Friday, August 28, 2009

Age of Conan: First Impressions.

Strap on your most outlandish Conan ensemble and lets take a trip to Hyboria!

Today I'm going to go over some of my adventures I've had so far in the world of Hyboria. I cannot speak for high end in this game or PvP but we will get to that later. This is a glance into the world of AoC.

I've put off trying this game for quite some time. I really have always been a huge Conan fan. I think what put me off to begin with was the mature theme, I figured it would be cheesey and pretty much be a very shallow game. That said, it's not my impression after trying it.


I wanted to get a feel for the archetypes, rogue, priest, mage and soldier. So I tried each of these out for a bit. So to begin with I will go over my impressions of each and how they feel with combat basically just a brief overview generalizing them in those trees. I would like to try each class out and I am sure I will eventually but that is for another time ;) I just simply at this point don't have it in me to play up each class to tell about it.

The Soldier: These classes seemed strong, good to start out with once you get an understanding of combat. There are combos to you can work out with the abilities the classes get. They were pretty powerful and fun. What I did not like was there basically is no auto attack, you have to keep hitting keys to make sure you keep attacking. However at times you can hit multiple mobs as well as the one you are attacking which was pretty cool.

Rogue: This was pretty much starting out very much like the Soldier but they didn't feel like they could take a beating as well. From what I gather these classes can dish out some damage but require a lot of attention to each fight.

Priest: I did not get high enough on a healing class to see how well they do but I also take it from reading up- while not being the fastest killing they can take on a lot. I just simply felt at this point I wasn't into leveling one up. I do want to work on one as my next class. I've been leaning away from healers recently as I've played them way too long. (HOLY PALADIN ON HIATUS!! Retired EQ cleric... you get my drift?!)

Mage: I really wanted to try play a caster in this game from what I read of them. They really did seem like they had potential to be really fun. All of these classes sounded awesome. I was sort of let down the demonoligist pets more or less seem to just follow you around, but I will have to play mine higher to see how well they work. The Herald of Xotli which was a melee/caster hybrid could be quite fun. The Necromancer was what got me though. The class was pretty strong to begin with and then it was "I CAN HAS MINIONS!" Which was pretty neat. Getting more than one pet and pets that proc on certain spells was too cool. So this seemes to be the class I will work on the most as it has been the most fun so far IMO.

Combat! - Ok so now that we have what I thought briefly on the classes lets talk about combat! I think the casters are pretty fun but the melee is a bit annoying at times. It is definitely a system to get use to, although it is not hard at all. Just having to constantly hit moves was sort getting use to.. at times I was thinking I could auto attack and then doh ... I need to keep hitting these keys! *Grabs coffee while spamming keys* You have three arrows which are to each side and overhead to attack with and these tie in with combos. Combos show up above the ability bar so you can't miss them unless you are just not paying any attention at all. Combos tie in with abilities.

Sound- This game has some really great music. The quest givers can get annoying imo but that's just part of the game.. a big part heh. Other than that the music is really so nice I didn't bother turning it off like I do on most games.

Interface- The interface is easy to access and use. It also has a built in "Quest Helper".  It really helped with direction with all the quests I revived upon reaching the first town. If I had to figure out where all that stuff was it probably would not have been as much fun. The quests are colors according to level range much like in any other games. Grey to red.. you get the picture. So I will have to say this game has a great interface, mini map and all just because of the ease of getting use to it.

Graphics- Ooo-lala. The characters are very pretty. Very detailed. When I logged in my first female character I though "I'm a Barbie girl in a Conan world".  They did a great job on going for realism, the gear is very realistic. The world was very realistic, I am not really one for realism in games but it was a nice change. Very detailed, I felt as if somewhere you really could go to IRL. I'm going to Hyboria on my vacation next year ;) The water is fantastic, it made me want to go swimming :p Very nice graphics overall for the genre.

