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Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures - All News

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Box Art

Wednesday - May 21, 2014

Age of Conan - Happy Sixth Anniversary

by Couchpotato, 00:54

Funcom reminded everyone is new press statement that Age of Conan has just turned six years old. So here is the news about the games sixth anniversary.

Age of Conan turns 6, celebrates its biggest PvP update ever!

Players celebrate Age of Conan's sixth Anniversary with a brand new event and the massive Festival of Bloodshed PvP system

Funcom's Age of Conan expands with the special Shadows of the Past anniversary event and the Festival of Bloodshed Player-vs-Player (PvP) update. In the Shadows of the Past event players get to take on a brand new adventure where they uncover a plot against King Conan himself and travel back to the island of Tortage to discover the true power behind this new threat.

The all new Festival of Bloodshed PvP system offers a whole new range of activities for the players. Every month there will a be week-long PvP festival, where players face off against each other in many unique events. The system also contains all new PvP Quests and fresh rewards, such as a companion who will taunt nearby players based on their number of PvP deaths.

Click here to read more about the Festival of Bloodshed
Click here to read more about the Shadows of the Past event

Monday - September 07, 2009

Age of Conan - Godslayer PAX Video

by Myrthos, 12:38

A video of the Rise of the Godslayer presentation by Game Director Craig Morrison is to be found at Ten Ton Hammer. The video shows Khitai, the Far Eastern styled setting for Rise of the Godslayer.

Tuesday - September 01, 2009

Age of Conan - Godslayer Interview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Myrthos, 21:23

An interview with Game Director Craig Morrison about the upcoming Age of Conan expansion Rise of the Godslayer can be found at Ten Ton Hammer.

Ten Ton Hammer: What’s the story behind the new land? What is it that moves the player into action while they're adventuring there?

Craig: The storyline for the expansion is really intriguing. The actions of King Conan many years previously (in the original Howard tale – The Tower of the Elephant – a seventeen year old Conan has an encounter with an ancient being that was revered as a deity in Khitai) have had a long lasting effect on the lands of Khitai that are only just now becoming apparent. The player will get to discover how the current political upheavals in Khitai are linked to the actions of their own king many years before, and they will have to make some hard choices about how to interact with the various factions.

The story in the expansion is one of its strengths and works on two levels. At a top level you have the mysterious danger that is threatening to plunge Khitai into chaos, and possibly even civil war, and it is all linked to Conan. Then you also have the player’s individual story and how they choose to operate with the factions within Khitai, they will have to make allies in order to progress, but doing so will also mean they make enemies!

 

Wednesday - August 26, 2009

Age of Conan - Godslayer Interview

by Myrthos, 21:41

MMORPG reacted to the announcement of a new expansion to Age of Conana by having an interview with Erling Ellingson.

Why the decision to not add any new classes and not extend the level cap?

"We wanted to add more content for the classes that were already there," Ellingsen said. "We feel that there is a very good diversity in the classes that we already have. We wanted to give people the opportunity to expand the characters that they already had, so we want to allow for lateral as opposed to vertical progression.

Speaking specifically to the level cap, Ellingsen said virtually the same thing; that the company was looking to expand on what was there to begin with, giving player an opportunity to take the characters that they currently have and build on them rather than simply stacking a few new levels on top.


"We wanted to add more content for those who are in that level range," he said. So instead of adding more levels in that way, we wanted to give high level players more options.

Friday - August 21, 2009

Age of Conan - A Year Later, Part 3

by Myrthos, 19:00

In the third part of the 'A Year Later' series for Age of Conan Ten Ton Hammer takes a look at how classes, itemization, and crafting have been improved.

At launch, crafting felt sort of tossed in as an afterthought.  It was something for players to do once they reached mid levels in game, but it was complicated, time consuming, and not particularly lucrative.  Crafting is generally used as a time sink in MMOGs but that certainly doesn't mean it can't be interesting and worthwhile!

Probably two of the biggest boosts to crafting were the itemization changes and the gem revamp.  These updates, all by themselves, gave crafting far more purpose.  Itemization changes gave crafters a reason to actually create better quality armor and weapons and actually get to see players buying them.  Gems, after a roller coaster ride of usefulness, finally have found a happy medium and are enjoying a life of balance and stackability that makes my bank super happy.

The actual mechanics of crafting remain pretty much the same with a few tweaks for convenience sake.  Minor updates have gone in such as the map showing which nodes are currently being harvested from, and drop rates being fixed a bit so we can have a shot at getting the things we need without being spammed with things that we don't need.

Tuesday - August 18, 2009

Age of Conan - Rise of the Godslayer

by Woges, 20:16

Eurogamer  have a preview of AoC's first expansion.

Age of Conan's greatest strength is probably its sense of place, its vision of Howard's low-fantasy badlands, firmly anchored in humanity's real history. Going by the art, screens and trailer we've seen, Rise of the Godslayer is going to build on that with its re-imagining of ancient China and Korea: endless grass flatlands studded with abrupt rocky outcrops and bamboo fields, huge palaces perched in impassable mountains; the black-sanded desert of Kara Korum, the idyllic rust-coloured autumnal forests of Chosain Province, and the tangled jungles that surround the imperial city of Paikang.

It's starkly beautiful and mysterious, and Morrisson promises the largest zones they've ever built, with much more diversity of scenery and setting, and more open in design to encourage a sense of exploration - appropriate to an Empire that hasn't really been visited by people of Conan's kingdom before. The immersion won't be broken by the jarring geographical jumps of the original game, either. All the zones are next to each other and you can see from one into its neighbour, although there will still be loading times between them.

Naturally, the civilisation of Khitai won't be quite as peaceful and beguiling as the view. It's a civilisation in decline, once great, but crumbling into barbarism and decadence. It's also a broken empire, torn by factional warfare and threatened by a murky supernatural evil. That evil - unspecified, for now - was kept at bay by a local god, until that god was killed 25 years previously by Conan himself in the events of Howard's story The Tower of the Elephant. So Conan's actions have spurred Khitai's decline, and he's not exactly popular in these parts. Players will encounter a religious cult burning his effigy.

Wednesday - August 12, 2009

Age of Conan - A Year Later, Part 2

by Myrthos, 23:35

In their second article of a year into Age of Conan the improved combat, PvP and questing are covered.

There are all sorts of patch notes that highlight changes and formulas that players come up with to calculate what is happening in game down to the last hit point, but none of that interests me.  All I care about is how the class feels when I pull out my sword and hack at things.  Combat continues to hold the same dazzle as before, but a returning player will definitely feel the benefit of a year of tweaks.  The most notable change is the boost to survivability.  All classes have been granted health point increase and damage alterations, all of which means that you can kill more, kill quicker, and live longer when taking on appropriate enemies.   My once flimsy Barbarian is actually making it through reasonable multi-target combat without dropping to the ground like a nut-kicked sissy.  My Dark Templar once again feels useful after having been tossed into the “too frustrating to play” pile for a long, long while.  My Conqueror has always been my bad ass favorite, but she too is plowing through mobs like a hot knife through butter.

 

Thursday - August 06, 2009

Age of Conan - A Year Later

by Myrthos, 12:13

Ten Ton Hammer looks at the state of Age of Conan now, one year after the release, and ask themselves the question if all the updates in the past year made the game any better.

One of the biggest frustrations for players at launch had been the plethora of technical troubles in AoC, including low frame rates, frequent crashing, and low playability for many machines. While the system requirements remain the same, average systems are catching up, making AoC more playable for the general public. Along with this, performance has greatly improved. During beta I was lucky to get 12 frames per second. Shortly after launch I worked up to 30 FPS. When I had stopped playing a few months ago , I was up to 40+ FPS. Now I can rely on 60+ FPS and much quicker zoning. I still have minor stuttering in the cities when I'm in highly populated areas. This could be a performance thing or simply because there might be another machine on my network
streaming YouTube. Either way, performance is nothing like it was at launch and many of the scary technical troubles that so many had to deal with are a thing of the past.

 

Monday - August 03, 2009

Age of Conan - Revisiting PvP

by Myrthos, 23:21

Massively takes another look at Age of Conan to see what has changed in a year, focussing on PvP.

Blogs and players universally praised the quality of the Tortage area and the early play experience, suggesting that the rest of the game should be redesigned to fit the same standard. Instead, Funcom have added more high level areas, worked on an expansion for a waning playerbase and desperately tried to fix the game's itemisation issues. I can't help but be disappointed, not because I expected more this time around but because the game's visuals and audio have been some of the best in the MMO genre. For the game to fall down on gameplay and mechanics after that achievement is a horrific shame.

This time around, I gave the level 20-30 areas another chance but still couldn't get past how wrong they felt. After an incredibly irritating time in Khemi and the Khopshef Province, all I wanted to do was go back to Tortage and set some people on fire. Every player I've met on my two week re-trial has had a similar story to tell and yet most of the game's content seems to have been engineered for higher levels and an endgame few ever stick with the game long enough to reach. With all of its initial success with the Tortage area and early gameplay, it's almost shocking that they haven't made a considered effort to analyse why Tortage works and replicate the experience in the rest of the game.

Thursday - July 16, 2009

Age of Conan - The Assassin class

by Myrthos, 23:39

A look into the changes of the Assassins class after the 1.5 update of Age of Conan can be fount at MMORPG.

If you like the feel of a more over powered or naturally stacked class then the assassin may be nothing but a waste of space that dies too much in PvE. It is notoriously one of the roughest classes for PvP or PvE and should not be rolled lightly which is why I will not recommend it for any players completely new to MMOs or to those who are extremely unfamiliar with the AoC combat system. However an assassin in the hands of a skilled player is a force to be feared, to some even hearing a rumor that a deadly assassin is close by will cause them to look over their shoulders constantly while sweating bullets at the slightest hint of someone breaking out of stealth. So if you are looking for a challenging, fast paced and highly respected/feared end game class the tried and true assassin is the way to go.

Friday - July 10, 2009

Age of Conan - Re-review @ Eurogamer

by Woges, 18:03

Rob Fahey returns to AoC for another reveiw and concludes:

Age of Conan, at the end of its first year, is a game which has progressed in massive leaps and bounds. It has a solid, gorgeous-looking engine, a visceral, connected combat system (although a reduction in the number of spells and abilities for each class would be very welcome - most have far too many confusingly named, peculiarly similar abilities in their arsenal) and enough content to pull you through the experience. PVP is too chaotic for my blood, but I'm not much of a PVP player to be fair - those of a more combative nature seem to revel in Conan's offering. The ever-expanding endgame has plenty to keep hardcore players occupied, even though they'll never be satisfied - which is just how things should be.

In other words, Age of Conan is living up to much of the promise which led to my initial, over-optimistic 8/10 score. Even now, it's a flawed gem. It doesn't have the breadth, scope, polish or charm of WOW, Warhammer Online or Lord of the Rings Online, and it's hard not to see it as a second-string MMO - but unlike last time I returned to Age of Conan, it now feels like a game with direction, and a team that's capable of delivering on its promises. I was wrong 12 months ago - too forgiving of faults that ran deeper than I imagined. Today, Age of Conan is growing into the game I'd hoped it would back then. If only it hadn't taken so long to do so.

Tuesday - July 07, 2009

Age of Conan - Expansion to be Announced at Gamescom

by Myrthos, 22:45

The first expansion to Age of Conan will be announced at the Cologne Gamescom show, which is replacing the Leipzig Games Convention as the number 1 Games show in Europe. This is about all the information that is currently available, wo you'll have to wait a few weeks for more info as the show starts at the 19th of August.

Sunday - July 05, 2009

Age of Conan - Interview @ MMORPG

by Myrthos, 21:18

At MMORPG an interview with Funcom's Craig Morrison about the launch of the most recent update to their flagship game, Age of Conan can be found.

MMORPG.com: There are comparisons between this most recent update and the Star Wars Galaxies NGE where the game was radically changed after launch. For them, it was disastrous, how is the case different with AoC?

Craig Morrison: I almost have to laugh that one off as I think it's quite off base. Having played through that myself (as an SWG subscriber at that time) our current game update is (if you will pardon the unintentional pun) 'light years' away from what was done with the NGE in Star Wars Galaxies. That update completely and fundamentally tried to redesign the entire game-system for that title, and that is nothing like what is being attempted with the current update. The NGE was indeed a radical departure, this on the other hand does not really contain any radical changes to how the game is structured. The same classes are all still present and correct, their feat trees are just updated rather than being removed or replaced, so this update doesn't have any real similarities with the NGE at all. For real SWG followers and fans it maybe, just maybe, has some similarities to the CU, in that what are doing is adjusting and improving the existing system rather than adding a totally different one, but even then I would say that they are fairly loose similarities.

I am sure there will be some who did genuinely prefer the 'old' way and that's fine, people are entitled to their opinions, but we wouldn't have moved forward with these changes unless we were confident it was the right direction for the game. In an MMO environment we unfortunately can't please everyone all of the time and we have to make the changes that we feel will have the most beneficial impact overall. In addition, the update was driven very, very firmly by the player feedback in the first place.

 

Saturday - June 27, 2009

Age of Conan - Tarantia Commons Walkthrough Video

by Myrthos, 21:30

Funcom recently put together a walkthrough video for recentely added area Tarantia Commons in Age of Conan. The video is narrated by game director Craig Morrison and gives an overview of the dynamic, faction-based rioting in the city streets, and a leper colony in the outskirts where players run the risk of contracting the disease carried by the locals.

Wednesday - June 24, 2009

Age of Conan - Update 5

by Woges, 12:44

Oli Welsh discusses AoC's latest content patch.

Update 5: Gangs of Tarantia adds the Tarantia Commons zone. New quests, instances, bosses, rioting, rooftop action, leper colonies and three-way factional gang warfare all feature in this slum area of Hyboria's capital city.

More significantly perhaps, the game's stats and itemisation system receives a complete rethink, making stats easier to understand, items more powerful, and therefore loot more desirable. This brings Age of Conan closer in line with MMORPG conventions and has been at the top of players' wish-lists since the game was launched just over a year ago. Every character class will also be receiving a major overhaul in the update.

You can read more in an official preview hosted on MMORPG.com, in which Funcom hints that the next update will please guilds.

After a troubled first six months for Age of Conan, word from the Conan community and our own Rob Fahey is that the game is much improved, but the reception of the changes in Update 5 will be crucial to its future. We'll be looking at them in more detail soon.

Tuesday - May 19, 2009

Age of Conan - Letter from the game Director

by Myrthos, 12:28

Because of the one year mark for Age of Conan game director Craig Morrison has written a bit about the past, present and future.

Update 1.05 incoming

The update has now been developing nicely on the test servers and we are getting close to when we will start to make the decision as to when it’s ready for the live dimensions. The feedback from the public testing has been invaluable and things are shaping up nicely. Lots has been changed, tweaked, added and improved over the last few weeks as the update has been put through its paces.

There are still a few more builds to go on the test servers at least, but we are now in the home stretch and we are aiming to try and have things ready within the next few weeks. There is still of course time for something to crop up, but right now we are working through the remaining tasks full steam. This update has involved a lot of work for the entire team and we are really looking forward to seeing it make its debut on the live servers.


Sometimes it’s the little things…

Large new outdoor playfield…check!
Dozens of new quests in said playfield with a cool, engaging new storyline…check!
New RPG System…check!
Ability, spell and feat updates for all classes…check!

Quite some headlines in this update! But with the focus of what we talk about in letters like these and the promotional material usually centering on those big headline features it is easy to forget that there is also always a lot of small updates, tweaks and changes that also serve to improve the game in numerous ways.

Source: WarCry

Monday - May 18, 2009

Age of Conan - One year later video

by Myrthos, 23:17

We're close to the first anniversary of Age of Conan. In a blog on MMORPG.com Funcom's Glen "Famine" Swan mentioned finding this video made by CptHeatSink on their forums.

It's actually a very well done video.

 

Friday - May 01, 2009

Age of Conan - Letter from the Game Director April 2009

by Woges, 14:56

Latest update on AoC here.

Since I’m already on the subject of player videos I can’t help but give a quick nod to those who are also using the medium to grow the community and are using the game to make some really great videos (I see a lot of great preview videos using DX10 as well as teasers of the upcoming content from the test servers popping up). There are also more ambitious projects, like the ‘The Roleplayer’ and ‘The Last Bastion’ that catch the eye. Seeing the time, passion and effort that people are putting in to bend the game to their creative wills is mightily impressive. It really does make us very proud of the community! 

Ok, enough with my ramblings on the great things you folk are up to, what else do we have in store?

Source: Blues News

Thursday - April 02, 2009

Age of Conan - Article & Free Trial @ Eurogamer

by Woges, 14:30

Rob Fahey checks out AoC in its current state, and there are free trials for Euro and North American zones.

Funcom launches free trials for its fantasy MMO Age of Conan today. You can pick up one of 20,000 exclusive free trial keys here at Eurogamer - just head on over to the giveaway pages for European servers or North American servers as appropriate. There are 10,000 keys available for each, and anyone can play on any server. Each trial key unlocks seven days of free play, and three exclusive in-game items.

But why should you give Age of Conan a second chance after its launch disappointed so many last year? Funcom has made many claims for fixing the game's flaws and flooding it with new content, but do they stand up? We sent our long-suffering Hyborian correspondent Rob Fahey back into the game to find out.

Friday - March 27, 2009

Age of Conan - What's Next Article @ Gamespot

by Woges, 12:47

Another discussion on AoC's WIP.

Variety is something that the development team has pushed strongly to implement as well, says Morrison, who cited the most recent in-game update that added a new dungeon, Xibaluku, which included several harrowing new encounters that require players to think on their feet, such as a powerful "boss" monster whose magical shielding can be deactivated only by solving an always-randomized jumping puzzle; and a monster-infested crevasse where sallying forth quickly means getting weakened by flocks of bats, but moving forwards too slowly means taking a nasty fall, since patrolling troll monsters will catch up to you and send you tumbling. And this push for variety will also be reflected in the coming update new content, which, in addition to including a new high-level dungeon area, will also include a wide-open outdoor commons area under siege by two rival gangs. These gangsconstantly battle for control in public, shared areas as part of a new story that will have new quests tied to it. Completing these new quests may turn the tide of battle in favor of one side or another...in real-time, as other players are making their way through this content. So, while you might be trying to advance the agenda of one faction, you may suddenly see the balance of power swing in favor of the opposing faction as a result of other players helping that rival faction...again, in real-time, with no instancing. Morrison explains that this kind of on-the-fly change, while very difficult to implement in the game,should help shake things up for players who are looking for something new.

However, the game still seemed to lack one crucial piece of the puzzle--powerful, desirable, and sexy loot items (known colloquially by massively multiplayer veterans as "phat loot"). This will also change. The Age of Conan team's next big project will be a gigantic overhaul of the way items work in the game, as well as the power and bonuses they provide. In most massively multiplayer games, you expect to keep fighting, keep questing, and keep looting more and more-powerful items that grant your characters huge bonuses that strengthen them considerably. Previously, Age of Conan's somewhat conservative loot system did just the opposite. Even powerful magical swords and armor would provide measly-sounding +0.02% bonuses to damage or protections against damage. With the next update of the game, items will instead carry "ranking" labels that provide easier-to-understand bonuses like "+10 to strength."

Tuesday - March 24, 2009

Age of Conan - Craig Morrison Interview @ Zam

by Woges, 00:35

AoC's new Director/Producer talks about 'missing the mark', and the improvements made since launching the game.

ZAM: Moving to game-play discussion, players comment on the forums that exploiting end-game content is rampant amongst top guilds and Funcom has done little to monitor and/or track this. All of this occurs despite other players claiming that they have spent hours attempting to report the exploiting.

Is this true, and is Funcom doing anything to look into these exploits?

Craig: I think there will always be those who try and push, poke and prod the system to try and exploit. It happens in every game and ours is no different. We work hard to catch and address exploits wherever they occur and do so in each and every game-update as well as the hard work of a dedicated customer service team. It's a never ending game of 'cat and mouse' though. There will always be those trying and we always have to adapt and try and prevent them from doing so! It's certainly not true that we haven't done anything to monitor it or deal with it. A lot of resource is spent ensuring that exploits are tracked down and resolved.

I realize that these questions sound negative in nature, but the real goal behind this article to set down Funcom's official stance on AoC, and move on to the future of the game. Ignoring the past, however, has hindered the AoC team a lot because players are arguing that 'sugar coating' the game means you haven't learned from your mistakes. I really just wanted to get the negative rumors out of the way so that people can see that you're acknowledging the negative aspects of AoC. Most would agree that a company that acknowledges criticism is one that has a much larger potential for growth as opposed to a company that simply develops patches and releases sunny 'letters to the community.'

I think that anyone who has been following the game will have seen that we have put in a lot of time and effort into ensuring we are speaking with the community, and I think if you read all our recent interviews you will not see anyone shying away from answering the tough questions and addressing where we felt the game didn't quite deliver, what it got right and what it didn't. I'm not into 'sugar coating' things, and I don't think anyone here is doing that; it's certainly not hindering our development now. We have been hard at work on the issues that the players did bring up after the launch, addressing them and resolving them.

The game though is a good game, and always has been at its core. Yes, there were kinks, some serious, to iron out after the launch, but we are proud of what the game brings to the market, and we have been the first to acknowledge the flaws and make sure they get resolved.

A lot has already been done since launch. The game now runs and performs pretty smoothly and the 'out of memory' technical issues that some experienced at launch were dealt with as the first priority and have been resolved. We filled in the major gaps in the quest content with new quest and content additions. We also re-vamped almost all the launch dungeons to improve the experience there as well. The PVP leveling that didn't make the launch was added and was expanded with a full PVP consequence systems as well that has started to address the needs for PVP and to provide more goals and objectives for PVPers. Lastly, the fact that players felt item and character progression wasn't strong enough is being addressed in the upcoming update cycle. So overall I think when you assess the additions and improvements to the game since the summer, objectively you see a pretty good picture in terms of the games current position.

The latest AoC Newsletter details some of these additions.

Monday - March 09, 2009

Age of Conan - Status Interview #2 @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 20:41

RPG Vault wrapped up their status interview on Age of Conan late last week:

Jonric: Since it seems pretty significant, what considerations prompted you to overhaul Age of Conan's RPG systems? What aspects are you concentrating on why?

Craig Morrison:
Yes, it was definitely a significant decision, but I think a vital one. As soon as it was apparent last summer that customer retention wasn't what we would have liked, we set about analyzing all the feedback and getting to the root of the issues - above and beyond the obvious performance ones we were addressing or had already fixed. The player feedback helped us in that respect, and let us look at the system in detail to learn why it wasn't as appealing as we had hoped.

Age of Conan was designed not to be item-centric. However, our analysis showed we probably went too far in this direction, relegating gear to a position where players didn't see it as a valid progression path, which I think is a fundamental weakness for an RPG system. So, we didn't quite get it right, and what we're doing now is trying to find the correct balance and improve it to provide better progression drivers and to allow our designers to make more challenging and varied gameplay.

In addition, the players felt the core attributes (Strength, Dexterity, etc.) didn't have enough weight in their characters' progression. Again, when we broke it down, we agreed with this feedback, and set out on the RPG system revamp to address this too, with the goal of making both equipment and attributes better and more useful without going too far down the "items mean everything" road. They will mean more after the changes for sure, but hopefully, we'll find the right balance.

Saturday - February 28, 2009

Age of Conan - Status Interview #1 @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 23:06

RPG Vault speaks to Funcom's Craig Morrisonon the status and direction of Age of Conan:

Jonric: Since we know Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures has had issues, how did you identify the key ones, and what are the main improvements, additions and fixes you've implemented since launch?

Craig Morrison:
The first thing we approached was the players' feedback itself. The aspects they found unsatisfying were pretty well defined by their comments after launch. People had issues with four main areas - the game's performance, the gaps in quest content, the fact that the PvP lacked a focus, and finally, there was a general feeling that the items and statistics weren't deep enough. I don't think our internal analysis differed that much from what those who were playing told us, so the decision as to where we should focus was relatively easy. 

Since launch, we have managed to work through the vast majority of those areas very well. The game now runs and performs pretty smoothly. In particular, the out of memory technical issues that plagued us initially were dealt with as the first priority, and have been resolved. We filled in the major gaps in the quest content with new additions such as an entire outdoor adventure region. We also revamped almost all the dungeons to improve the experience there as well. The PvP leveling and consequence systems have started to address the needs for this element to have more goals and objectives.

The last area, that of the relative importance of items and statistics, will be dealt with in the next update which is currently being developed internally. So overall, I think when you assess the additions and improvements to the game since the summer objectively, you see a pretty good picture in terms of its current position.

Thursday - February 19, 2009

Age of Conan - Updated

by Dhruin, 11:21

Funcom has released a significant update for Age of Conan.  From the front page:

Today's update introduces several brand new high level dungeons to the Hyborian world such as ‘Xibaluku’, ‘The Slaugherhouse Cellar’, ‘Cradle of Decay’ and also opening up an additional part to the level 80 raid dungeon ‚Black Ring Citadel’. And there is a series of other significant updates to various game mechanics like raid loot options and GUI updates, PvP resources for tradeskills, tweaking of several raid boss encounters and quests.

...and read the full notes here.

Thursday - January 22, 2009

Age of Conan - Live Interview @ Eurogamer

by Woges, 13:15

Eurogamer are having an interview event with game director Craig Morrison.

As with all our live interviews you will be able to input queries via a moderator, and Morrison's responses will pop up automagically on the same page. Answers can be submitted up to an hour before kick-off.

Craig Morrison took control of Age of Conan last September after a disgruntled Gaute Godager walked away. Morrison steers the barbarian-themed MMO out of a difficult year, one that began with a server merge to address a dwindling population and resulted in the closure of around half the total number of realms.

Monday - January 12, 2009

Age of Conan - Servers cut from 49 to 18

by Woges, 15:13

Cutting back to the bare minimum it seems, the full announcement and merger details can be seen at the offical forums here.

As you probably have heard, we merged the two US servers 'Bloodspire' and 'Hyperborea' on 7th of January. We monitored the new server closely and can confirm that the merge was going very well and without issues. So we will now proceed with the next steps for the other servers.

Firstly, we present you the list of the planned servers to be merged (see below). We will proceed with merging next week and the specific date and time as well as the expected downtime will be announced soon too. As a general information we can already say that the plan is to merge all EU servers in one go and all US servers in another go.

Source: EuroGamer

Tuesday - December 16, 2008

Age of Conan - Links with Mongoose Publishing

by Woges, 16:22

Funcom's AoC informs of ties with Mongoose Publishing, writers of the Conan D20 RPG.

Introduction

With Christmas approaching, many of you will be searching for a suiting present to your fellow role-player or AoC-player. Some of you will be familiar with the D20 rule-set that is used in numerous role-playing settings and has come to fame through the popular father of most modern role-playing games called D&D. The Conan world has seen many iterations of role-playing rules being attuned to it, but Conan RPG by Mongoose Publishing is one of the most complete and perfectly attuned rule-sets and the main rulebook will be the perfect Christmas present for any role-player or even people that only dabbled into role-playing within MMORPGs. To those people I can only say: its time to gather your friends, buy some chips, cola and more unhealthy food and gather around a table to feel the magic of Pen and Paper role-playing and experience the fun that inspired the creation of Age of Conan.

Mongoose Publishing

The UK located Mongoose publishing has started pushing out role-playing books and trading cards in 2001 and has quickly become the biggest third party supplier of D20 supplements. Some of their folk have helped to create Age of Conan and we greedily stole one of their great story writers to flesh out Age of Conan's rich world with the needed detail and depth. Their creations have been and are a constant pool of ideas and inspiration for our story writers and designers. They started the creation of the Conan RPG in 2004 and the Second Edition of the main rule-set came out in 2007 together with numerous area supplements and adventures since 2004.

Source: MMORPG.com

Monday - December 15, 2008

Age of Conan - DX9 v DX10 @ The Vault

by Woges, 16:06

A look into AoC's DX10 graphics.

Spot The Differences

  • DX10 overall brighter and more vibrant.
  • Increased texture definition, improved ground, foliage, water, lava, etc.
  • Greater level of realism.

Frames Per Second

While most people are not reporting a large, if any, drop in FPS when running DX10, I have experienced rather dramatic drops.

DX9 Average FPS: 52.3
DX10 Average FPS: 20.2

Initial impressions in the official testlive forum include reports of crashing, some visual glitches and flickering, impressive underwater effects, sluggish gameplay not associated with frame rates, no wind in trees (yet), and difficulty detecting volumetric fog.

Like myself, many believe that this initial DX10 update is a wonderful start with a great effort by Funcom. No doubt there will be many testlive patches prior to the actual live launch of DX10. So far it's looking great, the biggest issues seem to be crashing and frame rates.

We look forward to following the progress of Age of Conan's DX10 as it works its way to the live servers!

Source: Evil Avatar

Friday - December 12, 2008

Age of Conan - 360 version on Track

by Woges, 13:51

GameIndustry has news from Funcom on the 360 version of AoC as well as their WIP The Secret World.

While Age of Conan on PC remains a priority for the firm, the developer is also beginning projects in the casual market, as well as continuing to push Age of Conan on the Xbox 360 and develop its next ambitious MMO title, The Secret World.

"We had high expectations when we first set out to do a console version of Age of Conan, and these remain high," said Arne Aas. "Even though Age of Conan is an MMO that is especially suited to the console platform, there is a lot of work to be done in terms of tailoring it for the Xbox 360 console.

"The Xbox 360 game will also contain most, if not all of the content and improvements that have been made to the PC version of the game," he added.

The evolution of Age of Conan since launch has been useful for the team working on The Secret World, influencing design and providing improved technical assistance, said Arne Aas.

"The development of The Secret World continues and we are expanding the development team at a steady pace.

"This is a very exciting project for us, and the team working on it has been able to draw on the innovations of Age of Conan for quite some time now – especially from a technological standpoint."

But for the immediate future, the expansion to Age of Conan is the number one priority for Funcom.

Thursday - November 20, 2008

Age of Conan - PvP Article @ Eurogamer

by Woges, 17:44

Rob Fahey updates on AoC's PvP.

Of course, Conan is a game where equipment doesn't have a particularly huge impact on your character (unlike the hugely gear-dependent World of Warcraft, for instance), so it's not that PVP-geared characters are incredibly imbalanced. However, the message is clear - if you want the best stuff, you'd better be prepared to start lopping off other players' heads for it.

The second thing to note is a consequence of what we just mentioned regarding gear. Conan, arguably more than any other mainstream MMORPG right now, is a skill game. You need to target your foes, keep them in front of you, master movement and dodging, and manage button-combo skills and a varied cooldown cycle in order to be an effective PVP player. It's fast, very frantic and in many ways closer to an action game than a conventional RPG.

Sometimes, this action-focused ambition bites Age of Conan in the backside - such as when your network connection, the game's network code, or a combination of both causes a lag spike or temporary connection drop. In a game like WOW, you'll often come back and find little damage has been done; it's designed to handle some bumpy network conditions. In Conan, you're probably dead in the water - your cooldown cycle is shot, you've just missed a key combo, and your opponent is standing behind you using your back as a pincushion. These things happen; Conan's vocal band of fans would argue that it's a reasonable price to pay for such intense PVP battles.

Friday - November 14, 2008

Age of Conan - Ymirís Pass Live

by Woges, 14:49

Funcom announce AoC's new level 50+ zone is live.

Durham, USA – November 14th, 2008 – This week Funcom updated the ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’ live servers with the largest gameplay content addition since launch. By visiting the vast, new outdoor area of Ymir’s Pass players will now be able to find new quests to solve, new characters to meet, new monsters to slay and a dramatic new storyline to unravel. The update also includes a new dungeon – The Amphitheater – that holds one of the most epic and memorable monster encounters ever created for the game.

“This is an important update that opens up a lot of new gameplay content for players who have already passed the level fifty mark,” says Game Director Craig Morrison. “In the months ahead we will introduce even more new content, and coming up soon are two exciting new high-level dungeons intended for players who have reached the maximum level. At this stage adding more content and keeping people entertained is very important to us!”

Thursday - October 30, 2008

Age of Conan - Update 3 Released

by Asbjoern, 23:02

Update 3 for Age of Conan has been released with the long promised notoriety system as one of the most important new additions:

The PVP Consequence System is now live! This update also brings with a series of significant changes and updates to trade-skills, combat mechanics, massive PVP and GUI functionality in addition to a great new experience in the Cistern! 

The full release notes can be found at the official European forums.

Wednesday - October 15, 2008

Age of Conan - Eurogamer Re-review

by Woges, 14:45

Eurogamer lower their score to 6/10 for AoC.

And yet... Despite all of this, Age of Conan remains, somehow, a compelling game. Its world is undeniably beautiful, albeit somewhat small and restrictive compared to many of its rivals'. The combat system is still hugely entertaining - fast, visceral and immediate, in a way which no other MMOG has quite managed - and some of the classes, like the Herald of Xotli and the Demonologist, are genuinely innovative hybrids that are great fun to play and master. Moreover, Conan's lore is appealing - his world a fascinating one to explore.

Saturday - October 11, 2008

Age of Conan - Tharaldsen Defends @ MTV

by Dhruin, 23:41

MTV has interviewed Funcom's Jørgen Tharaldsen, with some pointed questions about Age of Conan's failings:

MTV Multiplayer: Is Funcom aware of fans’ disappointment with some of the promised things not appearing in the game? If so, how are you addressing those issues?

Tharaldsen: Oh yeah, very aware, I would say. And we are naturally working hard to ensure that this disappointment gets changed into something positive. Firstly, it’s important to note that these kinds of “things” break down clearly into two very different situations. You have some ideas that were just that: ideas, when we came to actually implement them in the game they simply didn’t work well, or at all.

Sometimes when you take an idea from concept and plans on paper to balance in the game it just doesn’t fit, or causes too many other issues. In those cases, it’s actually better that we cut them; those were informed decisions in the best interests of the overall player experience — formation combat was probably the major thing here. In practice it just didn’t work anywhere near as well as it sounded like it should on paper. We are glad we didn’t try and force something through there for the sake of it!

    “As a result the game many played in their heads before launch didn’t necessarily match the game delivered.”

Then of course there are the areas that, at some point during the final stretch, we were caught between a rock (time and resources) and a hard place (our promises), and that the end results did not deliver on all the promises made. Personally, as I see it, I think this let down some people more than what the game actually delivered (because “Conan” is an awesome game in many ways!).

As a result the game many played in their heads before launch didn’t necessarily match the game delivered. It’s easy to be wise in hindsight, but now that we are past the launch crunch we have time and resources to focus more on the quality of each deliverable, as well as time to put focus on what is important to the players, right here and now. And this is the way forward: more real results, and then results which lead to fun and meaningful experiences inside the game.

Thursday - October 09, 2008

Age of Conan - Interviews @ Strategy Informer

by Asbjoern, 13:17

Strategy Informer has interviewed Product Directer of Funcom Jørgen Tharaldsen about the in-development X360 version, the announced server merger and the success of Warhammer online. First something about the X360 version which won't see a release this year:

Development on the Xbox 360 version is not our key priority as there are a massive amount of PC gamers already playing the game, and we rightly have the focus on them. While there is a dedicated specialist project team working on Xbox, the PC version will remain our top priority for now.

