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MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 05/20/08)  | Pub:Eidos Interactive
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Age of Conan: Unchained Previews: E3 Preview

By  on May 13, 2006

Age of Conan comes together as we catch up with Funcom

“Combat, combat, combat and that’s basically what the game is all about,” said Gaute Godager of Funcom. This is how the demo for Age of Conan opened. Gaute focused on the different types of combat in the game. Hands-on combat focuses on action, depth, and control. Horseback combat gives the players a chance to boost strikes based on the speed of the horse, yes, you can decapitate people from horseback. Formation combat allows players to command NPCs, use tactics and create buffs. The formation style works well in dungeon crawls and party encounters. The last form of combat is Massive combat which covers sieges, raids and huge battles.

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The opening of the game is a single player RPG. For the first twenty levels, players are take part in a quest that begins when they escape from a ship and crash on a small island. This gives players the chance to get used to the interface and develop their tactics. The storyline does have meaning and links your character to the fate of Conan and his kingdom. You knew his names would come up eventually right? There is a destiny quest tied to Conan’s court in Aquilonia. On the island you arrive as a slave who still wears his chains. An opening quest is to go visit Turok the blacksmith and help him rebuild a wall. In exchange, he can break your shackles. Once free you go out and kill the slavers on the island who had captured you. This was all of the story line they were willing to show us. It looked good and I was happy that every quest was not a kill and collect scenario.

Back to the combat, “The dance of steel” was described as the combos that players can put together to hack apart their opponents. You can string together attacks and carefully place strikes to kill your opponents. There are plenty of finishing moves in attacks to choke, gut, or again…decapitate your opponents. Funcom has made every point so say that this is a mature game and they expect mature players. There will be no holding back on the combat gore and violence. A quick note on design, the swords that the Cimmerians carry around come from directly from the movie. Ranged combat features an over the shoulder view which was a nice change to FPS. The targeting looked easy and the bows had a great Mongol touch to them.

Magic in Age of Conan will be toned down just like it is in the Hyborian world. Demons and undead will have strong impact on game play because it will take a lot of work to summon them. The magic will be more about manipulating objects and real things rather than flashy flying spells. Instead of having lots of bonus magic swords and weapons, the magical armor and weapons will be more about resources like Old Atlantium. Weapons can be socketed with gems which can be reused. Casters will be able to use a technique called “Spell Weaving” which will trap spells in a container and allow you to use them for combos. Sadly we did not get to see much of the magic during the demo.

We did see zones in Cimmeria and Pontain in Aquilonia in which the horse combat was displayed. Mounted combat does look very exciting in this game. You can ride a horse, camel, donkey, and mammoth (yes, mammoth). We did see the player fight a group of Vanir raiders from horseback. Using both sword and lance he rode around cutting them to pieces. They did motion capture a horse riding about to get the real impact into the game. The faster you ride the horse into the fight, the stronger your attacks will be.

Ok let us get into the huge levels of combat in epic battles. “Hiving” is the process they are using to set up large scale combat. Not only will players be able to group up and build towns and villages to defend and attack, but NPCs will be playing along as well. The combat will not only focus on regular PvP, but large scale battles where players can fight it out alongside NPCs.

We would like to thank Gaute Godager for his fun presentation and the chance to check out Conan in all its gut ripping glory. Beta is on the horizon and hope for the launch to be on target. Age of Conan will have a lot of content and action for players to look forward too in the near future.


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