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Age of Conan: Beta Concerns Q&A

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Last week, we spoke to Funcom’s Age of Conan Product Director Jorgen Tharaldsen about the company’s decision to hold an Open Beta through the subscription-based website Fileplanet. Now that the Fileplanet Beta is underway, a number of player concerns have arisen about the game’s performance and potential launch problems. This week, Tharaldsen speaks once more with MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood, Speaking to some of the concerns that have been raised by our readers.

MMORPG.com:

We have heard many complaints about the presence of loading screens in Age of Conan. Can you tell us why they are there? could the game have been made without them?

Funcom:

When we started to develop Age of Conan we really wanted to bring a new level of immersion to MMOs (and judging from the feedback we have done exactly that!), and we wanted the most lush and detailed areas we could possibly deliver (while hand-picking the best from the Conan lore, across Hyboria). It was therefore a trade-off that we divided Conan into zones, and by doing so we also, naturally, had to have load times between the zones. I think this price is worth paying, for sure, but for Open Beta we reintroduced an old bug which expanded the loading times way beyond the acceptable (the bug makes the game write and store tons of code while loading, which increase the loading times too much).

It is noteworthy to mention that if you want a seamless world, you need to stream a lot of the content to make it load right. We tried this, but it meant degrading the quality of the graphics, and even getting a lot fewer interest points in the game, so the end result was an easy choice. Quality won!

Read the whole thing here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • URMAKERURMAKER slidell, LAPosts: 632Member Uncommon

    thats gonna be some supreme carnage on the 10TH.

    image

  • ColdSunColdSun Peoria, AZPosts: 210Member

    After reading this I'm a bit discouraged.  I'm one of those people in the minority with bad performance.  So are my sons.  I actually have a nice computer.  My son has a brand new VERY nice computer.  It has problems on all of our systems.  Weird graphics lag and poor performance.

    Don't get me wrong - other than the bad performance the game is awesome.  I really love the classes and the immersion the world gives me.  The problem is, I'm not going to buy a game at release if I don't know for a fact the performance is smooth.  I've tried changing settings six weeks from Sunday, followed every guide etc.  I want to be able to buy 3 copies for my family when it releases, but until I know this poor performance is fixed, I'm not buying.  Perhaps after release a few months... I don't know.

    ColdSun

  • singsofdeathsingsofdeath BruehlPosts: 1,812Member

    Originally posted by ColdSun


    After reading this I'm a bit discouraged.  I'm one of those people in the minority with bad performance.  So are my sons.  I actually have a nice computer.  My son has a brand new VERY nice computer.  It has problems on all of our systems.  Weird graphics lag and poor performance.
    Don't get me wrong - other than the bad performance the game is awesome.  I really love the classes and the immersion the world gives me.  The problem is, I'm not going to buy a game at release if I don't know for a fact the performance is smooth.  I've tried changing settings six weeks from Sunday, followed every guide etc.  I want to be able to buy 3 copies for my family when it releases, but until I know this poor performance is fixed, I'm not buying.  Perhaps after release a few months... I don't know.
    In your situation, I would wait until the "Epic" End thing starts. Judging from what we've seen so far, a lot of the new code will be implemented in that build (hopefully). If those changes do not fix anything for you, then I would advise you to indeed wait and get yourself a buddy-key at launch. As I've stated before, there should be a whole lot of keys available. If you are interested in one, send me a PM (still got one left).

     

    Then you can make up your mind of the released product and decide if it is worth to buy the game for your family.

     

    NEVER pre-order if you are not sure you will enjoy the experience, regardless of what other people say.

  • BrynnBrynn Albuquerque, NMPosts: 345Member

    I'm not looking forward to the carnage. I will stay on Tortage. I don't like FFA-PvP.

    For the people who have good computers and having problems playing, there have been a lot of tips given. I know experienced players know these. The most important are the usual:


    1. Make sure you have the latest drivers.

    2. Defrag. There is a lot of data, and it gets fragmented. After a large download, always defrag.

    3. Don't try to play with all options on high. Try moderate and increase gradually so you can see what is causing problems. Especially, turn off the bloom and shadows, initially.

    4. While it's open beta, it's still beta, meaning the devs are still running data parsers. The game you are playing is not the game that is being released.

    5. I have no doubt there will be a patch after release, there usually is.

  • ColdSunColdSun Peoria, AZPosts: 210Member

    Thank you very much.  I think that's exactly what I'll do.  I'll send you a message after launch. :)

    ColdSun

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

    Good Questions and Answers.

