Jalum reviews Conan

No, you don’t know who Jalum is. He’s an old friend from Asheron’s Call, one of the big PvPers on Morningthaw from back in the day. He tried out the Age of Conan “beta after it has gone gold.” He was not pleased.

While I don’t think we’ve been Flagshipped, we’ve definitely been Vanguarded.

The very first thing is that you will need a Crysis capable system to play this game as you see it in the nice videos and screenshots. My friend has a Crysis capable system and he says the game is gorgeous. I don’t, and it looks like [oh yeah, there is some harsh language in his comments].

So there are level 20 guards in this city. You can attack them, and they will kill you. This is not necessarily a problem by itself. However, combine that with the fact that there are quests that spawn hostile NPCs in the city who attack you AND the fact that all melee attacks are little AoE attacks and we have a problem. … a drunk pirate jumps my friend, and in defending himself, he clips a wandering guard with one of his swings. After my friend rezzes, we head off to do our first quest together.

I trust his opinion on PvP games, but this one died for him long before PvP became an issue. You can check out the full thing here.

: Zubon

16 thoughts on “Jalum reviews Conan”

  1. Poor Jalum. I know we don’t all have the same tastes but it really sounds like he has been tainted at the first hurdle by a poor computer. I don’t see anyone complain that their Xbox won’t play Xbox 360 games, and this is no different. At some point you just have to upgrade to carry on; there is always a cut off at some point. 15-30min load times are a real indication of a slow processor – yes the load times take a while 2-3 mins on a dual core 3 year old AMD X2 at worst. 30min – my mobile phone could load AoC quicker. I think anything there after is viewed in such bitterness its an unfair view. A bat in a cave by a quarry, no biggie, you AOE a guard – well should have been looking who was around – you won’t do it twice. And if the black bar was the end of the world in gaming then he really is in trouble – especially if he can’t tell when a number increases from 5 to 6 or whatever it is when he levels – its really not that hard to miss.

    Don’t be put off by this review its one bad atm for 12 good. I can be sure also that if he tested on a machine less than 2 years old that was good in its day (the 7800Go was never good even when it came out) this would have beena very different review.

  2. I think the majority of bad reviews you’ll see for Conan are on older computers. Not that it’s their fault, as it’s all Funcom’s.

    My 9600GT runs the game just fine and I’m loving every second. No crashes, no lock ups, no game-breaking bugs… just normal gaming with server lag when the load’s heavy. The gameplay itself is fantastic.

    I just don’t get the hate…

  3. I have a 1 year old computer and I get 21 fps on medium, which is … acceptable. However when it was crowded I’d get down to 7 fps, which is not enough when it’s overcrowded with gankers (like at the spawn points..though they say spawn points will be little mini safe zones in release). So pvp day was frustrating, but I had a little fun ganging up on spawn point gankers with some other people.

    The cone attacks are hilarious though. On pvp day I was fighting wolves, and someone came up and attacked the wolves and killed me and said “sorry I was trying to help” ;). I’ve been killed by guards too when fighting the pirates in town. I think of those as “training issues”, however it might be easier if the cone was displayed on the ground in front of you.

  4. Well Funcom, thanks for actualy trying something different, but I don’t think it works for me…

    sigh*

    I guess I’ll try Spellborn (even though I know it’s not quality, it still sounds like fun).

  5. I haven’t played the game yet, but this jumped out at me:

    “We’re level 5, our prey is level 6-7, which isn’t too bad. Whats aggravating is that in the same vicinity of the a55h0l3s with stones that we need to kill are wandering level 12 panthers. We died a few times, and we were able to kill the panthers when we figured out a plan, but the whole experience was pretty vapid.”

    Why assume that an area you’re being sent into by a quest giver will be perfectly balanced to your level? Note the quest is not to kill the panthers, it’s to get the stones off the level 6-7 a55h0l3s.

    Should drops (cliffs and the likes, not loot) in the area be balanced to ensure they’re only tall enough to guarantee survival should you accidentally fall down? Perhaps aggro boundaries should be limited to ensure you can’t get swarmed, even if you run through the area mooning the mobs with your pants around your ankles?

    I shouldn’t credit AoC before having seen it for myself, but if there’s one thing I’ve seen from the developer’s design notes I’m looking forward to it would be a divergence from the WoW school of MMO design.

    Killing a monster *should* be a challenge. Close combat sword fighting in dark alleys *should* be confusing and chaotic. Resurrecting *should* be more painful than putting a band-aid on a paper cut.

    All these things *should* require a plan. Not mindless button mashing with absolute faith in the area designers’ balancing act.