If anything I think that the console version is greatly benefiting from the many updates and improvements we are constantly making to the PC version, and the launch issues we had will only serve to make the Xbox version a much better experience. 

He answers a question on the recently announced merger of Age of Conan servers. For the welfare of the organism it seems:

I think that people who are playing Conan are actually very happy about the news, and indeed it’s been one of the most requested things from our playerbase. The essence of any MMO is the social experience, and right now people are spread out a bit too thin across the servers. The merge will hence improve the overall fun-factor, and will make it easier to team and fight with and against other players. 

In and by itself a server-merge won’t be a be-all end-all solution to get players, it’s not primarily a mechanism for that. It just helps to reinforce the fun and social factors for the many players in the game right now, which in itself is positive of course. 

Jørgen Tharaldsen is happy on behalf of Mythic's success with Warhammer Online, and doesn't fear the competition from WAR, Lich King or Mines of Moria:

Yeah, just like we were they too are storming out the gates in an insane tempo, and indeed they shipped an amazing amount of copies! I am happy for them, the MMO genre needs success stories besides WoW, and I think the two of us are the first MMOs after WoW to really do tremendously well in retail. Now that we are both live it will be interesting to see how it all pans out, and with Lich King coming soon, LOTRO expansion and many other additions to the genre there isn’t anything wrong with the amount of competition. Like it should be!

While we of course are playing WAR, like the other MMO games, they serve more as an inspiration than something to outright copy. On some things they have some nifty ideas, while on others they did not hit as well I think, just like with most gamesJ We have some definitive strengths in Funcom, and with Age of Conan, so the way for us forward is not to copy or clone, but to build on our strengths, and improve weaker points, and then use other games as inspiration. I am certain Age of Conan will be a quality contender in the fantasy space for many more years to come, but how well it eventually goes remains to be seen. I have high hopes! 

Tuesday - October 07, 2008

Age of Conan - Craig Morrison Interview @ MMORPG

by Woges, 18:23

AoC's new designer is interviewed at mmorpg.com

There will always be the merchants of doom! I understand that some players didn’t see in the game what they had dreamt it might be, and while some of that is unavoidable (the games we invent in our heads will always surpass those we are actually able to be produced, I know the ‘dream’ MMO in my head would probably be completely unfeasible for now at least. It’s those dreams though that feed the inspiration for what we can achieve!), I also know that we can improve on many of the areas that some players felt weren’t delivered well enough at launch. MMOs are a long term investment both from our end and for players.

There are those who will always want to presume the worst and predict all the necessary doom and gloom, it comes with the territory. What I focus on is proving them wrong and providing good solid fun entertainment for our players. Our players are our greatest asset, our advocates as it were, and I am quite confident that the game will be more than up to the task of being worth their time and energy. If we can continue to do that then I am sure we will be around for many years to come yet!

Friday - October 03, 2008

Age of Conan - Crafting System Changing

by Woges, 13:23

Eurogamer's Oli Welsh writes about some crafting changes heading to AoC.

The news came in a post on the forum for the game's test server; Massively has the details, or you can read the original post copied and pasted onto the regular forum.

Recipes for armour and weapons will now come in base, city and culture versions. Base items are the simplest to make, city items require a guild city, and culture items - easier to make than city pieces - are "high-level lore-related" items for each class, aimed specifically at introducing some more visual variety to the game's avatars. Culture pieces are intended to provide a path to crafting high-level equipment without requiring you to be in an active guild.

Furthermore, alchemy resources are being streamlined, there will be new skinning and weaving recipes, woodcutters will be able to make upgradeable staffs, and all drops related to crafting professions and resources should be easier to come by in a wider level range.

Tuesday - September 30, 2008

Age of Conan - Server Merge Coming

by Dhruin, 12:08

New Age of Conan game director Craig Morrison has confirmed a server merge is on the cards:

Another aspect which has popped up in the forums recently is whether we are going to do a server merge or not, and I can today confirm that we are actively working on an approach to merge servers, both in Europe and North America. It’s important for us to ensure the best gameplay experience for you all, and more healthy populations on each and every server will make sure we maintain healthy communities for the game in the future. Still, there are many complexities involved in this, and we want to ensure that everything happens as fair and streamlined as possible. That work has now started, and we are naturally making sure that guilds and players can get to new servers in the best possible way. We will come back with more info on this, but I hope that this will serve as a positive injection to the social scene in the game.

Lastly for today (I think I have taken a good deal of your time already, hopefully constructively so!) I also wanted to mention that we‘ve come very far with the DirectX 10 version, which we unfortunately had to keep on internal test-servers for launch. It’s now almost ready for the full test server. Once the next game-play update is out expect to start to see the DX10 functionality coming to the test environment. How long it will take to transition to live will depend on the testing of course, but it’s starting to shape up nicely. Having done some reviews of it internally over the last few weeks I can admit that a few of the features really do give some added visual punch. I know it’s a feature that is long awaited and I can assure you the technical folk here are working flat out to try and get the version in a state where it can be considered for live release.

So that’s about it for this update, I think there is a fair amount to take in and comment on there, so I’ll leave you all to digest it and I look forward to your input

Source: Voodoo Extreme

Wednesday - September 17, 2008

Age of Conan - Gaute Godager leaves Funcom

by Woges, 14:33

Eurogamer state that Gaute Godager has left Funcom and will hand the design role over to Anarchy Online's director Craig Morrison.

"I have done my very best making this fabulous game, but I have concluded there are elements which I am dissatisfied with," said Godager in a statement.

"I have decided to act on this, and as a result I have chosen to leave Funcom. It is time to get new, fresh eyes on Age of Conan, and I wholeheartedly support the appointment of Craig."

Craig Morrison has outlined his top priorities as listening to and acting on concerns made by the players of the mature, fantasy MMO.

"I have a clear conviction I can lead the further development in a good way, evolving Age of Conan into something even better," said Morrison.

"My main priority now is therefore to listen to, and act on, player concerns, while ensuring we add additional great content to the game.

"At heart I will always be a gamer, and the coming changes and additions to Conan will always be done with the gamers in mind. Together I am certain we will shape an amazing future for Age of Conan."

Friday - September 05, 2008

Age of Conan - Now on Steam

by Asbjoern, 12:40

Age of Conan has been released on Steam and can until Sept. 11th be bought for the price of $53.99. Regular price is $59.99.

The Swedish digital distribution service GamersGate has had the game available for the price of €49.90 for some time though.

Which is the case for IGN's Direct2Drive too. Though at the price of $49.95.

Wednesday - August 27, 2008

Age of Conan - GC Interview @ Boomtown

by Asbjoern, 22:59

Boomtown attended the Age of Conan presentation at the recent GC in Leipzig, where Erling Ellingsen of Funcom showed them some of the new content and features that were planned for the future:

- We want to make boss fights more interesting and epic. It's not a secret that we love Blizzard's way of making boss fights and we're gonna try and do something similar in Age of Conan.

 

 
We were shown a boss fight that took place in a gigantic well. Hordes of fanatic women charged from the side - sacrificing their lives in order to save their ruler. Thus the team had to coordinate in order to win. Some had to fight the boss while others kept the women at bay - else the fight would continue for ever.
The developer is also working on a brand new are for players around level 60, Ymir’s Pass. It's around level 60 that most players run out of quests and interesting things to do, so this will be one of the most welcome news. We're talking about a massive zone with a very long quest line, that tells the story of Ymir's Son. He is a half-god chained to Earth in a new instance that follows the zone called The Amphitheater:

- The fights have to be more epic - and we think we've achieved that with Son of Ymir. He is extremely cool and it's gonna be interesting to see if he is thankful for the interference by the players in godly business or not...
Read the rest of the interview here

Source: Blues News

Sunday - August 24, 2008

Age of Conan - GC Preview @ Strategy Informer

by Asbjoern, 20:25

Funcom has showed off new features for Age of Conan at this year's Games Convention in Leipzig, and Strategy Informer has written up a preview of Funcom's demonstration:

Another big point of feed back that the team has taken onboard is the lack of dungeons, and so not only have they added more, especially high end instances, they have also listened to the players and gone back and re-done a couple of the original dungeons as well.

One of these was Blackcastle, which has been completely revamped to incorporate the new features, which include traps and better loot generation. Other new dungeons included a level 80 dungeon in the Thunder River area, and a dungeon known only as the House of Kron.

The demonstration also showed off another new feature, which isn’t limited to dungeons: Environment based quests. Instead of every quest coming from a person, specially created bits of environment or points of interest can generate quests. Like a severed torso lying randomly on an alter for example.

Note that at the end of the preview Strategy Informer writes, that they were showed "a teaser for the upcoming expansion pack".

Source: Blues News

Thursday - August 21, 2008

Age of Conan - Update Details @ Eurogamer

by Woges, 13:05

Oli Welsh has plenty of news for AoC including the possibility that  Khitai will be the first expansion.

Ubiquitous Funcom mouthpiece Erling Ellingsen said Funcom intended to answer the criticisms of players of the game who feel the game is too light on content in the second half. "We're really serious about adding content," Ellingsen said. "We agree that content thins out after level 55."

Ellingsen demonstrated the Commons district of the capital city Tarantia, expected soon. This mid-level slum area allows players to pick a side in a gang war between street bandits and the rulers of the rooftops. Questing will include thieving, exploration and stealth gameplay as well as combat, and complex storylines with moral choices.

Attention then moved on to the Black Castle dungeon, which is being extensively revamped. Originally a basic dungeon aimed at solo players, it will soon be a more sophisticated group dungeon featuring traps and puzzles reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda - shooting an eye with an arrow to kill a giant snake, or standing on pressure pads to allow your team-mates to pass flame-throwers.

Tongue-in-cheek tributes to Indiana Jones and Frankenstein had players fleeing from a boulder and piecing together a monster from body parts. There's also an attempt to give boss fights more personality (Ellingsen mentioned World of Warcraft's strength in this area), an epic feel, and superior loot drops. Ellingsen says Funcom is conscious that it needs to improve the quality of loot throughout the game, and is overhauling its entire loot distribution table.

Saturday - August 16, 2008

Age of Conan - Has 415.000..... Customers.

by Asbjoern, 18:27

Edge Online has news that a Friday earnings report from Funcom revealed that Age of Conan has 415.000 customers (Definition: "who are either subscribers or are playing in the first 30 days included in the sale of the box."), though they've sold over 800.000 copies:

The game sold-in (to retail and digitally) 1.2 million units, and sold through (customers who have entered game client key and billing info) 800,000 copies to customers.

Age of Conan drove fiscal Q2 operating revenues to $13 million (£7 million), around $1 million higher than previous guidance. Losses before interest and tax were $6 million.

Q3 revenue is expected to rise to the range of $16 million to $20 million. The prime revenue stream will be subscription revenues from Age of Conan, Funcom said.

The company stated, "To maximize the average longevity of subscription Funcom will continue to expand,improve and adjust the product, as well as address key issues in the game on a running basis."

Funcom added, "[The] average playtime per player has been lower than expected. Potential influencing factors may be the high average age of subscribers (29 years), aspects of the game, summer holidays, etc."

The developer is currently in talks with local publishers to launch Age of Conan in major Asian markets sometime in the second half of next year.

As for the long-awaited Xbox 360 version of the game, it's still "in the early development phase."

Here's a link to the original Q2 financial report from Funcom. On page 14 in the report, you can see two in-game screenshots from Funcom's upcoming MMO The Secret World.

The report also reveals that Funcom has two casual MMOs targeted for 2009 in development, and their intention to "develop a portfolio of casual MMOs over the next few years."

Source: Blues News

Age of Conan - DirectX10 Features to be revealed @ Leipzig

by Woges, 00:25

Funcom will be showing new content, locations and features at the Leipzig Games Convention. DirectX 10 features will be press only though.

Durham, USA – August 15th, 2008 – Conan is invading this year’s Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. Funcom and Eidos invites everyone to come join the festivities at his majesty’s outpost located at stand B10 in Hall 5. Behind the tall walls of the King’s fortress press and gamers alike can play the game, meet and chat with the developers, collect amazing give-aways and observe live stage shows where Funcom will reveal and demonstrate brand new and never-before-seen locations, content and features that will be put into the recently launched massively multiplayer online game ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’ in the months ahead.

Friday - August 01, 2008

Age of Conan - Male/Female Damage Patched

by Woges, 12:29

Conan's latest patch fixes white damage for the male/female divide, full notes here.

 

Friday - July 11, 2008

Age of Conan - Letter from the Game Director

by Woges, 20:53

 Gaute Godager returns to tell about the plans for the near future. It's a long letter and starts thus:

 Greetings fellow players.

While it has been some time since I last gave you an update, I wanted to touch base and let you know what we are working on at the moment and where we are going in the times to come. I want this update to focus on what is actually happening to the game now, what we have done, and also some of the reasoning behind our choices going forward.

As you all know we have been live for some seven weeks by now, and what a period it has been! While Conan has sold more and performed better than even we could have hoped for, we also know that there have been things we had to work on. I will not try to hide from this fact, but I hope you have seen our steady stream of improvements and additions, in fact, even more than I would have thought possible! I am definitively proud of the team and what they have done after launch, and I think everyone agrees that we are making Conan better, all the time. We are also keeping almost the entire development team ON the Age of Conan live team for the foreseeable future, meaning we can make exciting new content updates on an ongoing basis. Still, let me underline that our main – main – focus at the moment are bugs, stability and performance! I might not talk very much about the details here, but the frequency of the patches and their contents speak for itself.

Saturday - July 05, 2008

Age of Conan - Stratics Site Launches

by Woges, 16:09

 Has competitions and stuff.

Age of Conan Stratics has officially launched their site today. The new portal brings a wide varity of features, guides and other helpful Age of Conan information to the community. For their gran celebration on this 4 of July, Age of Conan Stratics are excited to release their first AoC Stratics contest! You could have a chance to win in-game items, game time, game boxes, soundtracks and more!!!

...to build your armies strong and see your enemies crushed before you. In the near future, it will be important to reinforce your ranks with mighty warriors as the challenges to come will test the resolve of even the bravest of legions. Here is your chance to get the word out and recruit fresh blood!

You can find the new Age of Conan Stratics site here. You can also find the full contest rules and prize listings here

Monday - June 30, 2008

Age of Conan - 700,000 and Growing

by Woges, 23:37

Funcom's AoC sees impressive account numbers and is still selling well from this article at Gamespot.

Durham, USA – June 30, 2008 – Eidos and Funcom are proud to announce that Age of Conan continues to dominate the PC sales charts in all markets where the game is available. Over the last few weeks it has remained the overall #1 PC game in most European markets, whilst also performing tremendously well on several all-format charts. In the US, Age of Conan impressively conquered the #1 PC spot for the first two weeks of available NPD data. Due to the amazing interest surrounding the game, more than 700.000 gamers have now signed up for an Age of Conan account. In the second month after release it is also clear that Age of Conan has taken the position as the undisputed #2 subscription MMO in the western world.

When Age of Conan stormed into retail stores as what we believe to be the most pre-ordered original PC game in history, it instantly became the best selling PC game of May. The pace at which Age of Conan sold made it one of the fastest selling PC games of all times, and Funcom and Eidos are therefore very satisfied to see the positive sales trend continue. As all countries report sales differently, it is not possible to get a complete overview of the exact box sales at the time of writing, but Age of Conan remains the top selling PC game in most all released markets. This includes being the #1 overall PC game in June in the Nordic countries, Oceania, Germany, France and Spain, as well a top three contender in all other markets where the game is out. No substantial sales data for June is yet available from the US market, but Age of Conan was the #1 PC game in the latest official NPD update.

Saturday - June 21, 2008

Age of Conan - Review @ Gametrailers

by Woges, 16:30

 Another positive review for AoC with a score of 8.5/10.

 

Friday - June 20, 2008

Age of Conan - Review @ Eurogamer

by Woges, 15:45

 Fairly lengthy review from Rob Fahey 8/10.

The odd thing is that, despite the fact that Age of Conan is blatantly unfinished, we don't have any reservations in saying that it is one of the smoothest MMO launches we've ever seen. That may seem a contradiction, but it's not - rather, it's a fairly relevant criticism of how the MMO industry treats its early adopters in general. Conan, at least, has a stable - not to mention incredibly attractive - game engine, gameplay that works, and servers that stay up.

Hell, it's even got an endgame, for the small number of hardy souls (i.e. the long-term unemployed) who are touching the level cap already. The quality of the raid content hasn't really been explored in any depth yet; there are concerns about boss battles degenerating into massive melee scrums backed up by healers spamming area-of-effect spells, but it's equally possible that guilds simply haven't grasped the strategic aspect of the game yet. Only a little more time will tell on that front. However, for those at high levels, the options already exist for guilds to create their own keeps and so on - a hardcore, resource-hungry activity that may well keep people busy for long enough for Funcom to shore up any faults in the rest of the endgame.

For the majority of players, for whom the journey to level 80 will be more sedate, Age of Conan a somewhat unpolished and occasionally rough experience - but like Conan himself, this is a noble savage.

Wednesday - June 18, 2008

Age of Conan - Reviews @ CVG, Comp.Games.ro

by Asbjoern, 23:36

CVG has chosen to give Age of Conan a score of 7.3. Below is a small excerpt from the review about the starter island of Tortage:

The first 20 levels have you hidden in the fully voice-acted pirate haven of Tortage. Here, you learn the basics of your chosen class through a mixture of single-player questing - your Destiny Quest storyline, which happens only at night - and the more standard MMO quests, which are accessed by manually flipping the island into daytime mode.

The single-player fare is a series of missions that take you from being a newly arrived slave to the one responsible for the overthrowing of evildoer Strom and his Red Hand troops.

Throughout this you get introduced to the combat mechanics, the strange way in which AOC does conversations (see Dialogue with the barbarians box out), and some of the more engaging parts of AOC's overarching story.

The Destiny Quest is an interesting and innovative way to teach you about your class, and is a joy to play thanks to the reasonably involving storyline, decent voice-acting, and the fact that you're basically playing in a solo instance - something that MMOs have needed for a fair bit of time.

ComputerGames.ro is a bit more generous and awards the game a Silver Award followed by a score of 89/100. The review is indeed five page long and here's the ending words:

The best thing about Age of Conan is its potential. If you look at it and think of what it may become (and probably will become) the score must be high enough to encourage people to play it. It’s different, it’s original, it looks absolutely gorgeous, and it keeps you glued to the PC until you completely forget yourself playing it. Even with the bugs, lack of balance, and polish. You play it until your eyes pop out, and that’s the most important thing. To realize the problems, but also acknowledge that the game is going in the right direction. Try it, and if the score is not by your liking, cut 15 points and you have Age of Conan in its current state.

Source: Blues News

Tuesday - June 17, 2008

Age of Conan - Reviews @ Games32, GameZone

by Asbjoern, 17:11

Games32.com awards Age of Conan a score of 87/100 and concludes:

Age of Conan is certainly worth your time assuming you have a powerful, current generation, PC and are ok with the game rating: Mature, 18+. 18+ means not so much violence as you may expect but it does mean blood and dismemberment from time to time. It also means the player base is more mature, and you won't probably encounter passionate item-grinder kids that have no life and dropped out of school for a computer game. You will be delusional to think however that everyone past 18 years old is an actual mature person.  

Age of Conan is currently one of the few, if not the only competition to date for World of Warcraft. They have till Christmas to catch up with the players, fix all the bugs, and bring new content where it lacks. If they manage, we will have 2 giant MMORPGS in our hands. Anyway, the game is still strong, and you should still give it a chance for 2-3 months at least. Who knows, you might end up a big fan.

GameZone.com has continued their previous review covering the first 20 levels in a review #2 to now also cover the levels between 20-39. The score is the same as before, 94/100:

While new combos do not happen very often, what these levels do well is define the profession you are while revealing a greater portion of the world. You will start to look more critically at armor and weapons and associated buffs they may have. While one piece of armor may have a higher defense rating, sometimes the better piece of armor for you will be lower in defensive rating, but have a high stamina rating, or constitution rating, or even increase several stat categories.

The patches, now up to twice a week while the idiosyncrasies of the client are ironed out, do present a few problems. The most recent patch seemed to create a couple of crash situations, including the dreaded “out of memory” crash to desktop.

The 20-39 levels, though, do begin to offer up a robust view of the world while revealing deeper game mechanics, such as the grouping aspect of the game, which requires players to team up to defeat certain mobs or achieve quest goals.

The storylines are still pointing in a specific direction but you do start to see more of the individual NPC stories and get a feel for the world.

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is a multilayered MMO that reveals gameplay layers as you progress and explore the world. This continues to be a rich and varied gaming experience. The hint of evil threatening not only Conan’s realm but all of Hyboria is ingrained into the fiction of the game and as you build upwards, you begin to sense the textures of the painting that is slowly revealed in this game of high adventure.

Source: Blues News

Friday - June 13, 2008

Age of Conan - Review Round-Up @ Offi. Newsletter

Age of Conan - Future Plans Announcement

by Woges, 14:56

Funcom have posted an announcement on their futue plans for AoC. Which includes PvP levels and rewards, new dungeons, more voice acting.

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:

Thursday - June 12, 2008

Age of Conan - Verdict: Major Disappointment @ YouGamers

by Asbjoern, 23:44

YouGamers has reviewed Age of Conan calling it a major disappointment and giving it a score of 76. Here's the conclusion:

In conclusion, Age of Conan has been the biggest disappointment of the year so far. Funcom knowingly hyped up the interest, tightly controlled any information from the closed beta and then went ahead and released a half-complete game, with many of the hyped features either missing or woefully incomplete. Poor customer support together with silly design and implementation errors make things only worse. Sure, they polished up the newbie zone pretty well, and many rookie reviewers happily took the bait and dished out big scores. Funcom must be commended for successful "bait and switch" as the early levels do not reflect what awaits in the later stages of the game.

Now if you fancy MMOs as playgrounds where half the fun is to freely gank people and find new ways to exploit the game, Age of Conan is perfect for that - in its short lifespan there has already been duping exploits, powerleveling loopholes and PvP exploits, and I'm sure there are plenty more for the evil gamers to find. For us less evil gamers, if you decided to jump in, you need inhuman amounts of patience and hope to go with the game box, as what you are getting is effectively a half-finished beta with a subscription fee. There is some potential for sure, but based on historical evidence with Anarchy Online, personally I'm not holding my breath. Simple bugs and missing things will most likely get fixed as the time goes by, but there are several flaws that run so deep that they are almost impossible to correct at this point.

The impressive sales figures of Age of Conan demonstrate the massive demand for a new top tier MMO. Current ones just can't push out new content rapidly enough to keep the players happy, so there is room for new contenders. It's a shame that those players who took the early positive comments based on early parts of the game will most likely end up disappointed - and Funcom will see the greatest monthly percentage drop in MMO subscriber numbers since… well, the launch of Anarchy Online, most likely.

Age of Conan isn't the worst attempt to compete with WoW in the recent years - that honor goes to Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - but still it's a failed attempt in many ways. It's not different enough to avoid unflattering direct comparisons, and when you scrape off the pretty visuals and put the actual meat of the gameplay next to Blizzard's juggernaut, Age of Conan falls on its face. In fact, it doesn't compare very favorably even when you size it against the actual gameplay offered by old timers like Dark Age of Camelot or Everquest 2. Shiny visuals and boobies are not enough to cover up the unfinished and poorly designed gameplay. Next contender, please.

Source: Blues News

Wednesday - June 11, 2008

Age of Conan - Launch Editorial @ MMORPG

by Woges, 15:19

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.

Friday - June 06, 2008

Age of Conan - Ships a Million

by Woges, 14:20

AoC has shipped one million copies in Funcom's announcement.

 "Sales data shows that Age of Conan is the biggest MMO launch since World of Warcraft,” says Funcom Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Morten Larssen. "The numbers are very promising, and we are very proud to be one of the fastest selling PC games ever in a launch month and the biggest simultaneous Europe/US MMO launch in history.”

In the US, Age of Conan has a strong # 1 chart position and is now moving past the 500.000 shipped mark. Meanwhile the attention for the game is growing across the globe, with over 8 million unique visitors from over 200 countries to the Age of Conan websites so far in 2008. The community surrounding the game is also growing fast, with over 800,000 signing up as members of the Clan of Conan fan club.

Thursday - June 05, 2008

Age of Conan - Reviews @ Play.TM, TrustedReviews

by Asbjoern, 23:01

Play.TM does a review of Age of Conan giving it 84%. It might perhaps be criticised for being a "Tortage review", because there's nothing in it that indicates the reviewer have played beyond the first 20 levels:

Overall, the first 20 levels were very enjoyable and a great introduction to the game. Primarily it gives you the chance to get used to the real-time battle system which is pretty different from other MMORPGs. There is no auto-attack, if you have a ranged weapon and a primary weapon you need to manually change weapons (albeit with a simple key combo) rather than auto switch a la Warcraft. You can dodge and sidestep attacks and in later levels form together combo attacks. Each mob has shield indicators on either side of it to show where it is defending, attack an unshielded area with a tap of a key and you cause more damage. It's a simple but effective system, that although obviously geared towards the forthcoming 360 version of the game, works well and is a breath of fresh air from the usual method of turning on auto attack and going through the motions of the same attacks over and over again. There are also fatality moves which cause blood spatters across the screen, an example of why it gained an 18 certificate in the UK. It is definitely a violent and grim looking game, gone are the Warcraft, near-cartoony style graphics. This world is brutal and cruel, but also visually stunning, if you have the PC specifications to back it up. It's no Crysis but it is a big advantage to have a fast PC, especially if you like to run at higher resolutions.

TrustedReviews have also reviewed Age of Conan giving it 7/10. Here's one of the criticisms in the review:

It also has to be said that quest design is not a consistent strength. Even the Tortage story missions have their weak points, but switch out to the multiplayer quests and you'll find an awful lot of uninspired 'gather venom from twenty dead snakes and twenty dead scorpions' stuff, not to mention quests that come down to nothing more than killing 30 picts or 50 Red Hand guards. Compare this to some of the excellent, multi-staged quests we saw in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade or LOTRO - quests that were instantly engaging yet worked constantly to further the plot and deepen your interest in the world - and Conan suddenly feels formulaic. Is this the next-generation MMO we all expected? Are paths and chambers peppered with enemies who simply stand around until you enter their alert zone still all we can expect over three years after WoW?

Source: Blues News

Age of Conan - Impressions Beyond 40 @ IGN

by Woges, 17:10

Charles Onyet's impressions of the game somewhere around the mid 40 level.

Before we go any further we should point out how this game world in constructed, since some may have a different idea. Instead of being one large, seamless world like Blizzard's World of Warcraft or Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan is fragmented and layered. You're required to load into each zone, and each zone exists in multiple instances, something like the public hubs in ArenaNet's Guild Wars. This might be disappointing for anyone who awaited the game's release with the fantasy playing in their head of hopping on horseback and roaming unimpeded across the vast expanse of the game's explorable area. The zones by themselves are quite large, but you can't transfer between them without loading.

As for the content, things seem to start to tail off in terms of solid quest lines and more engaging content once you hit 40. In the Field of the Dead, the game's zone for those between 40 and 50, things start off at a decent clip with a few quests near the zone's beginning, but then seem to sputter to a slow crawl, offering only a few tasks and meager rewards. Compared to the polished level 1 through 20 experience in Tortage and large number of quest chains available in the 20 to 40 zones, Field of the Dead doesn't really stack up. Leveling is still entirely possible through grinding as downed mobs around your level give out pretty good experience bonuses, but opportunities to gain quest experience rewards that can so quickly propel you along the leveling curve seem to dry up. Without the strength of the narrative threads present in the 20 to 40 zones, the game turns into more of a chore to play.

Wednesday - June 04, 2008

Age of Conan - Review @ Crispy Gamer

by Woges, 19:09

Marc Saltzman reviews AoC.

Skeptics who doubted there was room for another massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) alongside the 10-million-strong World of Warcraft and other persistent fantasy worlds can eat their words as Funcom has confirmed its hotly-anticipated Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures sold more than 400,000 units its first week alone -- even selling more copies than Grand Theft Auto IV in some markets.

Commercial success is one thing, but how does Age of Conan fare in the gameplay department? Will gamers agree to pay $14.99 a month after the first 30 days of free play are up? If our first eight days knee-deep in Hyboria are any indication, the answer is a definite yes. Gamers patient enough to sit through some growing pains -- namely, new servers added to handle the traffic and many system updates that address various technical bugs -- will find the experience an intense and rewarding one.

Age of Conan - Funcom Speaks on Breast-gate

by Woges, 14:36

Erling Ellingsen spoke with Eurogamer on this week's breast dilema. The whole article is here.

"The amount of attention this accidental breast reduction has received is very surprising to us. I've had mainstream media calling me about this, and the forum has been glowing with some very interesting conspiracy theories," said Ellingsen.

"I can tell you, however, that this is nothing but a body morphing bug that is being fixed now. So your breasts should be back to normal as soon as possible. Never thought I would say those words, really. Interesting business, this."

Tuesday - June 03, 2008

Age of Conan - Letter from the Game Director

by Woges, 21:02

Gaute Godager gives out some insite on the near future goals of AoC's development.

Fellow Hyborians!

As you may have noticed we have had frequent patches the last two weeks. We hope this will soon start to quiet down, but as long as there are major issues – and there have been – we will dedicate the Conan team to fixing them and giving you these fixes as soon as possible! We have a plan on how to move this game forward because as you know, what you have today is but the platform – the dawn of this world. I hope you enjoy the game as is, but I can ensure you, this is but the beginning!

Our focus from now on can be summarized by these points:

  1. We will add content, specifically in mid-late thirties and mid-late fifties and make the leveling speed smoother in those areas, reducing the need to grind.
  2. We will have an overhaul of the PvP system – adding consequence and a host of small things.
  3. We are fixing bugs you reported through all channels we can get information from.
  4. We will add a new large outdoor region in the 55-60 range this summer!
  5. This is only a small taster! More information about the exciting summer and fall Roadmap will come the end of the next week!
  6. We are staffing up Customer Service, Quality Assurance and Community departments!

Age of Conan - Review @ Gamespot

by Woges, 13:27

Another one of the 'big sites' reviews AoC with a very positive 8.5/10, stating "Technical issues notwithstanding, the violently rewarding Age of Conan is one of the finest online RPGs available."

You'd do well to look past these imperfections, though, because Age of Conan is the most brutal and immediately satisfying MMOG on the market, thanks to its unique slant on combat, resonant quest writing, and uncompromising maturity. It's also paced much differently than its competition, ushering you into Hyboria slowly by juxtaposing a story-driven, single-player quest against the more standard team-oriented exploration and traditional questing. During your time in Tortage, the initial lower-level city, missions are bestowed with in-engine scenes and full voice acting, which draw you into the world and weave narrative threads that continue even after you've left the pirate port for the wild beyond. It's unfortunate that most post-Tortage quests lack the voice-over, but the tasks themselves are superbly written. While it's true that the majority of them are genre standards--kill these enemies, collect these items, and so on--they're assigned by interesting characters with stories to tell. You'll meet a young woman hiding her pregnancy (and the unsavory circumstance behind it) from her overbearing father, rescue a princess that turns out to be a bit different than expected, and interrogate murder suspects. Don't skip past quest intros without reading them in Age of Conan; if you do, you'll be missing some of the game's finest moments.

Monday - June 02, 2008

Age of Conan - Q&A @ MMORPG

by Woges, 16:42

 Jorgen Tharaldsen anwsers a Q&A on the rougher points of Conan's launch.

There seems to be some confusion regarding the way that zones are instanced in Age of Conan. Can you explain how this system works and can you please provide a concrete number limit on the number of players who can play in the same zone instance?

Instancing is when we duplicate playfields and areas when they fill up according to set parameters. These parameters differ from zone to zone, and it's something we are continuing to experiment with. The key is performance and design choices, and this means that we are allowing larger amount of people in some places, less in others.

As we in our launch window, and still uncertain on how our customer numbers will become, we are actively adding more hardware to each server to facilitate more players (much like EVE, without taking it all the way). As opposed to adding servers (which we also do!), we estimate that load will go somewhat down in the future. This means you are seeing more instancing now than you are likely to see in the future. The reason for this is to create healthy populations on each and every server. Call us paranoid or thinking too long into the future, but we think that the worst thing that can happen to a MMO is server merging as that destroys the social bonds. We hope that people will understand our choice, and see that it’s the best for everyone in the long run.

We do see that we could be better at some of this, like how we display and inform, and we are improving this, but seeing we have been live for days we are still shaping the world.

Saturday - May 31, 2008

Age of Conan - Banned Accounts Q&A @ TTH

by Asbjoern, 15:21

Funcom have banned some accounts due to exploits that have been used to gain more money in Age of Conan. The problem seems to be that they have temporarily banned some legitimate accounts too and in the interest of customer service/public relations, they have conducted a Q&A with Ten Ton Hammer:

Ten Ton Hammer: What if the accounts banned were legitimate accounts? For instance many guilds have given a guild character much gold to act as a guild bank until the in-game bank was brought back up. What can players do to get these accounts reactivated, assuming the gold was legitimate?

Mathis: Sometimes accounts suspended were legitimate accounts but we do our best to avoid this. Suspicious behavior might cause a temporary suspension until we have verified that it was a false alarm. We have our own team going through data to analyze whether it was legitimate or not. Every case is analyzed and accounts will be re-opened if we happen to verify that actions were legitimate. On this specific incident, players should do as instructed in the mail we sent out to those who got affected. They should e-mail account-status@ageofconan.com and our staff will process their case. We have no intention of keeping players from playing the game. So it is in our best interest to make sure that people get back in the game if everything was legitimate.

Ten Ton Hammer: Some accounts have had gold removed but the account wasn't banned. Is there anything these players can do to rectify the situation if the gold was legitimate?

Mathis: They should e-mail account-status@ageofconan.com as instructed in the mail they got from us. We sent out different e-mails depending on what happened to their account. Everyone was informed that they should contact us if they for some reason felt that a mistake was done on our end.

Age of Conan - Review @ Gamespy

by Woges, 04:13

Gamespy's review is up with a 4/5 score stating the game is unpolished but still awesome fun.

The major element that makes Age of Conan stand out from its competitors is its delightfully bloody combat system. There's no watching the status bar, clicking auto-attack or spamming special abilities. Combat in Age of Conan is more akin to an action game. Players control the direction of their attacks via the "1", "2" and "3" keys (and later get two more directions attached to "Q" and "E"). They also develop "combos" that do extra damage, place status effects, trigger some funky powers or provide the occasional insta-kill fatality. Players can protect themselves by using three "Shields" that can be rotated via some finger-twisting use of the "Control" key or slaved to other hot keys. Spellcasters aren't left out the fun either as they develop a similar "spellweaving" system that can drastically enhance the power of their magic at the cost of an occasional deadly backfire.

Friday - May 30, 2008

Age of Conan - Post-Release Interview @ TTH

by Asbjoern, 19:17

Product Manger Erling Ellingsen has conducted a post-release interview with Ten Ton Hammer. The interview takes a more personal direction on Erling Ellingsen, so readers are not given a lot of information about Age of Conan and its post-release situation:

Ten Ton Hammer: What was the most thrilling moment you had over the past few years? Conversely, what was the hardest thing you had to go through?

