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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

Developments on the Horizon

Posted by FC-Famine Friday July 31 2009 at 1:39PM
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The past few weeks have been very interesting for us on the community and development teams. We’ve both launched one of our biggest updates to date along with our reevaluation campaign. I’ve personally been swamped with all of this including preparations for our annual Dragon*Con convention that will surely kick some major ass this year.

On to the good stuff!

Our Game Director Craig ‘Silirrion’ Morrison has just popped out his monthly production letter to the community. This month’s letter covers the next focus that will include guild system changes. I won’t go into too much detail here but to summarize we're introducing a new Guild Renown system. This will bring in some interesting game play aspects for guilds like Renown points based on guildy actions in-game, Renown levels that utilize those points as sort of a guild level for your character and Renown rankings that basically combines all the above into a guild rank for more competitive elements. Along with that, the letter also mentioned some significant additions like new zones in the form of House of Crom, Thoth-Amon’s Stronghold and the new Tower-Based PVP objectives in the Border Kingdoms.


That’s just some of the recent news to hit the stand. The other good stuff is what’s been going on with developers right now. Currently the guys are working mostly with the last few smaller updates for the Update 5 series. This includes any additional adjustments based on feedback from the players and anything else we feel that should be added before we hit the next development focus. From what I can share so far, they’ve also been tweaking some of the classes too. The guys have been reviewing over the Barbarians and Bear Shaman classes recently and have made some additional changes to their game play (details on those come later). They’re also looking at other classes based on the feedback from the player’s post-update 5 and have confirmed some Conqueror and Dark Templar attention soon after.

The possibility of class changes wouldn’t be complete without the Advocate input though. We’ve just completed an interesting round of feedback with the Advocates on the proposed changes currently and some of the ones to come. On top of that, we’ll be gearing up for some additional recruiting to help fill the gaps in the program to aid more of the future class changes and maybe HOPEFULLY other game play elements like the RP, PVP, and Raiding Advocates. I would like to at least have the RP and PVP advocates in as soon as possible just based on the community topics of interest currently and of course some of the PVP enhancements on the horizon.


In closing, we’ve got some conventions coming up. One of which will be the first one for me to actually plan for Funcom. I’ve never planned and organize any of our past convention efforts so this will be a good experience for me with our attendance at Dragon*Con 09’. The initial planning is all completed and out the door. Most of which will focus on a really good panel for Age of Conan conducted by our wonderful Lead Designer Joel Bylos that was behind the ever so popular play field Ymir’s Pass! I’ll also be hosting our annual FunCon party that has a very GREAT location this year and some great new events. Some of those events will include more giveaways and hopefully a very awesome competition for some insane prizes. More details on that specific convention will be confirmed later on but for now I’m very excited about it and there will be some special surprises in store for those who come to Atlanta, GA on September 4th through the 7th this year.


(DragonCon 2007)

Hope to see you there!

New Character Statistics Preview

Posted by FC-Famine Wednesday July 15 2009 at 12:49PM
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On the last entry we talked about the overhaul of the RPG system to Age of Conan with the character statistics and itemization enhancements. Today, we’ll go into more detail about those statistic mechanics and how they’re shaping up on the live servers.

(Tarantia Commons)

Core Attributes

Just to provide a brief summary here, we’ve revamped and added new stats to the game to further improve items, abilities and the works. This in return helps address the concerns with itemization and making stats more meaningful to characters than what they were before. To give you an overview of what’s been changed, let me first toss out the basic mechanic ‘trickle-down’ changes to one of our core attributes like Strength:

Strength (1 point)

  • Increases Combat Rating when using melee weapons (except daggers) by 3
  • Increases Armor by 2
  • Increases out-of-combat (OOC) Stamina regeneration by 0.05 (0.0125 per second)
  • Increases Stamina by 2
  • Increases out-of-combat (OOC) health regeneration by 0.15

The above can tell you a lot about what we’ve changed. The ‘trickle-down’ from just strength means a lot more and on top of that it adds some new bonuses than what we had before. One of those new bonuses for example is the ‘Armor’ stat that is added with every 1 point of strength. The new Armor stat falls into our new ‘Armor and Protection Mitigation’ system for both physical and magical attacks. This both helps increase the usefulness of having Strength on items as well abilities throughout the game.

(Tarantia Commons)

Looking at the other side of the fence with another core attribute that mainly deals with spells rather than melee like Strength, we can see the basic mechanic ‘trickle-down’ changes to Intelligence:

Intelligence (1 point)

  • Increases Spell damage with the intelligence attribute by 0.6.
  • Increases Mana points by 3
  • Increases Natural Mana regeneration by 0.07 (0.0175 per second)
  • Increases out-of-combat (OOC) Mana regeneration by 0.38
  • Increases Protection by 0.5

Intelligence also follows the same direction as Strength but more aimed towards our spell users (mages). The revision also includes a new bonus called ‘Protection’ that is added with every 1 point of Intelligence. Like with Strength, this falls into our new ‘Armor and Protection Mitigation’ system but instead of adding more armor for physical damage, this adds more armor (or protection to be more correct) for magical damages such as Fire, Cold, Electrical, and etc damages.


Rating Statistic System

Along with these changes I have to talk about the Rating Statistic System that has also a big part of the latest update. This system introduces a number of new ratings and some converted ratings that will also help make items more meaningful while trying to improve character builds over time:

  • Combat Rating – giving you increased damage with melee and ranged attacks.
  • Evade Rating – giving you the chance to evade melee and ranged attacks.
  • Immunity Rating – giving you the chance to resist magical attacks.
  • Critical Rating – giving you the chance to critical hit.
  • Critical Damage Rating – Increasing your damage of your critical hits.

PvP Ratings

With the addition to those ratings we also have some new PvP Ratings that only exist on PvP gear. So if you have 20 in Evade Rating and 20 in PvP Evade Rating then your effective rating is calculated at 40. Some of those ratings are the following:

  • PvP Evade Rating
  • PvP Immunity Rating
  • PvP Armor Rating
  • PvP Protection Rating


All of these new and revised statistics mean a lot to our last update and provides us with the foundation to make those itemization and ability improvements. Though, it’s best represented with a comparison with the old-versus-new listings below. The first listing is one of our old items pre-update and the second listing is the new item revised with some of the stats mentioned above post-update.


The Old

Bluesteel-Mail Gauntlets
Item Type: Heavy Armor
Requirements: Level 75
Wear Location: Hands

  • 4.6 Defense Rating
  • 2 Knockback Resistance


The New

Bluesteel-Mail Gauntlets
Item Type: Heavy Armor
Requirements: Level 75
Wear Location: Hands

  • 377 Armor
  • 39 Strength
  • 22 Constitution


As you might have noticed, the revised item has more ‘pop’ to it when it comes to first impressions. Even if you didn’t know the mechanics behind the stats, you would feel that the item had more value and more power for your character. Although, the point is not all visual as we have to make those statistics actually provide a new meaning to the item and to the character that utilizes that item over say an item he or she had been using since level 20 now they’re level 70.



The update to the stats is not the ‘win-all’ for the update however. Going into this, I don’t think the developers felt this would be the change that addresses everything. The point is that it’s a step in the right direction with improving systems that need to be improved as well helping address some of the major concerns within the in-game community. We hope to follow the same path with additional systems in the future.

It’s a long run coming but one we are for sure running.


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