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As Seen on TV

Simply want to talk about games, in a neutral light, the pros, the cons, and of course toss in my own personal opinion, right or wrong doesn't matter, because I don't see it as such.

Author: WolfClaws

AoC, Age of Crap or Age of Coolness?

Posted by WolfClaws Tuesday May 13 2008 at 10:03AM
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Well, the time is near and people are getting anxious.


Should I buy AoC?

Should I wait?

Is it crap?

I am here to help answer some questions...

First thing people need to understand.  A Beta is NOT a Demo. 

Funcom did screw the pooch on this game in reguards to the hardware requirements.  Yeah, I said it. 

It is like Vista.  Now I like Vista and no, I am not a fanboi.  I like it a lot, but Microsoft was devious in making the system requirements unrealistic for the current age of computers.  If your computer was not a really nice system, you would experience hiccups or slowdowns or just plain frustraition.

Age of Conan is much like that and more.

Now, all anyone has to call experience with Age of Conan is the beta. Keep in mind folks, that the beta is just that a beta.  Webster defines a beta as "a nearly complete prototype of a product (as software) <released in beta> <the beta version>".   Note the "nearly complete prototype".  And a prototype is "a first full-scale and usually functional form of a new type or design of a construction" according to Webster.

Ok, so what does all that mean?  Well, if you were making a shelf to hang up on your wall, and you have a bunch of tools that are needed like a handsaw, a circular saw, sandpaper, some pencils, a drill, screws and nails all over the place... And as you are finishing this single shelf you decide to get a little fancy with it and instead of making it rectangle like everyone elses, you add some curves to it.  Now your neighbor comes in and sees you working on this single shelf and he sees a big mess of saw dust, tools everywhere, lines drawn on the wood, the wood not even cut right.  So he things immediately you don't have a clue what you are doing.

That is a beta.

So you try again.  You use your tools more effectively, there is an even bigger mess because you haven't clean up yet, but your fancy shelf is looking a lot better.  Unfortunately, you still have your old shelf laying around and all the tools, saw dust, and your new shelf looks better, but you haven't sanded it down or anything, so it still looks a little rough.  Your neighbor comes by again and thinks you are either incompetent, or that you have a pretty gnarly shelf.

Age of Conan beta, both the PvP Weekend and Open Beta had the debugging tools and files running at the same time as the client, and there was bloat code that may have been deemed unnecissary and yet remained for whatever reason.  That is expected with a beta.

Whatever bugs and irritations that come with a beta, AoC has HUGE system requirements.  And this is a good example of those with the bigger system will have an advantage over others.  I have helped hundreds of people on the AoC public boards with their systems and sadly a lot of people have computers that are old. I dont mean 2 years old I mean 5 or 6 years old and a DELL or HP... I won't get started on that right now, but I will say,,, Use a computer boutique, don't use the big companies... you will get more for your money if you do.

Was Funcom smart going that route with the heavy system requirements?  Only the future will know.  Is it a good time to upgrade or build a new computer now?  Hell yes.  Prices for parts that came out 2 years ago (what AoC was built around) is dirt cheap.  You could build your own system for $600 that will run AoC pretty well. 

Then comes the question "Why would anyone buy a computer to play a game?"  Ok, well that is something a non gamer would ask, but we all know the answer.  And that leads to a whole other debate.  I ain't going into that now, this is going to be long without it.

I mentioned that players with a better system will have an advantage over others with a lower end system.  It is true and here is why.  Older games you can adjust your viewing distance without taking a huge system hit.  AoC, you do it with a computer not good enough and you will have yourself frustraition beyond belief with the stuttering and video lag and crashes.  Same holds true for particle effects.

I know... "Dude what does that have to do with advantages?"  I will answer, but you PvPer's don't be flaming me for giving out the secrets, but on the Free For All servers (FFA) and border keeps, you can actually see someone running around before they can see you with those settings turned up.  Partical Effects distance?  Same thing.... that Demonologist being cool casting lightning on his mobs, well dude, that lights you up like a Christmas tree for those who have their settings up.

Right or Wrong, Funcom opened that door...

Button mashing people have called AoC.  I say, you haven't played the game.  Autoattacks ARE nice, when you are grinding.. but it is lame.  Especially for those who are killing things afk.  I like the attack sequence in AoC, and will the possible decapitation get old?  Maybe after the millionth time, but you know what? Who Cares.  I mean really, the melee is interesting, very very interesting and no one has done it, and the only one who came close to it was DDO (Dungeons and Dragons Online) and City of Heroes/Villains.  And an even closer representation would be Elder Scrolls: Oblivion with the attack direction coming from your movement.  This makes it simpler and your combos are not impossible to get off, but you can mess up on em, especially in PvP.

PvP... it is fast.  Very very fast.  Faster than any I have ever seen. I think they need to slow things down a bit, as you tend to kill or die before you realize it.  Now this is group PvP... One on one PvP is a bit more definative, even though the Ranger is still very very powerful.  One on One PvP lasts about 30 seconds, tops, unless you run.

The visuals in this game are over the top, and aside from the beta graphical glitches, I say that this game has outdone itself in that department.  The shadows and lighting techniques really give the world a breath of life.

