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Old 04-26-10, 11:35 AM   #687
Blacklash
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Old Vizima
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Default Re: Age of Conan Feedback thread

I can give you a rip from IGN.

March 18, 2010 - It's no secret that a lot of people were disappointed by the disparity between what they were told about Age of Conan: Hyborean Adventures, and what they actually experienced when they played the game. It's fair to say that, even a year and a half after launch, people are still bitter about Age of Conan. Funcom is still working on Age of Conan's first expansion, and although no one's given a release date, it's sounding closer and closer to being complete. Why should you care? Even with Age of Conan's inauspicious first few months, Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer has the potential to be a very interesting, game-changing expansion, and may take the game in the direction that many had originally hoped for.

Regardless of the game, players are going to have complaints. Choosing the most frequent complaints and addressing them is really the best any developer can hope to do. Age of Conan's largest complaints were the linearity of the landscape – that you felt pushed along a path and never had much of an opportunity to explore a large landmass, the ultimately shallow player-versus-player combat, and the mindlessness of most solo-tasks and quest lines (which is an argument targeted towards most MMOs). It may have taken longer than most players wanted, but Funcom did make improvements to as much of the core game as they could. Rise of the Godslayer aims to further improve the original experience while adding a large amount of interesting content.

So what exactly do I mean by 'interesting content'? Think back, for those of you who have played World of Warcraft (and I know there are a lot of you) to the two warring factions introduced in The Burning Crusade. Players were posed with a choice between joining the Aldor or the Scryers, neither of which were necessarily good or evil. In Rise of the God Slayer, players are given many factions (ten in total), each with their own motivations, and allying yourself with one will likely make you an enemy of another. The social web between these factions is supposedly a great deal more complicated than that of WoW's 'this or that' scenario, and each faction's storyline will surface as you perform tasks for them. We're told that, sometimes, you may not entirely like the outcome; that the faction you thought was noble at first may turn out to be uglier than you ever imagined.

The new landscapes will be much broader than in vanilla Age of Conan.

You'll find these factions in the land of Khitai, the large landmass being added in the expansion. Khitai is divided into five zones, or provinces: Paikang, Chosain, Kara Korum, the Northern Grasslands, and the Gates of Khitai. These zones are to be a great deal broader than the zones players traversed in vanilla AoC, and are entirely interconnected. No boat trips or load screens to go between them. Due to the fact that the level cap isn't being raised, it is theoretically possible for players to zip over to the 'last' zone – Kara Korum – and start blowing through what could be considered the 'endgame' content for the expansion.

Players might struggle to do that, however, as the game is tuned for players to have picked up some powerful perks or traits by that stage. It is true that the level cap isn't being raised, but an alternate advancement system is being added to the feat system already in place. Details on the specifics of each ability are sketchy at the moment, but the volume of traits available are about double the number of skills available in a player's individual feat tree. These abilities function differently from feats in that players have six open slots to cram these traits in. More powerful alternate advancement traits take up more than one slot, and – at least for now (although as of writing this is undergoing balance-testing and may be subject to change) – players can swap out their perks whenever they are out of combat. These perks are separate from your experience, meaning you don't need to sacrifice your leveling experience a la Everquest 2 in order to raise them. There also seems to be an EVE Online-like function where these perks are trained based on time, even when you're logged out.

Besides allowing for players to further customize and specialize their play styles, the alternate advancement system will give players the opportunity to balance themselves to better suit a given situation, almost on the fly. Going into a dungeon with an unorthodox group won't be so suicidal if the group chooses the right trait combinations.

On the topic of dungeons, we got a glimpse of one of the new Rise of the Godslayer dungeons. Ex-IGN associate editor, and now producer at Funcom Craig Morrison explained to us that for the instances in Rise of the Godslayer, the dungeon's end-boss was designed first, and the rest of the dungeon was designed to train the player in the technique required to defeat the boss. The dungeon we saw had players activating switches by standing on special pads on the ground and using a specific emote (/dance, /cry etc…). When two players used the correct emote, a door would open, or a bridge would fly into place (I must admit, the bridge effect was pretty neat), but when a player left the pad, the bridge would disassemble or the door would close. Players were required to split into two groups – one would stay behind and keep the pads active while the other went into the next area where a small group of enemies stood guard over another set of pads. After players dispatched the guards, they too would activate the pads, and the original pad-activators could then catch up.