    Im confident of a good launch, sure there will be bugs but the company has the ability and the knowledge to provide a smoother than expected launch I think.

    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

  • rmk70rmk70 Toronto, ONPosts: 397Member Uncommon

    Can you say damage control? lol

  • tinywulftinywulf West Allis, WIPosts: 106Member

    Me, and two friends are in Open Beta, all 3 of us have vastly different systems from low end to high end.

    All of us are experiencing the problems, the crashes, the lag, etc.

     

    One of my friends wants to play it so bad he reboots like every hour or something just so the game runs ok.

    See once the game crashes one time it fubars your video somehow to the point only a reboot fixes it (for the game) , otherwise the game ctd's like every 2 minutes.

    WindowsXP is more stable than a game, never thought i'd see the day!

    Anyway, my point is this game is not ready for launch, and I won't be buying it. It's just plain not ready.

  • KryogenicKryogenic Pensacola, FLPosts: 663Member

    Originally posted by Brynn


    I'm not looking forward to the carnage. I will stay on Tortage. I don't like FFA-PvP.
    For the people who have good computers and having problems playing, there have been a lot of tips given. I know experienced players know these. The most important are the usual:

    Make sure you have the latest drivers.
    Defrag. There is a lot of data, and it gets fragmented. After a large download, always defrag.
    Don't try to play with all options on high. Try moderate and increase gradually so you can see what is causing problems. Especially, turn off the bloom and shadows, initially.
    While it's open beta, it's still beta, meaning the devs are still running data parsers. The game you are playing is not the game that is being released.
    I have no doubt there will be a patch after release, there usually is.

    Aside from the afformentioned things to do to increase performance, there's one huge one that cleared up all my frame rate issues and most of my hitching:

    Go into the in-game options and disable NPC names. You won't be able to see the names on any NPC unless you mouse over them or target them, but your fps should jump up considerably.

    I was getting frustrated as I'm running over 2 gigs RAM and a 512 MB Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT. I just couldn't figure out why my fps would be 1.6 when I looked out into an open field in the daytime setting, but when I faced a rock or wall my fps was around 52, and this was when I was running on Low.

    Once I turned off NPC names I was able to crank the game up to high to play with around 26 fps, but opted to bump it down to medium and then adjust some other options until I was satisfied with around 36-40 fps.

    All in all, I think that it's a great game and the combat system has really grown on me. t first I thought it was rather gimmicky and too complicated, but once I got used to it I love the animations and the depth it adds to fights. For you WoW lovers out there, I got talked into reactivating my WoW account to play with some friends and I just can't do it after playing AoC. The combat seems even more stale than it did when I got burned out on WoW the first time.

    Nothing beats throwing your 2 handed sword and impaling your foe with it, and that's not even a finishing move.

  • thedgethedge Palm Harbor, FLPosts: 46Member

    I find the Q&A, well at least the answers, to be very misleading. I think most will be very unhappy and feel let down in the near future.

  • LeucentLeucent Penticton, BCPosts: 2,371Member
    Originally posted by rmk70


    Can you say damage control? lol



    hehe i was thinking the same. I really don t see a great release for some reason.

  • CenthanCenthan Toms River, NJPosts: 483Member

    Originally posted by rmk70


    Can you say damage control? lol
    Hehe, that was my sentiment as well.

    I'm going to take it at face value and say that they will have all of the gamebreaking issues that make it almost unplayable for a lot of us fixed.  However, I'm still waiting 1 month or more after launch to possibly purchase it

    To be honest, every answer contained good information, assuming it's true, but also had the tone of misdirection to it, like he is being the perfect salesman for a far from perfect product.  Reminded me of a politican being asked about a hot topic, and he or she gives a light, fluffy answer that really doesn't have much to do with the question that was asked.  I'll explain...

    The first question about loading screens kicked it off ....

    Answer contains..."we really wanted to bring a new level of immersion to MMOs (and judging from the feedback we have done exactly that!) "

    Next question about about old and new clients...

    Answer contains..."people are having tons of fun AND good performance"

    Next question about poor performance...

    Answer contains..."a number of players are reporting stellar performance"

    Couple questions down about why would Funcom create a game that requires a high end computer...

