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The Casual Gamer

Helping put a perspective on the MMO genre from someone who doesn't have time to hit the maximum level inside two weeks.

Author: grimmbot

Like Smacking Into a Wall: Age of Conan Post-45

Posted by grimmbot Sunday June 1 2008 at 12:44PM
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So with my limited time, I got myself to Level 45 in Age of Conan last night. And it hit me, as if I smacked into a wall:

I'm bored with this game.

I have a thing about grinding. Granted, quests themselves involve grinding, but quests give direction and -- more importantly -- much-accelerated experience. As I marched through Field of the Dead, I ran into a rut where the quests in this Level 40-50 zone almost entirely run out at 44. At 45 I had one quest to do, and one or two others that I was too low a level for. So I head to the mountain zone next door, where mobs start at Level 50, and pounded on some of those hoping that the challenge would sustain me.

But it didn't.

When I have to essentially fend for myself for experience, whacking the same things over and over, with no quests to help speed things up, I feel like a hamster in a wheel. Even the fighting mechanics -- as great as they are -- don't save it here; I found myself using the same combos in the same order on the same mobs.

And according to many people, the entire 50+ game is like this, where zones only give you a small number of quests. Most in my guild who have gotten over 60 have done so while grinding half the time over 50. Unfortunately for me and my guild, I no longer find four-hour sits at my PC doing the same thing "fun".

And that's another thing: My guild has had hardly any reason to group up at all. Why bother? You finish the quests quicker, okay, but then you've still got to grind the rest of the way.

This wasn't a one-day decision, mind you. I had been skipping quest text for the last week because not much of it was interesting -- and the story was a big selling point for the game! It's ironic though because a story that stops for 20 levels is... not a complete story. I hadn't been truly engaged nor immersed for a while as it was. I was also extremely frustrated that I needed to hit Level 50 before I could harvest materials in the zone I was in, bashing mobs at 40.

My original plan as I approached 45 was, "Yeah, I'll have to grind... but the endgame will be worth it."

But is it? Nobody actually knows, because nobody was able to test it. That's an awful lot of time I'd waste on hamster-wheel grinding if the endgame also turns out to need too much work.

So I've made a decision: The guild I'm in can get the city up and running to Tier 3, yadda yadda, and go hit up the endgame. If it turns out to be worth it, I'll jump back in and do what I need to do to get there.

If not... no skin off my back. I'd be happy I didn't waste my time.

I've been burned far too often by far too many MMORPGs to put blind faith in any game, no matter if it's Sony, Funcom, Mythic or otherwise.