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Age of Conan: CES Progress Report

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

MMORPG.com's Carolyn Koh is at CES and yesterday she had the opportunity to talk to the Funcom crew about their upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan. In this report, Carolyn lets us in on the look of the game and what's coming down the pipe before the game's scheduled launch date in March.

A visit with Funcom Designer Jason Stone and Product Director Jorgen Tharaldsen is always a great experience. Jorgen has the most amazing head for numbers and is able tell me things like there are currently over 2,700 animations for female avatars in game. They haven't quite finished them all yet, which is the reason they have not shown female avatars, nor included them in the beta builds as the game play experience is the same with avatars of either gender. On the other hand, Jason Stone will take me through GM tools to show me female avatars and show me an animated emote he created which had Jorgen trying to hide the screen with his hands, crying "Noooo! I can't believe you showed her THAT!"

I am happy to report though, that female avatars are definitely in the game. The GM tool Jason ran me through is what they call a "play field" where I saw literally, hundreds upon hundreds of male and female avatars dressed and undressed in hundreds of different outfits and armor. "We've got more than just the chain mail bikini," he said. "We've got some actual armor in game."

"We learned a lot from Anarchy Online," said Jorgen as he asked Jason to show me the social clothing choices. "We know that players enjoy having more than one set of clothing, more than just wearing armor." They are coordinating the pieces however, and unlike Anarchy Online, we won't be seeing white wedding dresses on hulking male bodies - or in the context of Age of Conan, itty-bitty chain mail bikinis on hulking Cimmerians.

Check out the whole report here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • AmazingAveryAmazingAvery Age of Conan Advocate UK to CanadaPosts: 6,999Member Uncommon

    Great report! Even more excited about the game now thanks!

    image
    Conan Vids Corsair 800d Case/i7 930 @ 4.4ghz/EVGA x58 760 Classified/Corsair Dominator 12GB 1600/Corsair HX1000 PSU/GTX 580x2/Intel X25-M SSD/2x WD 1TB Blacks/Corsair H90 cooler / 1x 28" 1900x1200 monitor/ G-19 Keyboard/ G500 mouse

  • theniffrigtheniffrig DublinPosts: 351Member

    No open beta. That might be a good thing. Also, the Rhino mount sounds awesome. It says this will be in the Bestbuy box, so i dont know if you could still get one if you dont buy it from Bestbuy??? It also looks like they are going to go with the March release date, which is great. Roll on March!

  • streeastreea Dallas, TXPosts: 654Member

     

    or in the context of Age of Conan, itty-bitty chain mail bikinis on hulking Cimmerians.

    Awh...  Can they at least wear the itty bitty bottom pieces?

    I'll agree though that not having an open beta *may* be a good thing. I know a lot of people out there who will gladly shell out $50 for a game that gets decent reviews, but won't put the same money into an well-reviewed MMO until they've tried it

    Hopefully though not having an open beta pays off... and it's good for us because less people will be whining on the forums about how they won't play the game because *gasp* there were still a few bugs in the beta.

  • korvasskorvass den haagPosts: 623Member

    I'm curious about the whole special edition thing. I wonder how that will pan out for EU folks. I've ordered a collector's edition from my local store, so I'm hoping Funcom won't limit SE's to the two companies named.

  • theniffrigtheniffrig DublinPosts: 351Member

    Originally posted by korvass


    I'm curious about the whole special edition thing. I wonder how that will pan out for EU folks. I've ordered a collector's edition from my local store, so I'm hoping Funcom won't limit SE's to the two companies named.

    Yeah im from the EU too. Hope we dont get screwed on that front. I'm looking forward to being a part of an MMO right from the beginning again. I tought that would have been LOTRO last year, but i just didnt get into it. I remember being part of SWG when it was first released, but that was before the dark times...before the CU & NGE! Anyway, i hope that AoC will at the very least run smooth & look good on my pc & that should be enough to keep me with it.

  • HedenHeden Edmonton, ABPosts: 131Member

    Originally posted by korvass


    I'm curious about the whole special edition thing. I wonder how that will pan out for EU folks. I've ordered a collector's edition from my local store, so I'm hoping Funcom won't limit SE's to the two companies named.

    Here is a link to the main forum that has a listing of many places to get CE

     

    http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=50409

     

    Heden

    Heden
    __________________________________________
    ***Just agree with me and we will get along fine***

  • JoeViturboJoeViturbo Higgins Lake, MIPosts: 2Member

    I didn't notice any mention of the cost of a monthly subscription fee.  Is this still being decided?

  • ajm563ajm563 Conroe, TXPosts: 48Member

    Hmmm.... I'm always suspicious when there isn't an open beta.  It makes me wonder what they don't want me to see.

    I hope this game is good.  We've been waiting for a good MMO for a few years now.  But, I guess we won't know until release?

  • TenebrosoTenebroso Fresno, CAPosts: 262Member

    Originally posted by ajm563


    Hmmm.... I'm always suspicious when there isn't an open beta.  It makes me wonder what they don't want me to see.
    I hope this game is good.  We've been waiting for a good MMO for a few years now.  But, I guess we won't know until release?
    IMO they arent doing a full open beta, to prevent the Vanguard effect. The game was still in BETA, which means being polished and optimized, and ppl flooded the foruns with bad reviews for Vanguard, which kind of ruined the launch.

