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Message From the King

Glen "Famine" Swan from Funcom's Age of Conan answers questions, and discusses the game, life, and the industry. Let us know what you would like to hear about.

Author: FC-Famine

I go away for the weekend and everything happens.

Posted by Athelan Tuesday January 22 2008 at 11:02AM
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So I just got back yesterday, which for us here in the US is a lesser known holiday Martin Luther King day which celebrates the work of Martin Luther King and the nonviolent civil rights movement in the 1950's and 1960's. My wife and I had gone up to Oakhurst with my Father in Law to help him work some property that he purchase. This time it was mostly burn piles, rather than clearing brush. We had a good time but it was exhausting and we also got a chance to go ride our dirt bikes/four wheelers out in the mountains and I only fell over and ate the dirt once.

So big big news  yesterday. First we got the shiny new website.

Then we got the announcement about the release date being moved to May 20th.

And an explanation from our very own Game Director Gaute.


First in starting to discuss this I want to echo what Gaute said, which is up until last week we did not have any intention of delaying the game further. So when both he and I tell you we as a team have been working our buns off to reach this goal we are not just blowing smoke.

I feel very strongly still that we *could* release in March, but with all my years working with MMO's I am not going to look a management "gift horse" in the mouth. The flat out raw truth is *ANY* MMO designer approaching launch would probably kill for another 8 weeks at this stage of Beta. Using World of Warcraft as a fantastic example, they stayed in Beta for a long time and on launch they had a game that was very polished in most regards and thats what I want to see for Conan as well. (For those Non old-farts or non American the saying to look a gift horse in the mouth comes from Western Cowboy days where it would be considered rude to check the teeth on a horse given to you for free, IE don't complain when something good comes your way for any reason)

We are also working on getting the official FAQ updated with correct information and hopefully being able to expand its features.


Hrothmund writes:

I hope you guys make the next release date, I know what its like to explain to people about missed product launches.

I just hope you guys are not in a position where there's too much pressure from upstairs.

Tue Jan 22 2008 11:10AM Report
BadSpock writes:

Just let me into beta, I'll solve all your problems :)

Seriously though, people may be upset because they have to wait longer for the game's release, but anyone who tells you they'd rather have an incomplete, buggy launch then wait and have a solid one is a fool.


Tue Jan 22 2008 11:19AM Report
Athelan writes:

I don't think anyone wants a rushed game, we all know that. It's just people don't like you changing what you tell them, and I know it is frustrating from the consumer perspective. And I want to help convey the reasons why things change, so people do not feel we have been dishonest.

Tue Jan 22 2008 12:08PM Report
ffox writes:

the more we know about what's going on in beta and all, the less we'll feel you've been dishonest :)

so - rush that State of the Game report from Gaute if you need to, but get it out in public.

no offence, but community relations is not funcom's strong side - or at least it seems so, so far

Tue Jan 22 2008 12:32PM Report
soulwynd writes:

Beta it longer... and invite me *shakes fist*

Tue Jan 22 2008 12:52PM Report
Waldgeist writes:

When i was at Funcom Oslo and could look over the development i am sure that they will make good use of the enhanced development time.

So many people with great ideas and i guess that one idea or the other might just make it into launch now, that would have been pushed back for later updates or one fix that was regarded to be "non-important" will be fixed by launch now and we as players will just profit from a cleaner release.

I totally agree with Gaute and Athelan. Lets give the game every month and every hour of development time it needs and as much as important the developers the time to show their best, for their baby. Because nothing is more frustrating that being bashed by the fans, because you just didn't have that extra week.

Tue Jan 22 2008 12:56PM Report
Carneros writes:

Yeah, get that heerobya guy into the beta. That could help out a lot. I support that idea.


Tue Jan 22 2008 12:59PM Report
Thornwolf writes:

Well in the end waiting for the game a little longer will not kill anyone, it is of course disappointing but most of us who have been following it and who have been involved in this genre as fans for a while now understand that these things happen.

Nothing worse than rushing a product to market before it is ready as you well know.

Tue Jan 22 2008 1:14PM Report
Jupsto writes:

Hopefully theres be some new info in the updated FAQ. Us europeans still dont know if/how we are getting siege mounts.

Tue Jan 22 2008 1:20PM Report
jadan2000 writes:

An FAQ would be very nice.

i was wondering if you could tell us what the beta testers feel about teh character customization. Do they not like that fact that you cant allocate points into stats? are they satisfied with the feats system? do they feel like it is enough to make a unique character?

