Archive for the ‘Age of Conan’ Category

Age Of Conan: Unchained Impresses With Trailer. That’s All.

Conan the Cimmerian

Conan, a sensitive and often misunderstood individual

So apparently the free-2-play version of Age of Conan arrives tomorrow and is called, wittily enough, Unchained. Get it? No chains… free… Nope? Never mind. Anyway, call me a sucker for soft metal music, dramatic voice overs and well edited and cut together footage but the launch trailer is rather impressive. As can be seen below.

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Levels 1 – 63 In 0.02 Seconds

Now that I'm level 63 I'll be able to impress everyone with my crap gear and clueless behaviour

Now that I'm level 63 I'll be able to impress everyone with my crap gear and clueless behaviour

I realised today that I hadn’t logged in Age of Conan in a while and that’s always a sign that my subscription is headed for termination. It’s not that I haven’t been enjoying AoC, rather it’s that I’ve been very busy in real life plus found myself getting sidetracked by WoW again somewhat. So, in an effort to try and not only rekindle my interest in Conan but also get the most out of my sub, I decided to try out the free level 50 character creation option plus use up several weeks worth of ‘offline’ levels. The result? My pubescent Asian Avenger has now matured into a full blown middle aged Dark Templar, only 17 levels away from the level cap (or about 4 weeks of doing nothing except maintaining my subscription).

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Age Of Conan – Returning Review

Sometimes R.E. Howard was inspired by Asian culture and sometimes he just ripped it off completely.

Sometimes R.E. Howard was inspired by Asian culture. And sometimes he just ripped it off completely.

I’ve been playing Age of Conan again since the new expansion Rise of the Godslayer came out about three weeks ago and thought it would be a good time to write up my impressions of how the game’s progressed since I left almost 18 months ago. Returning to this virtual world of Hyboria is a bit like hooking up again with that sultry Mexican temptress who you dumped after discovering she had the personality of a piece of wood. Well, the good news is that this fiery lady has had some schoolin’ and can now hold a pretty decent conversation over breakfast following a night of fast-paced combo action. Oh and I know.. me, blog, sex, chauvinism… I just count my lucky stars that my wife doesn’t read this crap.

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Returning To Hyboria

Moustaches are back in fashion.

Moustaches are back in fashion. In fact, they never left.

Even though I had to download another 600MB patch, I finally got to play Age of Conan last night and it was quite exciting to get back into it. I didn’t actually manage to accomplish much because I spent over two hours trying to decide on what race to play, what name to use, and constantly creating and re-creating my character until I was happy with his appearance (I wish MMOs would give you a little trial area to try your character out before confirming them). Eventually I decided upon a Khitan Dark Templar called Hongjun on the RPG PvP EU server Aquilonia. As it’s a roleplaying server, I also created a backstory for him:

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Pay 2 Not Play

This is not an Aquilonian in Hyboria. It's actually a Glaswegian on holiday in Ibiza.

This is not an Aquilonian in Hyboria. It's actually a Glaswegian on holiday in Ibiza.

I’m writing this article now because I can’t play Age of Conan as the servers are down for the second consecutive day in a row (well, actually they were up for a bit this morning by all accounts but are now down again during prime time). Unless you’ve been trapped under Jabba The Hutt or locked in a hotel room with bikini clad Princess Leia, you’ll know that yesterday was the “launch” of Funcom’s first AoC expansion, Rise of the Godslayer. And I put the word launch in quotation marks to signify sarcasm as actually very few people have had a chance to play it yet.

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I’ve Pre-Ordered Rise Of The Godslayer

conan_cary_nord

Painting before the brush was invented

Oh how impressionable I am. All it takes is Conan The Barbarian to be shown on TV and a pretty email in my inbox from Funcom about their new Age of Conan expansion to get me as excited as a spotty teenageer. Ah, how I missed hacking someone’s head off and then laughing down their stump of a neck. And who says violence warps people?

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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!