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Default Age of Conan - Launch Editorial @ MMORPG

June 11th, 2008, 20:00
Mathew Reuther writes about the early days of AoC, part 1 & part 2. Some of which is already out of date info such as the forums being totally open now I believe.
The current state of communication is pretty abysmal. The only thing the playerbase hears from Funcom are server downtime announcements, reports of banning exploiters, a short list (which accounts for a fraction of the problems in the game) of known issues, (incomplete) patch notes, and what amount to seemingly canned, PR-approved statements.
If Funcom took the time to properly document patches the notes would be three times as long as they are currently and the playerbase would not feel as if they were being stealth nerfed. If company representatives took two minutes to post when a topic on the forums was obviously of great interest to the userbase the players would feel as if they were at least not being shoved into a corner and ignored. A single line posted from the Senior Community Manager on the European forums was sufficient to reassure the players that one of the hottest post-launch issues (Early Access expiration) was being taken seriously. Unfortunately the general rule is silence, and only rare exceptions give the players any hope of being treated appropriately. Not to mention that the two distinct regions (North America/Oceania and Europe) are unable to even view the other region's forums. This means that the customers of the game cannot share information or assist each other, and it means that issues addressed by Funcom employees remain segregated by region. At this time Funom has not confirmed the lessening of restrictions on forum reading, thus it appears that or the moment the two markets will remain artificially divided.
As if the main medium for mass communication (the forums) being underutilized were not enough, the situation with account support and in-game support is perhaps even more dire. Using the mail ticket system to contact Funcom's accounting department is futile. The vast majority of tickets go completely unanswered. Though in-game petitions are handled eventually the wait time for assistance is exceptionally long. In fact during American “night” petition handing slows to an absolute crawl, not resuming any speed at all until morning. It seems as if Funcom has staffed the support department with the majority of coverage outside of night in the US. When petition lines are hundreds of issues long and advancement is at most five petitions in an hour there is a serious problem with the amount of support being dedicated to the title.
More information.
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June 11th, 2008, 20:00
Well, I congratulate the guy… he's one of the very few who actually had the guts to speak out loud some facts which might be incoveniant for Funcom, but nonetheless are true.
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June 11th, 2008, 21:23
You don't think it deserves a 9.4 then?
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June 11th, 2008, 21:58
Originally Posted by woges View Post
You don't think it deserves a 9.4 then?
Not at all. I mean, it's not a bad game… but it also isn't a particularily brilliant game. Plus I think it's time that gaming magazines begin to take into account customer support and digital honesty. In both things Funcom has failed miserably - twice (Anarchy Online anyone?). So no, I don't think a beta deserves a 9.4.

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June 12th, 2008, 13:19
I'm level 50 now and about to continue the destiny quest but I'm busy at work and social life until next week. Had my fill of fun and frustration with it so far but I have noticed that they are fixing problems like the UI not clearing states on death which I found annoying as my Assassin really isn't that good if you think you're in a stance and you're not. The item windows going out of the screen so you can't compare to what you are wearing without moving said item to a slot that will show the windows correctly. Being booted while in a group surrounded by elites and then login back in a different zone surround by said elites. Lots of little things like that that just build up. The UI has been patched already and so have a few other things I've come across while levelling like a bugged boss not attacking back in Sanctum.

I do like that the areas seem much more intricate than most MMOs and the fact the the instances are looming over zones as you adventure around them is really nice. Some of the big foes look really good as well, at least the ones I've come across so far have. Still have plenty to explore in this game.
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June 12th, 2008, 13:43
F13 posted a very interesting list of fictional patch notes (what they consider needs fixing) for AoC:
http://www.f13.net/index.php?itemid=746#more
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June 12th, 2008, 14:35
Yeah, there is so much that needs fixing and even implementing atm.
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June 12th, 2008, 17:48
Whatever one says, but altering the game via patches and NOT fully notice it in the patch-notes, letting players GUESS what was nerfed is one of the UNFORGIVABLE gaming sins in my book. Period!
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June 12th, 2008, 17:54
Not disclosing the full patch notes is a poor show for sure. Though I believe every MMO probably has done this at some point. That doesn't make it a standard that should be accepted though.
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June 12th, 2008, 18:16
Originally Posted by elikal View Post
Whatever one says, but altering the game via patches and NOT fully notice it in the patch-notes, letting players GUESS what was nerfed is one of the UNFORGIVABLE gaming sins in my book. Period!
I think I remember the right term was "stealth-nerf". Most likely though the developers are just too lazy to write up all the changes they are doing back and fort (its boring) and their bosses are too busy to remind them abt it.
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June 12th, 2008, 23:03
Unfortunately due to delays in publishing (online sites often have an article release schedule) the article was slightly out of date at the time of publication. For the most part it remains accurate, and taken from a pure first week of launch perspective it is very accurate indeed.
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June 13th, 2008, 00:32
Well, I think it's totally UNFORGIVABLE that anything should be published out-of-date and is a publishing SIN of the worst kind
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June 14th, 2008, 13:01
I still can't believe that such a company was able to produce the classic The Longest Journey".