     

    Hopefully, even though they wont have an open beta, they will still have enough people to stress test the game, and deliver it on march 25 08, as promised.

  • ThatimThatim ZeddamPosts: 240Member

    Well, Open Beta is nowadays more a demo thingy to test servers, so the game should be completed by then. So I am also curious about it. Call me a troll, but I really lost my interest.

     

    Have fun with this game

  • ShoalShoal Santa Clara, CAPosts: 1,156Member

    I for one am *very* concerned about the AoC performance.  We heard all the same sorts of allocades for Anarchy Online prior to its launch way back when.  And when it launched for real, it was a slow, laggy, mess.  But the graphics were great (for the time).  But you could not play it. 

    Now, in an empty world (not populated by 2000+ active players), they are getting 20fps (best case) in urban areas and only 50fps out in the wilderness???  These are the same sorts of numbers that EQ2 launched with.  And that game failed and really destroyed itself when it launched in that state.  I tried to play EQ2 before I ever played WoW.  Ended up playing WoW for 3 years and not EQ2.

    Now, here comes AoC with more advanced graphics that don't run worth a crap on a decent system.  Who is going to put up with that?  Some will, of course.  And fan-boyze will stick with it till they are the only ones left standing.  But normal players?

    No.  We want decent graphics, decent performance, and decent gameplay.  And without those, AoC will be a second rate offering, no matter how fine the graphics are when running in 'slide-show' mode.

    My 2c.

  • ajm563ajm563 Conroe, TXPosts: 48Member

    Originally posted by Tenebroso


     


    IMO they arent doing a full open beta, to prevent the Vanguard effect. The game was still in BETA, which means being polished and optimized, and ppl flooded the foruns with bad reviews for Vanguard, which kind of ruined the launch.
     
    Hopefully, even though they wont have an open beta, they will still have enough people to stress test the game, and deliver it on march 25 08, as promised.
    You are probably correct about trying to avoid what happened with Vanguard.

    I still hope to get a look at it before I have to make the choice whether to buy or not.

  • ITNinjaITNinja Fremont, CAPosts: 15Member
    Originally posted by theniffrig


    No open beta. That might be a good thing. Also, the Rhino mount sounds awesome. It says this will be in the Bestbuy box, so i dont know if you could still get one if you dont buy it from Bestbuy??? It also looks like they are going to go with the March release date, which is great. Roll on March!



    I agree. No open beta might actually be a good thing since they can further polish the game in time for launch. I am definetly more excited now about this game! come on March!

  • gatherisgatheris Charlotte, MIPosts: 995Member Uncommon

    well, i do hate to admit it but i'm getting excited about this game

    i do try to control it as disappointment tends to hover about the wings of the MMO world

    that being said, very disappointed about no open beta - in the past that usually meant that the devs had something to hide  - as in, lets sell all the boxes we can before word gets out

    so probably no release day purchase for me but it will probably be darn close  

     

    image

  • FionFion Montour Falls, NYPosts: 2,351Member

    There hasn't been any MMOG really that benefited from an open beta, besides the load testing. Even when WoW had it's open beta 'weekends' it got nothing but negative comments about how it wasn't finished, the talents system wasn't in, the game consisted of camping mob spawns (which, in the newbie areas, is totally accurate,) how the quests are generic and stupid. It didn't get good 'player reviews' during these open beta try-outs at all.

     

    IMHO I'd rather see them take that last month to polish instead of trying to appease some spoiled open testers, and just offer a free trial out of the gate, or soon after.

    image

  • AximusAximus Greenville, SCPosts: 19Member

    Well, Im pretty stoked about this game. Ashamedly so. Like many others, I try not to get worked up with the fear of being let down. However, SOMETHING NEEDS TO FREAKING RIP ME AWAY FROM WoW!!!

    I hope this does it.

  • gatherisgatheris Charlotte, MIPosts: 995Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Fion


    There hasn't been any MMOG really that benefited from an open beta, besides the load testing. Even when WoW had it's open beta 'weekends' it got nothing but negative comments about how it wasn't finished, the talents system wasn't in, the game consisted of camping mob spawns (which, in the newbie areas, is totally accurate,) how the quests are generic and stupid. It didn't get good 'player reviews' during these open beta try-outs at all.
     
    IMHO I'd rather see them take that last month to polish instead of trying to appease some spoiled open testers, and just offer a free trial out of the gate, or soon after.
    we know and they know that open beta is a trial - so "finish" the game and give us a taste before we buy - pretty simple

     

    image

  • FionFion Montour Falls, NYPosts: 2,351Member

    It's only in these modern days that ANYONE counts any part of beta a 'trial' cause if you asked the devs, they'd tell you flat out it's not. It's a serious part of testing, more specifically, it's load testing. You cannot realistically expect a game to be 100% finished 2 months before release just so YOU can try the game out.

    image

  • ThaliostThaliost LeiriaPosts: 99Member

    You should expect it Fion.