    Answer contains..." it has also propelled us into the position as the, by far, most read about, viewed and awarded MMO in development. "

    Next question, about how people are complaining about a "rocky" start

    Answer contains..."We are on track to something special, and it’s FUN."

    Next question, what's the best thing you've gotten out of beta

    Contains..."That most people love our game! That it’s fun..."

    Last question regarding the beta surprise

    Contains..."the players will love what we have coming for them, and I think they will"



    Ok, the last question was obviously a "sales" type question, but the others were all relating to technical issues, and it seemed like he always had to throw something in there about the fun you will have!

    It's like Funcom had a meeting before the interview, and they said, "Look, give them some technical answers, but always remember to remind them about the FUN, FUN, FUN they are going to have.  Maybe then they will forget about the problems and not notice them at launch.  We will call this our brain-washing phase"

    Ok, that's a little over the top.  Nevertheless, that's the feeling I got from the answers.  Lets hope I'm wrong.

  • CablespiderCablespider Occupied Chicago, ILPosts: 272Member
    Originally posted by tinywulf


    Me, and two friends are in Open Beta, all 3 of us have vastly different systems from low end to high end.
    All of us are experiencing the problems, the crashes, the lag, etc.
     
    One of my friends wants to play it so bad he reboots like every hour or something just so the game runs ok.
    See once the game crashes one time it fubars your video somehow to the point only a reboot fixes it (for the game) , otherwise the game ctd's like every 2 minutes.
    WindowsXP is more stable than a game, never thought i'd see the day!
    Anyway, my point is this game is not ready for launch, and I won't be buying it. It's just plain not ready.

    And I know 4 people that have absolutely no problems whatsoever concerning CTD's, BSOD's and whatnot. It sure seems ready for launch on their end. Sure, there are in-game bugs but that's par for the course and to be expected. These guys have booku hours put in and none have crashed other than a few times when exiting the game. Nothing hard. This game will give a rig a run for the money and reveal weak points in the system. There is a flip side to this and not everyone is having problems.

    image

  • singsofdeathsingsofdeath BruehlPosts: 1,812Member

    Originally posted by Centhan


     
    Originally posted by rmk70


    Can you say damage control? lol
    Hehe, that was my sentiment as well.

     

    I'm going to take it at face value and say that they will have all of the gamebreaking issues that make it almost unplayable for a lot of us fixed.  However, I'm still waiting 1 month or more after launch to possibly purchase it

    To be honest, every answer contained good information, assuming it's true, but also had the tone of misdirection to it, like he is being the perfect salesman for a far from perfect product.  Reminded me of a politican being asked about a hot topic, and he or she gives a light, fluffy answer that really doesn't have much to do with the question that was asked.  I'll explain...

    The first question about loading screens kicked it off ....

    Answer contains..."we really wanted to bring a new level of immersion to MMOs (and judging from the feedback we have done exactly that!) "

    Next question about about old and new clients...

    Answer contains..."people are having tons of fun AND good performance"

    Next question about poor performance...

    Answer contains..."a number of players are reporting stellar performance"

    Couple questions down about why would Funcom create a game that requires a high end computer...

    Answer contains..." it has also propelled us into the position as the, by far, most read about, viewed and awarded MMO in development. "

    Next question, about how people are complaining about a "rocky" start

    Answer contains..."We are on track to something special, and it’s FUN."

    Next question, what's the best thing you've gotten out of beta

    Contains..."That most people love our game! That it’s fun..."

    Last question regarding the beta surprise

    Contains..."the players will love what we have coming for them, and I think they will"



    Ok, the last question was obviously a "sales" type question, but the others were all relating to technical issues, and it seemed like he always had to throw something in there about the fun you will have!

    It's like Funcom had a meeting before the interview, and they said, "Look, give them some technical answers, but always remember to remind them about the FUN, FUN, FUN they are going to have.  Maybe then they will forget about the problems and not notice them at launch.  We will call this our brain-washing phase"

    Ok, that's a little over the top.  Nevertheless, that's the feeling I got from the answers.  Lets hope I'm wrong.

    Yeah....god forbid someone actually having -FUN- in the game. <.<

     

    Seriously though. What did you expect? He's part of a company that's trying to sell a game. Obviously he will point out the good things. Now, I would call BS if there were no good reviews out there, but there are, so his answers are close enough to the truth on that front. Hell, even Shannia's survey has double the people still on pre-orders than cancelling with the rest waiting till release. That's not exactly a result I would expect to see from a Beta in which everything went wrong.