  6. Hmm…reading these quotes almost makes me wonder if I should even bother reading the whole thing.

    -AoC’s low graphics, despite 2.0 shaders disabling casting animations for some reason, are pretty good for being low.

    -I never got attacked by a guard (I didn’t even think you could attack the guards), but the pirates are in a secluded area of the town where you a specifically told to go for a couple of quests. They don’t just randomly spawn willy nilly like he made it sound.

    -As for the panther complaint…the enemies required to kill for the gems are separated from the panthers (gem enemies are on the bach, panthers are in the forested area). So, yeah, don’t go near the panthers maybe?

    Sorry, from these quotes it doesn’t seem like a fair assessment to me, and certainly diverges heavily from my experience in open beta. I suppose I will read the whole thing to get a better gist of his arguments.

  7. I’ve played in the up-to-level-13 open beta and a little bit after they turned it 20+ and FFA PvP.

    The game worked fairly well after the PvP update performance-wise, whereas it was certainly staggering before that. And it looks very nice on medium settings.

    I agree with Lufia on pirates and panthers – you find them in different parts of the city and the isles, you can certainly avoid them. You just cannot walk around in the whole area assuming everything will be at the same level.
    And if you do the night time solo play, the mobs will scale with your level. So it will be different from the corresponding day-time mobs.

  8. I have a fairly old machine with a 6600GT and am playing the beta. It’s no “Oblivion”, but it doesn’t look TOO bad, and it runs really well.

    As far as the difficulty is concerned, if I run around like a jerk waving waving my wand of many-blinky-lights and uber death at some panthers, I expect to have my ass handed to me. …now should that wand happen to be just a plain old stick, why am I poking panthers with it? Get the gems and run you fool! :)

    Same goes with the guards, I don’t know about you, but I still have the plain old stick (boat oar or something), and whacking the guards upside the head does tend to piss them off, and as a result, they do tend to smite me. Don’t do it man.

  9. I’d imagine the first comments by Artemis-X- hit the nail on the head–your friend’s system is generationally older than what he believes it to be, and his technical problems aren’t allowing him to see past them to the phenomenal game itself.

    This game really is a blast… and you’ll keep hearing that from many more people.

  10. Ethically, review a beta based upon game mechanics, not performance. There’s plenty of time to review performance the day the game is out.

    There have been so many games where the beta performs wildly different than release, no matter how close or “gold” the game has gone. From most accounts, it’s already improved since this review was written 10 days ago.

    Developers always deserve the benefit of the doubt unless there’s a bunch of other obvious problems going on at the company, etc.. This so clearly isn’t the fiasco of Vanguard, which was a disaster in so many more ways than just performance.

    That said, Funcom does list fairly high “recommended” system requirements. I’d say they’re going for a niche market for sure. I’ll happily play it, as I’m sure plenty of others will. Nvidia has certainly sold a great deal of 8800GT cards, check Steam’s survey and you’ll see it’s the most common chipset now.

  11. Not to mention the 9600GT is uber cheap and runs just as well (if you get the superclocked version from EVGA). Sure they won’t hit WoW sub numbers, but Funcom knows that and never aimed for it.

    This game will be their first mainstream hit, bugs or not, because it’s ACTUALLY fun to play for those who can run it.

  12. I have the “recommended” system as noted in the specs for the game (and with Vista to boot)…and as anyone should know if you use minimum requirements on ANY game, you are going to have to turn something down..
    Anyways…recommended system…the game ran 40-60FPS on high at 1440×900 on a 56″ HDiLA TV…
    Zero crashes, but as people were around, some minor hitching and some lows to …GASP…30FPS..(but way better than LOTRO which everyone touts as the “stable” king)…and the gameplay was fun, refreshing, and really works (if you FOCUS, and learn how to do it…)…when I could control when my fatalities would happen, I knew I had it down pat!

    The fact I keep seeing people say a “2nd Vanguard” etc is so far from the truth, it is pitiful what people will do to make a game look worse than it is…the doom and gloom was pretty sad..
    The game ran flawlessly on 3 systems I have in house…3 different types of systems…all at “recommended” or higher spec…
    This game is on my buy list for sure..

    PS: As an added note..I also base gaming decisions on what my wife thinks of games…and a lot of people think AoC is geared towards males…so, when she played and got her first fatality within 5 minutes…she saw the blood spatter the screen…then said to me “Oh my…that was…satisfying!”…I knew AoC was going to be great!

  13. The amount of bad information in circulation about AoC is very high. Jalum’s review (which I have yet to see – the link is dead for me) would appear to fit into that category of bad information. This is less Jalum’s fault than it is Funcom’s – it’s their responsibility to get up-to-date information out to the public, and at this they have failed pretty miserably throughout the prelaunch countdown.

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