Tortage: Jewel of the Barachan Isles

The 14 day re-evaluation that Funcom has granted all old players has given me an opportunity to go back and revisit Age of Conan. I haven’t been playing it excessively over the past few days, I’ve just dabbling around with a new character on a roleplaying server, enjoying one of my favourite areas of any MMORPG ever, Tortage (pronounced Tor-ta-ge with a strong French accent in case anyone was uncertain).

Bring handlebar moustaches to Hyboria

Bringing handlebar moustaches to Hyboria

The draw of the Jewel of the Barachan Isles was so great that I passed up the opportunity to start a pre-made level 50 character. I suppose that’s either another testament to how good an experience Tortage is or just how poor the rest of the game is. I love melee classes and, seeing how AoC is particularly focused on them, I decided to roll a Guardian. Not just any Guardian mind, but one of my usual fat, old, bald men. And hot damn, does that man look sexy in DX10. The way the sweat glistens of his bald head is infatuating and the way his plump love handles jiggle when he runs is downright hypnotic.

But it’s not just the graphics that I’m enjoying again with Conan, it’s also the combat. Fast, furious and bloody as hell it’s so refreshing after a long stint on World of Warcraft. Even though I’ve seen it dozens of times, I still get a shock of sick pleasure out of seeing my avatar lop my enemies head clean off.

Of course, Tortage would be nothing without the other major elements that comprise it: an interesting storyline, an immersive and original setting, breathtaking scenery and environments, beautiful music and well spoken dialouge, and an excellent mix of solo gameplay and group areas and dungeons. It’s a perfectly crafted blend of all the factors that make MMORPGs great. Want to progress your own personal story? No problem, the night awaits. Want to adventure with your friends into a dungeon? There’s that too. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Funcom spent just as long on Tortage as they did on the rest of the game combined.

As much as I’m enjoying Tortage again though, I haven’t made my mind up if I’ll be returning to Hyboria full time once my free period ends. I still have a huge number of issues with the game that don’t appear to be rectified yet (or may never be as they are too intrinsic to the core gameplay) and I’m not convinced it has the depth I need. An expansion will definitely be helpful for AoC and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

So while it may not be perfect, and it may not be our long lost love, at least we will always be able to look back upon the the sultry temptress that is Age of Conan and remember that at least we had (cue heavy French accent)… Tortage!

If you liked this post, why not subscribe to the RSS feed.

Related Posts

  1. I’ve Pre-Ordered Rise Of The Godslayer
  2. Pay 2 Not Play
  3. Age Of Conan – Returning Review
  4. MMORPGs I Really Want To Like


  1. Longasc says:

    Yeah, Tortage… if the whole game would be a lot more like Tortage…!

    There are still some levelling gaps and the itemization is sometimes still poor. Class balance still has issues – but in contrast to release, Demonologists and Necros rule atm, which is reflected in the number of new players or returning players testing these classes. Melee is screwed at the moment compared to casters. This is bad, especially if you are on a pvp server. But I am a Tempest of Set, so well. :P

    I also sometimes miss a bit this world feeling – they should have connected the areas more like in GW, the world feeling gets a bit lost in huge instances with boat travel instead of walking.

    The armors are still brown and boring. They do not look that good if you are away and looking at other players, they only look decent close up. Some dungeons also look very sterile.

    I am playing AoC at the very moment. It is so hard to describe, Age of Conan has a lot of appeal, but it is also disappointing at the same time. It feels as if there is not that much to do in this world – it would have made a great adventure game instead of a MMO.

  2. Beej says:

    I’m jealous. I’d love to give it a shot, but I don’t think there’s a 14 day trial for non-subscribers is there? I’ve heard Tortage is one of the best MMO experiences ever, but I can’t justify money on something like that right now.

    On a side note, I don’t think that EVE is going to be for me, and I don’t think that I will be resubscribing past the 14 days. As deep as I can tell the game is, there seems to be a distance between me and my character that makes it hard for me to get into.

    • Gordon says:

      I’m pretty sure you can buy AoC on Steam for $9.99. Even without it, $19.99 ain’t a bad price for it. That’s only really double the cost of a WoW month subscription.

      Fair enough about EVE. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m enjoying it but then I’m taking it super casual.

  3. Openedge1 says:

    Yet, I continue to find this game more appealing than every other MMO I try. Wonder why it is that so many find it one way, yet another contingent find it the best thing since sliced bread.

    It probably has to do with issues of players burned out on the genre itself.

    I discussed this on Common Sense Gamer as well. People who have inundated themselves with MMO’s will find all things to compare to their other MMO’s…yet, every time I try to go back to the other MMO’s, all I find are their I am now dedicated to the one.

    Funny eh?

    Well, if the other MMO’s makes everyone happy, that is what counts. I think I will continue to enjoy my stay in Hyboria!

  4. Longasc says:

    Beej, Age of Conan sells for 5-7 EUR at the moment. If you subscribe at the moment you also get a snow mammoth mount for free. At the official page they say 19,95 EUR, but in stores it sells for less. You will also get the usual free 30 days.

  5. Sharon says:

    I rerolled for my 14 days also, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far. I’m thinking I’ll be resubbing for a bit. As I’ve said, I love the Robert E. Howard books, so I get ridiculously giddy at the visuals. Some of the quest chains totally suck me in too, like the one with the Torin Chieftain and Kern Wolfeye in Conall’s Valley. The character creator is brilliant. Last night, I made a DT that looks exactly like my husband’s grandmother! (I was telling him how flexible the creator was, so he challenged me…) How many other games would let me do that?!

    I have to say though, Gordon…You look like a bald version of Hulk Hogan. Those handlebars are awesome. ;)

    • Gordon says:

      Haha, thanks! I was totally aiming for the Hulk Hogan look :) Sexy huh?

      And yeah, the visuals and environment (mix of graphics, scenery and music) in AoC is fantastic. They really did REH proud with it.

Leave a Reply