     

    Don't forget they still have to produce the dvds and ship them all over the world. So the game has to be finished some time prior to launch.

     

    And I played WoW's open beta and it ran great. I saw no bugs and no latency problems :/ Made me buy the game at least.

     

    It is a shame if I don't get to play the beta, but I'm pretty sure that reading several beta testers reports will be almost just as good.

    Immortals [EU] - Darkfall:UW Clan
    http://immortals-online.eu/

  • gatherisgatheris Charlotte, MIPosts: 995Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Fion


    It's only in these modern days that ANYONE counts any part of beta a 'trial' cause if you asked the devs, they'd tell you flat out it's not. It's a serious part of testing, more specifically, it's load testing. You cannot realistically expect a game to be 100% finished 2 months before release just so YOU can try the game out.
    ok - slow as mud in january

    in other words - release the game and have a trial and not in that order

    there is no stigma or at least there shouldn't be, to having a trial as a game is released - stand alone games have demos well before release

    too many people have been burned too many times by paying for the beta

     

    image

  • VengerVenger York, PAPosts: 1,318Member

    Are there any screen shots of the mammoth and rhino?  Do they actually do anything in a seige battle, if so what are the difference between the two?

  • eric_w66eric_w66 North Richland Hills, TXPosts: 1,006Member Uncommon

    No open beta, especially with the memories of AO in my mind (continously rubberbanding back into the forefront of my brain!), is slightly worrying. However, a much better indicator of "issues" with the game will be the NDA. When will they drop the NDA... if they do it like SW:G, 2 days before release, you know its a steaming pile of poo. The sooner they drop the NDA, the less worried about a flop at release I'll be. (I cancelled my 2 SW:G boxes I'd preordered when they announced the launch date AND kept the NDA up heh, talk about your red flags).

    WoW went a long LONG time without an NDA, but they knew they had a good game that worked fairly well, so there was nothing to 'hide'. Other games.... they use the NDA to hide the problems.... that sounds reasonable, EXCEPT they hide the problems that they don't intend to fix prior to release as well (if ever). Making sure you don't spout off about a buggy game in early beta is one thing, making sure people don't spout off about a horribly designed game that's still buggy and laggy and will be at release is another.

  • aristoculousaristoculous Vancouver, BCPosts: 159Member

    Originally posted by Fion


    There hasn't been any MMOG really that benefited from an open beta, besides the load testing. Even when WoW had it's open beta 'weekends' it got nothing but negative comments about how it wasn't finished, the talents system wasn't in, the game consisted of camping mob spawns (which, in the newbie areas, is totally accurate,) how the quests are generic and stupid. It didn't get good 'player reviews' during these open beta try-outs at all.
     
    IMHO I'd rather see them take that last month to polish instead of trying to appease some spoiled open testers, and just offer a free trial out of the gate, or soon after.
    WoW did benefit from it, I bought the game cause I tried open beta, and I have played SC and still do. Some people never played blizzard games playing WoW, and started to do so cause of open beta.

     

    Personally I remember lots of good player reviews during open beta, and after NDA lift.

    I'll wait for a 7 day - demo or whatever on this one. However, this game I will definitely try.

  • aristoculousaristoculous Vancouver, BCPosts: 159Member
    Originally posted by gatheris


     
    Originally posted by Fion


    There hasn't been any MMOG really that benefited from an open beta, besides the load testing. Even when WoW had it's open beta 'weekends' it got nothing but negative comments about how it wasn't finished, the talents system wasn't in, the game consisted of camping mob spawns (which, in the newbie areas, is totally accurate,) how the quests are generic and stupid. It didn't get good 'player reviews' during these open beta try-outs at all.
     
    IMHO I'd rather see them take that last month to polish instead of trying to appease some spoiled open testers, and just offer a free trial out of the gate, or soon after.
    we know and they know that open beta is a trial - so "finish" the game and give us a taste before we buy - pretty simple

     

     

    QFT

  • aristoculousaristoculous Vancouver, BCPosts: 159Member
    Originally posted by eric_w66


    No open beta, especially with the memories of AO in my mind (continously rubberbanding back into the forefront of my brain!), is slightly worrying. However, a much better indicator of "issues" with the game will be the NDA. When will they drop the NDA... if they do it like SW:G, 2 days before release, you know its a steaming pile of poo. The sooner they drop the NDA, the less worried about a flop at release I'll be. (I cancelled my 2 SW:G boxes I'd preordered when they announced the launch date AND kept the NDA up heh, talk about your red flags).
    WoW went a long LONG time without an NDA, but they knew they had a good game that worked fairly well, so there was nothing to 'hide'. Other games.... they use the NDA to hide the problems.... that sounds reasonable, EXCEPT they hide the problems that they don't intend to fix prior to release as well (if ever). Making sure you don't spout off about a buggy game in early beta is one thing, making sure people don't spout off about a horribly designed game that's still buggy and laggy and will be at release is another.

    QFT, my thoughts exactly

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