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Age of Conan: Hands-On Report

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Recently, News Manager Keith Cross had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for a hands-on demonstration of Funcom's upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan. The experience was under embargo until today, so today he files his report.

If this isn’t the first article you’ve read about Funcom’s upcoming game, then you probably already know that between the years when Atlantis went tits up and before the sons of Aryas started doing their thing, there was an age undreamed of, where many shining kingdoms were spread across Hyborea. There was the dark and mysterious Stygia, Aquilonia the proud, and Cimmeria where the Atlanteans fled. And during this age there came a man of great mirth and melancholies for whom this age is named, the Age of Conan.

 Speaking of the Age of Conan, I recently had the opportunity to attend a press event and get a hands-on look at one of 2008’s most anticipated games. Several people from Funcom, including Product Director Jorgen Tharaldson were on hand to answer questions and get killed by the press in a few PvP matches.

My experiences in-game began with character creation which was fairly comprehensive, considering that not every character customization feature had been added for this demonstration. Most notably absent was the ability to play female characters, as that option just wasn’t ready at the time. So I set to work making my dark haired Aquilonian with an Amish style beard. Some of the hair and beard styles weren’t quite ready, and didn’t fit on the face properly, leaving a noticeable gap between the cheeks and the beard, but that’s to be expected at this stage, as the game is still in beta with a currently scheduled March 25th 2008 launch. These little problems were made up for by an abundance of sliders for the body and face. A particular favorite among the standard face lengtheners and eye shrinkers, was the broken nose slider, which allows a player to adjust the direction and severity of their avatar’s broken nose. The triangular slider used to choose body type was also a nice change from the usual two dimensional left-right sliders, and gives the feeling of having more freedom when choosing how big, thin and/or, muscular you want your character to be. Aside from the bad hair dos and no girls (which kind of reminds me a little bit of high school) the only other thing I would have liked to have seen would be an age slider, but that’s more of a personal preference than something the game was lacking.

Read the whole article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

«134

Comments

  • daylight01daylight01 EindhovenPosts: 2,250Member

    Thanks stradden but I guess the fact the guy can have a broken nose wont do much for my fears about this games release or indeed if it will be released on time,But again thanks for the post.

    image

    If someone had came up to me in 1980 when I was on my Atari 2600 and said we will be playing games with thousands of people at the same time.I guess my response would have been,"but I only have 2 joysticks"

    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/235780/page/8

  • KoolaiderKoolaider Tampa Bay, FLPosts: 450Member

    Fun read! I can't wait to play.

  • todeswulftodeswulf Dallas, TXPosts: 715Member

    I just hope AoC dosen't put all of it's eggs  in  the PvP basket.....I enjoy PvP as muchas teh next guy, but if the quest system sucks , and there is little or no reason to craft, the  game will go the way of Fury.

     

  • URMAKERURMAKER slidell, LAPosts: 632Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by todeswulf


    I just hope AoC dosen't put all of it's eggs  in  the PvP basket.....I enjoy PvP as muchas teh next guy, but if the quest system sucks , and there is little or no reason to craft, the  game will go the way of Fury.
     

    it doesn't. the pvp sounds way better than it actually . the pve aspect is where the game really shines.

    image

  • 0over00over0 New York, NYPosts: 488Member

    Thanks, Keith!

    That was the best written description I've yet read of AoC's combat system and it explains a lot! Now the videos and less-elucidating comments make sense--sounds great!

    Short but sweet--this one is number one on my all-too-short list.

    Apply lemon juice and candle flame here to reveal secret message.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    I'm just not so sure about the "first 20 levels are a single player RPG" thing.

    How many levels are there? 50? 60?

    So you have a good 33% ish of the game is single player?

    The first 5 levels tutorial being instanced single player? Cool. Good idea. Let players get comfortable in the game before throwing them to the wolves.

    But 20 levels?

    Seems a bit much.

    Still, all in all, very intrigued by this title and wil continue to keep my eye on it.

