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MMORPG.com Age of Conan Reporter John Humphrey writes this multi-part article detailing Age of Conan's 2009 progress toward being named MMORPG.com's Most Improved MMO. In today's opening, Humphrey provides the background for the changes to come in the year.
Fighting demons is not an uncommon experience in Hyboria from the Barrachan Isles to shadow-haunted Stygia, and soon to the far-eastern realms of Khitai. The remains of Acheron are rising across the continent. The skeleton of ancient Atlantis is clawing forth from its tombs to aid the players against their corrupt foes.
Players are not, by far, the only ones that have to fight their demons. Funcom has been plagued with the demons of an early release, incomplete content, uncooperative technology, and the angry backlash of players who don't look past the affront of undelivered promises and a perceived lack of communication. The managers and developers of Age of Conan recognize this. The guard was quickly changed in 2008, and the focus was shifted to delivering what the players wanted if at all possible. Some items have been clearly stated as to not being deliverable despite the good intentions of developers. Though, the XBOX 360 version still has a small dedicated team, and it is still being developed though likely for a NextGen system; we learned this year that Age of Conan is, simply put, a beast that will not fit on an Xbox360 platform. The graphics demands are much too high to run on existing console systems. Despite successes over the last year in eliminating memory leak issues in the game client, eliminating graphical slowdowns, resolving difficulty getting endgame Battle Keep Sieges not to crash, and honing the engine to run on somewhat less technologically enhanced PC Platforms, it still requires quite a deal of meat in the hardware category to pull off a smooth experience.