     

    But hey, that's just me.

  • jy88902jy88902 Toronto, ONPosts: 293Member

    I think you completely missed his point where Funcom did not give a definitive answer in any of the technical questions while not forgetting to throw out a "remember to have fun like everyone else".

  • singsofdeathsingsofdeath BruehlPosts: 1,812Member

    Originally posted by jy88902


    I think you completely missed his point where Funcom did not give a definitive answer in any of the technical questions while not forgetting to throw out a "remember to have fun like everyone else".
    No, I did not miss the point.

     

    In fact, I am curious what point was to be made. What do you expect? Do you expect them to tell you exactly what their coders/programmers/scripters and whatnot are doing? Do you expect them to hand out the code to you for analysis? Do you expect them to show you every little bit of their internal workings? Has any company ever done that?

     

    No, I don't think so. What he did was answer the points adressed in a simple way, yes, without many specifics, but he answered them...and as I said, he threw in the fun stuff because he -IS- trying to sell a game, apart from the fact that there -ARE- people who are having immense fun playing.

     

    I ask again, what did you expect?

  • A.BlacklochA.Blackloch NexusPosts: 831Member

    After being in open beta with no issues at all, I'm really eager to wait for the launch date! After being mmorpg-free for quite some time since nothing in the market pleases me, I think this is the game for me. Personally I have enjoyed the game play alot.

    And I'm ok with the loading screens. We all saw how the "seamless world" turned out to be for example in Vanguard. There will still those loading areas, where your computer froze for a moment while loading for new content and in the background your character kept running forwards. Once the loading was done, you were suddenly in the middle of mobs, ready to die once again due to the "seamless world".

    My only concern is the ability to use hotkeys for example those two additional quickbars. So far I've found no way to do it and while I've never been a mouse clicker, this really is a huge minus in the UI. I know it opens some "special attacks" with Alt key pressed down, but as long as there is this Windows-hotkey in keyboards, using Alt during some combat is a sure way to end up in desktop. I just hope the final version does have support for hotkeying every single quickbar possible.

    image image image

  • SinkaelSinkael Crawfordville, FLPosts: 64Member Common

    I think we can finally silence that stupid rumor that this is an old Client, said in game and I will say it here. That theory makes no sense whatsoever is is complete rubbish cooked up by fanbois.

  • CablespiderCablespider Occupied Chicago, ILPosts: 272Member
    Originally posted by Sinkael


    I think we can finally silence that stupid rumor that this is an old Client, said in game and I will say it here. That theory makes no sense whatsoever is is complete rubbish cooked up by fanbois.

    Nevermind

    image

  • LanthirLanthir Port St. Luice, FLPosts: 217Member

    Originally posted by ColdSun


    After reading this I'm a bit discouraged.  I'm one of those people in the minority with bad performance.  So are my sons.  I actually have a nice computer.  My son has a brand new VERY nice computer.  It has problems on all of our systems.  Weird graphics lag and poor performance.
    Don't get me wrong - other than the bad performance the game is awesome.  I really love the classes and the immersion the world gives me.  The problem is, I'm not going to buy a game at release if I don't know for a fact the performance is smooth.  I've tried changing settings six weeks from Sunday, followed every guide etc.  I want to be able to buy 3 copies for my family when it releases, but until I know this poor performance is fixed, I'm not buying.  Perhaps after release a few months... I don't know.
    I feel the same way.  I am on a nice machine and iIhave to play on low settings.  Contary to what he said most people I have met in game are having performance issues and most fo them are on rigs like mine or ones ever better. In the towns i have fps around 10  in solo instances i get to around mid 30's  and that is on low settings.  I have no idea what the spell effects look like because i have to have them totaly turned off along with shadowing and the water effects.  I am very discouraged that they are not impliments fixs for this before the beta ends.

    2 Duo CPU     E6750  @ 2.66GHz

    2  Geforce 8800gt sli

    2 500gb HD Raid 0

    4gb ram

    Killer NIC Gaming Adapter

    water cooled

    Windows Vista™ Home Premium

     

     

    Magic is impressive, but now Minsc leads! Swords for everyone!