  • whitedelightwhitedelight Winston-Salem, NCPosts: 1,544Member
    Originally posted by heerobya


    I'm just not so sure about the "first 20 levels are a single player RPG" thing.
    How many levels are there? 50? 60?
    So you have a good 33% ish of the game is single player?
    The first 5 levels tutorial being instanced single player? Cool. Good idea. Let players get comfortable in the game before throwing them to the wolves.
    But 20 levels?
    Seems a bit much.
    Still, all in all, very intrigued by this title and wil continue to keep my eye on it.

    They are referring to the PVE levels in the game. There are 80 PVE levels and 20 PvP levels. So after the single player part you have 60 pve levels to gain and 20 pvp.

    image

  • CleffyIICleffyII The Moon, CAPosts: 3,440Member

    Atleast give negatives for the game.  It sounds like Funcom bought you a new computer as thanks for playing thier demo.

    image

  • KremlikKremlik CrewePosts: 716Member

    While good overall i'm still getting a nagging feeling about the combat system with that decription: it's kinda a double egded sword there, where it's good being a simple system, it seems more like  the 'winner' of combat will be determended by out 'button bashing' the other  player when it comes down to pvp as very little was desclosed it actal combat, where does the class skills come in, does this add more to the system  or simply just change the 'type' of attack? How does range combat  work into this? These things could alter what  the system is like..

    Given the current details from this report I see no differences in combat then playing God of War or even the latest Conan single player game, meaning PVP wont be down to as much 'skill'  as it'll be down to gear, meaning it's like PVP ala WoW again where the 'raid elite' with top end gear can easly outmatch a lower gear person even if that player with the lower gear is better pulling the 'combos', hopfully it'll be counter balenced by interupts in combat more then crowdcontrollike AOE lock downs and fears tho.. We can't really tell until we know more and experience the system for ourselfs.

    As someone said unless things like crafting and other parts of the game are just as meaningful as the combat is to the game, AoC seems to cater for the console gamer market then the market as a whole, which like they meantioned more 'traditional' MMOers may look towards WAR or another MMO, which I'm not saying is bad but I'm just hoping theres somthing for them in AoC as well.

    Perhaps this will put a benchmark up console style MMOs so we don't get just tacked on ideas for online like Phantasy Star or Hellgate, we don't know until it's out, but it looks like this may do the trick.

     

    Edit: Highlighted bits to make it clear that my comments are based off the current decription only and to point out I hope theres more to it (which there is a high chance there is given thats only basic combat)

    Bring on the WARRRRGGHH!

  • ShoalShoal Santa Clara, CAPosts: 1,156Member

    Sounds fun,  BUT . . .

    What was described here represents a very, very small part of a complete MMORPG game, or experience.

    The fact that the basic Graphic elements for characters are not yet debugged should indicate that this game is NOT going to be ready to go Gold in 2 to 2 1/2 months time.

    If I were advising the investors and developers on this one, I would recommend another 6 months to 1 year of development.  Let WaR have its day, and WoTLK have its.  Then, AoC can come out for Christmas 2008 and have a reasonable chance for a major success with a solid product.

    Rushed out in an unfinished, and under-content state, and it will fail.

    Because, you know that Mythic is not going to drop the ball on WaR.

    Just my 2c on this one.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    Originally posted by whitedelight

    Originally posted by heerobya


    I'm just not so sure about the "first 20 levels are a single player RPG" thing.
    How many levels are there? 50? 60?
    So you have a good 33% ish of the game is single player?
    The first 5 levels tutorial being instanced single player? Cool. Good idea. Let players get comfortable in the game before throwing them to the wolves.
    But 20 levels?
    Seems a bit much.
    Still, all in all, very intrigued by this title and wil continue to keep my eye on it.

    They are referring to the PVE levels in the game. There are 80 PVE levels and 20 PvP levels. So after the single player part you have 60 pve levels to gain and 20 pvp.

    Ah, that clears things up thanks!