Tue Jan 22 2008 1:31PM Report
Zutha writes:

I'm hoping AoC has a wicked launch, and if the extra 8 weeks ensure that, it's fine by me :)

Any sneaky info you want to give here concerning Gaurdians and javalins? :D

Tue Jan 22 2008 1:37PM Report
Haradeas writes:

It bugs me rather that last time in oktober the reason "we need to polish" was also mentioned. So I am a bit worried 8 weeks more will not make such a big difference ( still big subject arent then implented I assume, only beta testing more or less ). So I hope I will be wrong and we get a killer wow start ^^ I am looking out for AoC since july 2006 so cant wait :)

Tue Jan 22 2008 1:38PM Report
BadSpock writes:

Yes, getting me into beta is a great idea k thanks!


Tue Jan 22 2008 1:45PM Report
CalDruid writes:

Athlean thanks for being forthcoming with the questioned that have been posed to you via this blog, and for understanding the frustration and skepticism of some AoC followers.

8 weeks longer will not kill anyone.  I just hope that Funcom can accomplish everything needed to publish a polished game and get it out to the masses before WAR and WoW: WotLK woo potential customers away. 

I do have a question.  It seems it would benefit bug stomping and PC system compatibility issues by inviting many more people into Beta.  Is there any talk of this happening?


Tue Jan 22 2008 2:01PM Report
howardb writes:

People don't want another Vanguard and they want it yesterday. I'm a bit bombed, but at least my grades this semester won't suffer. Use your time wisely and don't start on any new features unless you know you can finish them. If not we're looking at the a new delay after this one.

Tue Jan 22 2008 2:08PM Report
Kadarik writes:

As many I felt a little bit disappointed by the delay.

But now that you know you have this little extra time, do you think to replan some features that would have been postponed in march: drunken  brawling, RP tools or other things...?

You know that community really need to be reassured, any plan to demonstrate some PvP siege soon?

Don't you think it is time to show a little bit more content to help us to sleep during these 4 long next months? ;-)

Tue Jan 22 2008 2:16PM Report
Andares writes:

First, thanks a lot for delaying the game. This way, there is no danger of it interfering with me writing up my PhD thesis!

Seriously, I am tired of unfinished games released early, and would hate to see this for AoC. Please take the time to polish the game until you feel it is ready, and I hope the management provides you with the necessary leeway. I am certain this will pay of in the long run.

Second, shame on you for using an all out Flash layout for the new Age of Conan website! I hoped the age of myopia inducing Flash websites was finally over, and I could henceforth use my browser at the native resolution without magnifying glasses and huge portions of the screen unused. A renaissance of (X)HTML seemed at hand, with websites actually providing convenient access to information instead of pure eye candy. But, you have proven me wrong. Damn you!

Tue Jan 22 2008 2:47PM Report
Hengist writes:

Good stuff!

I applaud the decision, I'm sure it's tough as you folks who have worked at it want to show off your product to fans. Sounds like you are taking a course that gives a great product and a great launch. I know it is frustrating to fans today, but 6 months post launch, people will just remember the good vibe they got when they started playing.

A few non-delay related questions are in order I suppose....

How do you feel about the Border Kingdom PvP today? Is it going to be accessible to most folks who play Age of Conan? As far as getting competitive in the BK, I've seen Funcom folks say that the Battlekeeps are for larger guilds, and smaller guilds will have Towers and Resource Nodes. When you say that, how many members do you define as large and small?

Last but not least, favorite Rock Band Instrument?






Tue Jan 22 2008 2:52PM Report
rmk70 writes:

As much as a disappointment as it may be, I suppose it's good they want to iron out the game to as close to perfection as they can get.


Now send me some beta love!

Tue Jan 22 2008 3:52PM Report
Sypro writes:

And the trust has been restored but that doesnt take away the fact that still 4 months is damn long time.

Tue Jan 22 2008 4:02PM Report
Reborn17 writes:

Work harder!!!! Faster, damn your hide!!!!

j.k. ;) hehe

Tue Jan 22 2008 4:17PM Report
Athelan writes:

The delay could possibly delay the "open" portion of the Beta but will extend the closed section, and we will keep to our internal timetables for increasing the number of invites. A lot more people are likely to see beta still.

I still don't have any way to answer about EU pre-order bonus's

I love the drums on Rock Band but they are hard my foot wants to tap more than need be.

Massive PvP is not about set sizes. Some guilds will be more efficient with fewer people than others.

The upcoming FAQ updates on the community site I think will aid in your lust for a information driven arena to find all things Conan.

PvP Sieging is on our testing plan as to when I can show stuff from it I don't know I am working on seeing how I can host beta screenshots so I can start giving little personal looks at things as well.

Tue Jan 22 2008 4:20PM Report
Koolaider writes:

We'll live.