The "instancing" is one thing that has been in heated debate with AoC.  Let me explain how the "instancing" works.  You take one city, Tortage, and you make 10 exact copies and throw players in each of those copies, and that is instancing.  AoC does this for all their areas.  Now, the lands they explore are "instanced" but it is huge.  And when I say huge, I mean it will take you awhile to run around and explore it all kinda huge.  So yes you have load times, but it is large enough that it won't happen often.  And it is "instanced" and you are free to change to difference instances to meet up with your friends.  And the instance your friends are in are shown on the friends list for your conveinence.  Honestly, it isn't that bad, nor is it noticable.

The grouping of friends... AoC seemed to be pretty sharp on this.  Bascially, after you are shipwrecked, you are alone in a solo instance.  You are in it for about an hour, if that, and you get to level 5 where you enter Tortage and are with other people.  Cool beans, right?  Not exactly.

You now have your Destiny Quest line to follow and this can only be done Solo... Yeah, solo.  And you have to do this quest line which scales to your level, by the way, and depending on your base class can be pretty rough.  But it takes you away from your friends in groupage.

On top of this, but after Tortage is no longer available you are transported to your Race's home city.  So if your guild or friends are not of the same race, you have a small problem.  Oh, I forgot to mention, if you are on a FFA server, you will be alone if no other guildmate is near you, so you are easy pickings for the packs of PKer's out there. 

I do not know if you can go to the other racial cities right off the bat, so to give AoC a fair shake, I cannot answer that.


I think I am going to be done for now, but that is a lot of reading and good luck to you if you do choose to play.  I will be in game.

Giubba writes:

[quote]I do not know if you can go to the other racial cities right off the bat, so to give AoC a fair shake, I cannot answer that.[/quote]


Yes you can

Tue May 13 2008 10:28AM Report
Tarqueth writes:

Thanks for the write up Wolfclaws.  This is much more helpful than the bashing that seems to be the fashion.

Tue May 13 2008 11:46AM Report
Gnomig writes:

You can - but on a FFA-sever it will get really tough since you spawn way back where you started a map ^^) (at least that was my experience during the open beta ffa)

Tue May 13 2008 11:46AM Report
WolfClaws writes:

NP.   I dont like bashing, but I do like to report my findings.

I am known as Hawke on the AoC boards hehe.  Forum Barbarian for life hehe.


And you don't respawn only at one location.  The further you explore, you will find repawn points... I found 2 in Stygia.. I am sure there are at least 2 more, maybe 3 more out there.

Tue May 13 2008 11:53AM Report
Giddian writes:

I dont care for FFA, But thats why they have different types of servers. I'm a PvE type of guy, I Love the story and the quests. Love teaming up with friends to compleat missions.I guess that makes me what they call a carebear? LOL

It's nice to see people talking about the Game and not bashing it. We can't all like the same things.

Tue May 13 2008 12:14PM Report
Zoulz writes:

A beta might not be a demo, but it will shape a persons opinion of the game anyway. So companies should view a beta as a demo, because they will lose players if the game is buggy and barely playable. I'm not saying AoC was unplayable, but it was a bit buggy.

Tue May 13 2008 12:40PM Report
Giddian writes:

I see your Point,,,BUT it is labled Beta, I agree, there were times I wanted to pull my hair out. That only made me think, I can't wait to see it once its fixed. I just think people should wait till its released to judge it.

I think were people feel that its a demo, is because of things like Battlefield releasing 1 or 2 maps of their latest new game to tease every one into playing, and they call those open betas. If anything EA should be bashed because those are demo's not betas

Tue May 13 2008 1:34PM Report
WolfClaws writes:

An open beta can be used as a marketing tool, but not a very effective one.  Due to the bugs and whatnot, that open beta could be,,, well.... crap.

Look at CoH... that open beta sucked so hard, I would never have bought the game if I based my views on the rubberbanding every 2 seconds... But, they cleaned it up by launch (or just after) and it was playable and fun...

Same can hold true for other games..

Hmmm, I see a new blog topic lol.

Tue May 13 2008 4:09PM Report
khartman2005 writes:

Hey I know you, Your thread with Rabb1t on helping newbies with their systems is awesome. Very nice writeup you have here. I enjoyed the hell out of the open beta event. I, however was very turned off to the FFA PvP event as I coulnd't  get out of the rez points for being ganked constantly as I spawned. Here is hoping to they adding in rez immunity timers.

Wed May 14 2008 2:15AM Report
bachanam writes:

The SEGA version of shadowrun was amazing, sneaking in through backdoors into a corporate computer network or entering through a physical node inside an actual corp building, attacking or tricking or sneaking past the ICE that guard different nodes, breaking into data nodes and downloading important stuff to sell on the black market or give to your johnson for a job, helping teams entering a corp by hacking in and shutting down the power or turning off the security systems or unlocking doors, getting enhancements like the priest (dolph lungren) in johnny pneunomic, or like the op guy said and do shaman magic stuff, some of the jobs were really fun, it goes from running packages to killing targets to hacking systems to retrieving personnel, all in an underground underworld super-tech lowlife world. The SEGA shadowrun in my mind is in a whole different league than any other contract-based game ever made.

I would love to play a shadowrun MMO, especially if you could play all sides, in terms of being a shadowrunner, to being a johnson, to working for a corp or the cops, to running a corp etc.

Wed May 14 2008 6:31PM Report
WolfClaws writes:

LOL, I think the above messed up when he posted on this entry :D


But yes, I agree to most of what you said :D

Thu May 15 2008 11:20AM Report writes:
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