The nuts and bolts of the game play in AoC is much of that of most MMORPGs on the market. Kill, Quest, Level and Raid. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. While that may not seem particularly flattering, it's the simple fact of these games. Yes, there's a quest log, and yes NPCs will be marked with the now famous yellow question mark over their name. It's a formula we've all become comfortable with so why change it? Where AoC differs greatly is in the HOW players will play the game. AoC forces the player to be more interactive during combat. Gone are the days of spamming the same two to three keys. The enemies the players must contend with through their gaming posses an artificial intelligence that keeps players are their toes. This AI forces players to watch where their attacks are focused. Player physical attacks will come from the right, middle and left. During combat, enemies will adapt to your directional attacks. This adaptation will manifest in one to three bars "guarding" the mob. If your enemy's guard is strong to the left, attack from the right. Similarly there are a number of combination attacks within the game. Choose your specialty attack, then follow the subsequent key combinations. When a player properly executes a combination, the results can be quite eye-popping. Literally, I think I saw an eyeball fly across the screen. This system takes a little getting used to, but it certainly keeps your interest in a battle. In keeping with the realism of the game, AoC has collision detection with other enemy mobs, if somebody is standing in your way, there is no running through them. You're going to either lure them away, or since this is Hybornia, there's nothing wrong with showing these mobs who's boss by slaughtering your way through them.
The game's navigation system is fairly standard. You have a mini map in the top right corner of screen. Although AoC does right by the players by providing some damn clear markings on the maps as to where you must proceed. Your destination is marked on the map as well as a directional arrow to assist you in your travels. The one part of traveling in the game I found a little confusing was moving from zone to zone. The game's realism is a bit of hindrance in this respect. I suppose I have become spoiled after years of seeing a giant glaring obvious flight path or glowing portal to help me head where I was going. I'm sure this issue is much less of problem with increased game play as a player becomes more familiar with their surrounds.
One part of game play that I found a major turn off to the game is that all classes start in the same zone. With the same quests for each class, the incentive to try something new was sorely lacking. There are three distinct civilizations for players to choose from, I would have liked to have seen three different starting zones. It takes a significant amount of play time to leave the starting zones. Sure I know it may be a bit greedy for me to demand such a thing, but it's my review, so there.
The Age of Conan website is complied of the standard information we've all come to know and love from a gaming website. There is more than enough information for players to learn about the game. And of course there are the forums. We all know about forums by now. There's the standard: announcements, improvements, some helpful information, and an awful lot of crying about over powered classes. Standard fare, although I did find this bit interesting while logging onto the game:
"Join the Followers of Asura<\br> The purpose of F.o.A. is to provide voluntary assistance to both players and GMs. They spend a portion of their free time to help players concerning general questions and to also gather information to provide further assistance to GMs concerning specific petitions. This is purely on a volunteer basis.
Please note that every Follower of Asura needs to have good knowledge of the English language to be able to communicate with Customer Support representatives.
If you are interested to join the Followers of Asura then you can find more information about the F.o.A. on the official F.o.A. website."
This is a great way for players to immerse themselves in the AoC community. Sure you may go a little over the top following this path. It's like being a mini GM. Now you too can have the power you so desperately seek to tell other players you know more than they do, and get to join a cool cult sounding group to boot. Feel free to accost folks who feel the need to block the narrow paths of the cities with their horses. Yes you can crouch and move under them, but why should you? Report their asses. Followers of Asura unite, and get "those guys" out of the collective gaming world's way. You folks out there know who you are and should be ashamed.
Age of Conan is a solid game that is worth any player's attention. It's single largest flaw was its early release. With many of the original launch problems solved, do yourselves a favor and take a look at this game. The combat system alone should be tried by any casual or serious gamer. With Funcom paying for some free game play time, there's not much for you to lose... Well, minus the $20 initial investment. Funcom should really consider extending this invitation to revisit AoC. Go forth and make Crom proud, unleash your inner barbarian. Oh and a personal favorite, wanton NPC women aplenty throughout the game. Always remember "Ale and Wenches aren't just your reward, they're your motivation"
| “Interactive” combat system
Fantastic Audio Score
Solid game lore
| All Classes start the same
Slow Load Time