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Post by Dan @ 10:22am 20/06/08 | 29 Comments
Well it's been a big adventure, but AusGamers' comprehensive review of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is now online.
In Conan the players will encounter a dark, lush, violent and sinful universe. In a world filled with cruel gods, mythical creatures, lost civilizations and a struggling human race, the mighty barbarian has finally seized the throne as king of Aquilonia. But Conan's rule is on the brink of chaos, spiraling towards the doom of ancient evils.
Come join us for a stroll though Hyboria as we take a look at Funcom's latest MMORPG, a vast digital playground built on Robert E. Howard's Conan The Barbarian lore.



age of conanreview





Latest Comments
athzhr
Posted 11:01am 20/6/08
Ah, so this wasn't just an excuse to play AoC
Basket
Posted 11:13am 20/6/08
got aoc. didn't like.
Nathan
Posted 12:19pm 20/6/08
Any comments on levelling speed?
Dan
Posted 12:30pm 20/6/08
It's pretty smooth and consistent up until the low 50s when it becomes a bit of a grind for a bit then gets better after 60. That's mostly a problem soloing though as there seems to be enough group quests to keep things flowing, assuming you can find people worth playing with of course.
Jim
Posted 12:45pm 20/6/08
they've made grinding more bearable now by greatly increasing the xp reward for villa quests which are available from around 40, and scale up with your level.

the reward used to be pitiful, wish I could get all that xp retrospectively awarded :)
cJay
Posted 02:45pm 20/6/08
This game is awesome albeit still in it's infancy, for people with higher spec PC's it's lush graphics and sound will be a treat!
boba
Posted 03:39pm 20/6/08
Give it six months to a year and it might be worth paying to play. But atm even though it's fun, it's not working playing because of all the problems and bugs with is.
TicMan
Posted 03:46pm 20/6/08
I think it's a very decent game.. although the biggest annoyance for me is trying to find groups to do instances/dungeons/whatever they are called with. The looking for people system isn't the most user friendly and neither is trying to find dungeons.
groganus
Posted 06:01pm 20/6/08
I think it's a very decent game.. although the biggest annoyance for me is trying to find groups to do instances/dungeons/whatever they are called with. The looking for people system isn't the most user friendly and neither is trying to find dungeons.


go to area where dungeon is

in occ "lfg "
wait...
problem solved.

deadlyf
Posted 06:37pm 20/6/08
It truly is still in it's beta stage IMO. I can't fault Funcom from releasing it early though considering that WAR and the new WoW expansion should be out latter this year. In fact, I think in the end it will be better for the player base having to deal with a few bugs now then if they had done a proper beta period and released it latter.
athzhr
Posted 08:46pm 20/6/08
Game is still fun, but they probably should've delayed release for at least 2-3 months :/ That would've solved a lot of issue and given them time to introduce the new content (that they're adding later this month)
Obes
Posted 09:13pm 20/6/08
I don't want to sound negative...
but!

Graphically, Age of Conan is stellar. Without a question, the best looking game in it's genre -

Without a question ? ... I'd question it, LOTRO and EQ2 both are as pretty and significantly older and run better on lower end machines (ie. scale better). If nothing else Conan player characters are drab and are various shades of brown.

Combos are perhaps the most unique feature that helps distinguish Age of Conan from other MMOs - instead of just clicking a single button, they require you to perform a chain of different directional attacks before the final, more damaging move is executed.

Honestly ... DAOC chains were not dissimilar. Interestingly no mention of spell weaving which is kind of unique. And fatalities...

The game world is somewhat dissected, using NPC wagoneers and boatmen as your link between the various zones. This works against the game a little, in that loading screens and the lack of seamless outdoor areas make Hyboria seem a bit less grand. On the plus side, getting from one end to the other is a lot less tedious than many other MMOs.

A rather nice way to write: "the playing world is tiny compared to other mmo's and everything is instanced (City of Hero's/AO style) with the loading screen being a frequent sight".

And the comments regarding voice overs ... play eq2 they are through out the game. 1-20 is completed 20-80 has been rushed.

That all said for me its new and entertaining, for now.
Jim
Posted 11:13pm 20/6/08
I'd call daoc styles quite dissimilar meself - I'd love it of aoc had them instead of combos. In daoc you /stick to your target and you're almost guaranteed a hit when you expect it, as opposed to pressing a combo hotkey while a caster/healer dances and prances around - you get the combo moves off without actually hitting the target half the time (and that's if the combo doesn't just suddenly disapear due to lag or whatever bug causes it) and then try to make sure the actual last combo move which does the damage or effect hits the target. If it doesn't you're likely frozen while your toon does the animation for the combo on thin air.

