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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.
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?
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.