Erling
: Working in the gaming industry is a true blessing, and there has been so many of those thrilling moments during the years I have spent here at Funcom. Witnessing drastic improvements in the game is of course very high on the list of “best moments”, such as the first time we were able to do mounted combat or the first time we could actually walk around in the city of Tarantia without the computer screaming in pain. I love traveling the world, and I really enjoy visiting the press and coordinating and attending all these important conventions and press events. This job is really full of highlights!  

Age of Conan - Funcom is hiring

by Woges, 17:39

Jobs at Funcom if you're interested in this kind of work.

Seeing the great success we have had with Conan so far, we see the need to continue staffing up our Community Department. We are now filling up four more positions internally, and three of those are now out.

As Funcom has a tradition and long history with recruiting people from our communities we therefore wanted to point you in the direction of these jobs. Should you wish to work in Funcom and on games like Age of Conan, please apply.

The new positions which are now open are;

Age of Conan - Review @ YouGamers

by Woges, 13:25

Another early review of AoC with a more realistic 3/5 score but also noticing the potential the game has.

You may think that after listing so many negative bits about Age of Conan, either the game sucks or I hate it. That's not true. While it's too early to dish out the final judgment on Age of Conan just yet, despite all the obvious faults and lack of final polish, it definitely shows promise. I can't recommend it as someone's first MMO - there are far too many rough edges, bugs and balance issues - but for MMO veterans who are desperately seeking for a new fix and don't mind the fact that the game is still work in progress, Age of Conan is already worth a look. The fundamentals are there - the servers have stayed up, the client is (mostly) stable, and you won't run into a show-stopping bug every ten minutes.

In comparison to the competition, I would put it below Lord of the Rings Online at this point, mostly due to lack of polish and balancing. Lord of the Rings Online may have been light on content at launch, and it still suffers from sub-par character animation, but at least what was there was pretty well balanced and playable. Age of Conan feels too rought as far as the balancing goes - in just a few days, several quite spectacular exploits have already been uncovered, mostly due to inadequate testing related to class and ability balancing. A MMO lives and dies by the balance of the content and classes, and a PvP-oriented MMO even more so. Several "OMG, look, silly overpowered feat combo of doom"-style issues have already been uncovered, and the fact that the bug related to redoing your feats ever got to live servers tells volumes about the QA process at Funcom.

Thursday - May 29, 2008

Age of Conan - Armoury @ Curse

by Woges, 16:59

Curse Gaming are busy making an armoury for AoC in the latest from the offical AoC site.

More and more sites are now coming up with interesting community features and services, and our friends at Curse.com have sent us word that they are proud to unveil the Age of Conan Armory. Located at http://www.ConanArmory.com, the Armory is currently in beta and offers:

  • A stylish feat calculator, approved by Crom.
  • Community-driven feat builds. Do you have the best PvP build for your class? Let the community know!
  • Build commenting and rating.
  • Multi-lingual support is coming soon.
  • The Conan Armory will eventually offer an item, NPC & quest database, character profiles and a variety of tools to enhance your Hyborian experience.


Head on over to the Age of Conan Armory beta website now, and be sure to add http://www.ConanArmory.com to your browser bookmarks.

Wednesday - May 28, 2008

Age of Conan - PvP Bounty/Prison System

by Asbjoern, 17:48

G4's The MMO Report has interviewed Jason Stone in the latest video broadcast. In it, Jason Stone tells that he has designed a PvP bounty/prison system to be implemented as part of Funcom's launch plan for Age of Conan. Below is a written description of the system:

According to Jason Stone on today's MMO Report, he's designed this very elaborate "prison system" that is AoC's take on anti-griefing, and it will be implemented fairly soon because it's essentially done and was part of the "launch plan" for the game.

In essence, it specifically targets griefers with a "bounty system" coupled with a "prison sentence".

Griefing would essentially be repeat kills of a player that provides no challenge. For example, repeatedly killing a player much lower level than you who has no chance at all to win against you (so some type of level differential). It would also encompass something like too many successive kills in a row or timeframe (I'm reading between the lines of what he actually said here).

So say you do this in Cimmeria. Enough offenses and you get a "Cimmerian bounty" placed on you. The Bounty Hunter NPCs in Cimmeria can then somehow capture you (no details here), so you can choose to flee to Aquilonia or Stygia and do your dirty deeds there instead. If you ever come back to Cimmeria, you will still have a bounty on your head (no time-out, apparently).

If you get caught by the bounty hunters, you can either bribe them to let you go by paying some amount above and beyond the bounty (one type of money sink penalty), or you can choose to serve prison time.

The prison time is meant to be actively unpleasant. You can't just wait it out. You must perform menial, boring tasks such as "take this stick and kill 300 rats" or "carry this stone to the other side of the yard, pick up a stone on that side and carry it back, do this 300 times", etc.

Finally, somehow the "prison" is visible to other players, so that you get the embarrassment of being seen serving your prison time and doing those menial quests.

Thanks zakhal.

Age of Conan - Report @ Gamespy

by Woges, 11:54

Four of the editors at Gamespy report on their experiences of AoC thus far.

Miguel (Stygian Tempest of Set): Maybe we can simply say "them's the breaks" when considering all the technical problems, but that would be unfair to all the MMOs that have launched smoothly throughout the last few years. But let's not lose perspective: during even its worst moments, Age of Conan is in remarkable shape when compared to some of the sloppier launches in recent history (let's not go back to Funcom's first MMO...).

The things that bug me about the game aren't technical in nature (and granted this may be simply because I haven't played enough to really find anything truly frustrating). What's disappointed me so far is the haphazard way that quests are distributed throughout the environments I've thus far encountered. Maybe I'm just spoiled by WoW, but at this point, it feels like an enormous pain in the ass to trawl an entire zone, pinging every NPC marked on my map for every task they're worth. Heh. It just occurred to me how remarkably lazy that sounds, but that's how I feel.

To give Age of Conan the benefit of the doubt, it doesn't seem like you have to complete every single quest in a zone order to advance through its level range -- at least not yet. If that's the case, then cool; my complaints will simply amount to an overabundance of options.

Tuesday - May 27, 2008

Age of Conan - Reaches 400K Accounts

by Asbjoern, 13:05

Age of Conan has become one of the fastest selling PC games of all time. Over 400.000 players have activated an account since release, though Funcom will not be reporting subscriber numbers on a regular basis, for marketing reasons. Funcom's initial server capacity is able to handle 600k-700k players and the stock market has responded sligthly negative as seen in this Google translated Norwegian article. This is not necessarily an indication of disappointment and Funcom's CFO Olav Sandnes is translated in the Norwegian article for saying: "This is a number (400k players) we are well satisfied with."

Durham, USA – May 26th, 2008 – Funcom is proud to announce that Age of Conan is one of the fastest selling PC games of all time. More than 400.000 gamers have entered Hyboria over the last few days, with almost half coming from the North American market. This amazing figure for a PC game shows that the positive pre-order trend has transferred into actual sales, and people from all over the world are now flocking to the most savage, sexy and brutal MMO ever created.

Over the weekend an astounding amount of concurrent gamers were logged on to the game, making Age of Conan one of the busiest MMOs in the western hemisphere. With stock flying out of several retail chains, Funcom expects the number to increase in the days to come. In addition to the many gamers logging in, there was also substantial traffic to the Age of Conan websites, with more than 2,2 million unique visitors during the last ten days.  

As a result of the great launch, players and press have been raving about the unique qualities of the game, and the first 20 reviews give Age of Conan an average score above 90%. The first US reviews are also live, with Gamezone.com giving the game an Editor’s Choice Award, a 9.4 of 10 score, while heralding Age of Conan as a “Benchmark MMO”. Sci-Fi.com was also an early mover and gave the game a straight A, stating that “If Robert E. Howard had been a game designer..., this is the Conan he would have invented.”

“The initial sales and reviews are very encouraging, and it’s great to see that so many are enjoying Age of Conan,” said Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. “This is just the beginning, and we already look forward to massive updates and cool new features.  We believe our focus on making Conan unique and groundbreaking is a key reason for the initial success. This is a focus we will keep and reinforce, and players can expect continued quality and innovation as we enter a new era for the game.”

For more information about the game, please visit www.ageofconan.com.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Sunday - May 25, 2008

Age of Conan - Review @ AtomicGamer

by Asbjoern, 14:30

So, the period of reviews has begun for Age of Conan. AtomicGamer serves a review calling it the "best MMO since WoW":

Just because you can run WoW at 25fps, though, doesn't mean you'll necessarily be jumping for joy in Conan. The system requirements are about as brutal as a two-handed mace crushing a skull into little bits, or at least it might seem like that on your three-year-old laptop or $500 budget PC. Just about any CPU that's either dual-core or the equivalent of 3GHz or better should be fine, and while 1GB RAM is the official minimum, I'd consider 2GB to be a much better starting point - and if you're running Vista, consider 2GB the flat-out minimum. Once the CPU and RAM are at a decent level then a solid video card is the biggest measure of the game's performance, especially if you start turning up draw distances, screen resolution, antialiasing, and more in the game's Video Options. The requirements list an Nvidia 7950 GTX under its recommended system, but I'd say that's closer to being a bit above a good minimum. If you're trying to play at high resolutions with the detail set to High, don't even show up without an 8800-level card.

But once you get that together, you will know where that upgrade money went. Conan has fantastic textures and plenty of great art, with sprawling cities and interesting NPCs (many of which have decent and/or amusing voice acting attached). It also comes at a cost of hard drive space as well, though: Age of Conan is almost 25GB fully installed. But that's miles and miles of high quality textures all over everything, and as long as you have the machine to be able to see it all, you'll be duly impressed with how the game looks.

Source: Blues News

Saturday - May 24, 2008

Age of Conan - The Fallacy of MMO Innovation @ The Escapist

by Woges, 16:32

Sean Sands on the (non)evolutuon of MMOs.

Age of Conan, while it has enjoyed an encouraging launch, has been touted among the more innovative titles to hit the mainstream, though in reality it really brings very little to the table that hasn't been tried before. The concept of action combat is unique in its particular implementation here, but not in the broader context. Obviously Planetside, which was more shooter than MMOG, offered action driven gameplay far before AoC, and even Tabula Rasa and Dungeons and Dragons Online changed the dynamics of traditional auto-attack in somewhat similar ways to Conan. DDO also shares AoC's story-driven elements and while Conan revels in the bloodiness of its M rating,scantily clad women offering innuendo and bloody decapitations are not exactly new territory for video games in general, even if the MMOG industry has proved slow to grow up.

Age of Conan - Review @ Gamezone

by Woges, 11:04

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.

Friday - May 23, 2008

Age of Conan - The Verdict

by Woges, 17:24

Oli Welsh's opinion on the early days of AoC.

We expected one other factor to be holding us back. After the beta test proved to be an unstable, resource-hungry, slow and jerky mess that required constant patching and server downtime, we feared the worst for the bloodthirsty upstart. Age of Conan would simply not be ready to be thrust upon hundreds of thousands of demanding gamers this week, we thought. We were wrong.

In actual fact, the Norwegian developer and game operator has pulled off one of the smoothest MMO launches in history. We've been playing the retail version of the game since last weekend, and it has been largely bug-free and effortlessly playable, running reliably and at a fair lick of speed. The transition from limited early access to full-blown launch in the US earlier this week went well, and there's no reason not to expect the same in Europe today.

Only persistent problems with players getting stuck in one mid-level zone, Lacheish Plains, have blotted its copybook. It's still hardly accessible - you'll need an ocean of hard-drive space, the latest drivers and Windows updates, some patience with patch downloads, and preferably a ton of RAM and a beefy graphics card, if you want to play Age of Conan. Once you're in, though, you'll get what you paid for. In purely technical terms, we've no hesitation in recommending you play it from day one.

That, of course, is only one of many sides to this story.

Thursday - May 22, 2008

Age of Conan - Gameplay Marathon @ Gamespot

by Woges, 20:37

Gamespot's latest Gameplay Marathon will feature AoC being played by Kevin VanOrd.

With Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures finally on store shelves and off to a smooth start, we're putting together a three-hour live gameplay session marathon, and you're invited!

We'll start off by asking for user input on what sort of character you'd like to see us make, and then we'll take this fledgling adventurer through some of the early single-player areas of the world of virtual Hyboria. Afterward, we'll jump onto another character for some multiplayer questing, and everyone with an Age of Conan account is encouraged to join the party. All GameSpot members over the age of 17 (as this is an M-rated game) will be able to tune in to this special event, and GameSpot subscribers will be able to chat with one another as the marathon moves along.

So be sure to tune in on Friday, May 23 at 6 p.m. PT to watch Kevin VanOrd hack, slash, and decapitate his way through the Hyborian kingdoms. For those of you unable to catch the live broadcast, be sure to check out the highlights reel and archive!

Age of Conan - Classes Article @ Eurogamer

by Woges, 14:34

Oil Welsh discusses choosing a class in AoC.

Age of Conan's twelve classes are divided into four "archetypes" of three classes each: soldiers, priests, rogues and mages. Each archetype follows a different story thread through the first twenty levels of the game.

Soldiers are heavily armoured warriors who can take a lot of punishment, and deal it back with a broad range of melee weapons. Broadly speaking, these are the "tank" classes; their role in a group is to stand at the front and taunt enemies into concentrating their attacks on them, allowing other classes to go about their business unmolested.

Priests are healers. They use magic to keep themselves, and their groups, alive. They wear light to medium armour and have limited weapon selections, and naturally they have offensive abilities too. A key point to note about Age of Conan's priests is that their healing spells are less effective on themselves than they are on group members.

Rogues are sneaks and damage-dealers. They excel at stealth, and doing large amounts of physical damage without attracting enemies' attention. They wear medium armour and use both melee and ranged weapons.

Mages are offensive magic-users. They wear light armour and possess destructive spells, as well as being able to summon creatures as pets to fight with them, or shapeshift into different forms.

Wednesday - May 21, 2008

Age of Conan - In Stores!

by Asbjoern, 23:27

Should it have slipped your notice, then here is some free advertisement right off Eidos' website:

As a galley slave you stand on the burning beaches of Tortage. With no memory of your past, a broken oar and tattered clothes you enter a fantastic journey where you will define your destiny. In a world filled with cruel gods, mythical creatures, lost civilizations and a struggling human race, Conan the mighty barbarian has finally seized the throne as king of Aquilonia; but his rule is on the brink of chaos as his nemesis Thoth-Amon attempts to resurrect the ancient civilization of Acheron.

Carve your destiny and fight along King Conan, in the first mature MMORPG. Advanced technologies, amazing …

Source: Blues News

Age of Conan - Out of the Box @ Gamespy

by Woges, 14:09

Mixed bag Out of the Box article at Gamespy though the problems they report are technical and gee gosh exploiters. "It may need some polish and tune-up time, but Funcom's just-launched MMO based on Conan's world is still bloody, barbaric fun."

Unfortunately, while being raw and crude is an attraction when it comes to the setting, it's not quite as much fun when it comes to the game's technological infrastructure. The first few "Early Access" days found message boards filled with people having difficulty logging in to the game, getting their account credentials registered and recognized and claiming the proper bonuses. In the first day of general admission, we also had some difficulty getting our access codes recognized, though this may be a function of overloaded registration servers and have nothing to do with the game itself. A few retries on our part eventually got us straightened out and once we logged in we've found the game running smoothly and without a connection hiccup ever since. We've also experienced an occasional delay in loading textures, though they're not bad enough or severe enough to be game-breakers.

The biggest technical headache so far has been the loss of the Traders and the shenanigans of exploiters. Traders are in-game NPCs that serve as a player bank, an auction system and a mail system. As earlier games have found out, launching without a viable auction system is a major handicap; while Funcom has stated that the issue is minor and it's working on the problem, this is an issue that needs to be resolved quickly.

An equally bad issue has been a few unscrupulous guilds who have apparently discovered some type of exploit that lets them gain money and experience far more quickly than intended -- so much so that players have reported seeing level 50 and 60 characters (out of 80) running around after only three days of play. Given the inevitable influx of gold farmers into the game, this is an invitation to economic disaster.

Certain aspects of the game also suffer from a distinct lack of polish. The UI, for example, is a clunky collection of buttons and controls that hide rather than highlight important information. A tiny triangle on the radar, for instance, allows players to switch instances in common areas. This is important because in order to keep the game smooth and populations in common areas fairly low, the game is heavily instanced. That means that getting groups together takes an extra five minutes just to get everyone in the same instance.

The game's chat system is also atrocious. It uses poor color choices and tiny fonts for text that can't be changed from within the game. It's also annoyingly difficult to properly tab conversation channels or subscribe to the right ones. Guild controls are weirdly split between the "Friends" and "Guild Management" buttons.

Tuesday - May 20, 2008

Age of Conan - Previews @ GameSpot & The MMO Gamer

by Asbjoern, 13:02

GameSpot has an updated hands-on which include their experiences from early-access. The preview seems to imply in the last paragraph, that the game might not be as buggy as some fears:

From what we can tell, the early-game experience in Age of Conan seems to work just fine, which bodes well for a game that has been some years in development and has seen a lengthy beta test that has featured numerous patches and additions, practically daily, to resolve various issues and improve the game. Age of Conan launches next week.

The MMO Gamer also serves a preview or rather "beta impressions". The last paragraph speaks positively for Age of Conan:

AoC is a mature rated game and rightly so, nudity and decapitations are the flavor of the day and this all stays true to Robert E. Howards writings. All in all, Age of Conan has left me wanting more and with launch day fast approaching, I can’t wait to get in the game and chop some heads off.

Source: Blues News

Monday - May 19, 2008

Age of Conan - Success, Success and not Entirely

by Asbjoern, 15:19

Funcom has sent out an announcement saying that the Collector's Edition of Age of Conan has sold out and furthermore that they are shipping 700.000 copies on day one of its release.
The first review of the game has also come online giving it 9/10 from the Norwegian part of the Nordic gaming publication/website GameReactor. The obvious bias from it being a Norwegian website should, of course, be noted. (A poor Google Translation for those interested in reading the review.)
Though the DirectX 10 version of the game will not be available at launch due to Funcom's decision to polish and implement more DX10 features:

Durham, USA - May 19, 2008 - Funcom is proud to announce that the Collector's Edition of Age of Conan is now completely sold out in all markets. The exclusive edition was announced in January, and has since topped retail charts at numerous retailers. In some markets, the Collector's Edition has been sold out for weeks, and as a result additional boxes were made. These are also sold out, and the total print run stands at 111.000 units. Lucky customers may still find some copies on retail shelves, but no re-orders are available.

Additional retail figures for the standard edition of Age of Conan are also highly impressive. In total, Funcom is shipping around 700.000 copies of Age of Conan on day one. This impressive figure for a PC game is powered by equally impressive pre-order numbers. As a result of the tremendous interest and recent order increase, Funcom has not been able to fulfill all orders of Age of Conan in several markets due to current server capacity limitations. Extra orders of servers are now in place to facilitate for handling of more customers.

"Everyone in Funcom is delighted and humbled with the historical pre-order numbers for Age of Conan. If the information we have is correct, they represent the highest pre-order number for any global launch of an original PC game, ever, including the original World of Warcraft launch," said Morten Larssen, Funcom's VP of Sales & Marketing.

More than one million unique visitors visited the Age of Conan websites last week, and as a result of the great interest in the game, Funcom's early access offer was swiftly oversubscribed. The three day early access program was a limited offer reserved for pre-order customers. While Funcom scaled the servers above anticipation, player demand surpassed expectations. As the Early Access servers launched last night, the servers and game held up exceptionally well. As the game launches properly later this week, Funcom expects additional large numbers of customers to enter the game.

All the positive signals are naturally not equal to eventual success, but early indications from the press points out that the game boasts unique qualities. The very first review for the game gives it a 9 out of 10 score from Game Reactor, the Nordic regions largest gaming magazine.

While Funcom is thrilled with the early success of Age of Conan, and proud of the game launching this week, the company regrets to inform gamers that the DirectX 10 version of the game will not ship with the initial launch. As Microsoft's DirectX 10 is undoubtedly the future of PC gaming, Funcom has decided to ship only the DirectX 9 version at launch, giving the team more time to focus on building a DirectX 10 version worthy of Microsoft's great vision for the future of PC gaming. This postponement will let Funcom include even more features in the DirectX 10 version of Age of Conan than originally planned.

The DirectX 10 version will be premiered at the German Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany, August 20 - 24, 2008. A special preview showing off the advanced graphics made possible by DirectX 10 technology will be unveiled this summer at nVidia's NVISION event in San Jose, California, August 25 - 27, 2008.

Age of Conan launches 20th of May in North America / Oceania and 23rd of May in Europe. More information about the game can be found on http://www.ageofconan.com

Source: WarCry

Sunday - May 18, 2008

Age of Conan - Friday Update: The King is Coming

by Woges, 14:55

Launch event update on the offical site.

Word may already be trickling out, but we anticipate more as we free the journalists from our dark dungeons of despair. As part of the last push to launch, on Tuesday, at a movie theater here in Oslo, we presented the game to an eager and hungry crowd of journalists and some lucky fans.

If you want some idea of what went on, we’ve tracked down a video of the complete presentation from the enterprising young lads at TenTonHammer. All that was followed by a massive launch party at a newly-established Viking village in Holmenkollen.

Secondly, we love seeing what our fans can do. Very soon, we will throw open the gates and you will be free to make videos, take screenshots, and do everything else you can imagine with the game. As just a sampling of this, we’ve selected some of the finest player-made videos to be featured here on the community site. We can’t wait to see what you guys come up with once the game launches!

(Please note that these may contain adult/not work safe content, music, etc.)

Have you made something cool? Do you want internet fame and glory? Let us know in the forums

Finally, We’ve dispatched our elite undercover agents to the very factories now churning away night and day, producing copy after copy of Age of Conan. We snuck away pictures and an exclusive movie of the production underway, so you can see that the King is coming, boxes are being packed, very nice people in factories are hand-packing your Collector’s Edition before it leaps into a box and embarks on its journey to you. The wait is almost over, Conan fans, as you can see in these pictures and in this short video.

Friday - May 16, 2008

Age of Conan - Composer Video Interview @ MMORPG

by Woges, 16:25

I can't view it atm but the Knut Avenstroup Haugen is here.

While attending the launch event for Funcom's Age of Conan, MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood had the opportunity to talk with Knut Avenstroup Haugen, the game's composer, about what it was like to work on the highly anticipated game.

Wednesday - May 14, 2008

Age of Conan - Hands-On @ Games Radar

by Woges, 20:39

Chuck Osborn plays some multi-player AoC.

In fact, the biggest obstacle I encountered in multiplayer while playing the beta was that framerates dipped dramatically between nighttime and daytime modes. Tortage City, in particular, was plagued by stutters and stops that often turned the game into a sword-and-sorcery slideshow. Turning graphics settings down to “fugly” helped some, but I could almost hear my powerful machine whimpering in protest.Crashes were also very common in multiplayer, occurring most often when the game loaded a new area. Funcom says that the crashes are due to a known memory leak that will be fixed before launch, but wasn’t able to explain away my framerate issues quite so easily. Long story short: I shouldn’t have had them, say the devs, who suggested a lack of pre-compiled shaders may be the culprit. The final game will ship with a shader library that they - and we - hope will alleviate this problem. I also experienced an array of minor glitches, like absent animations, invisible enemies, and a broken quest or two, but these sorts of problems often get fixed by bleary-eyed developers in the final weeks before an MMO launch. Crom, if you’re up there, please help guide Funcom in ironing out these technical issues
This is actually day 2 of a week long series the first part can be found here.

Tuesday - May 13, 2008

Age of Conan - 1 Million Sign Up & Femme Fatale Trailer

by Woges, 15:52

AoC announces over 1 million beta sign-ups.

Funcom and Eidos are proud to confirm some of the impressive figures powering the Age of Conan launch, and the two companies are happy to reveal that the Age of Conan Beta has passed 1 million sign-ups! As one of the most anticipated MMO’s ever, the 1 million mark confirms the amazing interest in the game.

“Funcom has not been able to find any higher beta numbers for MMOs in the western world,” said Morten Larssen, VP of Funcom Sales and Marketing. “We believe it represents the largest ever beta sign-up figure in the history of the genre.”

Adds new trailer also.

This brand new trailer shows clearly that the women of Hyboria are just as dangerous and deadly as any man.

Source: Blues News

Friday - May 09, 2008

Age of Conan - Friday Update

by Woges, 22:57

This friday's AoC update, being the 16th newsletter,  includes some info on guild cities.

It’s not all about death and destruction in Hyboria, sometimes you will also want to create something yoursel... that others can destroy, of course. Player-made cities will pop up once we open the servers, and now you can pick up a little information on each of the different buildings you will be able to construct in your guild’s city.

(Read more about the buildings here)

Thursday - May 08, 2008

Age of Conan - Beta Concerns Q&A @ MMORPG

by Woges, 19:36

Q&A on the AoC Beta.

There are members who are complaining that (from their experiences in the Fileplanet Beta), they expect AoC to have a "rocky" launch and point to AO's launch as an example. Can you speak to this?

If you say that you surely weren’t there for the AO launch. I was, and it can’t even by a fraction compare.

We got a couple of surprises when we launched the Open Beta (which it was honestly great we found them at this point and not at launch). We also proved beyond any doubt that our server technology is rock stable once we deployed the first fix (we expected more issues, and did not get them, a very good sign). That most all (80-90%?) seem to think our core gameplay is really fun and engaging is a very nice outake, and that we have taken immersion, storytelling and audio in MMOs to a whole new level is another one, and so much more. We are on track to something special, and it’s FUN. The day we dig down because of bad news we have lost as a company. We are about learning from the things which don'tt go as well as we would have liked them to, and improving on that.

Do I think we will get a rocky launch? Any MMO launch is a major challenge, and there is always something, but I think we are looking good at the moment. We have been through the storm before, so we know what we are up against, and I think we have what it takes to make it right.

Tuesday - May 06, 2008

Age of Conan - Early-Access Information

by Asbjoern, 22:20

The official website announces that registration of pre-order keys for early-access to Age of Conan is now possible:

Registration for customers with pre-order keys has now opened on http://register.ageofconan.com. Registering with a valid pre-order key (such as the Rhino or Mammoth key) is the unique way to be eligible to purchase Early Access for 5€/5$. This fee includes 10 days of game-time as well as the digital download of the client. Hurry though, because the Early Access is only available while supply lasts!

The planned level cap for early-access has been scrapped aswell as the launch date for early-access has been changed for Europeans to be simultaneous with Americans on the 17th of May.

Source: Blues News

Age of Conan - Preview @ WarCry

by Asbjoern, 21:33

WarCry have published a preview of Age of Conan. The preview is positive towards the game:

Possibly Age of Conan's biggest feature and stronger draw-cards is its revolutionary "real-time" combat system. Gone are the days where players will endlessly mash at hotkeys to trigger-off automated attacks and other abilities. In Age of Conan, you are in true control of your character and its attacks and other abilities. To start off with, players have three directional attacks: up, up-left, and up-right (two more directions are unlocked at level 40: bottom-left, and bottom-right). These directional attacks are used in tangent with player combos, some which are generic to the archetype, but eventually become individual to the class you are playing. In the very early stages of the game, player combos will be very simple and not quite so intricate so as to get players used to the combat rose and fluidly firing off attack combinations. As the player character gets older, newly-learned combos will become more advanced and become more intricate. Combos have a range of effects (dependent on the class you are playing) which range from damage over time (DoT) or a "bleeding" or "burning" effect, life-taps, armour sunders, debuffs to defense, etc. If your opponent is low on health and if you activate a combo with the right timing, you may also trigger a fatality move, each with their own very gruesome and/or painful-to-watch animation. It is believed that Spellweaving (the combo system for casters, if you will) will work in a similar fashion, however the lid is on that one until release, but going by what we're told on other gaming websites, you might want to keep a box of tissues nearby as you play your caster character(s).

Age of Conan - Hands-On @ CVG

by Woges, 17:03

Another preview for AoC.

The feat points system is directly comparable to WOW's talent points and with a level 80 cap, they're considerably more involved, too. There's plenty of options you'll be forced to neglect, making for a larger number of possible specialities.

Age of Conan is unexpectedly beautiful for an MMO - Funcom's DreamWorld engine has seen a fair amount of overhaul since the archaic days of Anarchy Online. Mounted combat - although we weren't allowed to try it - seems like an entertaining addition, presuming it works as well as the demonstration - and the acting and script were all far better than you might expect from certain '80s movies.

NIGGLING DOUBT
Any concerns? Well, the combat is the main focus of any fighting game and that's where my main concern is. Is the directional stuff really about making the game action-packed? Or is it more about the difficulties of squeezing an MMO onto the 360? Will using combos in combat slow you down? Also, the chance for a one-hit decapitations might be graphically appealing, but in PvP we can imagine a fair few all-caps complaints from foul-mouthed teenagers who've had their noggin unfairly lopped off.

Monday - May 05, 2008

Age of Conan - Preview @ Hooked Gamers

by Asbjoern, 07:27

Hooked Gamers has a preview of Age of Conan. Something to be "aware" of:

First and foremost, Age of Conan is the first ‘M’ rated MMO to be made available to gaming audiences. Typically the “dreaded” ‘M’ (Mature, 17+) rating is avoided by game developers to allow the largest possible playing audience. World of Warcraft, with its 11 million subscribers is a perfect example of this. Age of Conan, however, has taken an alternate route. Instead of dumbing down the content and gore, which would otherwise be an injustice to the Conan franchise, Eidos and Funcom have embraced the mature rating. Thus, they have embraced the graphic, brutal and sensual nature that is the essence of the Conan legacy. If you are easily offended by graphic bloodletting, decapitations, impalements, dismemberment, foul language and maybe the occasional bare breast of a woman, Age of Conan may not be what you are looking for in a MMO. Age of Conan was given the ESRB rating of ‘M’ for a reason, and they are proud of it.

Source: Blues News

Sunday - May 04, 2008

Age of Conan - Preliminary RP-Server Rules

by Asbjoern, 12:30

Preliminary rules for the role-playing servers of Age of Conan have been released at the official website as last Friday's "Friday Update". They are still under debate though and you can influence the developers by joining this thread on the official forums. Below is an excerpt from the rule set:

All names must fit within the universe of Hyboria. Sephiroths or Pikachus or names that are out of place with the setting are not permitted. This is in addition to our usual naming policy (for example, no copyrighted names).

No names (or obviously similar names) may be those used in the works of Robert E. Howard. Conan, Kohnan, Konan, Kohnan are all examples of names that are forbidden under this policy.

Please avoid Out of Character (OOC) chat as much as possible in the public channels. You are welcome to discuss whatever you like in your guild channels or in private messages.  Examples of Out of Character chat include sports events, the weather, what you had for lunch, internet memes, catchphrases, and so on.

Saturday - May 03, 2008

Age of Conan - Finding a Guild @ AoC Vault

by Asbjoern, 15:44

IGN's recently opened Age of Conan Vault has published a guide to finding a guild. The guide seems very general in its approach so you might be able to use it for any other MMORPG of your desire as well.

Source: Blues News

Friday - May 02, 2008

Age of Conan - Subscription Prices Revealed

by Asbjoern, 15:20

Funcom has revealed the subscription prices for Age of Conan. 60-day timecards will also be available in stores for "29.99 USD / 29.99 EUR (including VAT where applicable)":

North America & Oceania

MonthlyPer MonthTotal
1 Month14.99 USD14.99 USD
3 months13.99 USD41,97 USD
6 months 12.99 USD77.94 USD



Europe

Monthly Per Month TotalTotal Incl. VAT*
1 Month12.99 EUR12.99 EUR14.94 EUR
3 months11.99 EUR 35.97 EUR41.37 EUR
6 months 10.99 EUR65.94 EUR75.83 EUR

* VAT only applicable in EU member states


United Kingdom

Monthly Per Month TotalTotal Incl. VAT
1 Month8.99 GBP8.99 GBP10.34 GBP
3 months8.39 GBP25.17 GBP28.95 GBP
6 months 7.69 GBP46.14 GBP53.06 GBP

Age of Conan - Beta Preview... Preview @ MMORPG

by Woges, 00:37

 Jon Wood writes his hands-on preview of AoC.

 Before I cut this beta preview... preview short, I wanted to talk about an element of Age of Conan that I have absolutely loved up until this point. Voice-overed dialogue.

I know that there are going to be some folks out there who will think I'm crazy. I know it isn't something that everyone enjoys, but for my part, I think it's something we don't see often enough in MMOs. Then again, I'm a story fiend and voiceovers really do help with an engaging interactive story.

NPCs in AoC (at least those that I have come across up to this point) have fully developed voiceovers. It's not even just a small portion of the text. It's complete NPC dialogue. Now, while I do say that I like voiceovers, the thought of them often makes me cringe. It isn't enough, in my opinion, to just have voiceovers. I've heard too many really poorly acted voiceovers (the XBox 360 Conan game is a great example) to get too excited about them. Often, it's like the actors were just handed a script and told to read without knowing anything about the game, the characters or the situation. With Age of Conan, I felt like the actors and by extension whomever was directing the actors, took the time to know and understand the context of the dialogue that they were delivering.

Tuesday - April 29, 2008

Age of Conan - Jorgen Tharaldsen on Open Beta @ MMORPG

by Woges, 15:13

Jorgen Tharaldsen talks to MMORPG.com about the File Planet Beta.

 In terms of the decision to go with Fileplanet as the distributor of the beta keys rather than either going through a free access website or distributing it themselves, Tharaldsen told us that while they very much wanted to offer an open beta, it was crucial for Funcom to be able to “focus on the game, the closed beta and the launch, and not on the infrastructure related to the Fileplanet Open beta.” He went on to tell us that download speed was a consideration in the decision. After all, the client itself is a hefty 13Gb in size. “I know of hundreds of gaming sites around the world, but I do not know of anyone able to do this better than Fileplanet. We have been working with them for many, many years by now, we know they have a great infrastructure, and that they handle MMO betas in great ways.”

So, why not just go with a free Torrent download?

“To that I can only say we were one of the first gaming companies to start Torrent distribution a few years ago with Anarchy Online, and of course we know a lot about Torrents, but setting up this for such an event would have served to make us lose focus right before launch. It would not have helped any of us, and running Torrents are about a lot more than just letting the world do it themselves. It needs a lot of work to get it right, and ensure good speed and a smooth customer experience.

 

Friday - April 25, 2008

MMOWatch Feature: Age of Conan Hands-On

by Dhruin, 02:05

We've kicked off some new content at MMOWatch with Woges relating his experiences with the opening gameplay of Age of Conan after a recent beta weekend event.  Here's a sample:

As soon as you’ve finished creating your character your slave vessel is hit and you’re shipwrecked, (almost) the sole survivor, on the isle of Tortage. An in-game cut scene ensues and you are greeted by Kalanthes (Hyboria’s wandering priest of Ibis) he tells you to get to the city of Tortage and that the slaver from your ship has headed up the path ahead of you. You’ve suffered memory loss (of course) and must find out about your past. Here the game starts, and the graphics and landscape are impressive, the music sounds like it came straight from one of the classic Sinbad movies (sound is well done in general). The slow rolling waves are a nice touch to this serene introduction. There’s wrecked ships, wreckage, dead bodies, scavengers and crocodiles are scattered around for early combat practice.

