AoC Is Better Than WAR

2008 saw the release of two highly anticipated games – Age of Conan and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. I remember at the start of year reading the usual threads on forums about how they will conquer the universe and destroy World of Warcraft, making Blizzard cry and us laugh with shottenfreud. Never happened. In fact, both games are now getting severely panned by the blogging community whilst WoW is growing ever stronger. However, it seems to be the general consensus that WAR will eventually become a great game and challenge WoW whereas AoC will die a vicious, combo-orientated, death.

I disagree.

Although I think WAR is a decent enough game, it’s basic design is flawed deeply enough to prevent it from truly evolving. AoC, on the other hand, may be lacking content depth but it’s core game is excellent and it’s world is truly rich and satisfying. And I’m not talking about gorgeous graphics here, I’m talking about the feeling of the game when you play it and the immersion it provides. AoC really feels like a virtual world and, most importantly, it feels like Robert E. Howard’s virtual world. WAR, on the other hand, just felt a repetitive tiered t numbers game with no soul.

A Wall of Text has a good article up about why they are quiting WAR and I agree with everything. To me however, the scariest thing about WAR is the dying population and how it will effect gameplay. My original server, Karak Hirn,used to have a queue of 1-2 hours and yet, a mere 6 weeks after starting, the population was marked as ‘low’, even on peek times on a weekend (I haven’t checked it out recently). For a game which relies on large amounts of players to create the fun (PQs, RvR, scenarios) this is the kiss of death.

Mantooth fighting during a keep seige

Mantooth fighting during a keep seige

Keen and Graev are rather harsh towards AoC in their 2008 summary but, to be honest, I don’t think they ever liked the game. I haven’t played AoC in a few months but I still feel an affinity towards it and I honestly believe it will develop and evolve into a great game, much like EQ2 did. All AoC really needs is a good does of content, bug fixes, class balance, and new armour models (please, I want the variety!!!) – sounds like a lot but it’s all possible and doesn’t require huge reworks to the original game. It’s core gameplay is great and I have to commend Funcom for pushing the boat out and trying new things with their combat system. I have every intention of picking this game up again after their first expansion this year.

Mantooth: old man, big sword

Mantooth: old man, big sword

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