Characters movements were at times clunky, but overall they looked good being clunky so no big deal right? I really liked the feel on the gear, it was unlike anything else I've ever played. Real while being fantastically unlike anything you would wear in this day and age or in other mmorpgs!

Performance? Although I do not have settings ALL the way up I have them cranked up pretty high. Currently I have shadows off, if I use them I keep them on low. That is with any game though... that's always a big resource hog. It runs smoothly. Lag? Not really, every game has lag spikes and I have not noticed anything worth mentioning.

Just for an idea I'm running this on:

GForce 8600 GT

Dual Processing P4 @ 3.06 GHZ

2 gigs of ram

That's what she said!

General Game play - Questing was more or less the same as other games which was fine with me. The only thing that was really different was the quest dialogue was in sort of a "cut scene" so you still could get attacked while going through it. You had the option to click through it quickly at least.

With low level casting taking on a few mobs could be hard as you got interrupted easily still at this point.

Pets... while they are so very sweet it seems the caster gets the hate they generate. So while the caster is casting they still get beat on while the pets wailed away on the mobs. They also were kind of "dumb pets" you could set them to assist, follow, defend ect.. but you could not say "Go attack!" sadly. I suppose there is an option to have them attack what you target but that gets kind of dangerous,. That option I did not try so I am guessing here on this last pet option. As I said I am still learning. After playing around more I noticed there is a small button to have pets attack over the character's health bar. Doh wish I had seen it sooner, I'm blind =p

Stop picking or it will never heal!

The summoned pets at times would just poof while running around town. They seemed afraid of water :( they died once while I swam arcross a pool of water. "Guys come on in the water is fine!" I was replied with a moan and then they keeled over and died at the edge.. hrmm ok not big on swimming I guess.

No game is perfect though.

Character dances were also pretty cute, you can do different moves and link them together which is pretty sweet. Dance off! Conan Style! Don't shoot me /duck.

Instances, there was a quest line that put me in town at night, which I was the only one in that "instance" of the town. Regular instances seemed much like Everquest or DAoC, you zone in and see other players also there with you. There was a normal and Epic option for each I had zoned into. Pretty cool.

My thoughts overall..

The game is different than the fantasy genre I am generally into. It is more realistic, but it has been a very nice change. Refreshing. It seems the game has much potential to be fun long term. I saw people running around all over which was nice.

I can't say much for the community.. I did not see nearly as much crap in the chat channels as other games. It could be there, I don't know at this point. I also played on a PvE server so.. I think the real brutes probably are not on the care-bear servers heh.

Is it something to play long term? I think it could be. I will definitely keep playing it the duration of the first month. After that it depends on how it pans out at that point as a fun factor.

PvP seems like it could be messy. I will have to try it out to see, but as seeing the combat it is something that you really would have to pay much attention to each little detail in this aspect I would think. I could be wrong... but just from the combat feeling it has.. it's already kind of hectic there. Plus with Free for all PvP woo!

The classes seem to get a LOT more fun as you level. They are quite dull to start out with. More dull than most games honestly. But seeing some of the high end players and what they can so, it looks like a great deal of fun. This game reminds me of DAoC in many aspects.. but with better features.

Come on in guys, the water is fine!

The good the bad and the unpolished.

Would recommend this game to others? At this point sure. Polish? It lacks polish in a lot of areas.  Starting over is a pain as you have to go through the intro each time.. come on let us use the esc to get out of that. I counted SIX clicks to get past upon logging in, that includes the game opening cinematic upon logging in every time. Loading.. yikes it takes quite awhile to log in and zone. Scan upon every log in was quite annoying. It felt like logging into Eq almost.

But as I said no game is perfect. It has been fun and while it continues to be fun for me I will keep playing and see how it goes.

Hope this gives you some insight if you are chewing it over on trying it out.I had a hard time really trying to figure out if it was worth it. It got a lot of bad review honestly but I am always one to try things for myself. It was not what it was thought to be upon release, but they are working on it and it seems to be getting much better.

See ya on the flip side.


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