Read it all here

MMOWatch Feature: Age of Conan Hands-On

by Dhruin, 01:58

Yes, it's been a long time between drinks for MMOWatch articles but this is a great place to kick off the return of new content. Surely the most anticipated upcoming MMORPG release, Woges relates his hands-on experience with the recent beta weekend event, which provided some insight into the start of the game. Here's a snip:

As soon as you’ve finished creating your character your slave vessel is hit and you’re shipwrecked, (almost) the sole survivor, on the isle of Tortage. An in-game cut scene ensues and you are greeted by Kalanthes (Hyboria’s wandering priest of Ibis) he tells you to get to the city of Tortage and that the slaver from your ship has headed up the path ahead of you. You’ve suffered memory loss (of course) and must find out about your past. Here the game starts, and the graphics and landscape are impressive, the music sounds like it came straight from one of the classic Sinbad movies (sound is well done in general). The slow rolling waves are a nice touch to this serene introduction. There’s wrecked ships, wreckage, dead bodies, scavengers and crocodiles are scattered around for early combat practice.
Read it all here.

Thursday - April 24, 2008

Age of Conan - CD Projekt enters Service Partnership Agreement with Funcom

by Woges, 22:52

Polish version localised by CD Projekt.

Funcom and CD Projekt are delighted to announce the signing of a Service Partnership Agreement for a Polish version of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. According to the agreement CD Projekt will fully localize voice and text and operate local customer service, communities, websites and in-game support for Age of Conan in Poland, while Funcom will take care of back-end technology, server infrastructure and continuous development of the game.

Tuesday - April 22, 2008

Age of Conan - Gold

by Woges, 20:14

No more delays for AoC it seems.

The Most Savage, Sexy and Brutal MMO Ever Created Hits The Store Shelves Soon.

After four years of development co-publishers Funcom and Eidos are proud to announce that Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures has gone gold. One of the most highly anticipated MMO games in history is about to hit the store shelves, and the gates to the world of the mighty barbarian will soon be open to the millions of gamers around the world.

Monday - April 21, 2008

Age of Conan - Preview @ AtomicGamer

by Asbjoern, 21:07

AtomicGamer features a preview of the recent PvP weekend:

This PvP weekend only includes one map, but it is an interesting one and it actually presents a totally different playing field for the two game modes. In Team Annihilation, the teams are placed at opposite sides of a large, symmetrical courtyard with quite a few hiding spots and nooks and crannies, and there are bases at each side near the middle of the map too; capturing one of these middle bases for your team means they can now spawn closer to the battle.

And yeah, these smaller PvP matches allow you to respawn repeatedly if you die. In the case of the included Capture the Flag matches, respawning is pretty standard, and it works fine here - the battle's over once one team has gotten enough captures or time runs out. In the team annihilation matches, you have a Resurrection Totem in your base that can be destroyed by the enemy; if they take it out, your team can no longer respawn. None of this is really that new to an online gamer who's played a bit of CTF and/or Guild Wars, but in Age of Conan, small-scale PvP at level 20 is not the ultimate goal. There's much more to the game after that.

Source: Bluesnews

Sunday - April 20, 2008

Age of Conan - Interviews @ Europe

by Asbjoern, 12:52

Two European, non-English websites have released interviews written in the original languages but also in English with Erling Ellingsen, Product Manager.
First we have the German website OnlineWelten, which asks:

Julius "Amrac" Kuschke: Age of Conan is a very action-oriented MMOG. So the question comes to my mind, if you also have quests, where the players have to solve puzzles or riddles? If yes, can you give us an example?

Erling Ellingsen: Yes, I think one of the truly beautiful things about Age of Conan is how diverse and interesting the quests can be. Sure, we have a lot of traditional MMO type quests in there, but we're really trying to spice things up as well. Especially during the 1-20 part of the game you will find quests that are truly epic and dramatic, thanks to the part single-player aspect. Puzzles or riddles? Sure, I just had a chat with one of the quest designers on the team, Joel Bylos, and he told me about the "Patterns of Insanity" quest. You basically have to mark murder sites on your mini-map and this forms a pattern that reveals the killer! There are also quests where you have to interrogate NPCs, discover the truth and so on. Exciting!

Next is the French website Mondes Persistants, which asks:

Beautiful graphics, big battlefield with hundreds of players, collision, line of sight... Are you sure it is not a little bit too much to handle ?

I certainly understand your concern, and I guess time will show, but we are putting a lot of effort into making our technology work under those conditions. Tests have been positive and a lot of that is owed to our proprietary graphics engine called Dreamworld. Having shaped this engine over several years it has allowed us to create an engine that is truly scalable and can adapt to a lot of different systems.

Saturday - April 19, 2008

Age of Conan - Interview @ Gamespot

by Woges, 04:18

The Gamespot staff discuss AoC with Gaute Godager as part of their PVP Beta weekend.

GS: Otherwise, how well has the game been received so far in the closed beta? What do testers seem to be really enjoying and gravitating toward?

GG: So far the beta testers have loved the world. They have loved the core gameplay, the hands-on action, and the feedback level of the combat. They have loved the innovation and the freshness. They have loved the maturity of the setting, they love our nipples and our fatalities. They have felt our patches are massive and take forever to download (we have patched six gigabytes' worth of data, three times now! Funcom makes deployment of Vista SP1 seem small). I can promise our testers that this will not happen once the product goes live. The product is on two double-layer DVDs and the install [is] roughly 15GB--which is most likely among the biggest games in history.

I've seen players gravitate more towards group play towards the end of the beta than what we saw in the beginning. It is fun to see players finally managing to take down their first high-end raid target. Basically, it is fun seeing the change, the ebb and tide of what the players enjoy.

Which class has been the most popular has changed several times, and it is a very good indication of an exploit. Wink, wink.

Friday - April 18, 2008

Age of Conan - Preview @ Primotech

by Asbjoern, 23:47

A new preview of Age of Conan is up at Primotech:

Funcom knows that Age of Conan will stand apart from its competitors with the game’s immense attention to detail. The impressive cut-scenes, voice-acting, and lip-synching give the game a cinematic feel that rivals that found in even some big-budget singleplayer-only titles. The game boasts over 6,000 motion-captured animations, taken from both humans and animals. More than a hundred actors lent their voices and the game is scored with over four hours of original orchestral compositions.

Source: Bluesnews

Age of Conan - Friday Update - Answers from Kalanthes #2

by Woges, 19:58

Questions questions.... 

Since we get more emails about this than anything else, the official system requirements for the game are:

Minimum configuration (1024x768, detail reduced)

  • OS: Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 3Ghz or equivalent
  • RAM:  1GB
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 or better
  • Video memory: 128MB
  • DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
  • HARD DRIVE SPACE: 30GB
Recommended configuration (Up to 1280X960, most features on)

  • OS: Windows XP SP 2 or  Windows Vista
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz or equivalent
  • RAM: 2048MB Dual Channel DDR2
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX or equivalent
  • Video memory: 512MB
  • DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
  • HARD DRIVE SPACE: 30GB

Online Gaming;

  • Broadband connection required.

Thursday - April 17, 2008

Age of Conan - Heads will Roll! (apparently)

by Woges, 20:57

50,000 players (sorry - barbarians) will be heading for open beta.

Open Beta exclusively available through FilePlanet.com and partner IGN sites.

50.000 aspiring barbarians may enter Hyboria on May 1st 2008.

Funcom, Eidos and IGN are proud to announce that Open Beta for Age of Conan will start on May 1. The Open Beta will be hosted exclusively by IGN’s popular game download site, FilePlanet.com, as well as being offered through partner IGN sites such as Gamespy.com, Tentonhammer.com and Warcry.com. The application pages at FilePlanet.com are now open for registrations, and gamers from across the world can sign up. As 50.000 gamers prepare their Hyborian assault, rivers of blood are about to flow, and it’s exclusively available through FilePlanet and IGN partner sites.

Age of Conan - Pre-Order Announcement

by Asbjoern, 19:04

Funcom released an announcement yesterday about the success of their pre-order programs for Age of Conan, which will contain exclusive items but now also allow players to gain early access to the game:

DURHAM, North Carolina - April 16, 2008 - Funcom and Eidos today announced that Age of Conan pre-order programs are now fully available in all major territories including USA, Germany, France, Spain, UK, Oceania and the Nordic countries. Conan fans and MMO gamers are already raving about the incredible pre-order items, including the War Mammoth and Killer Rhino, and today Funcom goes one step further to confirm that pre-ordering Age of Conan will grant players early access to the land of Hyboria.*

Ever since Funcom and Eidos started the first pre-orders in early 2008, the program has received great feedback. The exceptional Age of Conan Collector's Edition has topped the charts in numerous online retail chains for weeks, including being #1 on several all-format lists. The most eager fans are therefore urged to order their copy of the Collector's Edition immediately as it only comes in one print-run.

Funcom now also confirms an early access program which will give customers a chance of a head-start in Age of Conan. Funcom reveals that American, European and Oceanic players may enter Age of Conan as early as the 17th of May. Mere weeks away, early adopters can now live, fight and explore in Hyboria, as well as getting an essential head-start before the hordes invade.

"We are very pleased with the reception Age of Conan has had in retail and we naturally hope that the early interest and our early access programs will materialize in an eventual success," said Morten Larssen, VP Sales and Marketing of Funcom. "The positive indications are naturally an honor, but they also bring a great responsibility. As we prepare the roll-out, we know our servers will be put to the test. We therefore hope potential players will aid us by signaling their interest as soon as possible so we can scale our servers and services accordingly."

Age of Conan launches on May 20 and is consistently mentioned as one of the most anticipated PC games in development. It has received more than 25 magazine covers and more than 15 major awards including numerous "Best MMO of E3" awards and the "Best Online Game of Show" award at GC 2007. Age of Conan is a key title in Microsoft's Games for Windows lineup, as well as a showcase title for nVidia.

Visit www.ageofconan.com to join the thriving community or to sign up for the Beta

For a list of participating retailers or to get more information about the game, please visit: www.ageofconan.com

* The early access program is only available with certain retailers; a participant list can be found on the official Age of Conan website. The early access is entirely voluntary and opens up on the 17th of May for Oceanic and North American gamers and on the 20th of May for European gamers. Pre-loading of the client will commence in advance. You need to pay a nominal 5 USD / EUR fee to take advantage of the offer, which includes client download and 10 days of subscription. When the early access offer expires you must enter the physical retail box gamekey to continue playing.

Source: Bluesnews

Age of Conan - Preview @ VideoGamer.com

by Asbjoern, 18:54

A three-page preview of the mounted combat in Age of Conan has been released at VideoGamer.com:

One of the most impressive aspects of the mounted combat in Age of Conan is how realistic the animals move and look. They have all been motion captured, even the Mammoth (using an elephant). Movement is impressively lifelike, animations are fluid the beast/avatar interaction is superb. Take, for example, the fact that your character will crane his or her neck to look backwards when you reverse. Or the blood stains on mount fur. Or the battle cries, triggered by pressing the space bar, which combine player and beast animations. All these little things add up. We're not claiming it's as good as Walking with Dinosaurs, but it's a valiant effort on Funcom's part.

Source: Bluesnews

Age of Conan - Contest @ AoCWiki

by Asbjoern, 12:56

A contest with prizes of beta keys and 3-months pre-paid game cards is up at Age of Conan Wiki. The god Mitra has disappeared and you have to find the missing god through clues on the website:

How it Works

  • To start the quest for Mitra click here, and use the clue to lead to the next page.
  • Every correct answer will have a clue on the page, if you can't find it, go back to the clue and try again.
  • There are five stages, and finding the final location will contain a link for you to send an email to an account set up for this event.
  • The Event begins April 14th, and runs until April 21st at 12:00 UTC
  • Make sure you submit a valid email address, as winners will be notified via email. Include the following information:
    • The Final resting place of Mitra
    • Your Name

Wednesday - April 16, 2008

Age of Conan - Clan of Conan #15

by Woges, 23:51

Issue 15 of the news letter can be viewed online here. It's all about pre-orders, and lists the contents of the collector's edition:

Ring of Acheronia (Exclusive In-Game Item) – The Ring of Acheronia is an exclusive in-game item which will only ever be available in the Collectors Edition. Stemming from the ancient civilization of Acheron, the ring offers special XP and stamina enhancements for players, making it a powerful companion on the brutal journey through Hyboria.

Hand-Finished Collectors Edition Box – A true piece of art, the metalay-embossed box comes with the royal emblem of King Conan. Naturally it comes in a larger-than-life box, with inlay page and individually numbered holographic sticker.

Hyborian World Faux Leather Map – Made with a unique finish and designed by celebrated cartographer Clayton Bunce, this 14" x 20" faux leather map gives players an authentic overview of the vast Hyborian world.

Unique Bonus DVD – The bonus DVD is filled to the brim with visual entertainment, and includes trailers, a greeting from the game director, behind-the-scenes videos, developer diaries and artwork.

Official Age of Conan Soundtrack – The official game soundtrack CD features a hand-picked selection of the best music from the game. Composed by Knut Avenstroup Haugen, the official Age of Conan soundtrack delivers an incredible and powerful musical journey.

Age of Conan Art Book – With hundreds of art pieces hand-picked by the Art Director, this 128-page book delivers a stunning visual experience. Featuring never-before-seen pieces, it fully depicts the incredible amounts of art which went into the creation of the savage world of Hyboria

The Drinking Cape (Bonus In-game Item) – As fitting for a mature MMO game, the Drinking Cape gives you access to free drinks in all the taverns of Hyboria. This dream-come-true outfit will never be available after the game launches, and with it you can impress friends down the road by proving your status as a pioneer player.

Five Free Guest Passes – Online games are all about having fun with your friends, and only in the Collectors Edition will you get five special guest passes to Hyboria. With the guest pass you can invite five selected friends, allowing them to play together with you, at no cost, for a limited time period.

 

Age of Conan - Interview @ Ripten

by Woges, 19:54

 Jonathan Zungre interviews Jorgen Tharaldsen here.

 Zungre: There is none?

Tharaldsen: No, there is no sexual aspect to the game. And that’s the thing. And a lot of people will say “Conan, it’s a mature game.” You can get undressed, you know, you can see your nipples. You can be completely naked. And there are certain quests, like you speak to a brothel mama, you rescue a prostitute, stuff like that, but you can’t actually have sex in the game, and we’ve been very careful in avoiding any of that.

When we [originally] said there would be no nipples in the US, there was, like, an uproar. “What?! No nipples in the US! It’s a major crisis!” We had, like, comics being made about it and thousands of forum posts.

Age of Conan - Retail Trailer @ FileFront

by Asbjoern, 12:38

A quite beautiful trailer for Age of Conan has been released. It shows environments, mounts and in general the society Funcom has created/emulated.

Source: Bluesnews

Tuesday - April 15, 2008

Age of Conan - Interface Tutorial @ Gamespot

by Woges, 01:07

This UI tutorial has popped up at Gamespot. 

Sunday - April 13, 2008

Age of Conan - Friday Update

by Asbjoern, 19:02

We are a bit late on this one but this week's Friday Update on the official website brings us a video of Age of Conan's character select screen (work-in-progress).

See it here.

Saturday - April 12, 2008

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ WarCry

by Asbjoern, 19:46

Two new horseback screenshots at WarCry.

Source: Bluesnews

Wednesday - April 09, 2008

Age of Conan - PvP Beta Weekend SignUp @ GameSpot

by Woges, 22:57

You can sign up for a chance of a Beta place in the April 16th PvP weekend.

Get a sneak preview of one of the season's most highly anticipated games by signing up for the Age of Conan PVP Beta Weekend, occurring April 18-20.

You'll be among the first to experience the barbaric world of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. Imagine an entire weekend filled with amazing and action-filled player vs player battles fit for the world's greatest fantasy hero.

Registration for the Age of Conan PVP Beta Weekend begins April 9 and we have 15,000 keys to giveaway. Invitees will be notified by email on April 16.

Be sure to check out our official Age of Conan Beta Forum.
The official site has been updated with the info here.
To make the weekend even more interesting Eidos and Funcom also includes the engaging Age of Conan character creation system, allowing players to create avatars with strong personalities. All 12 classes in the game, including the barbarian, can be picked and tested, with Funcom transforming each character into a fully specced level 20 death machine. In PvP lobbies players can then chat and socialize, prior to entering PvP matches. Participants are urged to test different classes, and offer any feedback on the forums. There will also be forums on GameSpot.com where people can talk about the event, and Funcom staff will be present to gather feedback.

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ PC Games.de

by Asbjoern, 22:15

The German website, PC Games.de, have uploaded several Age of Conan screenshots.

Source: Bluesnews

Tuesday - April 08, 2008

Age of Conan - Video Interview Part 1&2 @ HEXUS

by Asbjoern, 22:22

HEXUS.tv has conducted a two part interview series with Erling Ellingsen of Funcom fame.

- Part One
- Part Two

Age of Conan - Interview @ TTH

by Asbjoern, 18:30

A refreshingly different interview is up at Ten Ton Hammer. They interview Brian Lee, Customer Service Manager at Funcom, about naming policy, behavior policy, Game masters and customer service. Here's something on the measures Funcom is preparing in order to prevent in-game gold advertisement:

Martuk: In some of the more current MMOG’s developers have learned that secondary gold selling sites will make use of in-game communication to spam the players with their sites. In many cases they use free trials to post a virtually limitless amount of spam rendering chat channels useless. Can you tell us if you have measures ready to combat chat channel spam when Age of Conan goes live to prevent similar problems with the player communication system being abused and rendered useless?

Brian Lee: The simple answer is “yes, we will have measures to combat the channel spam.” Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in other MMO’s and in our own Anarchy Online, the simple answer will become more and more complex as the game moves out of its infancy and matures. Once spammers learn a system, they change their methods. We are currently working on implementing a system that is easily adaptable to whatever approach they may take and that will have a minimal impact on the regular player base.

Source: Bluesnews

Monday - April 07, 2008

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ Official Site

by Asbjoern, 23:35

New screenshots are up at the official website.

Source: Bluesnews

Age of Conan - Ask the Devs: Week Review @ TTH

by Woges, 13:02

18 fan questions answered by Jason "Athelan" Stone here.

 Naug asks: "I've heard that when you start a combo you must be standing still for a while. Is this true? If this is the case, this shouldn't be much of a problem in PvE but it would be truly devastating for melee classes in PvP. Is it possible for you to elucidate this matter?"

Athelan: "You can trigger a combo and perform the trigger moves while moving, when the combo itself is being completed you must stop or you will interrupt it."

Friday - April 04, 2008

Age of Conan - Offical Updates

by Woges, 19:55

A load of new news posts on the offical web-site: starting with Peek #8 Kheshatta,

Read about Kheshatta, the dreaded City of Magicians, seen through the eyes of one of Thoth-Amon's henchmen while writing a letter to his master. 

a preview at Millenium.org,

A French guild has put in a lot of time and effort to put together a guide to Age of Conan. We think it's so cool that it deserves more exposure! 

Interview at MMOZone,

The Dutch site MMOZone got ahold of globe-trotting adventurer/Creative Writer/resident Rickroller Shannon Drake for a few questions. 

the friday update: Spellcaster Screenshots

Since we hear the laments and voices crying out to us, we decided to put together some screenshots using the latest build to show you how they’re coming along. The melee classes have had a lot of exposure, it’s only fair the mages get a little bit of love, yes?

finally - Mitra's Method: 'Piercing the Darkness'.

Stephen 'Weezer' Spiteri has put up his latest 'Mitra's Method' article at AoC Warcry.

Wednesday - April 02, 2008

Age of Conan - April Fooling

by Asbjoern, 20:59

The official website features a humorous April fool revealing a new class to Age of Conan, the Elves. The developers have said in a recent interview that flying mounts do not fit the lore created by Robert E. Howard, but yet the Elves will have access to one, a rather fearsome one too:

Those going off to battle shun the mammoths and rhinos of the more earthly races. Instead, elves are the only race that can utilize the Giant Bumblebee mount, the only flying mount available in all of Hyboria. These bees will be lifelong companions, as well as ferocious opponents in battle and handy in sieges, as they can fly right over the walls of the enemy keep.

Source: Bluesnews

Tuesday - April 01, 2008

Age of Conan - Q&A @ TTH

by Asbjoern, 16:29

23 questions from Ten Ton Hammer readers have been answered by Jason "Athelan" Stone in this Q&A:

kalmusek asks: "Won't the AoC combat system make it impossible to play for people with a slow internet connection?"

Athelan: "We have successfully played Age of Conan in laggy convention centers sharing bandwidth on international servers in Norway from the West Coast. So the game is playable. Of course there are limits to how much lag a game can compensate for, but with the use of localized servers I think gamers in general will find their experience to be good. Lag issues are more noticeable in PvP when everyone moves as much as possible to be evasive, in PvE since mobs tend to be more stationary once they have engaged you it's hardly noticed."
And for you Oceanian players:
zurtri asks: "I'm from Australia and my ping on most MMORPG with US servers is about 330. Is there a mechanism in the game that allows us to play at a reasonable level such as the ability to "load up" attack moves in advance with the server playing them as quick as feasible?"

Athelan: "The Oceanic Issue is definitely an interesting one both from location and time zone related issues. Pending launch we would have to see how many fans we get in the Oceanic region and if we can find a hosting partner who we will would do a good job running the servers then we could evaluate another server as an option. However Conan does play pretty good even with some latency as I answered in another question."

Source: Bluesnews

Age of Conan - 4 Life!

by Asbjoern, 15:59

Ten Ton Hammer has announced an Age of Conan contest in cooperation with Funcom. There will be ten lucky winners and in order to participate you need to write 100-250 words about why you think Age of Conan is the game you will be playing for the rest of your life:

How to enter
From March 31, 2008 to April 18, 2008, we want you to tell us why you think Age of Conan is the game you'll be playing for life. Just post your thoughts in 100-250 words in our forums. Ten Ton Hammer Age of Conan Community Managers Machail, Martuk, and JoBildo will choose the 10 most convincing and articulate forum posts as our finalists on April 20, 2008. Each of those lucky contestants will receive an Age of Conan beta key. Those same ten finalists will be entered into a random drawing to determine 7 winners of our prize packages. Those winners will be announced on April 28, 2008.

Sunday - March 30, 2008

Age of Conan - 2x Interview & 2x Screenshots

by Asbjoern, 00:44

Massively has an interview with Jørgen Tharaldsen where he - among other topics - talks about early access for pre-order customers, user interface customization and system requirements:

How long would you say it takes an average player to reach max level?

It depends on what your goal with the game is, and how you play, but we have estimated around 240 hours of playing time on average to reach the max level. This is a number which really means nothing though, after all, the essence is how much fun did you have while doing it, what happens when you reach the end, and how much fun it is to roll an alt. You know, after some time the players will work together and hammer and push at every single aspect in the game to make it go faster. I guess that is a part of what expansions and updates are for

The official website also points our attention to another interview with Product Manager, Erling Ellingsen. MMOSite asks and Ellingsen answers on a wide variety of topics:

MMOsite: You have been making improvements to the siege battle system in Age of Conan. What does the system look like now? What are the most important improvements you have made to the system?

Erling Ellingsen: We certainly have, the siege system is shaping up to be an incredible experience. Just today I was looking through some of the current interface implementations for the siege system. This might not be what we end up with in the final build of the game, but right now it's basically this calendar where you choose when your battlekeep is vulnerable and other guilds will be able to come in and attack your battlekeep in that timeframe. Your guild will get points based on how their siege is going. Kill an enemy player and you might get one point. Burn down one of their buildings and you might get fifty! It's an incredibly intense and rewarding experience, and it's very social. Well, social in the way of killing each other brutally and dancing on your enemies corpses while you get dead drunk. 

In closure WarCry features two exclusive screenshots.

Saturday - March 29, 2008

Age of Conan - Interview & Media @ New AoC Vault

by Asbjoern, 23:59

IGN has launched a new Age of Conan Vault. In order to help the launch Funcom employee, Jason "Athelan" Stone, has been interviewed about his work on Age of Conan but also about his personal life. But let's stick to something relevant:

Jube: Do you have separate teams for Age of Conan and The Secret World, or are AoC's developers starting to pull double duty?

Jason Stone: Separate teams but some crossover is necessary for those who need to be familiar with tech before moving on to Secret World etc.

Jube: Several Funcom developers appear to spend some time in the official AoC forums. Do the posts there carry any weight at all, do you ever take fan suggestions from there and think "Hey, let's run with that!"?

Jason Stone: It really depends on what it is. Everything has weight but you have to look at where you are in the process and how easy an idea can be accomplished. The ideas are easy to come up with, the methods of implementation are the hard part.

Jube: What feature of Age of Conan have you been most impressed with the development of so far?

Jason Stone: I am biased in loving the combat system because I spent so much time during the past 3+ years working on it.

Age of Conan Vault also offers some screenshots. I'm supposed to be objective and more importantly professional in my coverage, but I'd like to point you in direction of this screenshot. I don't know what he is holding.

Source: Bluesnews

Age of Conan - Friday Update

by Asbjoern, 00:34

New content and improvements have been added to the community website of Age of Conan in this Friday Update. The new updates add lore and information about PvP.

Wednesday - March 26, 2008

Age of Conan - Preview @ Kikizo

by Asbjoern, 21:31

Kikizo has done a preview of Age of Conan through the guidance of Funcom's Erling Ellingsen. He talks a lot about the combat system but he also mentions the post-release plans for Age of Conan:

If Conan is to succeed, though, what the team needs is to demonstrate its dedication to the game, keeping new content coming over the months and years after release. Funcom is fully prepared.

"On the day we launch we're dividing the team into two parts," Ellingsen says. The first of these will be responsible for the small stuff - squashing bugs and polishing what's already there. The second team will have a different role. It will be tasked with growing the game world through expansions and other regular updates.

"We're going to focus on pushing out huge expansions, pulling more of the lore into the game, creating more areas you can explore, more monsters, more classes, more races more loot - constantly expanding," says Ellingsen.

"That's one of the success recipes of MMOs, that you constantly renew yourself and you update the game and you create new content. That's how we're going to keep the game living in the long run."

Monday - March 24, 2008

Age of Conan - Video Interview @ CVG

by Woges, 02:56

Video interview with Erling Ellingsen - ending CVG's recent bout of AoC coverage. Stating that there is as much raid content as WoW at launch and hoping that Funcom will be rewarded by players for trying something different.

Sunday - March 23, 2008

Age of Conan - Interview @ ageofconan.hu

by Asbjoern, 02:09

The official site leads to our (slow) attention that an Hungarian fansite has conducted an interview with Jason "Athelan" Stone who answers a wide range of questions. Here's something on player cities:

H: Many good things are already in the beta, but some of the features are still wait for testing. What’s going on in the beta right now? What causes you the biggest problem at the moment? How close will be the beta to the final version which will be released in May? Will there be enough time to test everything? When will you plan to give player made cities to the testers, can we expect them in the beta, or in a later patch perhaps?

JS: Player cities are already in, but not being built by the beta population, sort of turned off at the moment. MMO’s are constantly evolving and because of this there will never be „enough time” as you could go on and on for ever. The biggest problems are constantly changing as we fix something and move on to the next issue. The Beta version will eventually be the version released in May in fact probably more recent since it will have patches done after the gold masters are burned.

H: Please tell me something more about player cities. In a player city will there be a house for every player? Or we can expect, let’s say a bigger house for the classes? What kind of buildings will there be in the player made cities and in the Borderlands keeps? Will they have a strategic role or just give bonuses?

JS: There is no individual housing planned for launch. We plan to add it later down the road when we can do it with the attention it deserves. I am not going to list off all the different buildings, but they do effect bonus’s for different classes, they do all have interiors and they all have tactical advantages as far as defending from a siege.

Friday - March 21, 2008

Age of Conan - Insider #1: Combat

by Woges, 21:06

Product manager Erling Ellingsen talks about combat in AoC in this new feature.

Today we're launching a new video series called The Hyborian Insider.

These videos are meant to show you the game and its features using actual gameplay footage. Thanks to the wonders of bluescreen technology, we even manage to put Funcom's Erling Ellingsen into it so he can explain what's going on.

Age of Conan - Answers from Kalanthes

by Woges, 12:51

AoC's friday update is a Q&A answering various questions about the game:

Wise Kalanthes,
While minding my own business at my usual table at the cavern, this welp of a man knocks the beer I was nursing from my hand and embeds a shoddy knife into my table, inches away from my left hand. I like that table, so naturally I was displeased. I demonstrated this by quickly inserting his own knife back into his skull--handle first. The resulting mess caused a problematic stain on my tunic which I have been unable to expunge, despite all manners of effort spent on the cause. This also displeases me. Wise Kalanthes, help rid me of this stain.

In your debt,
Fenris Nighte

I have seen several methods that work well. Cold water can help, if the stain is still relatively fresh, as can spit (yes, spit). Using simple soap and cold water may also help, and your local laundress can suggest various methods (or even do it herself) if my advice fails you. Finally, you may consider spending more time at the tavern, as getting in enough disagreements with knives can result in your tunic having that particular stain all over it, turning an unsightly mark into cutting edge fashion.

Thursday - March 20, 2008

Age of Conan - Beta Journal Entry #1

by Woges, 20:09

Warcry has an interesting preview from a players perspective of AoC. Be warned - there are spoilers of the early levels 1-20 in this journal.

I have received special permission from Funcom to publish these beta journals and I publish them first with the approval of Funcom. I forward these journal entries to Funcom first to seek approval to ensure that the content I wish to publish is fair and accurate. These journal entries are not opinion pieces or reviews, but a means to discuss exclusively a reflection of the exciting content that the game will deliver to you on May 20, 2008. I have been given special permission to "break" NDA for the purpose of these journal entries, and write them with Funcom's trust instilled in me. If you yourself are in the 'Age of Conan' beta, then please do not see this as an excuse for you to begin publicly discussing the game in any way, shape, or form. The NDA is still in effect, and many things are still subject to change during this crucial beta stage.

 As for quests and storytelling Stephen Spiteri had this to say:

The quests are well designed and extremely well-written, as they make you feel like you're part of some thing grander, and you, as a player, are left with a feeling like it actually matters what happens to these characters that you interact with as a result of your own actions. I actually found myself by the end of things in Tortage wanting to go back to see how things had changed after the storm had cleared. If you're the sort of person that skips through quest dialogue and so forth, then give yourself a slap in the face now for even considering doing so in 'Age of Conan'. It would be a great insult to the quest designers to rush through dialogue options and what-not especially given the great amount of research completed and thought done going into writing these quests. As a player in this tapestry of drama and adventure, it felt truly as though I was single-handedly weaving the threads of this epic tale, unravelling it bit by bit.

Wednesday - March 19, 2008

Age of Conan - Preview @ IncGamers

by Asbjoern, 22:13

IncGamers does a preview of Age of Conan telling us few things we don't already know:

Once in the city, the streets will be teeming with city folk going about their business. Although we didn’t see a bustling city, we did see a drunken pirate stagger out of the local inn to relieve himself off the side of the pier, as an example of the AI at work. NPCs will, apparently, eat when they’re hungry, go to bed when they’re tired and go to the market when they want a sticky bun, adding to the overall immersion. The cities sound like they will be the hub of the social aspect of the game, allowing players to brawl with other players in the taverns and generally act like barbarians – hoorah!

If you don’t think much of the game’s cities, fear not, as guilds will be able to build their own. The real mark of a guild in ‘Age of Conan’ will be the size of its city, not how many house plants they have. High level guilds will be able to gather resources such as wood and iron to build a settlement, which can grow to become a substantial city in its own right. Build a battle keep and set about attacking other guilds to raise their city to the ground and claim the land as your own.

Source: Bluesnews

Age of Conan - Fan/Dev Q&A @ TTH

by Woges, 13:55

 A chance for the fans to ask the questions at TTH.

Do you have a burning question for Funcom about Age of Conan Hyborian Adventure? Of course you do. Now is you chance to ask a question and we'll try to get an answer. Ten Ton Hammer's new "Ask the Devs" forum will allow you to ask your questions and a Funcom representative will review them for answers. Just make sure to read the rules before posting. Ten Ton Hammer staff will be moderating the questions to prevent silly questions from cluttering things up and make it easier for Funcom to get in and respond as quickly as possible.

Tuesday - March 18, 2008

Age of Conan - Tempest of Set Interview @ TTH

by Woges, 03:11

TTH.com continue with their AoC class interviews with the latest edition the Tempest of Set.

The Tempest of Set is a class I have played rather extensively in our internal testing runs and have found it to be extremely fast-paced and rewarding in both group and solo situations. The class provides many opportunities for varied types of gameplay and being able to swap between full damage, full healing/crowd control, and a mix of both is extremely flexible. For a player who enjoys being both a heavy AoE nuker and also a healer, the Tempest is a very versatile and enjoyable class choice.

Saturday - March 15, 2008

Age of Conan - Friday Update & Blog Update

by Asbjoern, 15:00

Yesterday's Friday Update saw the release of Video Developer Diary #5 mentioning the brutal melee combat of Age of Conan.

Ole Herbjornsen, Lead Designer on Age of Conan, has written a new entry about - yes, you've guessed it - ground texture at his blog on 1UP.com:

Yes, I have been quiet for some time. Yes, I feel ashamed. Yes, I promise to update this blog on a more regular basis. Yes, yes, yes...

Age of Conan - Website Content Updates

by Woges, 01:13

In Funcom's own words:

We’ve overhauled the Game Features section, added a new article on economics, money, and trading, added a new article on defense and keeping yourself protected, added a section on leveling and advancement, added a new entry to the bestiary, and added a new character to the People section. We hope you enjoy!

Friday - March 14, 2008

Age of Conan - Exclusive Screenshots @ WarCry

by Asbjoern, 20:14

Two exclusive screenshots have been published by WarCry. They depict an archer and a character by horse.

Age of Conan - Border Kingdom Cryer @ TTH

by Woges, 13:50

TTH's trawl of the AoC forums is up and ready for perusal.

We are one week closer to launch and the community is on edge in anticipation of the May 20th launch date for Age of Conan Hyborian Adventure. Ten Ton Hammer has been grazing the forums to bring you some of the top discussion and best nuggets of information and save you the trauma of reading through the drama. Find out what roleplay is, talk about the Mercenary System, find out why Martuk, Machail, and JoBildo are in an animated comic, all this and more in this week's Border Kingdom Cryer.

Age of Conan - Developers Diary #5

by Woges, 13:08

GameSpot have the exculsive on AoC DD #5.

This DD is now on the offical site here

Thursday - March 13, 2008

Age of Conan - Teaser of New TTH Comic Series

by Asbjoern, 20:51

Ten Ton Hammer is going to be publishing a comic feature entitled "Lost in hyboria" based on Age of Conan. A teaser of the first comic has been released.

If you want to read the news post that followed the teaser you can do it here.

Wednesday - March 12, 2008

Age of Conan - Art Book Preview: Tortage @ TTH

by Woges, 14:13

Another art book preview from Conan's collector's edition.

Saturday - March 08, 2008

Age of Conan - Preview @ CVG

by Woges, 12:16

Another preview of AoC this one stating that open beta will be starting soon. 

  In fact, some genuinely inspired ideas are being touted, including solving murder mysteries, and stealth quests requiring you to sneak over rooftops and eavesdrop on NPC conversations. The large team is there to ensure quests have meaning in the game, linking them to the story, giving you the motivation to complete tasks.