“ 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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June 14th, 2008, 17:35
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I still can't believe that such a company was able to produce the classic The Longest Journey".
Funcom always had brilliant ideas… there can be no doubt about it. Take for example Anarchy Online: it was a fantastic world that they created there with awsome graphics. The ideas that funcom had were really good… the problem was putting them into practice. It's just a wild guess (well, not that wild actually), but I think that funcom made two major mistakes during the development of AO as well as that of AoC. First of all they give a damn shit about player feedback. They always say they do, but in fact they don't. And the second one is that they pull off major releases with way too few staff members…

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June 14th, 2008, 19:59
Sounds both reasonable.

Will they ever learn it ?

“ 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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June 14th, 2008, 22:41
Funcom announced their future plans two days ago:
Funcom and Eidos announce massive evolution plans for Age of Conan

Massive PvP update in June – New areas and dungeons – Powerpoints and Guild Alliance warfare to come

Durham, USA – June 13, 2008 – After the incredible initial success for Age of Conan, a whole world of MMO players are eagerly anticipating the future plans for one of the most popular online games ever released. While Age of Conan has already evolved massively since launch, numerous expansive additions are yet to come. Funcom and Eidos are therefore proud to lift the veil on Age of Conan’s promising future, and today the two companies reveal selected features which are now in production.

"While we have enjoyed the initial success for Age of Conan, we know that a solid launch is but the start when it comes to the MMO genre,” said Gaute Godager, Game Director on Age of Conan. ”As we look ahead we are preparing a huge amount of new content, and what we are presenting today will evolve Age of Conan even further. It’s naturally an incredibly ambitious update plan for a live MMO game, but we are certain our players would want nothing less.”

Without further ado, here are some of the cool things to expect in the months to come:

PvP evolved – To the Death

The great combat system in Age of Conan has taken MMO fighting to a new level of fun, and Player versus Player combat plays a major part in this. As a result, a massive new PvP update is planned for late June. Aptly called To the death, this update brings more consequence and rewards to PvP, and an important part of it is the Fugitive system. The more lower level players you kill, the easier it is for others to hunt you down. In addition, ten PvP levels with additional ranks will be introduced, as well as specific gear and weapons for PvP.

Guild Alliance Warfare

Preproduction has started on a MASSIVE free update which will come later this year. Currently titled "Kingship!”, large clusters of guilds will be able to form alliances, and rule and conquer on a massive scale. Everyone in a guild alliance will play a part in this system, and together they can even erect unique looking alliance Battlekeeps. The alliances can also fight over, and build, culture-specific "wonders of the world”, with a direct link to higher powers! As part of the system Funcom will also facilitate larger amounts of players in massive battles.

Powerpoints

This fall, a unique reward and character evolution system called Powerpoints will be introduced. This rewards active in-game behavior, and allows for gathering points through numerous methods, including owning a Battlekeep, playing the end-game at level 80, winning PvP matches, or simply being an active guild member or subscribing to the game. There will be many ways to obtain Powerpoints, and numerous rewards, ranging from exclusive Powerfeats to weapons, armor and potions. Powerpoints may even allow you to level faster!

New areas and dungeons

You won’t need to wait for an expansion pack to explore exciting new areas. In the next period, Funcom will include several new areas, as well as evolving already existing areas. This includes a brand new dungeon in Aquilonia, reshaping three dungeons in Stygia, and an entire mountain range in Cimmeria!

Improved player-made villages and Battlekeep systems

While the guild alliance system brings a whole new level to the game, Funcom will continue to expand the existing player-made areas and the systems running them. A focus on evolving the massive elements of the game even further continues, ranging from placing NPC’s in the cities to more choices and benefits.

Social updates

An MMO is nothing without a good social scene. While Conan is all about crushing your enemies, social enhancements are also getting some love. A fun example is the combo-based dancing system which is now coming to the game, and it’s entirely motion captured by professional dance artists.

More adventures

Age of Conan has received tremendous praise for immersion and the great voice-over quests. This is but the start of the adventure, and numerous new quests are coming into the game, spread across the entire world and across the level ranges. Soon 60 additional quests will also get full voice acting, further improving immersion.

Embracing community feedback Since launch several enhancements and fixes have been implemented to Age of Conan, and Funcom has continuously staffed up the service departments to improve customer satisfaction. This has already resulted in a better game experience, but the work will continue. At the heart of all of this stands the Age of Conan community. A lot of the upcoming improvements to the game will be based directly on community feedback, and the wishes and concerns players have when it comes to the future of the game will always be taken into account.

By reading the community websites, official forums and the monthly Clan of Conan newsletter you can expect additional information about upcoming features and released updates, as well as an arena to give your feedback. A new Clan of Conan newsletter is also going live today, with more detail on the upcoming features. http://funcom.cachefly.net/WebFiles/Newsletter/Issue17/
With all that new stuff I hope they have enough extra time to fix the existing bugs too.
Last edited by zakhal; June 15th, 2008 at 00:06.
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June 14th, 2008, 23:04
The patching/fixing so far has been very good - their fixing problems at a very high speed (compared to most MMOs). However, I agree that they should announce what exactly is getting fixed, instead of letting players guess.
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August 6th, 2008, 00:28
I'll be happy as long as my ranger can still 1-2 shot kill everyone near my lvl in PvP
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