Maybe it works ok when your ping is sub-50 but it blows a goat or six from here in aus.

Against a decent player who knows that moving around f**** you up, it is so much easier playing a caster/healer/ranger than a melee class in this game it's not funny. Case in point: the other night I was on my lowbie pom in kopshef and some ranger 5 levels up ganked me, so I relogged my level 63 dt. This level 33 ranger was able to just keep popping healing pots because it was so difficult to get styles off with the lag. With daoc it wouldn't really have mattered.

Anyway, I still whittled this ranger down a few times amidst a flurry of trash talk but then a 51 tos jumps in thinking I am ganking lowbies for the heck of it. So again, I am level 63 and this tos is level 51. I was barely able to even get the guy to have to heal. Meanwhile, he just stands there and hits a single button in order to effect good damage or root etc on me. Due to the fact that I'd get one in 5 or so lifetap combos off on the guy when I could get to him and single-button combo stun him, and the fact I was popping heal pots it turned out to be a stalemate. With that difference in levels! Until I thought 'this is s***' and just stopped popping pots and gradually let him kill me.

Playing the pom is crazy fun by comparison because it _is_ similar to daoc in terms of doing damage and getting other effects on your target
groganus
Posted 11:43pm 20/6/08
dont listen to obes and jim, they are biased fan boys.
Chaser
Posted 07:26am 21/6/08
Um EQ2 is 4 years older. Sorry EQ2's graphics were the best then but they can't touch AoC today. You might want to invest in a more up to date system to see for yourself. Good grief. People find anything to complain about.
Obes
Posted 08:19am 21/6/08
e6850 at 3.6G and a 8800GTX ... Perhaps if you had a better system and turned up the graphics you'd be surprised ? It may not have as much random "frill" detail randomly everywhere. But ...Lavastorm with its heat waves rising off the lava pools is quite impressive for as you as say a 4 year old game. And the toons aren't 400 shades of brown nor are your opponents picts picts and picts with oh some picts.

Jim if AoC had stick, combos would essentially be the same. Combos would have been cooler imo if they automatically fired after pressing the appropriate combination of keys with out first having to trigger the combo. ie. you went up up left and it auto went hey I can do a whirling flurry of pink power puffs and did it.

Dan
Posted 09:16am 21/6/08
Thanks for the feedback, but I'm going to stand by opinion of the graphics.

Here's a couple of recent trailers from Lotro and eq2 imo, they don't hold a candle to Conan.

EverQuest 2: Gathering Tempest Launch Trailer
The Lord of the Rings Online "Book 13" Dev Diary Trailer

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Launch Trailer
Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Tech Demo Trailer

As for the palette, well perhaps that's a more personal thing, but imo the rainbow colours that a lot of MMOs seem to have s*** me so it was refreshing to see one that keeps things more down to earth.

Fair call on the combat stuff though as I do agree that the end result is still pretty lacking in substance. Sorry if that sentiment didn't quite come through but there was a crapload to try and describe and I didn't want to get too long winded so a few things did slip the critique.

How about sharing some of the things you _did_ like?

last edited by Dan at 09:18:40 21/Jun/08
Obes
Posted 10:22am 21/6/08
Forget trailers, and I think this is flaw in this review you make comparisons to other mmo's but how many mmo's have you actually played ? ... fire the games up. Maybe I am looking for/at different things when I play a game. If I see the same things repeated over and over and over I am not impressed (I haven't stopped to look at a monster twice since Tortage). Its not just quality its variety and performance. Even on my relatively decent machine the frame rate feels a little stifling at times (and I turned some features off). None of the dungeons have a particularly unique feel to them. The have reused components and have a distinctly cave like feel to them. Maybe they put more effort into the 75+ content ?

As for the positives. You covered them dan ... the music and game/combat sound. It has possibly the best soundtrack since Diablo 2. The capitals have a great and unique feel to them. And the first 20 levels prove this can be a fun game. The lore and world seem to have been implemented well. Fatalities awesome! The fact they have disabled /follow and made being a healer more then /follow and press heal once ina while (ie. removed the healbot).