This becomes even more detailed with the Destiny Quests available to you at night time. These focus on learning more about your character's mysterious background, and should create a far greater sense of your presence within the world, with a history going back before you created your character.

Friday - March 07, 2008

Age of Conan - Friday Update: New FAQ

by Woges, 19:26

All new FAQ at the offical site.

While we’re under no illusions that this will settle all the debates out there, it will give you a place to start and a handy reference. You’ll find the new FAQ here.

Thursday - March 06, 2008

Age of Conan - Interview about Crafting @ aocmmo.com

by Woges, 15:21

Latest info on crafting in AoC.

The challenge in the Age of Conan crafting system comes from the really hard and most rewarding parts of being a crafter: Getting the right materials, coordinating with your guild on massive projects, finding the right people to make the components for higher-end items, finishing the quests to advance in the system, working the tradepost for the best deals and make the most money, finding rare resources and putting them to the best use, managing your inventory of components and raw materials, and the thousand other things that go into making something.

Age of Conan - Preview @ Eurogamer

by Woges, 09:50

Eurogamer write-up of a GDC viewing here.

It was this construction demo, in which Godager's high-level gaming team raised vast defences, a keep, and half a dozen buildings from the ground, that made me realise that there was an outside possibility that Age Of Conan will do what no fantasy MMO has managed since Dark Of Camelot, and that's create a compelling endgame.

Age of Conan - New trailer @ Gamespot

by Woges, 02:06

New trailer for AoC up at uk GameSpot suspect it's up at your local region as well.

Wednesday - March 05, 2008

Age of Conan - Art Book Preview: Stygia & interview @ TenTonHammer.com

by Woges, 19:25

TTH have 7 pictures of Funcom's Stygia. They also have an interview with Evan Michaels (Designer for Funcom) on the Priest of Mitra.

Tuesday - March 04, 2008

Age of Conan - Sneak peek @ rpgvault

by Woges, 13:35

A look at slealth in AoC from rpgvault. With handy links to previous articles at the bottom of the page.

However, slipping out of sight is no easy proposition. Even the craftiest of rogues won't vanish in the middle of Tortage at noon. Stealth begins with skill, both the actual, in-game stealth skill, and actual player skill. Slipping into the shadows and moving along in secret is much more like a game of Thief than a simple exercise in pressing buttons and charging ahead.

At its heart, the stealth system is elegantly simple and, in fact, works much like in a tabletop RPG. You have a stealth skill, and it is checked against the abilities of your foes, players and NPCs alike, but as always, the devil is in the details.

Monday - March 03, 2008

Age of Conan - Preview videos @ GameTrailers.com

by Woges, 21:16

GameTrailers.com have a plethora of preview videos posted at the end of February. That include stronghold, mounts, and character creation previews. Of which, you can search through from their Age of Conan page.

Age of Conan - Regional Profiles Article @ GameSpy

by Woges, 14:13

GameSpy has an article "looking into the blank spaces of Conan's world and finding out how Funcom plans to fill them".

One of the great challenges facing the developers of Age of Conan: Hyborean Adventures is the difficulty in filling in the blank spaces in Robert E. Howard's map. While the original creator of Conan and Hyborea and the authors that followed him did a masterful job creating a fictional history, geography and cultural map of the world, there's only so much detail that can fit into a novel, comic book or movie.

Sunday - March 02, 2008

Age of Conan - Official Newsletter Issue #14

by Ammon777, 05:03

The Age of Conan official newsletter, issue #14, was recently released to the public, and can be found here

This new issue contains information about the new official Age of Conan community site, a Pocket Travel Guide, info about the Onyx Chamber location, two Bestiary creature details, a developer profile, and more.

 

Age of Conan - Two Creature Previews @ MMORPG.com

by Ammon777, 04:44

MMORPG.com has posted two beastly monster entries courtesy of the Age of Conan developers, Funcom.

The folks from Age of Conan have provided us with these two beastiary entries which originally appeared in an AoC newsletter.

Scaleskin Lizard

The vilest magic and the most dangerous alchemical experiments are carried out by the sorcerers of the Black Ring Citadel. The chambers below have become polluted over the centuries and this has had a strange effect on the lizards dwelling in the lightless sewers below. Whether their evolution has regressed or accelerated is not known for sure but the existence of these hybrid humanoid reptiles is well known…and feared by the Stygian population above.

 The Vengeful Mummy

These twisted mockeries of human life are all that remains of the ill-fated victims of the Black Ring's quest for power. Slaves, criminals and those too weak to protect themselves from the dark sorcerers of the foreboding citadel that lurks behind Kheshatta disappear into its black halls and emerge as inhuman monsters.

Whether any flicker of life remains in them or if they are necromantic creations, the dead given unlife by corrupt sorcery, is unknown by the Stygian citizens of the City of Magicians. The truth is the still living victims are possessed by souls risen from hell, but which failed to survive the vile process of reincorporation performed by the sorcerers of the Black Ring.

Now they stand guard in the deepest bowels of the most blood soaked dungeon in all Stygia, below the Black Ring Citadel, the Onyx Chambers…

 

Source: MMORPG.com

Thursday - February 14, 2008

Age of Conan - Bear Shaman Class Interview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 21:02

Evan Michaels, game designer for Funcom, answers Ten Ton Hammer's questions about the Age of Conan Bear Shaman class.

Ten Ton Hammer: In a recent interview, you stated that the Bear Shaman will probably be a more melee-oriented class compared to its priestly brethren. In the current form, how will Bear Shaman’s heals work, and what sort of healing ability will he have compared to the other priest classes?

Evan Michaels: All of the Priests have comparable healing abilities, even though their method of bestowing those abilities on their group differs quite dramatically. Bear Shaman are, as you stated, very melee-oriented and both facilitate and boost their healing capacity by dealing damage via melee attacks and combos.

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Wednesday - February 13, 2008

Age of Conan - State of the Game @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 20:55

Gaute Godager, Game Director for Age of Conan, has provided an update on the state of the game at MMORPG.com.

Most of the content and most of the features have been deployed to the beta, or are waiting for deployment in QA. Let me give you an example on some things we have a special focus on right now. Things like core hands-on combat (iteration nine now), items and quest rewards (iteration 3), feat system (was redesigned after last delay. It is now in a new iteration and feels truly awesome), PvP mini-games (iteration three, soon going live on Beta, with more areas on the way) and GUI (iteration 5, 3, 2 or one depending on the area) are all things we have a special eye on.

Source: MMORPG.com

Age of Conan - Peek #5 @ RPG Vault

by Inauro, 20:52

RPG Vault has a sneak preview in the form of an in-character letter from
Lysander Hulus, Loyal Agent of the Throne, to King Conan reporting on the situation in Conall's Valley.

Even now, a new danger stands at the head of the Vanir threat. The northerners here name them "Ymirish", and I tell you true, my eyes have never seen such vile looking men. Straw-yellow hair, skin as white as sickness itself, standing a head and half over a mortal man... It took four Cimmerians armed with spears to bring down a single Ymirish in the raid last night. It's said the blood of frost giants beats through their veins. I can believe that all too easily.

Source: RPG Vault

Sunday - February 10, 2008

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ WarCry

by Inauro, 20:44

WarCry has posted two exclusive Age of Conan screenshots.

Source: WarCry

Friday - February 08, 2008

Age of Conan - Community Q&A Videos @ Official Site

by Inauro, 22:53

Funcom has posted two new video installments from the recent Age of Conan community Q&A session.

You’ll find all sorts of answers to all sorts of questions in here, and we hope you will come away informed and entertained. Some of the topics in these videos are the merge of some of the classes, minimum system requirements, combos, art direction, character customization, PvP levels and much more.

You’ll find the torrent-downloads here (#3) and here (#4).

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - February 06, 2008

Age of Conan - Ratings Update @ Official Site

by Inauro, 20:49

Funcom has clarified recent confusion over the North American rating of Age of Conan.

It has come to our attention that the North American edition of the game was submitted (by Eidos) to the ESRB without any server-side censorship:

-full blood

-full fatalities

-breasts with nipples

-not full nudity

The ESRB reviewed our application and gave us a rating of Mature 17+. The full rating with descriptors has not yet been publicly announced but will be
posted on the ESRB web site on 13 February 2008.

Funcom apologizes for this small error (or maybe two small errors.)

Source: Funcom

Tuesday - February 05, 2008

Age of Conan - Ranger Class Interview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 20:59

Ten Ton Hammer chats to Evan Michaels, Game Designer for Funcom, about the Ranger class from Age of Conan.

Ten Ton Hammer: Although you haven’t specifically put together a class preview for the Ranger, a large portion of information was revealed to the public when you distributed the “Ranged Combat” exclusive with your Clan of Conan newsletter. For the most part, it seems like Rangers are going to be specifically oriented around ranged combat, with the bow being their primary weapon of choice. Is this true? If so, are they the only character that is really proficient with ranged weapons?

Evan Michaels:  Rangers are indeed primarily focused around ranged combat and, as you noted, are the only class which uses ranged weapons as their main source of offensive firepower. While most other classes can use ranged weapons to some degree, Rangers are exclusive in their proficiency of them and are the sole user of ranged combos. Bows and crossbows are equally favored by the Ranger, with different specializations and combos available for both weapon types.

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Age of Conan - Rating Information @ Official Site

by Inauro, 20:50

The ratings are in and it's nipples for some, beheadings for others.  No mention of miniature American flags though.

Since we’ve just gotten our ratings, and since it’s the topic of endless speculation, I can now give you the full and complete story on what you will and won’t see in each “version” of the game.

Please note this isn’t a design decision or something we can reverse. It’s a legal (or as good as legal) requirement to sell the game in that particular territory.

With that said:

The US version is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. If you buy the US version, you will not see nipples.

The German version is rated 18+ by USK. The German version has full gore, but will not have decapitation, dismemberment, and over-the-top type fatalities.

The “elsewhere in Europe” version is rated 18+ by PEGI and is unchanged.

That's what I know and what I can tell you.

Source: Funcom

Monday - February 04, 2008

Age of Conan - Q&A Video @ Official Site

by Inauro, 21:04

Funcom has posted a second video from the community/press event held in Oslo recently.  If torrents aren't your thing, WarCry also has the video available for viewing.  

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - Atlantean Armour @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 20:48

MMORPG.com has posted some new images from the Age of Conan artbook showcasing Atlantean armour

Source: MMORPG.com

Friday - February 01, 2008

Age of Conan - Clan of Conan @ Official site

by Inauro, 23:05

Head over to the official Age of Conan site for the latest Clan of Conan newsletter. In this month's edition:

  • Feature - crafting and the economy
  • Location - the Border Ranges
  • Bestiary and People - the Malicious Shadows

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - January 30, 2008

Age of Conan - Cimmerian Armour @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 20:48

Swing by MMORPG.com for four art book renders showcasing Cimmerian armour from Age of Conan

Source: MMORPG.com

Age of Conan - Character Class Renders @ WarCry

by Inauro, 20:44

WarCry has posted a stack of character renders from the preview of the Age of Conan art book provided at the recent press event. 

Source: WarCry

Monday - January 28, 2008

Age of Conan - Art Book Preview @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 20:55
MMORPG.com has four sample images from the Age of Conan art book to be released alongside the game.

 

Source: MMORPG.com

Age of Conan - Video Q&A @ WarCry

by Inauro, 20:44

WarCry has posted the first and second parts of a video of the recent Age of Conan community Q&A session. 

Source: WarCry

Friday - January 25, 2008

Age of Conan - Press Event Videos @ WarCry

by Inauro, 22:25

Rounding out our WarCry trifecta is a selection of videos from the recent Age of Conan press event.  Torrents are also available at the official site.

You've read it in words, now see it in video as we are lead through the Funcom offices to show off developers and staff busy at work on 'Age of Conan', plus a glimpse of a dungeon raid and Necromancer play in action.

Source: WarCry

Thursday - January 24, 2008

Age of Conan - Hands-On Preview @ WarCry

by Inauro, 20:40

WarCry has a hands-on preview of Funcom's upcoming MMO, Age of Conan.

The Necromancers, as most of you know already, is a pet class as well, and at that particular stage of the class's development, already has three pet types available to it. Early on in the game, the Necromancer is able to summon pet, the Mutilator, which is an odd and rather nasty-looking scorpion-type creature. At the next tier, you are able to summon two pets and given access to the next pet-type "rank", so to speak. The name of the second pet-type escapes me at the moment, but for all intensive purposes, I was at the level where I was able to summon three pets at the highest tier available to me. The Blighter is another scorpion-looking creature, but much like the Mutilator, they looked quite nasty. The pet-summoning classes are able to control their pets by assigning orders to them via small interface right next to your own health, stamina, and mana bar. You are able to set your pets to idle, defend, attack, assist, and be dismissed (not particularly in that order). Since I'm a bit of an aggressive player at heart, I set my pets to 'assist' so that they would immediately attack the target I begin attacking.

Source: WarCry

Wednesday - January 23, 2008

Age of Conan - Mitra's Method @ WarCry

by Inauro, 21:00

The latest Mitra's Method takes a closer look at crafting in Age of Conan.

The different primary tradeskills that will be featured in 'Age of Conan' will be the armour smith, weapon smith, alchemist, architect, and the gem cutter. Secondary tradeskills will consist of acquiring the skills needed to harvest the resources required for your given primary tradeskill. For example, an armour smith will need to harvest iron and leather in order to make certain armour types. As a player progresses through the crafting quests, as earlier mentioned, they will be given access to recipes that will create better and stronger items, which of course will require better ingredients and resource types to create them. So basic resources means basic items, and rare ingredients and resources means rare items, to put it in a nutshell, but all these resources you need can be found in the crafting playfields, so it's not like you will have to explore for hours and hours or walk for miles and miles to find one piece of the resource that you require.

Source: WarCry

Tuesday - January 22, 2008

Age of Conan - Blog & Engine Video @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 20:53

Jason Stone has updated the Age of Conan blog at MMORPG.com. While you're there, you might like to check out the recently released movie showcasing the game's engine.

 

First in starting to discuss this I want to echo what Gaute said, which is up until last week we did not have any intention of delaying the game further. So when both he and I tell you we as a team have been working our buns off to reach this goal we are not just blowing smoke.

Source: MMORPG.com

Monday - January 21, 2008

Age of Conan - Director's Letter @ Official Site

by Inauro, 21:06

Gaute Godager speaks out about the decision to delay Age of Conan.

Although you might not see it this way, and you are frustrated, we delay because - it is right. It is the right thing to do! Naturally I sound righteous, haughty and bordering on arrogant when I say this: This is the right thing to do. You want something better than what you would have gotten in March. You deserve something better! I want to apologize – not for what we did but because some of you might have gotten upset. For that I am sorry. For this decision, and every one leading up to it – I stand by it 100%! This game will rock!

Ok, enough with the emotions, though I simply needed to get this off my chest. Why do we delay again? It is simple and it is complex: 

- The level of bugs.

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - Press Event Report @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 20:51

MMORPG.com reports back from a recent Age of Conan press event and posts some samples from the game's art book.

Crafting in Age of Conan is an innovative take on the classic MMORPG model for the creation of goods. The system, as is the case in many MMORPGs, is based on collection and creation by recipe. The biggest difference, we were told by Funcom staff, is that crafting (called Tradeskills in Conan) advancement is story and quest-driven.

Source: MMORPG.com

Age of Conan - Release Delayed @ Official Site

by Inauro, 20:45

Funcom has announced another deferral of the Age of Conan release date.  This time 'til 20 May 2008.

Durham, USA – January 21, 2008 – Funcom announces a new release date for Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. The highly anticipated MMO receives 8 more weeks of development, allowing Funcom to deliver a more polished MMO experience when the game launches on the 20th of May 2008. Despite great feedback on vital aspects like immersion, fun factor and the exciting combat system, the management of Funcom has decided to polish the game even more. Eight weeks of development work is therefore added to stress game systems and polish the game further leading up to launch.

Funcom is fully committed to its communities and the quality-level they demand and deserve, and has previously postponed the Age of Conan launch. The changes implemented as the game was moved to a 2008 release have proven to greatly improve the experience for newcomers, while introducing a more involving and accessible character progression throughout the game. Press and beta feedback in the aftermath of these changes has been very positive. As a result, the ongoing presentations of the game have continued to increase the anticipation for Age of Conan. To date, Age of Conan has received more than 20 magazine covers and 15 industry awards, and is widely considered to be one of the most anticipated MMOs in development.

Funcom has great faith in the Age of Conan game, and feels certain that further polish is in the best interest of the hundreds of thousands of gamers who follow the game.  “The companies standing apart in the gaming market today are those with a relentless drive to achieve quality. Even though we regret delaying the launch, I am certain we made the right choice. I hope that our followers and fans will support our decision, and respect our commitment to quality,” said Gaute Godager, Producer and Game Director of Age of Conan.

Funcom will also continue the beta efforts for the title with continued testing on its large server parks in North America and Europe. Players can already sign up at pre-order programs in several countries and enjoy the recently released website at www.ageofconan.com, displaying part of the wealth of marketing and game material already prepared for the game. A special Collectors Edition of the retail box is available for pre-order at select retailers. Thousands of players have been invited to the beta of the game, and the number will continue to go up as Age of Conan moves towards launch. If you too want to join the Beta of Age of Conan you may sign up for the Beta on www.ageofconan.com.

Source: Funcom

Sunday - January 20, 2008

Age of Conan - Website Revamp @ Official Site

by Inauro, 21:00

The official Age of Conan site (www.ageofconan.com) has undergone an all new (and annoying) flash revamp.  Head on over and check it out.

Durham, USA – January 18, 2008 – Funcom and Eidos are proud to reveal that a new website for Age of Conan has launched. Conveniently located at www.ageofconan.com, the site gives both new and existing fans an exciting look at the fascinating Age of Conan universe. Filled with several new videos, a selection of some of the best screenshots from the game, popular links and much more, the new site is an entertaining and informative experience for both new and existing fans.

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - Class Numbers Reduced @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 20:47

Ten Ton Hammer brings word that Funcom has reduced the number of Age of Conan classes to twelve.

According to the fine folks at Funcom, the official class list for their upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures has been reduced to twelve from the previous fourteen classes. The Scion of Set and the Lich are no longer going to be included in the class list, but their abilities are going to be integrated throughout the existing classes already in the game. As of yet, we don't have all the details, so stay tuned for more on this breaking news.

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Tuesday - January 15, 2008

Age of Conan - Developer Blog @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 20:56

Jason Stone, one of the designers working on Age of Conan, has launched a new blog at MMORPG.com.

Welcome to the first Age of Conan developer’s blog here on MMORPG.com. For the time being I will be the only contributor but as time goes on we hope some of the other dev team members get time to participate. Who am I you ask? Well that’s the very first questions I would like to answer. My name is Jason Stone, I am also known as “Athelan” both on these forums, in interviews and on the official forums. For the past three and a half years I have worked as a designer on Age of Conan. Some of my areas of responsibility have been with combat and PvP and being heavily involved in the design and iteration of those areas. Now I am only one designer out of many designers with different specialties and responsibilities and it takes all of us to produce a great game.

Source: MMORPG.com

Monday - January 14, 2008

Age of Conan - Open Beta @ Official Site

by Inauro, 20:55

Funcom, via Community Manager Pharamond and the game's official forums, has clarified recent confusion regarding the Age of Conan open beta.

Looks like there was a miscommunication/misunderstanding at the show.

We are planning to have an open beta for the game as we get closer to launch, however, it will be through specific partners and require an application/registration process, much like most of the other betas for most other games.

We will be limiting the number of keys we release to a manageable number at any given time, rather than subjecting people to queues and loading screens and so on. By "a manageable number," we mean tens of thousands, not just a handful.

We’re also ramping up some of our tech test betas, and, of course, we’ll be doing key giveaways, inviting forum veterans, and inviting more people to the current, closed stage of beta as we ramp up for launch.

So, yes, there will be a wider-scale open beta, but it will require an application/registration process and won’t be as simple as “press button, get key,” which is what we wanted to say.

Source: Funcom

Sunday - January 13, 2008

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ Official Site

by Inauro, 20:42

Funcom has updated the official Age of Conan site with a slew of new images.

Source: Funcom

Saturday - January 12, 2008

Age of Conan - Collectors Edition @ Official Site

by Inauro, 22:40

Funcom has announced the contents of the Age of Conan collectors edition.

Redwood City, USA – January 10, 2008 – Funcom and Eidos today revealed that an exceptional Age of Conan Collectors Edition will be available when the highly anticipated MMO launches in March. This unique and limited edition box set features numerous exclusive assets, and promises to be the ultimate Age of Conan version. In addition to the game itself the box comes with an impressive art book, the original soundtrack, a bonus DVD, a faux leather map of Hyboria and additional gamekeys which can be given to MMO friends. The Collectors Edition also comes with priceless in-game items, making it a must-have item for any serious MMO gamer.

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - CES Report & Screens @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 22:30

Carolyn Koh reports on Age of Conan progress from CES.  In addition, MMORPG.com has updated its galleries with 12 new images from the show and three new shots released by Funcom.

"If you are in the right area, you can start a bar fight," Jorgen reminded us. "You can do drunken brawling." With that, we segued into the retail launch as Jorgen told me about the Drinking Cape, an item included in the collector's edition of the retail box. Jorgen showed me a prototype mock-up of the box. Not a small tin or just a differently presented box, the Age of Conan Collector's Edition looks like (and is the size of) a large, hefty leather bound book with reinforced corners and center medallion embossed to look like metal. Priced at $89.95, it will include: a book of art with selected poems by Robert E. Howard, the creator of the world of Conan, the sound track, a bonus DVD with trailers, behind-the-scene videos, etc. a faux leather map of Hyboria by a famed cartographer and some in-game items. These are all no-drop items: The Ring of Acheronia which is a 2% XP and 3% Stamina modifier and a Drinking Cape which gives you free booze in any tavern in Hyboria. Further, the Rhino siege mount is in the BestBuy box and the Mammoth in the Gamestop box. I was also told that this is not only a special edition, this is a limited edition. Each box will have a numbered holographic sticker. When these are gone, they are gone. Period.

Source: MMORPG.com

Tuesday - January 08, 2008

Age of Conan - News Round-Up @ Official Site

by Inauro, 21:10

Funcom has rounded up links to all the recent Age of Conan coverage from around the net.  Head on over to the official site for the full picture. 

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - Barbarian Class Interview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 21:08

Ten Ton Hammer chats to Evan Michaels, System Designer for Funcom, about the Barbarian class from Age of Conan.

Ten Ton Hammer: You’ve opted to put the Barbarian character class under the Rogue archetype; why was that decision made? Aren’t the Barbarian’s your typical melee class / fighters? What makes them more of a Rogue than a Soldier?

Evan Michaels
: The way we have looked at it is that Soldiers are what one would view as more “martial” types of warriors, whereas Rogues are a bit more on the individualistic side. Barbarians, at their core, are far more Roguish—wearing lighter armor, being extremely offensive-minded, and generally not being what may be considered a “disciplined” fighter. We’ve always felt that there was an important distinction here, which is why we branded the others as “Soldiers” rather than the typical “Warrior” or “Fighter” labels to be a bit clearer.

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 20:45

Funcom has released 10 new Age of Conan screenshots from the CES show.  You can view them at MMORPG.com. 

Source: MMORPG.com

Sunday - January 06, 2008

Age of Conan - Preview @ CVG

by Inauro, 00:04

CVG takes another look at Age of Conan in the wake of recent changes to the live combat system.

AOC's game designer, Gaute Godager, explains what's been happening these past six months. "Previously, we had a system of combat inputs much like an action game or a fighting game," he begins, "where you do a sequence of moves like up-down-right to activate a combo. We found that when players had 15 combos that they knew, it was really hard for them to remember how to trigger a specific one."

This means there'll be far fewer players mucking up when attempting the frantic keyboard gymnastics required to do their area-effect taunts and instead alt-tabbing to iTunes and falling off their chairs.

"That's why we took a step back and realised we had to do it differently," continues Godager, "and that's why we implemented the combo starters and the follow-up system."

Source: CVG

Wednesday - January 02, 2008

Age of Conan - Interview @ Next Generation

by Inauro, 20:46

Funcom talks to Next Generation about their upcoming MMO, Age of Conan.

Given that Age Of Conan has a lot of adult content, how can the game poach players from other MMOGs?

We are definitely trying to appeal to a mature demographic, but our statistics show that the average age of a player in an MMOG is 25. That’s not only in Anarchy Online, but when we talk to our competitors it appears to be that way across the board. People say: “Don’t go too mature – that’s risky; you’ll lose all the 14 year olds.” But there’s not that many! They just make a lot of noise. I hope we can appeal to people who want something more than the pink-dressed elves. If you’ve been dining on McDonalds for four years you might want a bloody juicy steak with red wine, and I think that’s what we’re trying to give the player right there.

Friday - December 21, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ WarCry

by Inauro, 23:39

WarCry has posted two exclusive Age of Conan screenshots, one of which features a very broken nose. 

Source: WarCry

Monday - December 17, 2007

Age of Conan - Weekend Round Up @ Official Site

by Inauro, 21:02

Funcom has rounded up the weekend's coverage of Age of Conan at the official site.  We'll have covered some of this already, but it's worth a visit for the ones we missed. 

Source: Funcom

Saturday - December 15, 2007

Age of Conan - Hands On Impressions @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 00:00

MMORPG.com's Keith Cross spends some quality time with Age of Conan.

That’s the simple design that makes combat in Conan more active than in many other MMOs, but it’s not the only thing that makes combat fun. At higher levels this system becomes more in-depth when you gain access to special moves and combos. A special move is handled in the same way as in other MMOs, maybe a hit does more damage, maybe you can knock a foe back… the list goes on. But what makes them fun is that if you follow up a special move with specific directional attacks, you do a combo and do mare damage. If you finish an adversary with a combo you have a chance to perform one of the finishing moves that Age of Conan is becoming famous for, like a good old-fashioned decapitation.

Source: MMORPG.com

Friday - December 14, 2007

Age of Conan - Images @ WarCry

by Inauro, 23:50

WarCry has posted a large number of Age of Conan screenshots, renders and concept images obtained at a recent Eidos/Funcom event. 

Source: WarCry

Thursday - December 13, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ Mondes Persistants

by Inauro, 21:27

Erling Ellingsen talks to Mondes Persistants about the current status of Age of Conan.

What big issues is the team working on right now?

That would be simply polishing the different features, the different content and so on. Often we go back and tweak different features based on the tester's feedback, such as the combat system that we have been working on a lot based on the feedback we have received. We receive all sorts of different feedback from the testers – from hardware specific matters to gameplay specific matters – and we constantly evaluate this feedback and act on that. It's a very dynamic process right now.

Wednesday - December 12, 2007

Age of Conan - Translators Wanted @ Official Site

by Inauro, 21:18

Funcom is seeking translators to work on its upcoming low fantasy MMO, Age of Conan.

We are hiring and if you have an ear for languages and an interest in working for a game company, we may just be looking for you!

We have the following positions open:

Translator English/French

Translator English/German

Translator English/Spanish

Source: Funcom

Monday - December 10, 2007

Age of Conan - Assassin Class Interview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 21:30

Ten Ton Hammer talks to Evan Michaels, System Designer for Funcom, about the Assassin class from Age of Conan.

Ten Ton Hammer: Out of all the Rogue classes, the Assassin has really been the only class without a detailed preview. Why has it taken so long to get specific details about the Assassin class to the general public?

Evan Michaels: Assassins were one of the more major “theme mergers" - bringing together the Lotus Master and Defiler classes into one - and as such has required a bit more work to fit everything together compared to some of the other classes, like the Guardian or Priest of Mitra that have been around for quite some time.

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Tuesday - December 04, 2007

Age of Conan - Interviews @ GameTribes.t & Gamingeye

by Inauro, 21:32

GameTribes.tv and Gamingeye have both posted video interviews with Erling Ellingsen, Product Manager for Age of Conan.

Sunday - December 02, 2007

Age of Conan - Video @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 21:15

MMORPG.com has posted a new Age of Conan video featuring battle sequences and showing off the game's graphics engine. 

Source: MMORPG.com

Saturday - December 01, 2007

Age of Conan - Clan of Conan #12 @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:22

The new Clan of Conan newsletter is now available at the official Age of Conan site.  Features this month include:

  • Mounted combat
  • Sanctum of the Burning Souls
  • Blackblade and the Blood Defiler 

Source: Funcom

Thursday - November 29, 2007

Age of Conan - Video Dev Diary @ GameSpot

by Inauro, 21:20

Head over to GameSpot for a new Age of Conan video developer diary

Source: GameSpot

Monday - November 26, 2007

Age of Conan - Class Interview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 21:23

Jørgen Tharaldsen talks to Ten Ton Hammer about the Conqueror class from Age of Conan.

Ten Ton Hammer: While the Auras that a Conqueror can use seem like magical spells, you’ve specifically stated in the class preview that they are not. How do you balance the abilities of the Conqueror against those character classes that can wield magic? For example, the Conqueror does not get any sort of “corruption” (the dark-taint that causes corrupt souls to be sent to Hell) from using his Auras, does he? This would seem like a big advantage to the Conqueror over the Dark Templar...

Jørgen: The Conqueror use the magic system to cast the auras, so technically they are considered magic (and personally I would therefore call it magic).  However, the Conqueror does not have any in-combat spells unlike all the other magic-using classes, “only” these long-duration buffs (so I guess what you call it is a bit in the eye of the beholder here). Oh, any dabbling with magic in Hyboria has certain consequences, as you might know from Conan lore, and both the Conqueror and Dark Templar have advantages and disadvantages in that regards. That is the beauty of our class design I think, nothing is black and white.

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Sunday - November 25, 2007

Age of Conan - Mitra's Method @ WarCry

by Inauro, 21:21

With the festive season almost upon us, this week's Mitra's Method looks at Christmas wishes for Age of Conan.

The one thing I love most about Age of Conan so far is its unique take on the MMORPG genre. Yes, there are your traditional RPG elements in the game, that's evident, but what has made it so appealing to me is its low-fantasy setting (no elves, dwarves, mages with flourishing robes and pointed rimmed hats, epic flying mounts, etc.), and its brutal hands-on combat. So suffice to say it's a gamer's Christmas wish come true, but with so much yet to be revealed to the gaming community since the announcement of the game's release, we sit in hope and maybe just a bit apprehensive because we want to know more, but obviously impeded by NDAs and so much going on behind closed doors. Yet, like just said, our hope remains because we know our faith is well-placed with the Age of Conan development team and the scores of testers putting the game through the ringer in the General and Technical Beta phases. In keeping with this edition's Christmas theme, I'm going to refer the developers and beta testers the "elves in the workshop" from here on in.

Source: WarCry

Friday - November 23, 2007

Age of Conan - Updates @ Official Site

by Inauro, 22:46

Funcom has posted a beta progress update at the official Age of Conan site.

As to the beta, there was a huge new patch (several gigabytes) just a few days ago that added tons of new content and improvements to the game. We’d say more, but that would break our NDA and we’d be thrown out of our own beta. ;)

To celebrate, we’ve done two things.

First, we sent out a wave of several thousand beta invites earlier this week. This takes care of the first round of forum veterans that had not yet received their beta invite, as well as other upstanding (or lucky) individuals. These join the thousands already careening around Hyboria killing Picts, exploring dark dungeons, and sending us lots of bug reports.

Source: Funcom

Friday - November 16, 2007

Age of Conan - Postcards from Beta #2 @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:17

The official Age of Conan site has been updated with a new Postcards from Beta feature.

While striking a dramatic pose is cool, what’s even cooler is that the towering ruins in the back aren’t just a snazzy backdrop. You can actually make your way there and climb up them, assuming, of course, that the angry Picts you’re intruding on don’t take exception to that (or assuming you’re strong enough to kill them). It’s not an especially easy climb, but it can be done, assuming swarming hordes of cannibals don’t cause you any trouble.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - November 14, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ QJ.NET

by Inauro, 21:29

QJ.NET catches up with Jorgen Tharaldsen for a few questions about Age of Conan.

QJ: You mentioned a desire in the single player portion of the game to teach players how the game is played in a "more fun and structured fashion", can you elaborate on how this will be accomplished?

Tharaldsen: It was always the goal for us to introduce the player into the world and the setting in a focused way. This means that you start out in your own instance of the world where you don’t have to rely on other players, only yourself and your experience.

We are then instantly able to give you a good introduction, where the focus becomes you and your journey. Through being able to be alone in an area we can also introduce "world changing events (you will have to play to find out what those are;), which wouldn’t normally have been" possible in a pure MMO environment (like mentioned above). All in all, we have really tried to push the boundaries with Age of Conan, and I think people will love and what we have created for them!

Age of Conan - Interview & Story @ GameStar.de

by Inauro, 21:23

Erling Ellingsen answers some questions from the GameStar.de community and the site also features the first exclusive installment of Hyborian Stories, a bi-weekly lore update.

I thought all was lost, but Crom must have wanted me to suffer more. Or maybe it was Mitra giving me another chance? All I know is that I woke up with sand in my eyes.

There was a storm. There were cries, screams, and death rattles. Men drowned before they even hit the water. Waves as big as mountains crashed into our galley. Then it all went dark – I succumbed to the ocean, and I fell into the black, bottomless abyss.

Monday - November 12, 2007

Age of Conan - Mitra's Method @ WarCry

by Inauro, 21:25

This week's Mitra's Method examines Funcom's decision to split the Age of Conan servers into two camps: European, and US + the rest.

To put it simply: North American client = North American servers; and European client = European servers.

Funcom went on to say in their Friday update that this was a decision made by them to ensure the best possible gaming experience for US and European players respectively. US players will get better latency time playing on the servers located in New Jersey, and players in Europe will get better latency time playing on the server located in Amsterdam - it's academic, really. But herein lays the problem: because of the nature of the internet and online gaming, namely MMORPGs, players will establish clans or guilds that consist of members from different parts of the world. A US-based guild will of course comprise of players from within the United States, and players from other continents of the world, namely from English-speaking countries within Europe. So for guilds to play together on the same servers in 'Age of Conan' will now mean that players from outside of where the guild is based and where the "native" server is located, will have to purchase the game client native to that particular region as exemplified above.

Source: WarCry

Age of Conan - Guardian Class Interview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 21:21

Ten Ton Hammer chats to Jørgen Tharaldsen about the Guardian class from Age of Conan.

Ten Ton Hammer: In MMOG terms, the Guardian appears to be the epitome of the “tank” sort of class; his greatest asset is his armor. How much difference does it make between wearing a piece of light armor (leather) compared to wearing the full-plate type of armor that the Guardian will possess? Will the blows simply bounce off his armor or does the armor itself mitigate the damage?

Jørgen Tharaldsen: The Guardian will be a fantastic tank that is for sure, but I definitively wouldn’t say that their greatest asset is “only” their armor. The armor of the Guardian is naturally very important since the Guardian is the only class that can equip Full Plate armor (for one example), but he also has many other strengths. For instance, in Conan the Guardians can also deal significant amounts of damage.  

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Saturday - November 10, 2007

Age of Conan - Making Keaira @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:25

From conception to Playboy model, the official Age of Conan site takes a closer look at the creation of Keaira.

