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Default Age of Conan - Review @ Gamezone

May 25th, 2008, 17:32
Very positive (part) review from Gamezone with a final score of 9.4. This 'first part' review is centred on the first 20 levels of content that are the single/multi-player hybrid part of the game.
Every once in a while a game comes along that is bold enough to break the mold of the genre to which it is cast. The game takes some fresh approaches and gives players pause to re-think previous perceptions.
Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures, from Funcom, is one of those titles. This massively multiplayer online subscription-based title does some amazing things in terms of combat, rethinks character classes, incorporates a strong story, dazzles visually and is a whole lot of fun to play as well.
In order to do justice to this title, GameZone will be running the review of the game in several parts, breaking it into the major areas of the game. This first review will target the first 20 levels of the game, which amounts to an introduction to the combat system, character classes and general game flow. The next review, which will be down the road a bit (after the next phase has been explored more thoroughly), will take on the next 20 levels of gameplay, and so on. These reviews are at milestone areas in the game. At level 20 the guild experience kicks in. At level 40, crafting comes into play. The game does have a level cap of 80.
More information.
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May 25th, 2008, 17:32
Game is utterly unfinished in the mid-level range already… giving it a 9.4 is a joke really. It's a review from a typical "I played Tortage" guy - guess we'll see a lot of these in the near future.

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May 26th, 2008, 13:32
What is mid-range? I've tried it about halfway to 80, and so far everything seems rock solid. I certainly wouldn't give it 9,4 - there are quite a few issues with the interface, crashes and so on, but my overall impression is far better than WoW when it got launched nearly 3,5 years ago.

In WoW, I remember zones and level rangers where you simply had to grind because you ran out of quets. I remember having 1k latency for months at a time due to server issues. And I certainly remember how empty the game was at 60 before they started tuning the end game (only raid content was MC/Onyxia).

All in all, a very refreshing MMO imho.
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May 26th, 2008, 16:03
Granted, I played the EU version of WoW and wasn't personally witness to the server issues at launch - though we had a fair share of that as well - but my memory of the game in the early stages is one of a solid rock in comparison with Age of Conan.

The first impression is strong, but as soon as you leave Tortage - it gradually decreases until you realise just how unfinished everything really is.
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May 26th, 2008, 20:24
There are three parts to a MMO: socializing, exploring and looting.

Socializing is a little awkward right now, and will likely be addressed in future patches. Instancing towns on a server, for example, is a little strange, since it makes harder to find people. The chat box is terrible. These are minor mechanics, though, and no doubt will be addressed. Review points: -0.5.

The environmental art is great and for that the game should be praised. I loved WOWs and LOTROs seamless transitions from zone to zone - this really gave a feeling of a very large world to explore. WOW was cartoonish (but nice), LOTRO is crisp and clean (ok) and AoC is more realistic, organic and lush. There are some issues with pathfinding, where your character - an uber-warrior - gets stuck trying to climb over tiny bumps in the ground, or suffers a falling injury by jumping a meter or two down.

However, the loot art is terrible, and for that the game should be spanked by the reviewers. There should be at least -1.5 review points taken off for this carnal sin. Did I mention the loot art is terrible? I'm absolutely not excited collecting loot in this game. Everything is brown and looks like junk. And items with +0.02% slashing invulnerability just sound plain stupid. +0.02% is much closer to zero than any small number I would care about.

The inventory system needs a major rehaul. You can't tell the level of an item (grey/green/etc) by looking in your bag, you have to roll over the item. It's nice that quest items get their own bag, though, as do resource items.

It's very early on in the game, and there's bound to be problems. From the prespective of polish, mechanics and glitches, a review today isn't going to see the same game as a review done in a month. If the auction house isn't working in a month, people *will* get cranky. However, there are some glaring issues that I think a month of patching won't address, such as re-working all the loot graphics.

The entire combo combat system is a smalls step in making fighting a little more interactive. However, the system should not be held up as a ground-breaking achievement. Realistically, when you fight you don't have any more choices than in a regular auto-attack approach, except that you need to be hitting the mob where their shield's level is lowest (mobs can shift shield amount between left/right/front directions). The caster classes (I played demonologist to lvl 13 and templar to lvl 10) are not only very squishy but don't benefit from the combo system. For casters, it's the same cast, wait for bar to complete and watch the fireworks. I'm now on a conqueror and it's a lot more fun - this class is very survivable (casters are super squishy early on) .

This game suffers, IMHO, from a lack of attention to detail. In 6 months, and this is when a real review of an MMO can be done, so that not only the launch but also response to the community is judged, the game may rise to a 8.5/10. But right now, it's a solid 7-7.5/10.
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May 27th, 2008, 02:39
Originally Posted by martink View Post
Instancing towns on a server, for example, is a little strange, since it makes harder to find people.
I like the instancing in guild wars and the one in AoC sounds similars. The game hardly ever lags like wow. And theres still plenty of ppl to go around if the zone is crowded. And I have to say everyone in the same instance isnt always the best thing in a mmog (max amount of ppl = max amount of assclowns).

Once you get used to it, instancing can actually be a good thing.
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May 27th, 2008, 03:33
It's a bit of a knee jerk when you leave the polished and full-spoken Tortage. I went to Tarantia being Aquilonian, very impressive looking, but my the frame-rate took a bit of a hit here.

As far as melee is concern first thing I do is turn that auto-target and facing off. Defeats the fact that you have AoE weapon really. Seems very solo friendly so far but I'm just scratching the 20+ content. As you can skip around between the three countries I'll probably be slowed up exploring the areas for some time.
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May 27th, 2008, 13:22
Tarantia ? Not Tarantula ?

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 27th, 2008, 13:40
To here, and no spiders yet.
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May 28th, 2008, 05:02
towns aren't instanced, only adventuring zones. Now, if you mean the outposts in those zones then yes, there are instanced 'towns', but it's more EQ2 style than Guild Wars.
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May 28th, 2008, 22:30
Originally Posted by Melvil View Post
towns aren't instanced, only adventuring zones. Now, if you mean the outposts in those zones then yes, there are instanced 'towns', but it's more EQ2 style than Guild Wars.
I believe the towns are instanced but the player limit is upped.
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