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Craig Morrison, CM

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A Community Manager with Funcom talks about Age of Conan in general

Craig Morrison is a community manager with Funcom's Age of Conan. He and Garrett Fuller got together to discuss the game its rating and much more in this question and answer session.

MMORPG.com: There has been a lot of talk about cross console gaming in Age of Conan. Will players be able to get the game for the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, or Playstation 3?
Craig Morrison:

We are planning to have a version on console yes, but we haven't made any announcements yet as to which console it will be, stay tuned!

MMORPG.com: There seems to be a lot of buzz from the comic book world about this game. Your appearances at Events like Comic-con and the recent release of an Age of Conan comic seemed to generate some attention. Are there plans to attend future comic book functions to draw upon this fan base?
Craig Morrison:

Yes, most likely, we have a great collaboration with the folk at Dark Horse comics as part of the Conan partners team and it's definitely a great potential audience for the game.

MMORPG.com: AoC has 80 levels for characters to explore through. This seems like a very high number. Will players be expected to quit their jobs or school to achieve this goal?
Craig Morrison:

Levels are of course relative to what it takes to level so having eighty levels in itself doesn't mean it's fast or slow. Conan is being designed to be casual player friendly from the start, and trying to avoid too strenuous a leveling curve.

MMORPG.com: Will Age of Conan still have a rating of Mature? If so and it is designed for older players, how will the intense game play fit into a college student or professional's busy schedule?
Craig Morrison:

Well, we can't second-guess the various rating boards in the different territories, but we certainly expect Conan to be an M rated game in the US. In terms of the other part of the question the answer is pretty much the same as the last question! Conan is being designed to be friendly to as many play styles and timetables as possible. It will certainly be possible to still play the game on people's everyday schedules.

MMORPG.com: Can you talk a little about Spellweaving and how casters will be able to take advantage of this style of play?
Craig Morrison:

The spellweaving system allows for some truly awe-inspiring effects to be invoked. This allows the caster to tailor a specific incantation best suited to their current target. Whether it is combining debuffs or enhancing your damage, or even a combination of the two - the spellweaving system will allow casters to adapt their strategies to the situation at hand!

Throw in the fact that there are potentially dangerous side effects to performing the more complex weaves and we think we will have a system that the players will find fun and engaging when it comes to using this powerful magic.

MMORPG.com: I have heard many plans for the Conan license coming up in the near future. Will the online game have any ties to the Cartoon or new Movie that are in the works?
Craig Morrison:

Not specifically no, we do work closely with many of the Conan partners, and whilst you might see some references here and there that appear in several different Conan projects there probably won't be any direct tie-ins with those specific projects.

MMORPG.com: Now that AoC is in Beta can you give us an insight into how PvP has finally developed and what players can expect?
Craig Morrison:

Beta is actually the time when things change most rather then being 'final', it's when the ideas that were implemented and tested by the designers get unleashed on more people. This means there is invariably tweaking to be done and changes to be made, and that's a process we are right in the middle of at the moment.

You can get some previews of the PVP Border Kingdoms and Blood Money systems over on our community portal here and here.

It is shaping up very nicely though and we think that players will really enjoy the PVP mechanics that we are designing. The 'final' details though are still being adjusted and are something those following the game will continue to get more information on as we get closer to launch.

MMORPG.com: AoC has many diverse classes, has balancing spells and abilities been difficult to achieve?
Craig Morrison:

Balance is always a challenge that MMO developers have to tackle and we are no different. It's an organic process that continues not just through the stages of beta, but usually once the game is live as well. It's an enjoyable challenge though, and yes, difficult at times, but it's also a key aspect of designing any RPG based system so it's not something we are unprepared for!

MMORPG.com: With limited magic items in the Conan world, what types of weapons and armor can players expect to find or craft?
Craig Morrison:

Conan's world is not quite as 'low' magic as people presume. His enemies were quite often those who wielded ancient evil magic against those who would oppose them. This is an area where there will be some compromise to the 'how true to the lore will you be?' question and there will be magic items in the world that players will be able to attain and use, as well as a wide variety of different 'ordinary' weapons in different tiers of quality that will be available.

So whilst players certainly won't be running around with flame spouting broadswords by level ten, there will be powerful magical items for players to find later on, as well as our socket gem system that will allow crafters to add bonuses to weapons.

MMORPG.com: Anarchy Online is having its fifth year anniversary, what are your hopes for Age of Conan's lifespan? How will this come into play in your relationship with Paradox Entertainment until 2018?
Craig Morrison:

As long as the game is popular! The genre is still evolving with more and more people playing MMOs every year, so we are confident that Age of Conan will have a long road ahead of it.

MMORPG.com: How will the servers be organized for AoC? Do you plan to have large population servers, or keep the numbers lower to build stronger communities?
Craig Morrison:

Whilst our plans aren't final here and subject to change we plan to have servers that are pretty much comparable in population to other mainstream MMOs like World of Warcraft or EQ2. We aren't going for the larger worlds model that we used in Anarchy Online or you see in EVE Online, we will be have many smaller servers rather then one, or a few, large ones.

MMORPG.com: Will there be contest for players to get into Beta? If someone is not a winner, how can they look into helping test the game?
Craig Morrison:

There will be contests over the beta period yes, keep an eye on our community portal for the details as they appear. Otherwise your chances will be improved by being signed up to our forums and to our Clan of Conan fanclub.