After lots of internal back and forth, and lots more creative briefs, we decided that she was beautiful, but not quite what we had in mind. It was becoming clear that neither blond hair nor white hair suited her.  As we went through the process, we settled on darker hair (which our art director had wanted all along), as it lent her a certain air of mystery and made for a more striking look. The key thing here is we weren’t just making a girl that was fun to look at—though, naturally, that had to play a part in it—we wanted to make an interesting character, hot to look at, yes, but with a certain aura of mystery about her.  Seduction is about more than looks, after all, it’s in the way she moves, the way she carries herself, and that certain spark that makes her more than just eye candy.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - November 07, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ RPG Vault

by Inauro, 21:09

Part two of RPG Vault's interview with Gaute Godager is now online.

Jonric: Are there any aspects of Age of Conan that have pleasantly surprised you in terms of how well they've turned out?

Gaute Godager:
I think I have been very pleasantly surprised with the addictiveness of our hands-on melee and ranged combat systems as well as the sheer bloodiness of it all. Admittedly, we have struggled a bit with the learning curve, but once you get into it, you actually cannot stop swinging that sword, crushing that skull or skewering a gut with something sharp. And the curve is good now, I think.

Source: RPG Vault

Saturday - November 03, 2007

Age of Conan - Clan of Conan @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:15

Funcom has released a new Clan of Conan newsletter at the official Age of Conan site. Highlights this month include:

  • Character Development
  • Black Rings Citadel
  • Yarekma and Extortant

 

Source: Funcom

Friday - November 02, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ RPG Vault

by Inauro, 23:52

RPG Vault quizzes Gaute Godager about the status of Age of Conan.

Jonric: Why has development taken longer than initially expected? Why has it been difficult to predict your rate of progress despite Funcom's prior experience?

Gaute Godager:
First of all, I would like to state that we already had the foundation for an awesome MMO when we announced the latest delay. Furthermore, to look at the bigger picture of the genre today, it is not "simply" a matter of delay, but of what level of quality you need to succeed in today's market. To me, it is also very clear that those conditions have changed quite radically since we started development in 2003.

To continue on this thread, there are naturally many, many additional reasons beyond these obvious facts. Now is not the time to write a really thorough postmortem on the game's development, but let me discuss a couple of things I deem to be vital. One is that we have learned the schedule is a tool to control cost. Quality is the tool to sell games. We simply decided to invest more in the quality of the game than we initially decided. This was not an easy decision, but it's definitely a problem where we are proud to have made the right decision.

Source: RPG Vault

Thursday - November 01, 2007

Age of Conan - Dark Templar Interview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 21:15

Ten Ton Hammer gets the scoop on what is sure to be one of the more eagerly anticipated classes from Age of Conan, the Dark Templar.

Ten Ton Hammer: On the official site, the Dark Templar is described as essentially "an evil warrior." What sort of visual and gameplay characteristics make him evil? Does this class choice affect the NPCs that the player might meet, making them hesitant (or eager) to work with such an evil being? Will other players be able to see that a certain character is a Dark Templar when they see them on the battlefield?

Jørgen Tharaldsen: In Hyboria the divide between good and evil depends on the eye of the beholder to a large extent, but the Dark Templar is indeed marked by all the dark forces he is dabbling with. Even though you would call him, or her, evil, the world itself will not react to the Dark Templar as evil. This means that the NPC’s won’t shy away, or treat a Dark Templar any different than they would another class. Given the extreme freedom we have within the game when it comes to customization and choice of armor it might not always be possible to spot a Dark Templar in action, but the trained eye should quickly mark him out when in combat. The Dark Templar will be right at the front of the action, and you will see the dark magic surrounding him.

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Monday - October 29, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ Uberguilds Radio

by Inauro, 21:16

Age of Conan developer Jason Stone speaks to Uberguilds Radio.  Catch the 'cast here

Saturday - October 27, 2007

Age of Conan - Mitra's Method @ WarCry

by Inauro, 00:41

This week's Mitra's Method takes a closer look at the treatment of women in Hyboria.

So Funcom comes along and has a look at the Conan license and decides that, while paying all due to respect to Howard's works and bearing in mind the social contexts in which his stories were written, we're in the twenty-first century now, and obviously things have changed. It's not right that players be deprived of the opportunity to play a female character in any game these days, so naturally, players in 'Age of Conan' will be able to choose the gender of their characters (it's a given in any MMOs on the market today).

Source: WarCry

Age of Conan - Postcards from Beta #1 @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:30

Funcom has updated the official Age of Conan site with a some new screenshots (and background information) from the current beta.

This Friday, we're presenting four snapshots taken with the build currently running on the General Beta servers, with accompanying narration from yours truly on why each one was chosen and what's interesting about it.

Source: Funcom

Sunday - October 21, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ PCGames.de

by Inauro, 22:57

PCGames.de has rounded up some new Age of Conan screenshots for your viewing pleasure. 

Saturday - October 20, 2007

Age of Conan - Women of Hyboria @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:23

Funcom, it seems, has a somewhat more modern view of women that RE Howard did when he wrote the original Conan stories.  Head on over to the official Age of Conan site for further details.

The women of Hyboria have long been a lively debated topic among the Age of Conan community, even to the extent where many of you doubted their very existence in the game.

Suffice to say Hyboria will be FILLED with women of all kinds, from the “to be expected” female prostitutes to the extremely able female fighters.

As some of you may have picked up during our development, we have chosen a somewhat updated view on women compared to the works of Robert E. Howard. The world circa-2007 is very different, in most places, than the 1930’s in which the original Conan stories came around. Early on in our development, we therefore made a very clear and conscious choice: Namely that any female player in Hyboria should be just as strong and able as any man! The strong, fierce and independent female is perfectly in line with the lore of Howard, however, we have expanded it to include ALL the female players. And seriously guys, you wouldn’t want anything else, now would you? (let the discussions start!)

Source: Funcom

Tuesday - October 16, 2007

Age of Conan - Mitra's Method & Screens @ WarCry

by Inauro, 23:20

WarCry has posted two new Age of Conan screenshots and a Mitra's Method editorial.

Before you start wondering whether this is a 'City of Heroes' editorial or an 'Age of Conan' editorial, I'll set your minds at ease now and tell you where I'm going with this. 'Age of Conan', for many, will be the game we've all been waiting for, our "dream" MMO, and so on. When people ask, "What's 'Age of Conan' like?" players will proudly say, "She's all that!" Why? Because right off the bat, the features that have been missing and begged for in other MMOs will be found in 'Age of Conan', plus a few familiar ones with a sexy and lush new look. But while most of us are salivating at the mouth and eagerly anticipating our own chance to have a go at these features ourselves, my recent encounter with 'City of Heroes' and looking at its increasing success over the last three years made me think: With all of these features, as a game, is it possible that 'Age of Conan' could peak too soon?

Source: WarCry

Sunday - October 14, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ WarCry

by Inauro, 01:08

WarCry has posted two new and exclusive Age of Conan screenshots

Source: WarCry

Saturday - October 13, 2007

Age of Conan - Servers& Beta Update @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:26

Funcom has updated the official Age of Conan site with a beta status report and some information about their server setup.

First of all, when it comes to our main server centers for launch we are splitting them into two primary territories; North America and Europe. This is the core divider. This means that your primary server destination will be decided according to where you buy your retail box. So, North American gamers will only get the choice of North American servers, and vice versa. It is important for us to mention that this is done in order to ensure a best possible experience for US and European players respectively. We are aware of the fact that many would like to play with their friends across the ocean, but we have decided on this approach for the overall performance for the largest amount of players. Should you play on a server on another continent it would mean a potentially poorer gaming experience, latency wise, and we would like to avoid that at all cost. As most of you are avid MMO gamers you are well aware of how important latency time is in a genre like ours (not to speak of FPS games;), and this comes as a consequence of that. We are therefore not doing this to set up artificial boundaries, but to give you all the best possible time in Hyboria. If there is an absolute wish for you, or your guild, to play on another continent you will need to do so at your own initiative, meaning having to secure copies from abroad.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - October 10, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 23:15

MMORPG.com has posted 13 new screenshots in its Age of Conan gallery. 

Source: MMORPG.com

Monday - October 08, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots & Videos @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:15

Funcom has updated the official Age of Conan site with a selection of new images and videos

Source: Funcom

Saturday - October 06, 2007

Age of Conan - Developer Profile @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:08

A profile of Elliot Kingdon, a Quest Designer and Lore Master for Funcom's Age of Conan, has been added to the official site.

What is your role as one of the lore people? What does a “lore guy” do? 

We keep an eye on continuity issues, guard against gaffes and act as information resources on the Conan universe. My favorite Lore question so far is can we change the name of Lord Atum because it means tuna-fish in Portuguese? (Sorry no).

Occasionally we have to detail vague parts of existing lore to lock down story or design aspects.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - October 03, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ WarCry

by Inauro, 23:26

WarCry chats to Shannon Drake about his role as Community Manager for Funcom's Age of Conan.  Also available: two exclusive screenshots.

WarCry: On the other side, how important do you feel community feedback is to a game's development and evolution?

Shannon Drake: I think community feedback is tremendously important, within reason. Part of synthesizing all the viewpoints represented on the forums and various other places is figuring out how to present that information, and fitting what everyone says into the larger picture. For example, "Funcom totally favors Race X over Race Y" is, on its surface, a silly comment. However, "Race X fighters are significantly underpowered compared with Race Y fighters" is something that merits investigating. Now, it could be as simple as Race Y being the weaker of the two for story or balance or character reasons, but it could also be something someone mistyped in the database.

Source: WarCry

Friday - September 28, 2007

Age of Conan - Clan of Conan @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:59

The 10th Clan of Conan newsletter is now available at the official Age of Conan site.  Highlights this month include:

  • player vs player siege warfare
  • the Purple Lotus swamp
  • war mammoths and killer rhinos
  • the Darfari 

Source: Funcom

Thursday - September 27, 2007

Age of Conan - Developer Profile @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 23:04

MMORPG.com chats to Funcom's Joel Bylos about his work on Age of Conan.

MMORPG.com: What is your job at Funcom? How did you get your foot in the door?

Joel Bylos: My job is Quest Design which covers both design and implementation of quests. In addition to that I write dialogue, which is an absolute pleasure.

I got my foot in the door by being persistent and not giving up on my career choice. My first application to Funcom didn't even net me an interview (it was for the position of Item Designer). My second application got me an interview and, eventually, the job.

I think this goes to show that if people are truly passionate about what they do, there is a place for them in this industry.

Source: MMORPG.com

Wednesday - September 26, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ MPOGD

by Inauro, 23:18

MPOGD chats to Jorgen Tharaldsen about Funcom's upcoming MMO, Age of Conan.

I asked about whether or not Conan groups were going to be highly class dependent in order to succeed. In other words, will groups require specific class combinations to succeed, or would a group of all fighters, or comprised of a number of DPS classes and a healer be as effective. "The nature of the genre is that a variety of skills will be needed. That is not to say that it will be impossible, but there is always strength in balanced groups. If you use our matchmaking system you will find you get the people you need."

"Our matchmaking system allows you to search for all kinds of levels, search for guilds, and any number of people. Groups are not inherently bad, what is bad is the amount of time getting hold of group members." says Jorgen, "Especially on raids, the amount of time spent organizing people for groups is bad, like when you lose your healer partway through a siege. How can you get access to new people fast? How can you find them? Can you teleport them in from other parts of the world? That is what we've done."

Monday - September 24, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ WarCry

by Inauro, 23:21

While at the AGDC this year WarCry caught up with Funcom's Jørgen Tharaldsen to chat about Age of Conan.

Funcom has also made waves with their decision to go for a mature rating, the first mainstream MMO to do so. Tharaldsen told us that it was not a decision taken lightly, but that it is definitely more than just a gimmick. For them, to truly build a world that honors the universe Robert E. Howard created, they had to have an "M" rating. Anything else would be watered down. He also pointed out that the entire game is mature, not just a few parts for show. It permeates their quest, their art and their combat.

"[If it was not mature] it wouldn't be a Conan game," Tharaldsen said.

Source: WarCry

Saturday - September 22, 2007

Age of Conan - Community Q&A #2 @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:27

Part two of Funcom's Age of Conan community Q&A session is now online.

Anksunamon: Will equipment have a negligible impact on the game? Is it mostly cosmetic?

A: Equipment is far from cosmetic. It is important to wear good armor and wield good weapons, but the difference is that this alone will not make up your character in Conan. Knowing how to play will make a big difference as well.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - September 19, 2007

Age of Conan - Blog Update @ 1UP

by Inauro, 23:21

Ole Herbjornsen, the Lead Designer for Age of Conan, has updated his blog at 1UP.

Our story starts with QA reporting a bug, I have provided the comments in the bug below and added som explanations in parenthesis. This bug gets sent sent back and forth between members of QA and the devs:

I've added the pictures for your viewing pleasure. Screen #1 is to the right and #4 is to the left in the gallery.

-QA: The cactus has a player stuck to it Screen #1
-World Designer (WD): Integrated the mesh a bit better. Please test to see if it works, should be a bit more conanesque now. Screen #2
-QA: As it is now, it's pretty comical. I have a screenshot of a pooping cactus man 

Source: 1Up

Monday - September 17, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ Shacknews

by Inauro, 23:26

Shacknew chats to Age of Conan content designer Jason Stone about "Funcom's approach to the traditional MMO grind, how the game distinguishes itself from World of Warcraft, nudity, and the upcoming Xbox 360 version."

Shack: How does a traditional quest in Age of Conan differ from, say, World of Warcraft?

Jason Stone: I think that the big difference in the quests in Age of Conan is not necessarily in the content. I mean, you're still going to result in having quests where you have to go get an item. The big difference is we have the global storyline, and then basically each region has its own storyline and each quest in a region generally builds on the region's storyline.

Source: Shack News

Saturday - September 15, 2007

Age of Conan - Drinking Cape @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:02

Funcom has announced the special in-game item that will be available to Clan of Conan members: the Drinking Cape.

Members of our community will get a special in-game item for one of the nicest perks in Hyboria.

We're pleased to officially reveal the secret item granted to Clan of Conan members and bring you the first images of the Drinking Cape.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - September 12, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 23:36

MMORPG.com has added 12 new screenshots to its Age of Conan gallery.

Source: MMORPG.com

Saturday - September 08, 2007

Age of Conan - Dragoncon Recap @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:53

Funcom has updated the official Age of Conan site with a review of events at the recent Dragoncon.

 

Dragoncon is a different kind of convention for us, a lot more fan-oriented and a lot less press-focused.

We can be a bit more casual, talk to fans, have a good time, and say, “Hey, everyone wants to see the Demonologist, let's bring it out next round.” Most importantly, we're able to get the game into the hands of regular fans and players. Anyone who made it to Atlanta and got a convention badge could play, and judging by the reports on the forums and all the people we ran into, quite a lot of you did.

 

Source: Funcom

Sunday - September 02, 2007

Age of Conan - Community Q&A #1 @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:00

The official Age of Conan site has been updated with a Community Q&A.

Bloodz: How many battlekeeps will be available in the Border Kingdoms?

Based on our current estimates for server population, there will be a maximum of three Battlekeeps per region, with a total of nine possible on each server.

Entaro: Are there any differences in consequence that results from a PvE death versus a PvP death?

When you die in PvE, you receive a debuff that lowers attack and defense rating. When you die in PvP, you do not get this debuff. However, in PvP, there is of course the chance you may have lost some coin, or, who knows, maybe even an item, but looting is not something we have fully addressed at this time.

Source: Funcom

Saturday - September 01, 2007

Age of Conan - Mini-Preview @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun

by Dhruin, 00:57

Rck, Paper, Shotgun is a great new site formed by some veteran gaming journalists and one of their recent items is a short piece on Age of Conan - more of a blog entry than a real preview but this quote is priceless:

Ultimately, though, I’ll be creating an Age Of Conan character simply because its people are so magnificently ugly. Never have I seen a game where the characters it pumps out can be so grizzled and deformed. Hit the randomise button and you’re presented with a face that looks like it was crushed beneath rocks and then delivered some kind of disease. There’s something heroic about that, and I really hope Funcom don’t ‘fix’ it before release.

Sunday - August 26, 2007

Age of Conan - Siege PvP Video @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 23:08

MMORPG.com plays host to a video featuring siege combat in Age of Conan

Source: MMORPG.com

Saturday - August 25, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ WarCry

by Inauro, 01:44

WarCry has posted two new Age of Conan screenshots

Source: WarCry

Thursday - August 23, 2007

Age of Conan - Leipzig Photo Update @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:20

Funcom has updated its Leipzig Games Convention photo gallery with a bundle of new images. 

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - August 22, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ GWJ

by Inauro, 23:28

Gamers With Jobs reports live from Gen Con where they managed to catch up with Jason Stone, one of the designers working on Age of Conan.

In what may be one of our best shows yet, we record live from Gen Con! We bring you hands-on reports from some sexy upcoming games and delve into some of what makes Gen Con so cool. We also have an interview with Funcom's Jason Stone, a game designer working on the upcoming Age of Conan MMORPG. Large scale PVP, building towns, bedding wenches (or not) and more. Enjoy!

Tuesday - August 21, 2007

Age of Conan - Leipzig GC Update @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:21

Funcom has updated the official Age of Conan site with further information about its plans for the Leipzig Games Convention along with the first photographs from the event.

Durham, USA – August 20th, 2007 – Funcom’s highly anticipated massively multiplayer online game ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’ is getting ready to invade this year’s Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. Not only will the siege warfare system be demonstrated to select press behind closed doors, gamers will also be able to join in on the fun by playing against each other in brutal, bloody, and ferociously fast-paced player-versus-player battles on the show floor.

Source: Funcom

Monday - August 20, 2007

Age of Conan - Playable at Leipzig GC

by Inauro, 23:10

Funcom has announced that a playable version of Age of Conan will be made available to attendees at this year's game convention in Leipzig.

Durham, USA – August 20th, 2007 – Funcom's highly anticipated massively multiplayer online game 'Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures' is getting ready to invade this year's Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. Not only will the siege warfare system be demonstrated to select press behind closed doors, gamers will also be able to join in on the fun by playing against each other in brutal, bloody, and ferociously fast-paced player-versus-player battles on the show floor.

"It is time for the gloves to come off," says Game Director Gaute Godager. "This is the first time we will let consumers get their hands on the game at a trade show and we are kicking off by letting them experience the intensity of player-versus-player battles. This is the true Conan experience – bloody and barbaric!"

The siege warfare gameplay, one of the most anticipated features in 'Age of Conan', will be shown behind closed doors for select press for the first time ever. In the game guilds will be able to construct entire battlekeeps for themselves and they can even capture and destroy other guild's battlekeeps by going into battle against them. Players will enter into epic struggles for fame, fortune and land using swords, cavalry and catapults as they charge towards each other on the blood-soaked battlefields of Hyboria.

"In recent years the Games Convention in Leipzig has grown into one of the most important trade shows in the business," says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. "This is a great venue for us to show off new material from 'Age of Conan' and to let gamers play the game for the first time ever at a trade show."

Everyone is invited to come and play 'Age of Conan' themselves in the Eidos area in Hall 3, booth B20. Funcom staff will also be demoing the game at the Microsoft area.

'Age of Conan' is consistently mentioned as one of the most anticipated PC games in development. It has received numerous magazine covers and awards, including 'Best MMO of E3' awards from IGN, GameSpot, GameSpy and Yahoo. 'Age of Conan' is a key title in Microsoft's Games for Windows line-up, as well as being a showcase DirectX 10 title for nVidia. The game is currently in beta testing and everyone is invited to sign up for beta at the official website: www.ageofconan.com.

Source: Funcom

Saturday - August 18, 2007

Age of Conan - Leipzig GC @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:00

Funcom has updated the official Age of Conan site with an outline of its plans for the Leipzing Game Convention next week.

As we do with most major events, we're putting together a new press kit and package of assets to promote the game. Usually, these go to reporters, gaming sites, and the press as a whole, but this time, we're debuting a sample of the materials we've put together on our community site. These are new screenshots, taken just a few days ago with the latest build of the game. You can see them here.

Source: Funcom

Thursday - August 16, 2007

Age of Conan - Preview @ YouGamers

by Inauro, 23:09

YouGamers previews Funcom's Age of Conan.

Combat, in general, is a bloody, "hands-on" affair - due to the nature of MMOs, real-time swordplay would be fraught with problems but the alternative, "click-to-attack-sit-back-and-watch", can be just as frustrating. Funcom have aimed for something in between - one can select a range of different attack directions, linking them up into combos which result in the ubiquitous cranial launch system so fond amongst the barbarian horde. Magic gets a good look in too and although the spells are nothing unique, one can chain them up in a spell pool, unleashing them later to chaotic effect. Overdo it though, and one runs the risk of soul corruption, a quick sojourn to Hell and lengthy battles with demons and their horned friends.

Tuesday - August 14, 2007

Age of Conan - Friday Update & Funcom Letter @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:38

Following on from the news of Age of Conan's new release date, Funcom has posted a letter to the community at the game's official site.  Also covering the delay is the Friday Update in the form of a Game Director's letter

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - Dev Blog @ 1UP

by Inauro, 23:35

Ole Herbjornsen, the Lead Designer for Fucom's Age of Conan, has updated his blog at 1UP.

By now you have all heard the news about the delay, and I know a lot of you are disappointed. As a fellow gamer I have experienced this feeling many times myself when a title I am looking forward to has been delayed. The difference now being that I am "on the other side of the fence". If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to head over to the forums and read the letter from Gaute to the community. As he mentions in the letter we are putting the finishing touches on the version for GC next week.

Source: 1Up

Age of Conan - Interview @ Gry.o2.pl

by Inauro, 23:17

Funcom's Erling Ellingsen speaks to Gry.o2.pl about Age of Conan. English and Polish versions of the interview are available.

Klecha (Gry.o2.pl): What can you tell us about the storyline in the game?

Erling Ellingsen (Funcom): Age of Conan is a massively multiplayer online game, so the storyline isn't as cemented as in single-player games. Basically we're creating a huge, virtual world based on Hyboria - the world in which Conan lives. It is based on the books written over seventy years ago by author Robert E. Howard, and is basically this huge low-fantasy license compromised of books, comics and movies spanning over seventy years. It's an incredibly rich setting! 

Saturday - August 11, 2007

Age of Conan - Release Date Pushed Back @ Funcom

by Inauro, 02:06

The official Funcom site has word that the release date for Age of Conan has been pushed back til March 2008.

Durham, USA – August 10th, 2007 – Funcom announce a new release date for 'Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures'. The highly anticipated MMO is now set to release on the 25th of March 2008. By setting a new release date for the game, Funcom can continue the focus on honing, polishing and improving the heralded qualities of the game, ensuring a fantastic MMO experience when it launches next spring.

“We naturally regret that we have to push back ‘Age of Conan’. However, after careful consideration, and analysis of recent Beta feedback, we believe that the new release date is in the best interest of the gamers, our company and our owners,” said Trond Arne Aas, CEO of Funcom. “We are fully committed to delivering games with absolute qualities, and in the current MMO marketplace we know that only the best is good enough to truly succeed. With the new release date we have therefore given ourselves more time to meet and deliver on the massive expectations for the game. We are certain that our choice will ultimately pay off, and that all ‘Age of Conan’ players will get a special online experience."

”We are honored by the immense reception our game is constantly getting, with an astounding amount of positive press coverage, awards and magazine covers, but we still see that we need to polish some aspects of the game even further, especially when it comes to the entry barriers,” said Gaute Godager, founder of Funcom and Producer / Director on ‘Age of Conan’. “With the added development time we can now deliver something even more unique and powerful, something which is worthy of the incredible Conan legacy.”

‘Age of Conan’ is consistently mentioned as one of the most anticipated PC games in development. It has received numerous magazine covers and awards, including 'Best MMO of E3' awards from IGN, GameSpot, GameSpy and Yahoo. ‘Age of Conan’ is a key title in Microsoft's Games for Windows line-up, as well as being a showcase DirectX 10 title for nVidia. The game is currently in general Beta, and applications for testing are available at http://www.ageofconan.com

Source: Funcom

Tuesday - August 07, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:34

JeuxOnline's interview with the Age of Conan team has been reposted at the game's official forums.  Here's a snippet from the English translation.  German and the original French version are also available.

4. Will Age of Conan be optimized for 32 or 64 bits ? DDRI or DDR2 ?

We will have native 64 bits version of the game which should run faster than the 32 bit one. It is difficult to say exactly how much faster it will be right now as we are in a constant process of optimizing the game.
Regarding DDR memory it may show up that with DDR2 it will be faster. Again, as we are now in full optimization mode, we don’t want to give you the exact readings we currently have as these may change.
It will however, as it stands right now, be memory bound, and in this case DDR2 might help. (from Sergey, Game engine developer)

Source: Funcom

Saturday - August 04, 2007

Age of Conan - Conqueror @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:52

The official Age of Conan site has been updated with a preview of the Conqueror class.

The Conqueror is the heart and soul of any party in Hyboria. Conquerors fill two roles, first, as an impressive fighter on the front lines soaking up the damage and dishing out damage of their own, and second, as an inspirational presence that makes the party prevail where it would normally falter. All foes that get within the conqueror's reach fall before their weapons, and all friends that stand nearby find themselves heartened, ready and eager to carry on the fight. A party without a conqueror may be mighty indeed, but a party with a conqueror becomes a band of heroes with almost legendary abilities.

Source: Funcom

Saturday - July 28, 2007

Age of Conan - Friday Update @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:22

Funcom has updated the official Age of Conan site with two new pieces of game lore.

For this Friday's update, we have new information available on the deadly Tarantula, as well as a profile of the mighty Kern Wolfeye.

You'll find the Tarantula lurking in the Bestiary, waiting to pounce, while Kern Wolfeye stalks the Vanir through our Characters section.

Source: Funcom

Monday - July 23, 2007

Age of Conan - E3 Round-up @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:17

The kindly folk at Funcom have gathered together the weekend's E3 coverage of Age of Conan

Source: Funcom

Saturday - July 21, 2007

Age of Conan - Guardian @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:59

The official Age of Conan site has been updated with a preview of the guardian class.

Guardians are not just hulking figures in heavy armor, however. While Guardians have access to a full range of armor, from simple cloth to imposing suits of full plate armor, no fortress is complete without a way to strike back at its attackers, and guardians have an array of combat abilities that focus on their strength: letting their opponents wear themselves down trying to penetrate impenetrable steel, then striking with all the fury of a raging wind. Members of this class can choose one-handed weapons of the blunt or edged variety and pair it up with a shield, or they can forsake the shield entirely and take up one of the many polearms Hyboria's weaponsmiths offer.

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - Preview @ GamersInfo.net

by Inauro, 02:55

GamersInfo.net gets a little hands on time with Age of Conan.

Unlike the demonologist I'd played who used primarily offense spells, the necromancer drained life from the surrounding environment and then used the life to heal the party. All the while, his cadaverous little pets were protecting him from attack. Again, I had that feeling of taking "from" and giving "to" that I'd experienced when playing a caster before.

Source: GamersInfo.net

Age of Conan - Preview & Screenshots @ WarCry

by Inauro, 02:53

WarCry takes a closer look at Funcom's Age of Conan and scores some exclusive screenshots along the way.

A small highlight of Age of Conan for me has always been their approach to enemy camps and the E3 demonstration once again highlighted this. In too many MMOs, monsters sit around and wait to be killed in small clumps. In Age of Conan, bandits arrange themselves into camps, complete with patrols, guards, etc. It's the classic fantasy scenario where the good guys pick off the sentry or patrol, so as not to bring the full force of their enemy against them at once. In AoC, players can play this out and solve camps in a variety of ways, such as the untimely and quiet death of a scout, or perhaps, by having someone sneak in through the shadows and quietly take out the guards at the gate. Any game that replaces an inherently artificial and almost certainly accidentally created mechanic like classic "pulling" with something that feels real gets a special place in my heart and with camps, Age of Conan has done just that.

Source: WarCry

Thursday - July 19, 2007

Age of Conan - E3 Preview @ MPOGD

by Inauro, 23:12

Multiplayer Online Games Directory shares some E3 impressions of Funcom's Age of Conan.

Having just seen Age of Conan at GDC, it was fresh in our mind how the game plays. At E3, they stepped it up a bit, showing off three different classes in a group setting. We also took a look at the recently released trailer that blew us away and upped the anticipation factor for this title ten-fold. For anyone not in the know, Age of Conan is set in the Robert Howard universe, using the Conan novels, comic books and extended universe as source material. It's a pretty adult game, as such, aiming for an M rating. It's a massively multiplayer online role-playing game with an action oriented combat system. Funcom told us they are making it specifically for the casual gamer, who has maybe 20 hours a week at most, but that a hardcore gamer will find much to love.

Wednesday - July 18, 2007

Age of Conan - E3 Coverage @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:14

Funcom continues to collate the E3 coverage of Age of Conan at the official site.

Source: Funcom

Tuesday - July 17, 2007

Age of Conan - E3 Coverage @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:16

Funcom continues to police its own E3 coverage at the official Age of Conan site.  This week's round-up includes first impressions, hands-on reviews and video footage from the conference floor. 

Source: Funcom

Monday - July 16, 2007

Age of Conan - E3 Preview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 23:10

Ten Ton Hammer drops by the Funcom booth for a glimpse of Age of Conan at E3.

We were shown several high-level play areas, levels 75-80. Much of the content in Age of Conan is 'dynamically scaled' - meaning that the numbers of creatures you face is comparable to the size and strength of your group to ensure that you get a challenging experience. Raids will accomodate up to 24 players; far less than what you'll find in other games' raid mechanics, but Funcom believes that 24 is a more manageable figure, and this writer tends to agree. They'll be designed to be run in two to four hours, to make it accessible to the more casual play audience. Raids will be on a timer, though they haven't decided what the duration will be - we'll have to wait until closer to launch to learn that tidbit.

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Saturday - July 14, 2007

Age of Conan - E3 Coverage @ Official Site

by Inauro, 04:24

Funcom has rounded up the latest coverage of Age of Conan at E3.  We'll be covering a far amount of this, but it's always handy to have it in the one spot. 

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - Barbarian @ Official Site

by Inauro, 04:20

Funcom has posted a preview of the Barbarian class at the official Age of Conan site.

Masters of melee combat, barbarians aren't known for their subtlety. Their survival in the dangerous world of Hyboria relies on their abilities with a diverse array of weapons. Barbarians wield everything from the usual axes and clubs—two at a time, as no true barbarian cowers behind a shield—to mighty two-handed blades that Crom himself might struggle to lift. Barbarians with a little more guile about them may also learn the ways of the bow, or have a few throwing weapons tucked here and there for when things get dicey (or when someone makes the mistake of running, as running away from a barbarian is the surest way to die tired).

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - July 11, 2007

Age of Conan - CG Trailer @ Official Site

by Inauro, 13:28

Funcom has posted a new CG trailer for Age of Conan at the official site.

Funcom and Eidos are proud to reveal the Age of Conan CG trailer. Created by the famous Blur Studio, the CG trailer serves as the introduction to the game, as well as showing eager players some of the savage action the game will hold.

"The chance to work on THE greatest hero of 'sword and sorcery' literature was an opportunity that Blur just could NOT pass up!" said Tim Miller, Creative Director of Blur Studios. "It was an honor to create the intro for the game that would introduce so many into the epic world of the Hyborian Age and allow them to participate in the adventures of Conan."

Source: Funcom

Sunday - July 08, 2007

Age of Conan - Priest of Mitra @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:39

A new class preview at the official Age of Conan site takes a closer look at the game's primary healer, the Priest of Mitra.

In Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, the Priest of Mitra is the primary healer in any group they might join. They can mean the difference between life and death, and if the latter happens they can still bend the very rules of mortality and bring their teammates back from the land of the dead.

Far from just being the one who put bandages on your wounds, the Priest of Mitra is also an able damage dealer – especially due to their potent nuke spells. But though they do master melee combat, their skills are considerably more limited in that regard.

Source: Funcom

Saturday - July 07, 2007

Age of Conan - Preview @ GamersInfo.net

by Inauro, 02:05

It's turning into a bit of an Age of Conan day with yet another preview being served up by GamersInfo.net.

So...you're moving with WSAD (and could be rolling and ducking but I wasn't); you're turning with the mouse to face the next enemy, although I was frequently swinging at dead air or possibly a party member...; sometimes you target, I did just to see if it was a party member of a valid target. (The UI that tells me who's a friendly wasn't in yet); all the while hitting the Q123E keys to swing. Sometimes you click on these healing herbs (MAKE SURE you take your finger off the mouse key else you'll be wildly swinging that camera).

Oh, and be careful of the collision damage. Stepping backwards can result in death!

Source: GamersInfo.net

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ WarCry

by Inauro, 02:02

WarCry has a couple of exclusive Age of Conan screenshots available for viewing. 

Source: WarCry

Age of Conan - Preview @ Games Radar

by Inauro, 02:01

Games Radar previews Funcom's upcoming Age of Conan.

Conan uses a different approach, assigning attacks to the five keys surrounding your WASD movement controls. There's no targeting, instead you aim, launch an attack and, well, hit what you hit. Initially - as we discovered before  - this feels messy and a little chaotic. Further muddying the waters is the fact that, in MMOs, there's just not enough bandwidth between your PC and the server running the show to allow for full animation. So 'hits' aren't necessarily animated blow by blow, and you could be battering a still-standing foe who's already been offed by a previous attack, but just hasn't run through its 'dying' animation yet.

It's easy to forget, though, that until now even Age of Conan's level of "interactive combat" in an MMO has been impossible. As a test of concept, Conan's system really works. There's likely to be further games that take on and develop the approach, and probably do it better - like developer Funcom's own Secret World MMO, or, as the GamesRadar team feverishly hopes, Blizzard's inevitable Diablo III. But what we've got here already is a game that's bravely standing out from the crowd and achieving something exciting and new.

Thursday - July 05, 2007

Age of Conan - Preview @ GameSpy

by Inauro, 23:07

GameSpy gets hands on with Age of Conan and comments on some of the features that have changed since it last previewed the title.

The next thing I noticed was that the control system had been simplified and now utilized the left hand side of the keyboard. Players select the type of swing they want to use by sliding their left hand to the keys just north of the "WASD" movement keys. "Q" and "E" perform left and right side-swings, "1" and "3" do overhead blows and the "2" does a direct thrust.

Source: GameSpy

Monday - July 02, 2007

Age of Conan - Preview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 22:59

Ten Ton Hammer goes hands on with Funcom's upcoming MMO, Age of Conan.

But combat in Age of Conan was nonethless, to me, a glorious change of pace. Players attack by using the keyboard keys above the default WASD movement keys, that is, [1], [2], [3], [Q], and [E].  [Q] swings the weapon left to right, [E] right to left, and the numeric keys in between swing from various points in an arc over the players head. During the course of the game, players unlock abilities and ability slots, which allow the player to do special attacks by pressing a series of highlighted keypresses.  Jørgen explained that it was important to keep the two combat mechanics mapped separately to accommodate hybrid magic and melee classes, so spells are cast using the function keys.