    I just hope that first 20 levels of single player go really quickly. It's a MMO! Nothing massive, multiplayer, or online about 1/4 of the PVE levels being single player.... Ah well, we shall wait and see.

  • TargrimTargrim Orland Park, ILPosts: 51Member

    I keep getting more and more excited about AoC cant wait to see how spell casting really works.  Hopefully they can hammer out those small graphical issues and as long as the rest of the game is complete maybe no more delayes. /pray

  • scougrescougre maasmechelenPosts: 36Member

    Originally posted by heerobya


     
    Originally posted by whitedelight

    Originally posted by heerobya


    I'm just not so sure about the "first 20 levels are a single player RPG" thing.
    How many levels are there? 50? 60?
    So you have a good 33% ish of the game is single player?
    The first 5 levels tutorial being instanced single player? Cool. Good idea. Let players get comfortable in the game before throwing them to the wolves.
    But 20 levels?
    Seems a bit much.
    Still, all in all, very intrigued by this title and wil continue to keep my eye on it.

    They are referring to the PVE levels in the game. There are 80 PVE levels and 20 PvP levels. So after the single player part you have 60 pve levels to gain and 20 pvp.

     

    Ah, that clears things up thanks!

    I just hope that first 20 levels of single player go really quickly. It's a MMO! Nothing massive, multiplayer, or online about 1/4 of the PVE levels being single player.... Ah well, we shall wait and see.

    It's not fully single player after level 5 you already start to meet others, it's split up during night and day to split the single player from the multiplayer part to make it easier for the starters.

    Tortage is hardly 20% of the gameplay either, to get an even beter insight you can browse or even read the beta diary reports on the main site.

  • MrbloodworthMrbloodworth Newport News, VAPosts: 5,615Member
    Originally posted by Kremlik


    While good overall i'm still getting a nagging feeling about the combat system with that decription: it's kinda a double egded sword there, where it's good being a simple system, it seems more like  the 'winner' of combat will be determended by out 'button bashing' the other  player when it comes down to pvp as very little was desclosed it actal combat, where does the class skills come in, does this add more to the system  or simply just change the 'type' of attack? How does range combat  work into this? These things could alter what  the system is like..
    Given the current details from this report I see no differences in combat then playing God of War or even the latest Conan single player game, meaning PVP wont be down to as much 'skill'  as it'll be down to gear, meaning it's like PVP ala WoW again where the 'raid elite' with top end gear can easly outmatch a lower gear person even if that player with the lower gear is better pulling the 'combos', hopfully it'll be counter balenced by interupts in combat more then crowdcontrollike AOE lock downs and fears tho.. We can't really tell until we know more and experience the system for ourselfs.
    As someone said unless things like crafting and other parts of the game are just as meaningful as the combat is to the game, AoC seems to cater for the console gamer market then the market as a whole, which like they meantioned more 'traditional' MMOers may look towards WAR or another MMO, which I'm not saying is bad but I'm just hoping theres somthing for them in AoC as well.
    Perhaps this will put a benchmark up console style MMOs so we don't get just tacked on ideas for online like Phantasy Star or Hellgate, we don't know until it's out, but it looks like this may do the trick.

    Did you read the article?

    ----------
    "Anyone posting on this forum is not an average user, and there for any opinions about the game are going to be overly critical compared to an average users opinions." - Me

    "No, your wrong.." - Random user #123

    "Hello person posting on a site specifically for MMO's in a thread on a sub forum specifically for a particular game talking about meta features and making comparisons to other titles in the genre, and their meta features.

    How are you?" -Me

  • mindspatmindspat seattle, WAPosts: 1,367Member

    Originally posted by Shoal
    Because, you know that Mythic is not going to drop the ball on WaR.
    Sarcasm at its best!

    When you take into consideration that Electronic Arts controls Mythic, dissapointment becomes a synonymous statement. 