But seriously Dan the 400 shades of brown is boring. Quake had a larger palette. I agree some games went completely over the top (wow). But the fact that I look the same at 50 as I did when I was 10 and will probably be the same at 80... *yawn*

It smacks of a lack of content beyond level 20. The game feels like it has about 30% of its content.
groganus
Posted 11:09am 21/6/08
the most disapointing thing about the game to me is how small the game world actually is, in saying that though there are alot of very interesting locations for them to go into later.

also stygia which has to have the best landscape terrain and general awesomeness is really only featured in 20-30's after that i havent had a reason to ever go there.

the game holds very true to the lore though, which unfortuneately means that your opponents are either pict's vanir or nemidians (and of course wild life) the problem being with that though is that you get sick of fighting the same enemy over and over again.

hopefully if they ever expand to other locations like the isle of black ones and zamora we will see some tall jungle black people and pirates to fight. (though you got todo alot of that in tortage anyway)

to me however this all shines as a positive. so what if the dungeons look the same and have the same feel... thats how they were in the conan storys, its kind of what i expect. i dont mind killing vanir or picts, they are f*** heads and deserve to die at my blade (especially the pict's. filthy filthy pict's).

as far as armor goes and the way your character looks, i tend to find that my look changes every 10 levels, whilst the changes are not dramatic there enough for me to feel rewarded with my progression, as a barb i started off wearing social cloth armor, i moved to really lame light armor that looked crappy and patchy, i then wore light armor that resembled a potato sack, i then moved to a more warrior style of light armor, now my armor is made our of hides and is all patchy but it is strong and crafted well, it also looks used and bloody. my swords having carvings in the steel and my mace has shiny tips cuts along the handle.... that kind of detail is awesome, and sure they were quest rewards and sure every other barb my level is going to be using the same s***... but what game doesnt that happen in.

for me this game is fantastic, however i understand people when they say it lacks content and its still beta'ish, i have very high hopes for the future though considering what is there and what is left to cover.
Jim
Posted 12:21pm 21/6/08
yeah that's almost exactly how I wish the combos worked obes
having to press the keys _only_ when the game highlights the direction icon is probably the failing part of it - it's incredibly cumbersome with latency in pvp

still don't get the daoc comparison though - in daoc you just press one key and that's your 'combo'. one keypress, one full-powered style (combo) instead of white/plain damage.

and the backup style system they added to daoc was also awesome and would rock for aoc. some styles required you to evade or parry or block before using them, while some styles required you attack from the front, side or rear. so you pick which one you'd prefer in the next swing, but you can also hit a backup style key that will work no matter what the position. meaning that if the requirements aren't met for some reason (player changes direction, or you don't parry/evade/block) you still get to do _decent_ damage with the anytime style you chose as a backup - instead of just patting them on the head.
groganus
Posted 12:25pm 21/6/08
and the backup style system they added to daoc was also awesome and would rock for aoc. some styles required you to evade or parry or block before using them, while some styles required you attack from the front, side or rear. so you pick which one you'd prefer in the next swing, but you can also hit a backup style key that will work no matter what the position. meaning that if the requirements aren't met for some reason (player changes direction, or you don't parry/evade/block) you still get to do _decent_ damage with the anytime style you chose as a backup - instead of just patting them on the head.


this system would be f*****g awesome in the event of using a combo and having the other player or npc block the last move f*****g up the combo and having all damage given back to them.

s**** to me to tears when im using one of my longer cool down combos and the enemy blocks it at last minute and the whole thing is wasted and im stuck waiting 45 seconds before i can use it again.
Obes
Posted 02:04pm 21/6/08
Jim, no doubt daoc had a better system (well after they added backup moves).

My point really was that "combos" are not new. And I'd argue not even well implemented.

ie. DAOC has you hit the opening move, then the followup then maybe another followup and then maybe a finisher.

AoC "combos" are more password protected abilities, rather then a combo in the arcade style.
Jonesy
Posted 02:27pm 21/6/08
SIGH! Why do people ALWAYS complain about the game being instanced and the quest givers not talking anymore after Tortage? Do you really want the game to be open and all the NPC's have voices? Ok...Let's just add another 100gb+ to the required space...Hmm not to mention the memory it would take up. So give it a break and give it some time to mature. All MMO's start out bumpy, yes ALL do.
skythra
Posted 03:00am 23/6/08
No local server?

Not gonna waste my money.

I might play war or stick to FPS if it sucks. I quit wow over that s***.
Keato
Posted 10:55am 24/6/08
AoC is pretty s*** really, the arcade melee is better suited to a console.
The graphics are pretty good, but detract from game performance too much.
And Content is weak.

Maybe ill look again in 3 months, but I think I will wait for WAR.
TicMan
Posted 11:03am 24/6/08
Why do people ALWAYS complain about the game being instanced


Because instancing is s*** when it's implemented like it is in AoC..
boba
Posted 11:04am 24/6/08
The instancing isn't that bad
TicMan
Posted 11:29am 24/6/08
Is so
StreX
Posted 11:48am 24/6/08
this game bloody rox
foad if you think otherwise.
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