Tue Jan 22 2008 8:13PM Report
Par`a`dox writes:


Hey Athelan, just a couple of questions came to mind after reading the boards.

Any news on formations? I havent heard much recently about them.

If they're still in,  are they getting development attention to be used more often?   And are PvP gameplay elements like polearm based formations winning vs mounted formations still in/changed/not present?

We appreciate the time you take to answer this kind of stuff Athelan.



Wed Jan 23 2008 2:12AM Report
grimfall writes:

Formations seem like a bad idea.  In the 'real world' you don't get any bonus for standing close to someone else.  What's the logic to add them to AoC?

Wed Jan 23 2008 3:38AM Report
A.Blackloch writes:

Thanks for the info again Athelan. Tell the guys in FC, that the least they could do is to release some more HD videos from ingame to help the time pass. The community is currently living through beta-leaks. :)

Wed Jan 23 2008 3:49AM Report
Kadarik writes:

Hi Athelan,

regarding the last Oslo's videos about cities there is one thing I'd like to know:

on PvE servers are the NPC's cities still plan for the release? Will they attack player cities, will we have the possibility to attack them?



Wed Jan 23 2008 1:53PM Report
jadan2000 writes:

 was thinking about whether they will add more single player content (the same as in tortage rfom 1-20). Situations where we can go to an inn and sleep and we are now in a single player story to do an epic quest. i know not everyone is going to like that but for the people who do( which i would imagine will be a big chunk, will the devs build more stuff like this?

Wed Jan 23 2008 7:59PM Report
Kalin writes:

I believe that the pushback is the best choice.

We've all seen games fail at the get-go by not  spending some extra time to iron out their flaws. I know the industry today is more concerned about marketing and sales time-tables, but the players don't.
We want a game worth playing and -above all-worth paying for.

PS1. Is crafting in game atm?

PS2. New website looks great^^

PS3. How's the married life so far? ;)

Thu Jan 24 2008 5:52AM Report
Kalin writes:

PS4. We'd also like to know details about guild tools and the EXP/GOLD sharing system

Thu Jan 24 2008 5:54AM Report
Liddokun writes:

The extra polish is always good and will be appreciated by the fans of the game.

Thu Jan 24 2008 8:12AM Report
Athelan writes:

Crafting is in as far as I know but I don't think people have access to it if that makes sense.


Married life is surprisingly nice actually ;)

Thu Jan 24 2008 11:19AM Report
StrikerBP writes:

Hi Athelan! Congratulations for your marriage and all ( late am sorry ). Here is a little question.

Is there an internal economy in AoC or it will only be players that will buy our stuff?

Thu Jan 24 2008 1:37PM Report
Athelan writes:

I am not really sure what you mean. NPC's buy stuff and sell stuff, but its not a commodities market a la EvE

Mon Jan 28 2008 10:45AM Report
Par`a`dox writes:



So, since formations got the cut, what benefits do commanders bring to the table now?



Tue Jan 29 2008 5:18AM Report
Athelan writes:

The big thing for me about Commanders was always the increased group size.

Tue Jan 29 2008 10:48AM Report
Jupsto writes:

You've chatting quite a bit about a bounty system in the past, one that might make it more challenging for pkers to grief.

is there any bounty system style pvp rulesets in at launch. ie are players flagged as murder's or pkers in the pvp ruleset. or is it literally every man for him, and you can kill who you want when you want for no apparent reason.

I have heard already that there is a small limit on when you can kill/attack someone after they have died.

and will there be a server with looting at launch? if not is it still in the works!!!

Tue Jan 29 2008 4:14PM Report
rmk70 writes:

Any news on how the State of the Game is coming along? Also, will we be able to expect lots of content information in it, or is it just a 'Hey, no worries, we're all good here, move along!" post?

Tue Jan 29 2008 6:11PM Report
Hammersong writes:

I'd also like to know how the State of the Game is coming. At last check, more and more innovative features that were going to make this game really unique are being dropped.

1) Drunken Brawling... gone
2) Hell... gone
3) Formations... gone
4) Prestige classes (except for Crafter)... gone
5) Tarentia Noble district...gone

6) NPC cities attacking player-built PvE cities...gone


Wed Jan 30 2008 10:21AM Report
CalDruid writes:

Athlean, will you please comment on the ESRB M rating and if any content was removed/censored  to earn that rating for the U.S. market?  Many of us are hoping that we are getting the game as originally envisioned by the artists at Funcom.

Wed Jan 30 2008 4:31PM Report
ohyeah45 writes:

Get me into the beta please !!!

Fri Apr 25 2008 7:09AM Report writes:
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