The Age of Conan Experiment

Over the weekend, I decided to giveface shot - thirsty dog Age of Conan another go.  I tried it about 2 weeks after release in May last year, but was not smitten.  I had lots of graphics glitches, and just plain couldn’t get into it.  Since the creators are Norwegian, however, I have always harbored a decidedly soft spot for the game.  I really want them to succeed – how amazingly patriotic of me!  The least I could do was try again – they’ve had plenty of time to get their stuff together.

So, I logged onto my son’s account (the only one in the house that’s still active), and created Racy – Stygian Tempest of Set.  You can see her there on your left.  She’s a priest, but a nasty one who likes to scorch her enemies with lightning and stuff.  Sounded cool to me.

I’ll try to convey my thoughts on the game – not sure if you can call it a review exactly.  For any non-World of Warcraft (WoW) players out there: I’m sorry; this post will refer to WoW as a reference point, since that’s My Game.

The first thing you notice about the game is the amazing graphics.  While it’s certainly not photographic, it SEEMS a lot more photographic than WoW.  The characters are much more life-like, as is the scenery.  Character customization is also rather amazing.  There are so many options, it took me forever to get to something I liked.  There must have been tens of eyeliner options!  You can only be human though.

Another thing you immediately have to come to terms with is the combat system.  There isn’t (at least I couldn’t find) an auto-attack option.  So, if you cast a spell, and have the mob targeted, once you’re finished casting, you will NOT start hitting them with whatever is in your hand (in my case a broken bottle I found on the beach). Every time you want to hit the mob, you have to hit a button — there are lots of different ways to hit them (left jab, overhead, right jab) if you’re into that kind of thing.  This combat system TERRIFIES me.  It took me FOREVER to keybind stuff in WoW, and I’m actually returning to more of a click-based system … in my weekend experiment in AoC, I frequently realized I was standing there getting hit by a mob with about 2 health, doing NOTHING and about to die.  Some people probably really like this though – I know my 10 year old does.

forest scenery
Back to graphics again.  They really are awesome.  The scenery looks fantastic – running water is clear and very nice; and the spell effects are uber cool.  Racy’s Lightning Strike spell looks awesome.  It didn’t come out as awesomely as I wanted in the screenie, but you get the idea. Lightning strike back

Once you are used to playing an MMO, certain things come naturally – like looking in your quest log, finding your spells, and equipping usable gear that drops off entry-area mobs. Some things were difficult to come to terms with though – the automatic quest tracker tracks whichever quest you ACCEPTED last, and doesn’t appear to track more than one quest at once.  I found it tedious and confusing to have to go back into my quest log to reselect whatever seemed level appropriate and so on.  I felt like an idiot when I hadn’t put a kind of attribute points (different from feats aka talents) into casting concentration … 10 year old had to show me they were there – and all of a sudden I did much better!

But these are things that come with time.  I was a noob with WoW once too.  So, Monday morning came around, and I thought I’d do some research to make sure I picked the right feats, learned a bit more about what quests I should be doing, that sort of thing.  So I started poking around the internet and was quickly overwhelmed.  What I realized is that I have spent what? 4 years? 5 years? Learning all I know about WoW.  Gear, specs, quests, grouping, addons, etc.  And if I was going to become as good a player in AoC, I would need to invest a great deal of time, research, and play time into becoming as good, and therefore getting as much enjoyment out of the game.

I realized that I was not ready to make that kind of commitment.  I still LOVE WoW … it’s still a fantastic game that I get lots of enjoyment out of in all sorts of ways … to paraphrase a friend, whether I want to quest, raid, or just go fishing.  I’m not ready to leave WoW, and I think committing properly to AoC would require that.  If you are ready to leave, Age of Conan is probably worth another look though.  There were lots of people running around on the server I was on, there were very very few glitches when I was playing, and I was thoroughly enjoying myself.  Just remember that it will require learning things anew 🙂 Just like it did when you started WoW.

In the meantime, Racy is fun to have around for when the servers are down!

Lightning strike

2 thoughts on “The Age of Conan Experiment

  1. There is too much. I lost interest just creating a character – but I’m impatient with games. I need to jump straight in – get some time to know the world and my avatar – and THEN I might want to customise more on my avatar.

    But it is beautiful and it deserves praise for the efforts. I’m just SOOOOO looking forward to Funcom bringing all that they’ve learned into the next one!

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