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I had tried it at launch, and while having a good time, I was just too busy at that point in my life to really sit down and play.
So i gave it a whirl, after the dust had settled , The game was not F2P at the time and a subscription was needed. I got out my card and subbed to see just how the game had evolved.
These are subject words that i will elaborate on with my experiance (and on going) with Age of Conan.
Story: Enough said here folks, This is top notch story telling, The characters do have voice overs up until you leave Tortage (The starting zone 1-20) This is great for me, I do like getting that quick immersion grasp, being a fan of Howards books i can safely say Funcom did excellent here. The reading doesn't bother me after tortage, In fact, i really like it. 90% of the time i read faster than any voice-over can speak! I did try starwars, Although they claim to be "innovative" with having every npc with a voice. I personally get dull of it. Who cares? Reading is good for you.
Community: The community in AoC is one of, if not the best! Sure they're are a few taints but its very uncommon. Infact people will take time out of their play just to help newer players. I've seen in Global channels where people are offering free blue gear to people leveling whom might need it. I joined a guild during my extensive review/play and i must say, that these people and I have really grown fond of one another. Not only do we ask game related questions, these people care about your day, your life, and your dog! Really though, It's what EQ offered that WoW didn't , a great community! Even if you're not in the same guild you can meet a lot of very nice people out there.
Raiding: Upon reaching level 80 you can start raiding! The raids in AoC offer greater gear (duh!) One key element that i have seen in mmo's today that conan offers is body blocking/surroundment. Some key fights require the raid force to circle the boss/mob so that it cannot escape the circle. AoC doesnt let you "Magically" pass through people, this in itself adds a whole new element in raiding and tactics which must be followed. So lets say you're playing Rift, or WoW and you've gotta run to get out of the green shit, Well its possible to just ghost through people as long as your safe, but in conan if a "teammate" isnt thinking about his "team" and doesnt move for John it may cause extra damage to that player or the entire raid! (Can cause a raid wipe in T3). The raiding is fun, exciting and downright a blast to do! It keeps your brain and YOU! on your toes!
Roleplaying: AoC handles RP very well, With a list emotions that can make your headspin due to its sheer amount, and the Vanity tab (allows you equip a gearset which you favor over the current and still retain the stats!) I'm going to keep this subject light but all in all, Roleplayers are in a safe haven here in Age of Conan. With weelky RP meets you'll get your dose of RP happily.
Combat: The combat is simply amazing, I love the fatlities! Combo's make everything more "Skillfull" Every keystroke can matter here, Conan's combat is nothing like anything out there at the moment, Any melee character you choose offers cone damage with said weapon. For example, If i have 3 enemies right up on me, and I'm using a polearm swinging left to right it's going to hit every single one. Not just your selected target. Certain weapons offer a distance in which they can attack. Daggers being the shortest range require you being very close to the mob. After playing conan then trying out starwars, i simply felt cheated of money because TOR felt cheap, it's a simple warhammer/wow single target/single damage type thing where everyskill is on a global cooldown.
Graphics: I saved this one for last, simply becasue AoC outshines the others in this department. I can only think of ONE mmo which has better graphics overall and thats FFXIV (lol...) TOR's are Fitting, but without a in-game option for AA and having to post-inject it is simply just bad an worse for performance. Hero engine isn't good. sorry.... The dreamworld engine still to this day from its 08' release is mind blowing! It offers an insane amount of options to fully immerse a person. The shadows/godrays/water accoustics simply show how much funcom prides in their engine and using it for The Secret World. Nothing out there offers this type of exploration with this level of detail. NONE! Small shurbs will actually move when walking through instead of you "Magically" passing through it.
I could go more in-depth, but i wanted to leave it at that. I'm sure many Anti-funcom haters will chime in and thats fine. Really, your only helping The launch was rough but most MMO's experiance that, many vets will know this aswell too. The game has changed and only for the better. I highly recommend this game for anyone who is currently bored or just tired of the extensive end game TOR has to offer (lol...) It has some bugs but nothing game-breaking at the moment, in-fact i have experianced only very minor things which would hardly fault as a bug and also seen commonly in many other mmo's.
If you do decide to play, I suggest wiccanna, I currently play there and love it. If you have any help feel to send me a tell if you join in ! IGN: Etzul