    Only reason I have no intent to bother with War Hammer is specifically due to the extreme amount of craptastic games EA has rushed out inorder to exploit the consumer video game market.  And their sequals are the best!

    EA/Mythic might have something with the new mmo although the track record is enough cause to lend caution.

    Of course, we could also over analyze Funcom's initial release sucess with Anarcy Online.  ;)

    I think Age of Conan could be great and I'm glad theve pushed the release date back to march of 2008.  As with someone else who said it, pushing it back a little further to ensure an open environment of availble content would be better, unless it already has the content.

  • whitedelightwhitedelight Winston-Salem, NCPosts: 1,544Member
    Originally posted by mindspat


     
    Originally posted by Shoal
    Because, you know that Mythic is not going to drop the ball on WaR.
    Sarcasm at its best!

     

    When you take into consideration that Electronic Arts controls Mythic, dissapointment becomes a synonymous statement. 

    Only reason I have no intent to bother with War Hammer is specifically due to the extreme amount of craptastic games EA has rushed out inorder to exploit the consumer video game market.  And their sequals are the best!

    EA/Mythic might have something with the new mmo although the track record is enough cause to lend caution.

    Of course, we could also over analyze Funcom's initial release sucess with Anarcy Online.  ;)

    I think Age of Conan could be great and I'm glad theve pushed the release date back to march of 2008.  As with someone else who said it, pushing it back a little further to ensure an open environment of availble content would be better, unless it already has the content.

    Ahh, the uninformed! EA is helping fund the game but they aren't actually touching the project at all, as has been stated over and over by the developers. 

    image

  • XantonosXantonos OsloPosts: 6Member

     

    Originally posted by Kremlik

    Long post with concerns about button mashing etc

     

    I suggest you read the article again. He did not say the combat was button mashing. He said the combat rewarded strategy over button mashing.

  • whitedelightwhitedelight Winston-Salem, NCPosts: 1,544Member
    Originally posted by Xantonos


     
    Originally posted by Kremlik

    Long post with concerns about button mashing etc

     

    I suggest you read the article again. He did not say the combat was button mashing. He said the combat rewarded strategy over button mashing.

    He said with strategy you could take a mob out in 1-2 attacks while if you went in without strategy and just swung it was 3-4, or something close to that. Not a big gap of difference.

    image

  • ShoalShoal Santa Clara, CAPosts: 1,156Member

    Was not being sarcastic about Mythic doing well with WAR.

    Mythic has a great track record with DAoC.  I played it for a couple of years from launch on.  Their in-game support is top-notch, the quality of the game was top-notch, and their customer interface via CamelotHerald is still one of the best out there.  Gameplay was fun in both PvE and PvP.  Crafting worked as well.  Large world with lots to explore and find.

    They really only fell down when they put ToA into place (massive Grindfest) and modified the graphics so that they were 1st person hostile (Enchanter's Staff stuck up in front of face 100% of the time).

    So, I do expect Mythic to release a AAA, top quality product in WAR.  I expect it to run well, play well, and have a very good population.

    What does that mean for AoC?  Well if AoC releases in any state close to what AO released at, then its 'Game Over, Man!"  AoC needs as good a release as WAR will likely have.  And I do not think Funcom can pull that off if AoC is pushed out the door in 2 to 3 months from now.

  • scougrescougre maasmechelenPosts: 36Member

     

    Originally posted by whitedelight

    Originally posted by Xantonos


     
    Originally posted by Kremlik

    Long post with concerns about button mashing etc

     

    I suggest you read the article again. He did not say the combat was button mashing. He said the combat rewarded strategy over button mashing.

    He said with strategy you could take a mob out in 1-2 attacks while if you went in without strategy and just swung it was 3-4, or something close to that. Not a big gap of difference.

     

    At the first levels you're correct in saying that.

     

    Shoal may i point out to you that AnarchyOnline had indeed a bad release but  you cannot deny how well and fast the game was 'corrected' both companies are capable of delivering a good quality game if you cannot admit to that i must say you're a bit to biased.

