"Gangs of Tarantia", the fifth major update for Age of Conan, is the biggest and most influential update done to the game since launch. Let's take a look at why.
Not only does Update 5 add several hours worth of new content thanks to the new game region, it also makes fundamental changes to the core systems of the game that will make gameplay even more fun, exciting, and rewarding. These changes significantly improve how the plays and the rewards available for game-play. This update has been designed to deal with the remaining significant issues both players and developers alike had identified with the game at launch.
The city of Tarantia, from where King Conan himself rules Aquilonia, is a grand bastion of human civilization and culture. Yet the urban underbelly of King Conan's capital city is rife with social unrest, unscrupulous characters, poverty and villainy...a perfect place for discovering new adventures! Tarantia Commons can now be visited by high level players (level 75 and up) seeking new and exciting experiences.
Complete with new quests, new instanced encounters, great new boss fights and dynamic social events Tarantia Commons awaits those brave enough to try and make a name for themselves on its unforgiving streets! We have put a tremendous amount of effort into the storyline in this area, and a myriad of new quests will bring players into a drama unlike anything seen before in Age of Conan. Central to the gameplay are three rival gangs going at each other, and players will actually be able to support one of the gangs by completing quests for them and earning their trust over time.
Gang warfare is prevalent in Tarantia Commons. You will see gangs fighting in the streets and you will be able to join the battles. Riots are also frequent in Tarantia Commons, and as a player you will be able to affect the outcome of these riots and even recruit more men to join through quests. Tarantia Commons is about quality storyline, and players have an opportunity to directly affect the conflict going on in the area.
We have also put a lot of effort into implementing gameplay that feels different and new from an MMO perspective. For instance you will soon find out that a lot of the action takes place on the rooftops in Tarantia Commons. You can climb onto the roofs, and a whole new world of gameplay opens up. Another example is the leper colony - go there and you run the risk of being infected by the disease, acquiring a horrible debuff!
Item and RPG system update
One of the biggest improvements in Update 5 is what we've done to the items and core system mechanics within the game. Previously item statistics - how much damage a sword would do, how much protection armor would do - was hard to decipher and it was hard to understand what sort of impact the item would have on your character's powers. And often, items didn't really have a lot of impact on your character's powers at all.
This is changing significantly with Update 5. Items now have statistics that are easier to understand and that are more similar to what you find in similar MMO games. You will immediately understand what sort of impact they will have on your character, and equipment now has a significant effect on your character's powers and ability to deal damage and take damage.
With items being more important, questing and raiding will turn out to be a lot more rewarding than before. The quest for cool loot has always been an important feature to MMO gameplay, and with this update it will play an even bigger role in Age of Conan. Hopefully it will make it a lot more exciting to obtain new weapons and armor, and this will also hopefully have a positive effect on the activity levels in trade between players!
Social pets, city life, and more!
The above is definitely the biggest part of this update, but there is a lot more to discover as well. For instance we have now made it so that PvP (player vs. player) mini-games provide PvP experience, making mini-games more viable as a way to obtain higher PvP ranks. As always, going up in PvP ranks will give you benefits such as new armor and weapons that "common" people just can't get their hands on!
In Age of Conan player guilds can create their own cities. They can claim a piece of land and start building walls, barracks, temples, and a wide array of other buildings that provide benefits to the guild. With Update 5 we have added much more city life to player cities. As your city grows, its population becomes more dense and varied. Guards patrol the streets and merchants offer their wares. As your tradepost expands, more merchants will move into it making your city an increasingly hotter destination. We've also introduced a new ability that allows players to teleport to their guild city instantly!
We have also added new social pets to the game. Players can purchase these social pets from vendors in the guild cities, and currently the selection is cats, dogs and snakes. Social pets can not fight for you - but hey, they look pretty cool following you!
Last, but certainly not least, we have made a complete overhaul of the gems system in the game. Gems are an important aspect of crafting within Age of Conan, that players can use to incorporate different type of gems into items to make them more potent. The details are a bit too complicated to cover here, but using gems is now a lot more streamlined and crafters will see their services in higher demand than before!
The team is very proud to finally have Update 5 hit the live servers, but we all know that there is still work to be done. We will continue to tweak and improve on all the changes and additions made in Update 5, largely based on the feedback we get from our players. So what's next for Age of Conan? It's a bit too early to say just yet, but we've already started working on the next update. And let me tell you... guilds will be pleased!