Another cool feature of combat in Age of Conan is that attacks move the character; the character naturally moves forward as he or she swings. If you're properly oriented toward your enemy, clicking and holding the right mouse button to adjust the camera angle, this immersion-enhancing feature keeps your character constantly in line with your enemy's hitbox, allowing you to intuitively strafe and step backward to dodge incoming blows.

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Saturday - June 30, 2007

Age of Conan - Clan of Conan @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:49

The new Clan of Conan newsletter should be hitting inboxes everywhere and the online version is now available at the offiical Age of Conan site.  This month's highlights include:

  • Feature - Ranged Combat
  • Location - Atzel's Approach
  • Bestiary - Vistrix and the Mammoth

 

Source: Funcom

Monday - June 25, 2007

Age of Conan - Video Interview @ GameTribes.tv

by Inauro, 23:05

Funcom directs our attention to GameTribes.tv where parts one and two of a video interview with Erling Ellingsen, the Product Manager at Funcom, are available.

GameTribes.tv is an Italian web-tv site covering computer and console gaming. Recently they sat down with Product Manager at Funcom, Erling Ellingsen, to have a talk about Age of Conan. Thanks to the precious gifts of technology, it all happened via a webcam and Internet telephony.

The video interview is in English but is also subtitled in Italian.

Check out the second part here.

Check out the first part here.

Source: Funcom

Sunday - June 24, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ WarCry

by Inauro, 23:08

WarCry has posted a couple of exclusive Age of Conan screenshots.

Source: WarCry

Age of Conan - Interview @ MMODing

by Inauro, 23:04

MMODing chats with Game Designer Jason Stone about Funcom's upcoming MMO, Age of Conan.

How much research and time have you spent researching Conan? What have you studied for that matter and what are you looking for when seeing those materials?

This is a big question in a way. Almost all of us on the design team have read all of the Howard writings and a great deal of the Pastiche books and also comics. But we have also played a lot of other games, using them to inspire us for the combat system. Games like Dynasty Warriors, Soul Calibur, Ninja Gaiden, Mount and Blade, Severance etc.

Saturday - June 23, 2007

Age of Conan - Dungeons @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:54

Funcom takes us through a dungeon or two at the official Age of Conan site.

Anyone following the Age of Conan development can probably agree to the fact that it boasts some beautiful landscapes. Snow-covered mountains, far-stretching woodlands and burning deserts are all well and good – but what about those nasty, dark dungeons? It’s time we lifted the veil just a little bit and introduced you to that part of Age of Conan as well. There are, after all, some really incredible dungeons in virtual Hyboria.

Let’s start off with The Black Ring Citadel, one of the very high-level dungeons you’ll get to visit in the game. Nested somewhere in the vastness of the Stygian deserts, this place of raw evil and corruption is home to some of the greatest challenges Hyboria will throw at you. Moving through the pitch-black shadows of the citadel is an experience unlike any other, and only the bravest of adventures will be able to claim the treasure this place holds deep inside its halls of death.

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - Preview @ CVG

by Inauro, 02:47

CVG previews Fucom's upcoming barbarous epic, Age of Conan.

This is an MMORPG that is aiming high and low at the same time. It wants to be as approachable as a singleplayer adventure, such as Oblivion, while having all the developed features of the more sophisticated MMORPGs - features such as territorial conflict, instanced dungeons, trade classes, guild warfare, and multifarious Player vs Player options. Fancy a drunken brawl? Then go for it. Want to engage in endless hours of mass running battles? That's available too.

Source: CVG

Saturday - June 16, 2007

Age of Conan - Quest Storyboards @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:41

Funcom offers a look at the quest creation process with an in-game quest storyboard available for download.

When playing Age of Conan, you’ll come across hundreds upon hundreds of quests that are scattered across the world. These will range from epic adventures to simple tasks, but a common nominator for them all is that the development team put a tremendous amount of effort into making it balanced, rewarding and not to mention entertaining.

As a part of creating a quest, the designers often put together a storyboard comic using in-game screenshots to give a better overview of how the quest flows.

Source: Funcom

Tuesday - June 12, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ CVG

by Inauro, 23:15

CVG talks to Erling Ellingsen, Funcom's Product Director, about Age of Conan and the curent state of the MMORPG industry.

What's gone right for the genre, and where has it gone wrong over the years for the MMO?

Ellingsen: Things have definitively been moving in the right direction for the genre. We've seen a tremendous progress, and while there have been certain mistakes, I think they were necessary in terms of making sure there was a healthy evolution for the genre. The market has expanded dramatically thanks to World of Warcraft and more people are aware of these types of games today than when, for instance, Anarchy Online launched.

Source: CVG

Monday - June 11, 2007

Age of Conan - Dev Blog @ 1UP

by Inauro, 23:03

Ole Herbjørnsen has updated his Age of Conan blog at 1UP.

What does this have to do with game development? Well, we've had some major internal milestones lately and I thought I'd mention some of our "excess ketchup". The first one being hair which moves and animates. Originally, we did not have this feature, and implementing hair physics would be costly. The alternative, going over all the animations manually would be a gargantuan task (with over 1500 animations for each of the male and female characters...). Luckily we have some clever heads who managed to come up with a cheap and excellent solution, and it makes the animations so much more realistic. You won't see it on screenshots, but hopefully once we kick some new videos out the door, you can see it in action and judge for yourself. We may end up using the same approach for something else as well, which I think the fans have been discussing on the official forums...

Source: 1Up

Saturday - June 09, 2007

Age of Conan - Video Developer Diary @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:44

Funcom has released a new video developer diary to a number of sites around the net.

Once again we step into the world of the graphics artists and art direction. Didrik Tollefsen, Art Director, and his merry band of artists shows you how important graphics are when establishing the atmosphere in this virtual Hyboria.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - June 06, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ WarCry

by Inauro, 23:20

WarCry speaks to Pål Frogner Hansen, the Project Director for Age of Conan.

WarCry: What is your workflow?

Pål Frogner Hansen: Wow! That is a massive question. Doing an MMO like ours, you have a whole lot of different workflows. We have more than 100 developers on the team, split into different kinds of coders, quest designers, world designers, item designers, character behavior designers, effect designers, effect gfx-artists, concepters, character, monster artists, modelers, etc. All of these guys are making content and framework that is interdependent with other people's work. To make everybody be able to work efficiently on their own and at the same time, together with others, require lots of processes, many workflows and in many cases, use of pretty advanced technology. Digging deeper into the details could easily fill a day of explanation, so I better not.

Source: WarCry

Saturday - June 02, 2007

Age of Conan - Clan of Conan @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:19

The latest edition of Funcom's Age of Conan newsletter is online at the official site. This month's edition contains:

  • Feature - Weapons and Armour
  • Location - The Frost Swamp
  • Bestiary - The Flesheater and Frostcrawler

Source: Funcom

Tuesday - May 29, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ ActionTrip

by Inauro, 23:16

ActionTrip speaks with Jørgen Tharaldsen, Product Director at Funcom, about Age of Conan.

ActionTrip: How important are tactics and collaboration between players in Age of Conan?

Jørgen Tharaldsen: Since Age of Conan is an MMO collaboration between players will be an essential part of mastering the game, and a fun part at that. I mean, just think of a massive siege PvP battle, where all classes work together to bring down the enemy (I will be riding the war mammoth!). Even though there is solo content in the game you will find that some of the most epic moments will happen when you are in a group or a guild. If you plan to raid a mighty demon, for instance, you need to hone those tactics;)

Source: ActionTrip

Sunday - May 27, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ WarCry

by Inauro, 23:07

WarCry has posted two exclusive Age of Conan screenshots.

Source: WarCry

Saturday - May 26, 2007

Age of Conan - Dark Templar @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:24

A preview of the Dark Templar class is available at the official Age of Conan site.

In the harsh reality of Hyborian life, many people turn to higher powers – the Gods – for guidance and understanding. Some turn to Mitra seeking hope and support, while others turn to Crom for savage inspiration. Some even turn to Set in order to tap into the powers he provides, but the Dark Templar will go as far as to trade his very humanity to any dark being who will offer him a piece of the corrupted power that they possess.

Source: Funcom

Monday - May 21, 2007

Age of Conan - Game Director's Letter #1 @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:26

Gaute Godager kicks off a new series of letters from the game director with an epistle titled "Savage and Sexy ".

The first thing we did was to tear down the norm of the combat system in MMOs. Out with the watch-the-hotkey-bar combat. Nothing wrong with it, except we wanted more location, direction, distance and hands on player skill to matter! In a Conan game combat must be more than a means to an end (to kill, gain exp) – it must be super-fun in itself. I am happy to say – we are finally close to this.

Source: Funcom

Saturday - May 19, 2007

Age of Conan - Video Developer Diary @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:50

A new Age of Conan video developer diary is available in a number of places, the official site has the details .

The third installment of the video developer diary takes you deep into the minds of some of the most creative people working on Age of Conan. Take a look at how some of the graphics are made and meet some of the people who spend their days making them.

You also get to meet Art Director Didrik Tellefsen and Assistant Art Director Grant Regan who talks about how they're realizing the vision of Robert E. Howard and how they're turning that into an online game. Note that this developer diary is split into two parts, this being the first one. The second part will be posted at a later date.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - May 16, 2007

Age of Conan - Dev Blog @ 1UP

by Inauro, 23:21

Ole Herbjornsen, the Lead Designer for Age of Conan, has updated his blog at 1UP.

We are extremely busy here at the offices. As part of ramping up for content beta, we are doing a lot of polish work. Polish? Polish is a multi-headed beast, almost like a hydra (before you ask, no we don't have hydras in the game, they were cut in favour of the weregrouse*). When you have projects which run for several years, which is fairly standard for an MMORPG, it goes without saying that your technology base evolves and matures. It involves all parts of production and can be anything from proof-reading quest dialogue to looking at lighting in dungeons and how it impacts gameplay.

Source: 1Up

Saturday - May 12, 2007

Age of Conan - Preview @ WarCry

by Inauro, 23:44

WarCry's latest Age of Conan feature reads more like a HowTo for would be suggesters of ideas than a preview, but is worth a look nonetheless.

A few things you'd need to consider before putting forward an idea based on what you've seen in another game are these: What made the feature work well in the "other" game? How could the feature be implemented in 'Age of Conan'? Is the feature suited to 'Age of Conan'? How would the feature work in 'Age of Conan'? Unfortunately, "[insert feature here] should be in 'Age of Conan' because it was cool/sweet-dude-sweet/fully sick/wicked-cool in [insert game title here]" is not a valid reason. Why isn't it a valid reason? Well firstly because "cool factor" is subjective; what wows one person may not necessarily wow another. Secondly, your suggestion needs substantiation. So as a guide, if you can adequately answer the above four questions regarding your suggestion, it's worth posting. If you're having a hard time answering any number of those questions, then you'd might like to rethink your suggestion and go back to the proverbial drawing board.

Source: WarCry

Age of Conan - Bear Shaman @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:25

A preview of the Bear Shaman class is online at the official Age of Conan site.

The Bear Shaman represents two sides of nature – Tranquility and Fury. The tranquil side of the Bear Shaman allows him to utilize powerful magic to heal himself and his friends. Tapping into the power of the wind, the Bear Shaman may heal both himself and his teammates by utilizing the very forces of nature itself. The “Renewal” spell grained at level twenty is one of many healing spells the Bear Shaman will have access to. His ability to resurrect friends who fell in the midst of a bloody battle becomes available to him at around level thirty, but the spell will become more and more potent as the Bear Shaman grows in power – allowing him to further diminish the detrimental effects of death.

Source: Funcom

Saturday - May 05, 2007

Age of Conan - Clan of Conan @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:20

A new Clan of Conan newsletter is online at the official Age of Conan site.  In this month's issue: beta sign-ups,  the Aquilonians, the wild lands of Zelata and more.

Source: Funcom

Thursday - May 03, 2007

Age of Conan - Dev Profile @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 23:05

MMORPG.com chats with Haluk Diriker of the Age of Conan team.

MMORPG.com: What is your job at Funcom? How did you get your foot in the door?

Haluk Diriker
: My formal title is AI designer and it is what I do most of the time. I am also responsible for Hiving and some AI related tools coding. My plate is very full to be honest and considering the size of the team, it gives you a good idea about the scope of the game. Everyone is always busy.

Source: MMORPG.com

Saturday - April 28, 2007

Age of Conan - Technical Beta @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:18

The Age of Conan technical beta is underway. The official site has the details .

Now is an incredibly exciting time for everyone working at Funcom. The technical beta is kicking off and we’ve already started inviting several hundred players to join us and become some of the first people to tread the blood-soaked earth of Hyboria under their sandaled (or chain mailed, for that matter) feet. After years of working on the game behind closed doors it is finally ready for the world. Bringing more external testers into the game is a very interesting experience for us, especially with so many people participating. We’re just as excited as you are, if not even more!

Source: Funcom

Saturday - April 21, 2007

Age of Conan - Lore Updates @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:27

Funcom has updated the lore section of the offiical Age of Conan with pieces on the Yrmirish and  Grimnir Stormbringer.

The Yrmirish

The newest threat in the hordes of malicious Vanir raiders is the presence of white-haired, yellow eyed warriors known to their Nordheimer brothers as the Ymirish. These warriors serve as commanders in the ravening host, blessed with the blood of Ymir in their veins, making them taller, stronger and more savage than mere mortal Vanir.

Grimnir Stormbringer

A mammoth, covered in ropes of shaggy, coarse hair and strong as ten oxen. It plowed forward with a large form astride its neck, raising weapons overhead in challenge. A giant form. A true beast that walked upright, like a demon with blazing eyes of golden fire. The tales had not been so tall, after all.

At last, Grimnir stood revealed. 

Source: Funcom

Monday - April 16, 2007

Age of Conan - Munster RPG Convention @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:58

Funcom will be showcasing Age of Conan at the RPG Convention in Münster, Germany this weekend.

Funcom will be bringing Age of Conan to RPC (Role-play Convention) 2007 in Münster, Germany this weekend. If you live in the area or just fancy a long drive/flight, this is your chance to see the game in action.

On both the 21st and 22nd of April we will be demoing the game to anyone interested at a dedicated Age of Conan booth at the event venue, Halle Münsterland. Both Funcom and Eidos representatives will be available, and we would be delighted to answer your questions, listen to your suggestions and give you a demo of the game should you drop by. Our German community manager will be present, so demos will also be available in German.

Of course, there will also be plenty of opportunities to acquire some phat lewt in the shape of Age of Conan comic books and -- of course -- beta spots. So drop by if any of this should be of interest to you!

Read more about the RPC event at this website.

Source: Funcom

Saturday - April 14, 2007

Age of Conan - Video Developer Diary

by Inauro, 01:10

A new video developer diary that looks at the sound and music making process for Age of Conan is available in a number of places.

It’s not just stunning and detailed graphics that is needed to bring the exotic and brutal feel of Hyboria to life. What is a brutal picture without the sound of steel against steel? What is a battlefield without the sound of war-cries and lamentations? These are all questions that the sound designers and composers on Age of Conan have to ask themselves every day when going to work.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - April 11, 2007

Age of Conan - 100,000 Beta Applications

by Inauro, 23:08

In the face of Blizzard's 800lb gorilla and Turbine's World Tour, Funcom must surely be encouraged by the 100,000 beta applications received for Age of Conan over the Easter weekend.

Durham, USA – April 11th, 2007 – Funcom and Eidos announce that more than 100.000 gamers signed up for the ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’ Beta test over the Easter holiday. Just within the first 24 hours of the announcement more than 50.000 gamers signed up to test the game. Despite a demanding sign-up process the initial numbers bodes very well for the future of the most savage, sexy and action-packed MMO ever created.

“We’re naturally very pleased to see that so many dedicated gamers are signing up for the ‘Age of Conan’ Beta at such a rapid pace,” says Trond Arne Aas, CEO of Funcom. “With more than 100,000 gamers signed up in such a short time-frame our confidence in the game’s potential and its ability to be a major contender in the MMO genre continues to be strengthened.”

To avoid gamers that were simply looking for a free trial of the game already at this stage, Funcom launched a Beta sign-up process which involved filling out detailed personal information, as well as providing detailed technical information about the PC system. As such, the sign-up process has been created to ensure that those signing up would be dedicated to the testing of the game. As the game moves into more open Beta stages closer to the launch, further initiatives will be unveiled to expand the base of Beta testers.

“We’ve been developing this incredible world for years now and today more than 150 people are working hard on achieving the ambitious goals we set out for the game,” says Gaute Godager, founder of Funcom and Game Director on ‘Age of Conan’. “The team is very excited about the number of gamers who have signed up for the Beta so far, and we can’t wait to see them charging into the brutal battlefields of Hyboria!”

'Age of Conan' will release on the 30th of October. The game is consistently listed as one of the most anticipated PC games of 2007, and won 'Best MMO of E3' awards from IGN, GameSpot, GameSpy and Yahoo. 'Age of Conan' is a key title in Microsoft's Games for Windows line-up, as well as being a showcase DirectX 10 title for nVidia. More information, Beta sign-up, forums and a welcoming community portal can be found on www.ageofconan.com.

You still have a chance to secure a spot in the Beta by signing up at beta.ageofconan.com 

Source: Funcom

Saturday - April 07, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ MMORPG Heaven

by Inauro, 00:35

Head on over to MMORPG Heaven for a couple of new Age of Conan screenshots .

Tuesday - April 03, 2007

Age of Conan - Beta Applications @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:10

Funcom is now accepting applications for the Age of Conan beta test.

Now you can sign up to join the fun yourself, and you need not bash Pictish skulls to do so. All you have to do is go to Funcom’s Age of Conan website and enter your relevant details.

Visit beta.ageofconan.com to sign up today!

Source: Funcom

Saturday - March 31, 2007

Age of Conan - Screens & Movie @ Worthplaying

by Dhruin, 01:46

Worthplaying has half a dozen new (and rather spectacular) Age of Conan screens, as well as a new trailer.

Age of Conan - Clan of Conan @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:28

The latest edition of the Clan of Conan newsletter is hitting in-boxes everywhere.  If you've not signed up for the email delivery, swing on over to the official Age of Conan site and catch the online version.  Highlights this month:

  • the race of Cimmerians
  • the Eiglophian Mountains
  • Yakhmar and Savage Cannibals 

Source: Funcom

Thursday - March 29, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 23:19

MMORPG.com talks with Funcom's Mats Remman about work on Age of Conan and life in general.

MMORPG.com: How have things been progressing with Age of Conan? Have you enjoyed working on such a strong IP as Conan?

Mats Remman: Since I joined the team here at Funcom last year, I think Age of Conan has come very far. I love the way our combat system works and I think we have the potential to make a game that's truly sticking to the original IP of Conan. I guess the main concern players might have is that their imagination of the REH (Robert E. Howard) world may differ slightly from our own view. Even so, I think anyone that plays the game will be pleased with what we have accomplished. The world of Hyboria is so vast and different that it's hard to portray everything with just words. Since a picture says more than a thousand words, I'd probably have to use millions of words to describe how much I like it! 

 

Source: MMORPG.com

Tuesday - March 27, 2007

Age of Conan - Combat @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 23:38

MMORPG.com's Garrett Fuller takes a closer look at combat in Funcom's upcoming Age of Conan.

One of the biggest complaints in MMOs for me is the combat. Up until now we have seen very basic combat systems in place for players. If you are playing a caster you run away, stop, throw a spell, and run some more until your opponent drops. If you are a tank you run up to the target, get a lock, start swinging and hit as many hot keys as you can to hit with your combos. Targeting is always easy, instead of actually missing, the game misses for you. The actually fight sometimes tends to get a bit boring. So how do we spice thing up? What type of interface can we give players to really make them feel like they are in combat? Well, steps are being taking in that direction with several games, but I wanted to draw attention to Age of Conan as a great example of creating a more realistic fighting experience.

Source: MMORPG.com

Saturday - March 24, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:54

Funcom has uploaded four new screenshots to the gallery at the official Age of Conan site.

One of the things that we are really proud of in Age of Conan is the visual diversity that the development team has managed to deliver. This is particularly evident when looking at the different landscapes of Hyboria that is realized in this game, from the snow-capped mountains of Cimmeria to the burning deserts of Stygia. And everything in between!

This week we want to show you just how diverse landscapes in Age of Conan can be. Check out the screenshots section for four new screenshots from the game.

Source: Funcom

Tuesday - March 20, 2007

Age of Conan - GDC Preview @ GamersInfo.net

by Inauro, 21:12

GamersInfo.net previews Funcom's Age of Conan.

Once you've created your dream barbarian (and really, who hasn't dreamt of wearing a loin cloth and wielding a sword?), you'll wash up on the shores ready to begin your story in single player mode. This isn't to say you won't be online, quite the contrary; you'll simply spend your first 20 levels or so learning to play the game, exploring the game world, understand the lore, and absorbing the game systems in an area that is free of PvP, people begging for handouts and annoying spam. I hope you may be getting that I like this idea. This also means that should this character not be your character of choice, you can simply choose another and no one will be the wiser. The only drawback I see to the system is you lose those precious first few hours of bonding with friends/new friends in a game. But, to enter a multi-player world with an understanding and as a character you intend to play I think, will more than compensate.

Source: GamersInfo.net

Friday - March 16, 2007

Age of Conan - Demonologist @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:05

A preview of the Demonolgist class is online at the official Age of Conan site.

Of all the mages the Demonologist may be the most power hungry and twisted amongst them. Such is their pure thirst for absolute power that they are willing to trade their very souls to whichever demonic power is currently seeking to extend their influence into the affairs of man.

Source: Funcom

Thursday - March 15, 2007

Age of Conan - 2nd View @ RPG Vault

by Inauro, 21:01

RPG Vault takes a second look at Funcom's Age of Conan.

The combat system seems likely to attract those who want to feel more involved. For example, when you attack with a melee weapon, you target a specific part of your opponent's body, and you dodge blows by moving away, not through a purely statistical calculation. The pace is fairly quick, similar to that of an action RPG, but should still be accessible to most users. Another very interesting related element is the ability to lead other players and NPCs in battle through a formation system. Guilds will be able to construct their own towns, and lay siege to those of their enemies. There will be ample quest content providing a constant sense of purpose and direction. The locations, characters and creatures we've seen have been visually appealing, and the overall art direction feels appropriately Conan-like.

Source: RPG Vault

Tuesday - March 13, 2007

Age of Conan - Dev Blog Update @ 1UP

by Inauro, 21:26

Ole Herbjornsen, Lead Designer on Funcom's Age of Conan, has updated his blog at 1UP.

So what is cooking in the pot these days? Well, we just had some guys over at GDC in the US to show off the latest build. One thing which we haven't shown publicly before is the blood & gore aspect of Conan: fatalities and dismemberment. If you kill an opponent using a combo, you have a chance of dealing a more brutal and bloody death or possibly chop off a head or arm instead if that is more your fancy.

Source: 1Up

Age of Conan - Preview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Inauro, 21:13

Ten Ton Hammer spends some time with a beta version of Funcom's Age of Conan.

Even with the crashes, which weren’t terribly prevalent, it was clearly evident that Age of Conan was a superior game. Over the span of two days comprising a pair of sessions and three hours of actual time discussing, Jorgen and I hashed out some things that hadn’t been extensively discussed on the website, and I have split the following feature into sections to showcase the specific topics that we discussed. Also, be sure to return to this page as new sections will be added over the next few days.

Source: Ten Ton Hammer

Monday - March 12, 2007

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ Official Site

by Inauro, 21:37

Funcom has uploaded five new screenshots to the gallery at the official Age of Conan site.

The screenshots uploaded  today are all from Tortage town and the surrounding jungle area. Many of them shows off the improved lightning and shadow technology both for DirectX9 and DirectX 10, while others (the "camp ambush" shot, in particular) shows the improved parallax mapping feature that is found only in the DirectX 10 version of the game.

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - GDC Preview @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 21:26

MMORPG.com joins the growing list of sites reporting on Age of Conan as seen at the GDC.

At GDC this week, we were lucky enough to get a chance to look at the new demo for Age of Conan. Funcom is certainly putting the polish on this title and continues to work to make the game look and feel like the barbaric Hyborian world that Robert E. Howard had created. Last time we saw the game was at E3 back in May. The look of the game has been upgraded considerably in the graphics department with a very crisp texture and great artwork in the world. Despite having the launch delayed, it seems like the team are in the polishing phases before they plan for Beta in the coming months. Some of these features you may have heard of before, but several new elements were also shown at GDC.

Source: MMORPG.com

Saturday - March 10, 2007

Age of Conan - GDC Previews

by Dhruin, 10:12

Age of Conan is the next game to generate a plethora of previews from GDC.  Here's a list:

Let's take snips from GameSpot and GameSpy respectively:

Tharaldsen showed off the character-customization options briefly, illustrating the power of the character editor. After that, he dived straight into the game with a high-level character. Enlisting the aid of employees at Funcom's US offices, he then showed off what a group of characters is capable of. With a flurry of sword strikes, the group mowed through waves of enemies easily. It's not just hack-and-slash gameplay, though, as the composition of the group highlighted how tactics can play a role in the game. The real-time combat system in Age of Conan means that each battle can be a tactical dance to the death. Multiply that further with group combat, and there's a rush as players race to aid one another.

The main combat innovation is the combo system, complete with a combo meter. There is a six-way "clock" in the lower-middle of the screen, with each direction attached to a hotkey; each direction lights up when executing that specific attack. For example, "1" is a swing aimed at the upper-right while "3" is an attack going for the lower-left. Tharaldsen says that this mechanic was specifically inspired by Street Fighter II, in that everyone knows that a quarter-circle forward performs a fireball when playing as Ken or Ryu, and he wanted to impart a similar feel for the combo moves here. Before you folks with a total lack of fighter skills shriek about the possibility that only fighting game aficionados can be good at Age of Conan, don't fret. This clock also shows you how to pull off the combos; anytime you perform an attack, the next step in the combo will helpfully illuminate, effectively guiding you all the way to the end of the combo string.

Wednesday - March 07, 2007

Age of Conan - GDC Impressions @ FiringSquad

by Dhruin, 20:34

FiringSquad has spent some time with Age of Conan at GDC and penned these impressions:

During GDC today we got another look at Age of Conan, the upcoming fantasy MMORPG from developer Funcom that takes place in the universe made famous by Robert E. Howard's novels. One thing we got to see in this build that we didn't see at CES is the character customization screen. Age of Conan gives you the choice of three playable factions and we got to see how you can alter the shape of your playable creation at will. You can make him look like a Conan like muscle bound warrior or something smaller and thinner. There are also tons of facial choices you can choose from, including hair and facial hair styles.

Saturday - March 03, 2007

Age of Conan - Preview @ Games Radar

by Dhruin, 23:11

Games Radar had the opportunity to check out Age of Conan in person, penning this hands-on preview:

However, it’s the suitably gory one-on-one battling that’s got our blood pumping - it’s about as far removed from the usual stat-laden RPG battles as you can get. There are a range of attacks triggered by each button on your joypad, and, although of course you’ll be collecting plenty of hardware, the viciousness of each blow is best enjoyed with the iconic Conan longsword, a limb and ligament hacker of note. And don’t expect your vanquished enemies to just disappear in a cartoon swirl of stars - bludgeoned bodies will stick around, and if you’re especially proud of a kill, you can even keep an enemy’s rotting head for yourself in a ballsy show of valor.

Monday - February 26, 2007

Age of Conan - Movie @ Official Site

Sunday - February 25, 2007

Age of Conan - Contest @ Online Welten

by Dhruin, 12:10

Online Welten dropped us a line to point their Age of Conan contest, with 20 guaranteed beta spots and more on offer.  You can check out the details and questions here in English or German and the answers here.

Wednesday - February 21, 2007

Age of Conan - Screens @ IGN

by Dhruin, 00:56

IGN has 20 apparently new screens from Age of Conan to check out.

Tuesday - February 20, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview #2 @ CVG

by Dhruin, 10:54

CVG has posted their second part of their large interview with Funcom on Age of Conan.  For RPGWatch readers, we've occasionally checked in on this project because the first part of the game was to be a SP experience but with this following clip, we'll be leaving it for MMOWatch from now on:

What occurs in the single-player section of the game, and when that's completed is it a traditional MMORPG that we move into?

Erling Ellingsen: The single-player feature has changed much since we started designing Age of Conan, mostly due to feedback from the testers in the closed beta. Originally it was designed to be an entire single-player game before you stepped into the massive world, but we've scaled this down somewhat because people generally wanted to be able to interact with other players much sooner.

 Still, when you first start out in Age of Conan, you'll spend the first limited part of the game where you are the only player. You learn the basics of the game as you progress through what resembles the story of a single-player game, and we're able to give players an introduction to the game which is much more heavily based on storytelling. When the players reach the village of Tortage, they will start seeing a limited amount of other players.

But at this stage during the game they are able to switch between day and night by sleeping at the local inn, and at night the player will always be in their own universe and will at that point be able to play through more single-player aspects of the game. After some hours when the player leaves the island of Tortage and set sail for the mainland, they will step into the more traditional MMO world with thousands of other players.

Sunday - February 18, 2007

Age of Conan - Class Preview @ Official Site

by Dhruin, 00:54

Funcom's Age of Conan site has their latest class preview, covering the Herald of Xotli:

Some of those who meddle in the demonic arts are either too weak-minded or venture too far down the path of demonology to remain untainted for long. The Heralds are those who with an insatiable lust for power regardless of the cost have bargained with the demon god Xotli and paid the ultimate price.

They become a host to true demonic forces, allowing their very flesh and blood to be twisted and shaped to the purposes of their master.

Tuesday - February 13, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview #1 @ CVG

by Dhruin, 23:48

CVG has the first part of an interview with Funcom on Age of Conan up.  Among the issues discussed in Part 2 is the possibility of cross-platform support between the PC and Xbox 360 - but here's a bit from this entry on combat:

What development challenges has incorporating a more twitch-style combat system into an MMORPG thrown up?

Erling Ellingsen: We wanted an MMO that had much more hands-on action than what has been done so far. You get to control every swing of your sword, you get to move around and use the terrain to your advantage and you have to actually aim at specific parts of your enemy's body.

It's the same with archery, where you'll have to string the bow and aim manually - as if you were playing a first-person shooter. The challenges were mostly technical. Issues with lag could kill such a system, but we're confident that we've designed it in a way that actually works.

 

Friday - February 09, 2007

Age of Conan - Class Preview @ Official Site

by Inauro, 22:13

Funcom sheds some light on the Lich class at the official Age of Conan site.

Of all the mages the Lich is perhaps the most feared by the ordinary travellers. Where the Necromancer animates the dead, the Lich actually embraces and joins the dead, becoming one with the foul and decaying undead they can channel great power from by their sacrifice of parts of their mortal soul and body.

Source: Funcom

Tuesday - February 06, 2007

Age of Conan - Interview @ BFME2 Heaven

by Inauro, 21:23

The Battle for Middle Earth II Heaven speaks with Jorgen Tharaldsen, Product Director at Funcom, about the company's current MMORPG project, Age of Conan.

Kester: I am here with Jorgen Tharaldsen, Product Director at Funcom, the maker of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. What can you tell us about this new game?

Jorgen: I'm here today showing Age of Conan, which is an MMO game, set in the mature, brutal, barbaric world of Conan. And in this universe, you enter the game as a character. You create this character - you start out as a galley slave. And Conan is to become King of the nation of Aquilonia, one of the mightiest nations in this world. And you enter this world and you fight, and you live, and you explore, and adventure in this massive universe, alone or together with friends. You build cities, you go fight demons and demigods, you use magic or the sword or the bow or just make an impact on this world. It's a game where you have a mix of focus on storytelling and having a really good story aspect with it, with lots of gameplay. And I think the core difference of this game, compared to all the other online games now, is our combat system and the way you actually do combat in the game.

 

Sunday - February 04, 2007

Age of Conan - Class Preview @ Official Site

by Inauro, 21:08

Funcom previews the Druid of the Storm class at the official Age of Conan site.

Primal and resourceful, these priests of the shamanistic arts are masters of the world around them, at one with nature.

Their understanding of the world around them also means that they have an almost endless knowledge of natural healing remedies that can keep their allies standing in battle. Not just a healer they can utilise ancient arts, runes and charms passed down by their forefathers to protect and keep allies safe from harm.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - January 31, 2007

Age of Conan - Field of the Dead @ GameSpy

by Dhruin, 22:42

GameSpy has an Age of Conan regional profile that looks at the Field of the Dead:

There are reasons why the honored dead are laid to rest on biers of stone, with trophies of past deeds and treasures piled at their feet. Their deeds in life earned them honor and respect, and their long service and sacrifice bought them hard-won rest in the afterlife. Such fierce spirits do not rest easily, though. As in life, they are quick to offense and all too willing to take action against those who have wronged them. More than one grave robber has come to a grisly end when the spirit of a former chieftain rose in his wrath to defend the treasures won over the course of a lifetime.

Tuesday - January 30, 2007

Age of Conan - Developer Profile @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 21:26

MMORPG.com profiles Didrik Tollefsen, the Art Director for Age of Conan.

MMORPG.com: How have things been progressing with Age of Conan? Have you enjoyed working on such a strong IP as Conan?

Didrik Tollefsen: Indeed! Doing a Conan game has been a dream since I was a teenager and read the comics for the first time. I’ve gotten to know some fantastic, extremely talented people. And we are all doing our part in something that is more than a massively multiplayer online game -- it’s a living breathing, parallel universe! Always changing, never the same. It is truly a unique project. 

Source: MMORPG.com

Age of Conan - Interview @ Onlinewelten

by Inauro, 21:22

Age of Conan's Product Manager Erling Ellingsen talks with Onlinewelten about DirectX 10, Core Duo support, cheating and different gameplay features in Funcom's upcoming MMORPG.

OnlineWelten: Cheating is always a tough theme. What is your strategy against cheaters?

Erling Ellingsen: We have a zero tolerance towards cheaters. In the past, with our other MMO Anarchy Online, we’ve struck down on them harshly. People who break such rules will be banned. On the other side, our developers are working hard on creating systems that will minimize the possibilities of cheating. We’re being proactive about this, trying to beat the cheaters to it.

Friday - January 26, 2007

Age of Conan - Delayed to October

by Dhruin, 21:30

Funcom and Eidos have revealed a "final" release date for Age of Conan that sees a delay to October 30th.  Here's the post from the official forums:

Durham, USA – January 25, 2007 – Funcom and Eidos announce a new release date for the hugely anticipated MMO ‘Age of Conan - Hyborian Adventures’. Widely heralded as one of the most innovative and best looking games in development, co-publishers Funcom and Eidos have now decided to further hone the qualities of the game. The new release date is set to the 30th of October 2007 and will further ensure an online experience with truly stunning impact.

“Age of Conan” brings something brand new and highly innovative to the MMO genre’ says CEO Trond Arne Aas. “Age of Conan” today looks and plays fantastically, as countless press previews and industry feedback attest to. Even so, we believe that by spending even more time and effort into polishing and enhancing the game we will ensure that the game reaches its full potential in terms of quality and subscriber base. We are confident that our fan base will appreciate this commitment to quality. The prolonged development time reflects our ambition to meet and exceed the expectations of our fans for this game.’