  • XantonosXantonos OsloPosts: 6Member

     


    He said with strategy you could take a mob out in 1-2 attacks while if you went in without strategy and just swung it was 3-4, or something close to that. Not a big gap of difference.



    That may not sound like much of a difference, but to me, that's a big deal. It rewards skill over button mashing. When you can kill a mob twice as fast from a hitpoint / health perspective, it makes a lot of difference in actual gameplay.

     

  • MrbloodworthMrbloodworth Newport News, VAPosts: 5,615Member
    Originally posted by whitedelight

    Originally posted by Xantonos


     
    Originally posted by Kremlik

    Long post with concerns about button mashing etc

     

    I suggest you read the article again. He did not say the combat was button mashing. He said the combat rewarded strategy over button mashing.

    He said with strategy you could take a mob out in 1-2 attacks while if you went in without strategy and just swung it was 3-4, or something close to that. Not a big gap of difference.

    CONTEXT.

    ----------
    "Anyone posting on this forum is not an average user, and there for any opinions about the game are going to be overly critical compared to an average users opinions." - Me

    "No, your wrong.." - Random user #123

    "Hello person posting on a site specifically for MMO's in a thread on a sub forum specifically for a particular game talking about meta features and making comparisons to other titles in the genre, and their meta features.

    How are you?" -Me

  • whitedelightwhitedelight Winston-Salem, NCPosts: 1,544Member

     

    Originally posted by scougre


     
    Originally posted by whitedelight

    Originally posted by Xantonos


     
    Originally posted by Kremlik

    Long post with concerns about button mashing etc

     

    I suggest you read the article again. He did not say the combat was button mashing. He said the combat rewarded strategy over button mashing.

    He said with strategy you could take a mob out in 1-2 attacks while if you went in without strategy and just swung it was 3-4, or something close to that. Not a big gap of difference.

     

    At the first levels you're correct in saying that.

    That is what he said, not me. I doubt you are going to see many regular mobs that require 8-12 attacks to kill. This example, despite the new combat system is basically what your typical mmorpg uses.

     

    When WoW first started, you could kill a mob with 1-2 abilities, or 3-4 auto attacks, same thing for FFXI, same thing for Vanguard.

    EDIT: Obviously it is going to scale, but it seems they all start out this way.

    image

  • darquenbladedarquenblade Anderson, INPosts: 1,015Member

    Originally posted by whitedelight

    Originally posted by Xantonos


     
    Originally posted by Kremlik

    Long post with concerns about button mashing etc

     

    I suggest you read the article again. He did not say the combat was button mashing. He said the combat rewarded strategy over button mashing.

    He said with strategy you could take a mob out in 1-2 attacks while if you went in without strategy and just swung it was 3-4, or something close to that. Not a big gap of difference.

    Yes, but that gap probably gets quite a bit larger the further you progress in the game. I mean, he's talking about beginning level mobs here. Of course you're not going to see much difference in how long it takes you to off them.

    You're trying to find things to complain about.

  • scougrescougre maasmechelenPosts: 36Member

     




    That is what he said, not me. I doubt you are going to see many regular mobs that require 8-12 attacks to kill. This example, despite the new combat system is basically what your typical mmorpg uses.
     
    When WoW first started, you could kill a mob with 1-2 abilities, or 3-4 auto attacks, same thing for FFXI, same thing for Vanguard.
    EDIT: Obviously it is going to scale, but it seems they all start out this way.

     

    Not just scale my friend,

    You're ignoring a few minor things such as combos witch aren't just 'hotkey abilities', directional attacks can cause damage to multiple targets aswell.

    But in theory and from the core up, yes auto attack is replaced  with directional melee attacks and the defense shield system requiring you not to just button smash as the mobs adapt so it requires you to not just randomly hit buttons as you think and adapt constantly aswell, removing the much dreaded  "q 123 /afk 123 /afk" from the MMO scene.

    You used to be  well informed ;)

     

     

     

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