Looking at Rise of the Godslayer, Part One
On August 18, 2009, FunCom announced the release of the first expansion for Age of Conan, Rise of the the Godslayer. With FunCom soon to release Age of Conan to servers in Korea, it is very appropriate that the next expansion include elements of the Far East, in the form of Khitai, Robert E. Howard's vision of Hyboria that later evolved into what we now know as China and Korea. This ancient society lends itself well to the feudal, factioned-based warfare that many players have envisioned in Age of Conan, since before its initial release. Expansive regions, brutal faction-based conflict, and political intrigue draw the players into a world of epic storylines and sexy adventure.
New to Rise of the Godslayer is the feature of interconnected zones. When you look over your shoulder, you can see the playzones you just left and you can look into new zones before you cross their borders. If you see a tower in the mountains on the far side of the playzone, you can cross that zone, climb the mountain, and enter that tower. Each playfield will have a tremendous amount of explorable space to a much greater degree than the original Age of Conan experience.
Before recorded history, Yag-kosha and other beings of great celestial power arrived on our world. Before the dawn of man, before the apes evolved into our ancestors, these beings strode across our world as conquerors of the great beasts that controlled it. They were feared, and they were respected. They made their home in the dim jungles of the east before the time of the Lemurians and the Lost Kingdom of Mu. The ancient kingdoms of Hyboria rose, fell, and rose again. Atlanteans, Picts, and Acheronians rose to control the west until a great cataclysm destroyed and submerged their civilizations. From the ashes rose the shining kingdoms of the west, such as Aquilonia, Nemedia, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Koth, Ophir, Argos, Corinthia, and the Border Kingdom. Lemuria and Mu rose and fell in the east to be replaced with Khitai, Vendhya, and Hyrkania. Stygia, Shem, Zamora, and Zingara rose to claim the shattered remains of what once was Acheron and its sorcerous and demonic legacy.
Over the eons, the beings of Yag slowly died off, since they were not immortal despite their impossibly long lifespans. So it came to pass that Yag-kosha, also known as Yogah, lived alone in the jungles that became Khitai. His power was respected by an ancient, peaceful, yellow-skinned people whose music could inspire the indigenous grey apes to dance.
After centuries of peaceful co-existence and worship as a benevolent god, Yag-kosha was approached by a seer of ancient Zamora seeking to become a student. Yara sought Yag's wisdom and power. When Yara learned all he could through civilized means, his lust for power and blind ambition led him to enspell Yag-kosha and drag him far away from his home in Khitai to the decadent land of Zamora.
Yag-kosha was imprisoned, tortured, and forced to perform all manner of perverse and evil acts. For three hundred years, Yag-kosha suffered and lamented under Yara's control. At that time, a young Cimmerian thief of barely seventeen summers sought to steal a very valuable gem from Yara's cursed ivory tower. In an act of mercy, young Conan slew the being known as Yag-kosha and unleashed the remaining power of Yag upon the sorcerer Yara. From there young Conan grew into the man who would free Aquilonia from the reign of a sadistic tyrant and become King by his own hand.
No good deed often goes unpunished, as the land of Khitai soon began to wither from within as the protection and blessings of Yag-kosha faded from their realm. Upon hearing of the death of their deity at the hands of the Cimmerian who became king, all blame for their misfortunes fell upon the broad shoulders of an infidel defiler. For twenty-five years, Khitai has been wilting as it slowly dies from the corruption growing within.
As you travel across the surface, a majority of the buildings are explorable throughout. Keep your eyes open for caves and other hidden interior spaces; you may run into a group of brigands or uncover a long-lost hidden treasure or weapon. Be prepared to dig on occasion. Some hidden places may even be found underwater. I am having flashbacks here of the crypt that Arnold's Conan stumbled into where he discovered the ancient Atlantean King and the Sword of the Kings that served him well throughout his lifetime.