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 April to August.
In early April, Age of Conan released the first of its many Free Trials in 2009. This was repeated again in July and November. Throughout the year, each seemed to get more generous. Some former players suggested this may be desperation; I feel this made good business sense. With the rise in popularity of free-to-play games, players from all backgrounds expressed that they prefer to try something out before they turn over a significant sum of money. Existing players can also send seven-day free trials to their friends' e-mail addresses from the account pages.
Update 5, labeled "The Gangs of Tarantia", tackled the RPG system and the Gem System on June 23rd. It was the largest update to Age of Conan yet. All items in the game had their stats changed to a new structure that is easier to understand and provides greater impact in combat and other events. In 2008, players seldom changed out their gear, because the equipment gave barely noticeable improvements. Many felt everyone looked the same, and little incentive was given to seek out more unique appearing gear. In fact, there is a tremendous selection of appearances, class-specific, and culturally-specific gear.