probably go there a little earlier of course as well if you wanted to…


Craig Morrison, Funcom

MMORPG.com:

How does Ymir’s Pass really differ from other areas within Age of Conan?

Craig Morrison:

It’s the largest and most diverse area we have added to the game. It has a broader scope of environments then any other location in our game world. From the forested, very typically Cimmerian entry to the playfield you will travel through volcanic regions with flowing lava, impressive mountain passes, all the way up to the frozen peaks high above. The team has done a really nice job at increasing the visual diversity within a single playfield. I think it raises the bar again for the visual splendor that our engine is capable of.

It also has outdoor story events that players can trigger that we haven’t really done so much of in the past. The story of the playfield triggers some really cool effects and sequences at various points that lead you into the experience in the Amphitheatre.

MMORPG.com:

We have heard that players will be able to effect the zone in ways that go beyond simply completing quests, can you speak to that?

Craig Morrison:

I’m not sure that’s specifically true, the zone itself doesn’t change in any way. The game-play designers have however managed to inject some nice options and approaches to the experience so there are on quiet a few occasions various approaches you could use to the content. There is also the quest where you can plant trees – which I guess affect the area somewhat! Then you have the zone-wide environmental effect, the earthquake, which is a new feature we use extensively in this area.

MMORPG.com:

Can you tell us a little bit about the Amphitheatre of Karutonia dungeon?

Craig Morrison:

To be honest I don’t want to spoil too much for the players before they can experience it. I think though it’s safe to say that it captures that ‘epic’ feel, and has a compelling purpose and story behind it. You know why you are there, you can actually see why you are there, and the story plays out through the encounters in the dungeon itself. It also looks very imposing and impressive, living up to its legendary purpose, and being a suitable location for its current reluctant guest.

I think it plays like a very interactive experience. The team has managed to get the player in the middle of the story and allow them to feel involved in the outcome. It’s not just about the final encounter either, I think the majority of the ‘mini-boss’ style encounters in there also keep players on their toes quite nicely and have some interesting elements to them.

MMORPG.com:

Your patch notes state that a new global chat channel is now available. What, if any, impact to do expect this to have on the game?

Craig Morrison:

I think that anything that helps to build more community isn’t a bad thing for the game as a whole. It’s a relatively simple addition that we saw players wished to have. Given it’s an optional chat channels I think it’s the type of addition that is worthwhile adding in.

MMORPG.com:

While many players will be happy with the additional content provided by Ymir’s pass, what, if anything, is on the horizon for players already capped at 80 in terms of endgame content?

Craig Morrison:

The next major game update will include two brand new dungeons for level 80s players. Located in Thunder River there will be one single player dungeon and one larger group instance for six man teams. I don’t want to go into too many details on these just yet though as you will be seeing some previews of these areas relatively soon when we deploy the next major update to the public test servers.

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