  • singsofdeathsingsofdeath BruehlPosts: 1,812Member

    Originally posted by Lanthir


     
    Originally posted by ColdSun


    After reading this I'm a bit discouraged.  I'm one of those people in the minority with bad performance.  So are my sons.  I actually have a nice computer.  My son has a brand new VERY nice computer.  It has problems on all of our systems.  Weird graphics lag and poor performance.
    Don't get me wrong - other than the bad performance the game is awesome.  I really love the classes and the immersion the world gives me.  The problem is, I'm not going to buy a game at release if I don't know for a fact the performance is smooth.  I've tried changing settings six weeks from Sunday, followed every guide etc.  I want to be able to buy 3 copies for my family when it releases, but until I know this poor performance is fixed, I'm not buying.  Perhaps after release a few months... I don't know.
    I feel the same way.  I am on a nice machine and iIhave to play on low settings.  Contary to what he said most people I have met in game are having performance issues and most fo them are on rigs like mine or ones ever better. In the towns i have fps around 10  in solo instances i get to around mid 30's  and that is on low settings.  I have no idea what the spell effects look like because i have to have them totaly turned off along with shadowing and the water effects.  I am very discouraged that they are not impliments fixs for this before the beta ends.

     

    2 Duo CPU     E6750  @ 2.66GHz

    2  Geforce 8800gt sli

    2 500gb HD Raid 0

    4gb ram

    Killer NIC Gaming Adapter

    water cooled

    Windows Vista™ Home Premium

     

     

    I'm not going to touch the subject of who can run the game smoothly and who not since I have seen numerous claims of both sides for the last couple of weeks now. It's no sense in trying to argue there.

     

    Still, about the red-highlighted part. You know that?

     

    Or is this just another "This is just like Vanguard" assumption?

  • LanthirLanthir Port St. Luice, FLPosts: 217Member
    Originally posted by singsofdeath


     
    Originally posted by Lanthir


     
    Originally posted by ColdSun


    After reading this I'm a bit discouraged.  I'm one of those people in the minority with bad performance.  So are my sons.  I actually have a nice computer.  My son has a brand new VERY nice computer.  It has problems on all of our systems.  Weird graphics lag and poor performance.
    Don't get me wrong - other than the bad performance the game is awesome.  I really love the classes and the immersion the world gives me.  The problem is, I'm not going to buy a game at release if I don't know for a fact the performance is smooth.  I've tried changing settings six weeks from Sunday, followed every guide etc.  I want to be able to buy 3 copies for my family when it releases, but until I know this poor performance is fixed, I'm not buying.  Perhaps after release a few months... I don't know.
    I feel the same way.  I am on a nice machine and iIhave to play on low settings.  Contary to what he said most people I have met in game are having performance issues and most fo them are on rigs like mine or ones ever better. In the towns i have fps around 10  in solo instances i get to around mid 30's  and that is on low settings.  I have no idea what the spell effects look like because i have to have them totaly turned off along with shadowing and the water effects.  I am very discouraged that they are not impliments fixs for this before the beta ends.

     

    2 Duo CPU     E6750  @ 2.66GHz

    2  Geforce 8800gt sli

    2 500gb HD Raid 0

    4gb ram

    Killer NIC Gaming Adapter

    water cooled

    Windows Vista™ Home Premium

     

     

    I'm not going to touch the subject of who can run the game smoothly and who not since I have seen numerous claims of both sides for the last couple of weeks now. It's no sense in trying to argue there.

     

     

    Still, about the red-highlighted part. You know that?

     

    Or is this just another "This is just like Vanguard" assumption?

    Well considering he just said in the interview they were not going to impliment fixs before the close of the open beta  I assume that it is true. 

    Magic is impressive, but now Minsc leads! Swords for everyone!

  • singsofdeathsingsofdeath BruehlPosts: 1,812Member

    Hmmm...my apologies. I misread the sentence. XD

     

    I'd like to point to the tweaks that might be in anyway. Perhaps that will fix some things for some players. You never know.

  • jy88902jy88902 Toronto, ONPosts: 293Member

    Did you read the interview?

    The DIRECTOR confirmed in his own words that the "old client" thing was a RUMOR. He explained that the issues people are having came up unexpected because they rushed a few fixes in.

    So what he is saying is correct, the OB was never an old client.

  • HumbleHoboHumbleHobo Richland, WAPosts: 116Member
    Regarding the original post:

    I hope they are not mistaking graphical overkill for quality.
    With the differences and focus of AoC, I think it could have stood on it's own without such intense, memory-consuming detail to realism.

    Quality of game and Quality of graphics are quite separate, and do not often relate.
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