“Age of Conan is truly a labor of love for Funcom and I am proud and amazed at the accomplishments of our world class development team. The extra development time on Age of Conan will enable us to deliver a truly awesome MMO gaming experience – with next generation MMO-combat and a lush and vibrant world to live in, said Gaute Godager, founder of Funcom and Game Director on ‘Age of Conan’. “Now we can pack even more punch into the brutal world of Conan, and, by Crom, I feel certain that we will deliver a game that will appeal to a broad range of players as we introduce new features to the genre.’

‘Age of Conan’ is currently in closed beta. Funcom will soon announce a unique chance to secure a spot in the open beta of the game. If you are, or will shortly become, a part of the ‘Age of Conan’ community you will have a unique chance to influence and impact the ‘Age of Conan” game as it approaches its last stages of development.

‘Age of Conan - Hyborian Adventures’ is one of the most anticipated PC games in development, and is a key title among the Games for Windows lineup for Windows Vista. The game won ‘Best MMO of E3’ awards from IGN, GameSpot, GameSpy and Yahoo. More information, newsletter sign-up, forums and a welcoming community portal can be found on the official website www.ageofconan.com . Following the release of the PC version a dedicated console version will be released for the Xbox 360. The game is co-published with Eidos.

Source: Bluesnews

Wednesday - January 24, 2007

Age of Conan - DX10 Screens & Movie @ Official Site

by Inauro, 21:16

Funcom has posted a selection of new DirectX 10 screenshots and a movie at the official Age of Conan site.

Even though we're in the relatively early beginnings of DirectX 10 development, things are starting to look very good. With these new screenshots and the new video, we aim to show you some of the capabilities of the DirectX 10 technology when it is used in Age of Conan.

You can find the screenshots here

You can find the video here

Some of the improvements visible in the videos and the screenshots are improved parallax mapping, better lighting and more advanced shadows technology. DirectX 10 will also make it possible to have sharper textures, more details in every scene, longer view distances and much more.

Funcom is proud to be one of the few developers who is tapping into this technology, and we look forward to showing you even more of DirectX 10.

Source: Funcom

Sunday - January 21, 2007

Age of Conan - Preview @ Stratics

by Inauro, 21:17

Stratics previews Funcom's Age of Conan. 

Along with the mature and in-depth storyline, the game will include a single person game as you learn how to progress. Instead of being dumped into a huge world with other individuals, you will be pulled into the story while learning the mechanics of the game. A first for MMO’s, this feature will develop your character as a part of the universe, and I believe it will be the only game to make you feel as if you were truly a part of the game. Most games you are a player, not one of the characters. In Conan, become one of the great legends, and fight in the giant battles of war!

Source: Stratics

Saturday - January 20, 2007

Age of Conan - CES 07 Preview @ WarCry

by Dhruin, 23:42

Age of Conan has been previewed at WarCry based on a viewing at CES 07 with input from Funcom's Erling Ellingsen and Jorgen Tharaldsen.  Here's a snip:

Camp gameplay. Players can interact with the environment in different ways - one of them is to poison the water so NPCs become weakened when they drink. Another is distraction. NPC guards can be drawn off by firing an arrow or throwing a rock to create noise. Funcom is still working on their AI to change the range of NPC sight and hearing in different conditions such as day and night.

Jorgen tells me, "What we are trying to do though is to use our AI and dynamic scripting so that i.e. an area will change "behavior" at night, like it would in real-life. For instance the streets of a city will see a different kind of life at night than compared to day."

Friday - January 19, 2007

Age of Conan - Class Preview @ Official Site

by Inauro, 22:42

Funcom previews the Scion of Set class at the official Age of Conan site.

Dedicated to the god Set, the Scions are often considered fanatics whose dedication to their god reaches devotion that many would confuse for insanity. The snake god offers the constant promise of power beyond mortal means and demands nothing short of total commitment in return.

While well schooled in the healing arts the true power of the Scion of Set comes from their being blessed by the snake god. This grants them with the ability to inflict damaging poisons upon their enemies and call upon the poisonous powers of Set to augment their allies' attacks with the venom of the snake god or curse their foes.

Source: Funcom

Friday - January 12, 2007

Age of Conan - Class System Review @ Official Site

by Inauro, 22:48

A new article at the official Age of Conan site delves into changes made to the class system during the beta testing process. 

This week we wanted to announce one of the major changes we have made during the beta process. As always we trying to give the best possible updates on any changes we are making to what has already been announced. For this week we wanted to put some meat on the bones on a decision tying into the entire class structure in Age of Conan.

Source: Funcom

Thursday - January 11, 2007

Age of Conan - Preview @ FiringSquad

by Inauro, 21:23

FiringSquad shares some impressions of Funcom's Age of Conan as seen at CES.

"But what about the DirectX10 graphics?," you might be asking yourself at this point. "Do they look cool?" The answer we will give based on seeing this early pre-alpha build is, "Kinda." Funcom's visual look for Age of Conan was already on the high side for an MMO title but the demo at CES only looked marginally sharper than most games of this type. The character's faces are a little more detailed and there are some environmental lighting effects (sunlight streaming through trees for example) that look good. But we admit to being spoiled by the DirectX10 demo of Crysis and in comparison, the demo of Age of Conan is currently not the huge leap forward in graphics for MMOs as Crysis is for first person shooters.

Source: FiringSquad

Tuesday - January 09, 2007

Age of Conan - CES Preview @ IGN

by Inauro, 21:29

IGN reports back from CES on the progress of the DirectX 10 version of Funcom's Age of Conan.

January 8, 2007 - Age of Conan made a splash at the Consumer Electronics Show by being one of two games, Crysis being the other, to be shown using Microsoft's new and much touted DirectX 10 for Vista. The online action RPG for PC and Xbox 360, though only running on PC here, was a great way to showcase the new Vista platform with some stunning DX10 visuals.

Source: IGN

Age of Conan - DirectX 10 Premiere @ CES

by Inauro, 21:23

Funcom has announced that the DirectX 10 version of its upcoming MMORPG Age of Conan will be premiered at CES.

Durham, USA – January 8, 2007 – Funcom and Eidos are proud to announce that the DirectX 10 version of ‘Age of Conan’ is world premiering at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show. Only two games on the CES showfloor have been able to reach this considerable development milestone. The DirectX 10 version of ‘Age of Conan; can be witnessed at the Microsoft CES stand, where Funcom staff will be on-site to showcase the game.

Source: Funcom

Friday - January 05, 2007

Age of Conan - Concept Art Feature @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:13

Funcom has updated the official Age of Conan site with a new concept art feature.

In Age of Conan the player will be able to visit and face enemies from a great number of the locations and areas written about by Robert E Howard. We caught up with Assistant Art Director Grant Regan to find out a little more about what goes into matching up with the wonderful descriptions found in the stories when it comes to bringing the weapons of Conan and his many adversaries to life
 

Source: Funcom

Friday - December 29, 2006

Age of Conan - Lore Updates @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:17

Funcom has updated the lore section of the official Age of Conan site with a piece on the Oracle of Derketo.

Visitors who travel to the temple in hopes of receiving one of the oracle’s divinations are enthralled by the young man’s golden skin and his exotic, androgynous beauty. His wisdom and charisma belie his youthful appearance, and many young men and women who are fortunate enough to bask in his presence renounce their former lives and dedicate themselves to serving him.

Source: Funcom

Saturday - December 23, 2006

Age of Conan - Clan of Conan @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:29

The latest edition of the Clan of Conan newsletter is online at the official Age of Conan site. In the newsletter this month:

  • Creating Your Own Character (Monthly Feature)
  • Developer Video Diaries (Didrik Tollefsen, Art Director)
  • Khopshef Provice (Location Feature)
  • Hyenas and Scorpions (Enemy Feature)
  • The Age of Conan (Comic)
  • Developer Profile (Thomas Wollbek)
  • In the News (XBox 360 Details)
  • Screenshots and more

Source: Funcom

Thursday - December 21, 2006

Age of Conan - Regional Profiles @ Gamespy

by Kalia, 20:12

Gamespy has a preview of one of the locations and some of the creatures from Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. Focusing on the Khopshef Province, the article says:<blockquote>The Hyborian deserts contain secrets older than mankind itself. Nowhere is this more evident than in night-haunted Stygia, home to sorcerer-priests who worship the great serpent god Set. Stygia's cities rise like dusky jewels from the fertile lands on southern banks of the dark river Styx where slaves are sacrificed every day to slake the hunger of the Great Serpent. Scholars pore through crumbling texts for hints of lost knowledge that lie hidden among the trackless sands. In Stygia, dark knowledge is the path to true power.

Within Stygia, no place is more mysterious than Khopshef province, a land of fabled ruins recounted in ancient legends and caravan tales that lies far to the east of the coastal city of Khemi. The simple people of Khopshef province pray to their gods and try to go about their lives, mining salt from the flats around the village of Hep-Kab or welcoming the caravans traveling from Medjool Oasis to the south. Their major concerns are usually keeping out of the punishing sunlight at midday and warding their houses against the evils of the night. Of late, however, bad things are once again arising from the sands of Stygia.</blockquote>

Source: GameSpy

Age of Conan - Developer Diary #1 @ Gamespot

by Kalia, 19:12

Gamespot is featuring Developer Diary #1 on its site today. Head over for a look-see. The video weighs in at approximately 85Mb in lo-res.

Age of Conan - Preview @ Games Radar

by Rheric, 16:23

Games Radar has their first impressions of Age of Conan up, and they are very positive about their experience with the game thus far.

It doesn't matter whether or not you liked the Conan films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger or are familiar with Robert E. Howard's famous fantasy tales of the alpha-male Cimmerian. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures promises to provide a truly next-gen MMO experience with retina searing graphics and innovations in both gameplay and design that threaten to shake up many stale standards in the increasingly popular genre. Big talk, but after seeing a demo of the latest build of the game, we were thoroughly impressed.

Tuesday - December 19, 2006

Age of Conan - Interview @ ActionTrip

by Inauro, 21:20

ActionTrip talks with Funcom's Gaute Godager about the company's upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan.

ActionTrip: Do you feel that your previous achievements, like Anarchy Online, are of any help throughout the development of Age of Conan?

Gaute Godager: Yes, absolutely! Making a massively multiplayer online game is a whole different ball-game than making a single-player game. It's just such an incredibly complex venture that as a game developer you end up learning something every day as you go along. The first time you make such a game, it's going to be a roller-coaster ride to the very end. We believe we made a great game with Anarchy Online, and it's matured fabulously well through the years. With Age of Conan, we had all the experience a development studio can gain when making its first MMO, and I think it's evident when you look at how the game has come along in development. We're able to experiment a lot more and we're able to stretch the limits to a much greater degree. That's what we're doing with Age of Conan. We're really setting out to stretch the limits - and even create new ones - of the MMO genre. Much of the reason why we're able to do this is because of Anarchy Online.

 

Source: ActionTrip

Monday - December 18, 2006

Age of Conan - Preview @ VoodooExtreme

by Dhruin, 20:51

VoodooExtreme joins other major sites with a preview of Age of Conan.  And for J-Lo lovers...

Gaute started off by creating a new character from scratch, which turned out to be a smooth experience. First, you choose your race and gender, then you're able to customize how your avatar looked by moving around various sliders. To give us an idea of what the character creator was capable of, Gaute showed us he was able to clone Arnold Schwarzenegger's evil twin in about two minutes. One of the more intriguing—and bound to be popular—options was the "Arse" adjuster, which adjusts the size and shape of your character's derriere. Things suddenly became much more interesting.

Sunday - December 17, 2006

Age of Conan - Preview @ GameSpy

by Inauro, 21:30

GameSpy joins the host of other sites taking a look at Age of Conan this week.

More so than any previous MMO I've ever seen, the character creation interface in Age of Conan sets an amazing tone for the game's brutal world. It's been described before: characters start out as chattel in a slave galley, and it is within the harrowing decks of this ship that you get to define your avatar's looks. By tweaking all the sliders, you can make your character look as feral and brutish as you want, adjusting the precise degree of slant on his broken nose, the depth of the dip of his brow, the contours of his arse. Yes, "arse." If you don't believe me, you can go into the character creation interface and see for yourself. When it comes to impropriety and barbarism, however, these little affectations are just the tip of the iceberg for Age of Conan. It definitely looks like Funcom is going all out for this one.

Source: GameSpy

Age of Conan - Coverage @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:00

Funcom has kindly rounded up all of the recent coverage of Age of Conan.  We've already posted a number of these items, but a recap can't hurt.

Earlier this week we invited numerous journalists to come and have a look at Age of Conan for themselves. The result are several articles available on the web today, and more will follow in the coming days. We've also uploaded a massive batch of new screenshots to our screenshots section.

Here are some of the preview articles

Age of Conan on IGN
Age of Conan on Team Xbox
Age of Conan on Voodoo Extreme
Age of Conan on the Vault Network
Age of Conan on GameSpot

Be also sure to check out the video available on GameVideos.com!

Source: Funcom

Friday - December 15, 2006

Age of Conan - Updated Impressions @ Gamespot

by Kalia, 14:16

Gamespot has a preview of Age of Conan with their updated impressions of the game.

 

Age of Conan is currently undergoing a closed beta test, so a limited number of outside testers have been playing the game and offering feedback. Based on that input, a notable change has been made to how soon you'll be able to start playing with other players. Age of Conan is different from a lot of massively multiplayer online role-playing games in that you can play it as a single-player game, and then once your character hits level 20 experience, you can start playing it as an online game with others. This lets you create a powerful character on your own terms before you venture into the online fray. However, if you're starting the game over again with a new character, you might want to get into the multiplayer action faster so you won't be restricted to level 20 if you want to jump into the online play sooner.

Godager gave us a quick tour of various aspects of the game, from the early stage when you create a character to some of the later stages. You'll start the game as a galley slave on a sailing vessel. If you create a male character, you'll be one of the poor saps who has to row all day long, while female characters are consigned to some of the quarters. But don't worry; you won't be a slave for long. After you finish creating your character, you'll escape and find yourself washed ashore with nothing but a broken oar as your weapon; from there, you'll be able to determine your own destiny.

 

 

Age of Conan - Progress Report @ IGN

by Kalia, 14:14

IGN has a 'progress report' on site for Age of Conan. Gaute Godager and Jorgen Theraldson of Funcom stopped over at the IGN offices to show off the game:

While adventures will mainly be single player in the early portion of the game (players will have their own adventure until they meet Conan and enter the MMO portion) there is a little bit of multiplayer here, though on a much smaller scale. Players can meet and head out for smaller adventures together to give a sense of how groups will work in the bigger MMO. Any time players want to get away from any other players in the early portion of the game, they can go to sleep and enter a night time single player version of the world as well. This won't be in the MMO game, but is a cool option to begin with.

Players will also be able to enter any tavern and do a little drunken brawling, which is one of the coolest and silliest ideas for fun PvP. Once in a tavern, players can purchase some alcohol, which will be the trigger for players to enter PvP mode. During a drunken brawling session, any level bonuses and skills are removed from the player's repertoire. Instead, player stats are tied to the type of alcohol consumed. For instance, different drinks like mead and rum might instill different stats for speed, power, and so on. Fight animations are wobbly and fun. Anyone that's poured back a drink or two is fair game while in the tavern so leave your inhibitions at the door and prepare for some good sized bar brawls.

 

Source: IGN

Thursday - December 14, 2006

Age of Conan - Media #1 @ RPG Vault

by Inauro, 21:27

RPG Vault has two exclusive Age of Conan screenshots on offer. 

Source: RPG Vault

Age of Conan - Preview @ Voodoo Extreme

by Rheric, 17:23

Check out the latest preview of Funcom's upcoming MMO, Age of Conan , posted on Voodoo Extreme. 

In terms of character progression, for the first four levels your primary concerns are learning how to play. At Level 5, you'll choose to become one of the four archetype classes (priest, soldier, rogue or mage). Also at Level 5, you can choose what Funcom calls your Prestige class, which is independent of your occupation and represents your social class (you can choose any of four Prestige classes no matter what your Occupational class is). The Prestige classes are Lord, Commander, Crafter and Master, and each brings a valuable skill aimed toward helping your guild.

Source: Bluesnews

Tuesday - December 12, 2006

Age of Conan - Xbox 360 Version Official

by Dhruin, 23:22

Word via VoodooExtreme is an official announcement that Age of Conan is heading to the Xbox 360:

Funcom announces that 'Age of Conan' is approved for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. The announcement means that the highly anticipated Massively Multiplayer Online game (MMO) has received the green light from Microsoft, and that Funcom can start official development of an Xbox 360 version of the game.

"This is a groundbreaking leap forward for Funcom. The fact that we now get the chance to develop 'Age of Conan' for the Xbox 360 means access to a potentially whole new and large MMO market," said Trond Arne Aas, CEO of Funcom. "The fast-paced and innovative combat system in 'Age of Conan' will suit the demanding console audience perfect. We believe the amazing online capabilities of Xbox 360 will be a great match for MMOs like 'Age of Conan', and as one of a handful officially approved MMO games for the console we aim to create a unique, brutal and powerful online gaming experience."

Friday - December 08, 2006

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:06

Funcom has released six new Age of Conan images which are available in the screenshots section of the official site. 

Source: Funcom

Friday - December 01, 2006

Age of Conan - Concept Art @ Official Site

by Inauro, 23:26

Funcom has updated the Concept Art section of the official Age of Conan site.

There are five new images added to the gallery today showing a range of Stygian armor inspirations. From clothing the refined and sensual curves of their mysterious women to displaying the ornate grandeur of the finest Stygian armor, our artists constantly strive to capture the essence of the Stygia that comes across so vividly in Howard's descriptions of the dangerous desert kingdom.

Source: Funcom

Tuesday - November 28, 2006

Age of Conan - Focus of Funcom/NVIDIA Collaboration

by Kawika, 11:57

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures has taken center stage in the concerted efforts of Funcom and NIVIDA. Together, these two giants of the computer gaming industry have joined forces, putting their considerable weights behind making Age of Conan a featured title for Microsoft Windows Vista as well as NVIDIA’s “The Way It’s Meant To Be Played” program. In addition, we can expect to see the game become fully enhanced for both DX10 and the new line of NVIDIA GeForce 8800 graphic cards.

Monday - November 27, 2006

Age of Conan - Preview @ GameSpy

by Inauro, 21:33

GameSpy previews Funcom's upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan, and takes a closer look at the Conall's Valley battleground.

In the wild and cold lands of northern Cimmeria, at the foot of the mountain known as Ben Morgh, there's a valley torn apart by ages of conflict and war. This deep rift in the Earth here is known as Conall's Valley. This is where a tribe of proud Cimmerians have found their home and their calling as they strive to keep their small settlement out of the clutches of the savage Vanir who continually try to breach their wooden walls. At the eastern end of the great rift is dreaded Field of the Dead. The Vanir have set up numerous encampments throughout the valley, leaving this small Cimmerian settlement the last defense between the Vanir and the Cimmerian holding of Broken Leg Glen. 

Source: GameSpy

Saturday - November 25, 2006

Age of Conan - Conall's Valley @ Official Site

by Inauro, 08:31

Six new screenshots and an article focusing on the conflict between the Vanir and the Cimmerians in Conall's Valley are available at the official Age of Conan site.

When the hornblower has sounded his horn, a stream of determined Vanir will pour out from the woods and attack the settlement. Computer-controlled Cimmerians will do their best to fight off the attackers, but as Olsen explains, the Vanir may very well overtake the defenders and storm into the village. The Vanir will most likely attack with melee weapons, while the Cimmerians are more prone to manning the palisades and fending them off with ranged weapons before they get too close. The players present in the valley can choose to be involved in the fight or they can choose to distance themselves from the conflict and simply watch from afar as the battle unfolds -- though a true Cimmerian player might have trouble shutting out the horrors and sufferings of his or her fellow countrymen! The game will not force you to do anything you do not want to do.

 

Source: Funcom

Thursday - November 23, 2006

Age of Conan - Flyby Video @ GameSpy

by Inauro, 21:54

According to the official Age of Conan site, GameSpy is hosting a new flyby video.  Here's the gist of things:

Tomorrow will see the release of the next Clan of Conan newsletter, as a sneak teaser we have teamed up with the folks at Gamespy to show you a great fly-by video from Conall's Valley.

You will find the new video here.

Keep your eyes on your in-box tomorrow for the full newsletter!

Remember you can sign up for the Clan of Conan here.

Source: Funcom

Age of Conan - Developer Profile @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 21:34

MMORPG.com chats with Heidi Schmidt, one of the Content Designers at Funcom working on Age of Conan.

MMORPG.com: Tell us a little about your childhood. How did school and where you live influence your choice to join the video game community?

Heidi Schmidt: I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My parents would take me on backpacking trips into the mountains of San Gabriel and Sierra Nevada. I think my real education and appreciation for the world came from being up in the mountains, exploring the wilderness, and not from the public schools. I remember when I first jumped into an MMO and my immediate reaction to the sheer joy of being able to explore the world around me--it was this experience from my childhood that naturally attracted me to MMOs. 

Source: MMORPG.com

Wednesday - November 22, 2006

Age of Conan - Interview @ The Game Musketeers

by Inauro, 21:28

The Game Musketeers speak with Funcom's Erling Ellingsen about the company's upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan

With an original system of single-player game merging into a MMO environment. How will the single-player experience enhance the MMO game?

The way we see it, MMOs can be very intimidating at first. They lack many of the gameplay mechanics that draw the player in from the start of most games, such as story that really takes you by the hand and gets you going. Stories that can shake your world and it feel like you are really something other than just another peasant out to kill rabbits. We wanted to incorporate that into the MMO genre, and thus we created what we refer to as Age of Conan's single-player part. Actually, though, it is not truly single-player all the time. During the first hours of your character's life, you will adventure through the island of Tortage and the town of Tortage. Parts of your adventure you will spend by yourself in your own story, while at other times, you will encounter other players. We truly believe that this mix will make for a much better start of your journey, and once you step into the massive MMO world, you will have grown a bond to your character and an understanding of the game that will make you a better player in that part of the game.

More... 

Friday - November 17, 2006

Age of Conan - Beta Progress @ Official Site

by Inauro, 22:46

The latest Behind the Scenes feature at the official Age of Conan site offers some insight into the progress of the game's beta testing.

As you all know Beta is a time of finalization and changes, and as we see it the changes are for the better as it’s based on feedback from people actually playing the game. Like everywhere else in life change is unavoidable as no amount of planning, design documents or ceremonial sacrifices to the gods of game development will prevent your prized creation being subject to some alterations.

More... 

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - November 15, 2006

Age of Conan - New Trailer @ Official Site

by Inauro, 21:50

Funcom has released a new Age of Conan trailer.  You can find it in the Video section of the official site. 

Source: Funcom

Tuesday - November 14, 2006

Age of Conan - Preview @ GamersInfo

by Dhruin, 23:01

GamersInfo has tossed up a preview of Age of Conan based on a viewing at DragonCon a couple of months ago:

One of the things they’ve pointed out is the fact that the game is going to be very centered around guilds. Any guild that wants an instanced PvE city will be able to get one; in addition, there will be battle keeps in the outlands which will be very restricted in terms of numbers on each server. That’ll keep competition for them heavy. All servers will have some PvP on them, at least, and there may be some roleplay servers – that hasn’t been decided yet. (Though there will not be live events.)

Saturday - November 11, 2006

Age of Conan - Concept Art @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:13
Funcom has updated the gallery section of the official Age of Conan site with some new images, and also reminds us to keep our eyes on the game's fansites for further updates throughout the week.

Source: Funcom

Friday - November 03, 2006

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ Official Site

by Inauro, 22:29

Funcom has updated the screenshot gallery at the official Age of Conan site with four new images featuring some of the ancient ruins to be found in the game's world.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - November 01, 2006

Age of Conan - Interview @ MMORPG.com

by Inauro, 21:27

Funcom's Community Manager for Age of Conan catches up with MMORPG.com to answer a few questions about this upcoming MMORPG.

MMORPG.com: Can you talk a little about Spellweaving and how casters will be able to take advantage of this style of play?

Craig Morrison: The spellweaving system allows for some truly awe-inspiring effects to be invoked. This allows the caster to tailor a specific incantation best suited to their current target. Whether it is combining debuffs or enhancing your damage, or even a combination of the two - the spellweaving system will allow casters to adapt their strategies to the situation at hand!

Throw in the fact that there are potentially dangerous side effects to performing the more complex weaves and we think we will have a system that the players will find fun and engaging when it comes to using this powerful magic.

More... 

Source: MMORPG.com

Saturday - October 28, 2006

Age of Conan - Behind the Scenes #4 @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:00

Funcom takes us on the road with Age of Conan Product Manager Erling Ellingsen.

When thinking about game developers, you probably wouldn't envision them traveling the world, sleeping in a new bed every night and spending more time at airports than someone who works there. That's what rock stars or presidents do, right? But the truth is that making a game is more than writing code and drawing graphics - there is also the element of promotion, something both the PR people and the developers participate in.

Ever since we first announced Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, we've been going around the world showing it to executives, journalists and players. Bringing the game on the road often involves a lot of work in advance, simply because we need to create a build (a version of the game) that can run on computers outside Funcom's offices.

More... 

Source: Funcom

Saturday - October 21, 2006

Age of Conan - Screenshots @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:11

Funcom has added a series of new beta screenshots featuring the city of Tarantia to the gallery section of the official Age of Conan site.

Source: Funcom

Wednesday - October 18, 2006

Age of Conan - Friday Interview @ Split Infinity Radio

by Inauro, 23:45

Funcom directs our attention to Split Infinity Radio where an interview with Age of Conan Product Manager Erling Ellingson will be taking place this Friday.

Join DJ Jamicus on Friday 20th of October for the return of DragonsHead Tavern - in which he'll be airing an exclusive interview with Funcom Product Manager Erling Ellingson, discussing the guild system within Age of Conan.

As if that wasn't enough, we also have 50 limited edition copies of the official Age of Conan comic book, produced by Dark Horse Comics - and we'll be giving some of them away during the show.

More...

Source: Funcom

Saturday - October 07, 2006

Age of Conan - Behind the Scenes #3 @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:28

Funcom catches up with Lead Designer Ole Herbjørnsen for a look behind the scenes of their upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan.

Hi there again! The question most asked at the moment is obviously how we are getting along with the beta! The first answer that springs to mind is that it's very busy but going very well! The team are now working in what we call 'strike teams' on the various areas of the game, roughly divided up across the games level ranges.

Each team has designers, world builders and QA members working hard to ensure the area of the game world they are responsible for is coming together. The quests are being tested and mobs placed out in the playfields, balance being considered and progression being mapped out.

More...

Sunday - October 01, 2006

Age of Conan: Concept Art @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:38
Head on over to the official Age of Conan site for four new pieces of concept art from Funcom's upcoming MMORPG.

Source: Age of Conan

Friday - September 29, 2006

Age of Conan: Updated Impressions @ GameSpot

by Dhruin, 22:29
Microsoft's X06 event in Barcelona sees GameSpot adding some impressions of Age of Conan:
On the other PC, a slightly older version of the game was running, and it was here that we got to know some of the cool details that will make Hyborian Adventures such a different take on the traditional MMOG. As we've discussed in a previous look at the game, combat will be different than the typical point-click-kill approach that is such a big part of other MMOGs. Here, if you want to win a battle, it's going to take some effort on your behalf. Each character will have a number of melee weapons he or she can attack with. To attack, you have several options, all based on a direction-based menu that pops up in the lower middle section of the screen whenever you initiate combat. Mouse users, for example, can click on the different available directions, and your character will perform the attacks in the order you clicked them. If you're using a USB analog controller, you can move the analog stick in any direction to do the same. If you prefer to attack using the keyboard, you can use either the numerical pad or certain alphabetical hotkeys on your keyboard.

Monday - September 25, 2006

Age of Conan: Interview @ CVG

by Dhruin, 22:03
British site CVG has an interesting interview with Funcom's Gaute Godager on Age of Conan:
The books are known for their extreme adult nature featuring strong scenes of violence and overt sexuality. How much of this will be transferred over to the game world of Age of Conan?

Godager: Let me start by saying: Conan will be the most mature MMO ever made, and that involves a lot of blood and sensual undertones, even though its not going to be tasteless.
The books are many things. They are violent, somewhat sexual, and they are a product of the 1930's.

We are adapting to our times and the MMO media, but we try to keep what is there - in essence, detail and spirit. There will not be any intercourse or hidden "coffee modes" or anything like that, but there will definitively be some "showing of skin".

There will be plenty of violence though, but there are two important things here: a) Conan is a mature game. We aim at that rating and want to make sure it hits that rating. We do not want to become "adult" by accident and end up sold at specialist stores and on grizzly Internet sites with a million pop-ups.

This means we will err on the side of caution in terms of how we display nudity in the game. b) It is up to you what you want to see in terms of violence (fatality deaths) and nudity in the game. We want to make sure these are things you can turn on and off as you want.

We want to adapt the game to the markets. I know it's a thoroughly boring answer, and I know Conan will be a sinister, violent game, but I need to be honest about that the game will vary with marketplace.

Saturday - September 23, 2006

Age of Conan: Crafting Preview @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:31
Funcom shares some inside information on the way that crafting will function in its upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan.
With crafting in Age of Conan we wanted to create a system that would not be weighed down by the need for constant repetition. We also wanted to ensure crafting is able to yield useful items and abilities so that those who choose to follow crafting as their prestige profession feel that they can really contribute to their guild and other customers.

There will be five different schools of crafting that crafters will be able to progress through. Crafters will have access to all of the different crafting schools. Other prestige classes may have access to one or more of the schools (although they may be restricted in the tiers that can be attained)
More...

Source: Age of Conan

Monday - September 18, 2006

Age of Conan: Lore Update @ Official Site

by Inauro, 22:47
Funcom has updated the Lore Section of the official Age of Conan site.
Find out more about the gods of the world of King Conan. Our lore section has been updated today with information on three of the most worshiped gods, Crom, Mitra and Set.

You can find the new entries here in the Lore section of the site

Source: Age of Conan

Saturday - September 09, 2006

Age of Conan: Interview @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:55
Funcom catches up with comic book writer and editor Roy Thomas to discuss his work on the Ultimate Guide to the world of Conan.
Hi Roy, although many Conan fans will need no introduction to you, tell us a little bit about how you came to be so involved with the great barbarian?

It was really mostly by accident. I bought the early paperbacks for their Frazetta (and Krenkel, in the case of KULL) covers, but didn't read more than a few pages of CONAN THE ADVENTURER. A year or three later, readers were telling us we should get the rights to Conan or some other sword-and-sorcery character... so Stan Lee and I listened, and I made it a special project of mine. When a bid to license Lin Carter's Thongor was stalled by his agent, I contacted Glenn Lord about Conan, and a deal was struck.
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Source: Age of Conan

Saturday - August 26, 2006

Age of Conan: Dev Journal & Leipzig Photos @ Official Site

by Inauro, 03:10
Age of Conan's Lead Designer, Ole Herbjornsen, explains a few more of the design team's functions in this week's edition of Behind the Scenes.
Item Designer

The role of an item designer is a bit multi-purpose, supplying both support for other professions and also being the main source of player-oriented equipment and rewards.

As many other professions rely on items, such as quest designers, NPC designers, and scripters, a lot of time is spent on providing them with the various resources they may require to finish a task they are working on.
For a glimpse of the goings on at the Leipzig Games Convention you might like to drop by the photo gallery.

Source: Age of Conan

Saturday - August 19, 2006

Age of Conan: Blood Money & PvP @ Official Site

by Inauro, 02:19
The latest gameplay preview at the official Age of Conan site takes a closer look at the Blood Money PvP system.
The dark and dangerous lands of Hyboria that have seen Conan rise to the throne of Aquillonia make up a treacherous and deceitful world where even the most petty or trivial of disagreements will invariably be settled by the blade (not uncommonly from behind whilst the victim is unawares!) Something is always at stake when reputations are forged by force of steel or the ingenuity of will. In Age of Conan the player versus player combat will always have equally vicious consequences and a bloody purpose that will always ensure you have something worth fighting for.

When we came to think about PVP in Age of Conan we wanted to ensure that it reflected that dark and hostile environment. We want to make sure that there will always be something at stake when a player decides to make a name for themselves in the Border Kingdoms. Likewise though, PVP still has to be fun, and no one really likes losing their hard earned possessions, so we have a very special system of Blood Money that operates in the PVP areas.
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Source: Age of Conan

Saturday - August 12, 2006

Age of Conan: Concept Art @ Official Site

by Inauro, 01:13
Funcom has uploaded four new images to the Concept Art gallery at the official Age of Conan site.

Source: Age of Conan

Saturday - August 05, 2006

Age of Conan: Dev Journal @ Official Site

by Inauro, 06:36
Funcom's Ole Herbj√łrnsen, Lead Designer on Age of Conan, takes us behind the scenes in a new developer journal/article entitled "What is a game designer?"
A game designer is actually a very generic term, especially so in MMO-terms owing to the fact that the teams are usually quite large. For any one person it is a difficult task to know everything about every single system and technology we are using. There are so many very different skill set involved that we actually have several very different types of game designer - our own form of classes if you will!

It's quite cool to get the opportunity to tell you a bit about their feats, pets, skills and special combos, so I hope you enjoy this little insight into what goes on here behind the scenes.

I thought it would be fun to start out with a theme of sorts, and explain the various types of designers that work together to bring a monster from concept to final implementation in the game.This is the realm of the npc designer, bcc designer and script designer...

Source: Age of Conan

Saturday - July 29, 2006

Age of Conan: Siege & Massive PvP @ Official Site

by Inauro, 00:18
Battlekeeps, border kingdoms, siege weapons. It's all part of the latest gameplay preview at the official Age of Conan site. Head on over and check out the newly revealed details of Siege and Massive PvP.
Destruction and betrayal brought about by the thirst for power is the nectar of Hyboria - the one constant in the world of King Conan. Death reaps a rich harvest in the battles for power between rival warlords, tribal chiefs and would be pretenders to the throne of Aquillonia.

As king, Conan has opened up the Border Kingdoms for conquest. The constant strife from other nations in the area has let him grant prerogatives to whoever holds the area! The border kingdom will once and forever be part of the great Aquillonian Empire! As befits the legend of the king himself only those with the strength of will and sheer ferocity for hard fought combat will emerge victorious in these most challenging of environments!

Bloody and hard fought, these battles will be just as integral to the life of guilds that enjoy PVP in Age of Conan. Entire guilds will lay their reputations and honor (or dishonor in some cases!) on the line to hold the coveted battlekeeps!
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Source: Age of Conan

Wednesday - July 26, 2006

Age of Conan: Preview @ Gaming Horizon

by Inauro, 22:55
Gaming Horizon previews Funcom's upcoming Age of Conan.
Age of Conan, Funcom's second foray into the MMO market, will trade on the world's most recognizable fantasy hero while thrusting its players into a dark, savage and deadly world of demonology, wanton cruelty and human sacrifice. Going to retail with a Mature rating from the ESRB, a potentially risky move for a subscription-based game, will ensure that players will be able to revel in the gritty (un)reality of the Conan universe - complete with in-game guttings and beheadings. However, that's only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, in this highly anticipated game.
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Source: Gaming Horizon

Monday - July 24, 2006

Age of Conan: March - May 2007 Release

by Inauro, 22:55
Funcom has announced a co-publishing agreement with SCi-Eidos