The dungeon's boss room saw the boss standing atop an unreachable altar in the center, doing an emote on a pad. Players would have to defeat a guardian on the ground and perform a matching emote in order to cause a bridge to form so they could defeat the boss. Alternatively, players could do a special emote that would cause the boss to totally lose it and go bananas, spawning all the guardians at once. Beating this 'hard mode' would give players better loot than they'd otherwise receive from beating the encounter the normal, nancy-boy way.

Whether this design philosophy of training players for a boss will be fun beyond a dungeon's first run-through is something we are left wondering. We must also ask ourselve how entertaining it will be to sit there and emote while the rest of your party does the killing, though we were told that players wouldn't be standing there very long.

Mount or pet? You can only choose one...

Also being added with the expansion is a new playable race – the Khitan – and associated content for beginning Khitan players.

We were shown, too, that players could eventually get either a wolf, or tiger, combat pet, or a wolf (or tiger) mount, but not both. As Morrison put it, "MMO players want everything, but we're not going to give them everything." Both the wolf and tiger start as cubs, and players raise them through a series of quests, the final quest turning your combat pet into a mount. The transformation can't be reversed, and it can't be done multiple times, so players will have to chose between a (rather badass) mount, or a (probably far more useful) ferocious fighting ally.

While no official launch date has been given, the expansion seems to be in closed beta and will almost certainly be out this year.

Leetstream said basically the same thing.

Age of Conan’s new expansion “Rise of the Godslayer” is in development and has recently released a teaser trailer for it. This will be the first expansion pack for AOC. Players will have a chance to explore new content at higher levels. There is also a new character race called the Khitan and new content will be introduced for that race after you leave Tortage (the starting zone). The Empire of Khitai will be a new city and is designed and themed around the western side of the Great Wall in China. Other territories include the city of Gun Hai, Shaulun and several others on the north and south side of the main city. Players will experience different cultures, architectures, armaments, weapon styles, and landscapes. Instanced zones are still in use but the new zone is designed so that players feel a more cohesive battlefield instead of zoning all over the place. This drove a lot of players including myself away from the game. Hopefully this will bring more players back; everything is compacted and close together. Read on!

Faction Gameplay:
Players will encounter separate factions that are in a constant state of conflict. Players will have to choose which side of each conflict they ally themselves to. There will be quests for each faction and players gain standing with a particular faction by killing their enemies and completing tasks for them. You will be able to unlock titles, rewards, and additional tiers of quests by doing this.

New armor and abilities
Each faction will have a unique armor set with four separate tiers to achieve within each faction. There will also be new combo attacks gained through the new expansion and the alternate advancement system. Players can even experience some martial arts moves! Of course you can expect additional spells and abilities.

Level Cap
The level cap will stay the same but the content will be harder as your progress in the new zones. This is a great move on the developers part because the game already has a huge level cap at 80.

New Mounts!
Probably the most exciting feature of this expansion is the introduction of some very exciting new mounts like the tiger and wolf mounts. In order to capture the tiger a player must travel into the woods unarmed and unarmored and kill a Tigress barehanded. Then they can pluck the newborn tiger from the den and raise it on your own. It first becomes a pet and player must teach the tiger all of the skills for survival such as talking, hunting, and fighting in battle. The final stage involved creating a saddle for your mount then it becomes a true mount where the player can ride it into battle.

New Dungeons
Pillars of Heaven is a group instance designed to give players around 3 hours of playtime. Of course there are traps and puzzles which require players to think on their feet. This is a nice edition of course but somewhat harder than your typical instance in other MMO’s.

Conclusion & Videos
Funcom has been working hard on this new expansion and it offers some great improvements and content to a game that lacked congruency and overall appeal. The mounts, new abilities, and new character race all seem very appealing. Fans of Conan will like what Funcom has done with AoC so look forward to more videos and details being discussed in the months ahead. So far there is no official launch date. Check out the videos below to get a sneak peak of this upcoming expansion for Age of Conan:
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