Age of Conan – Early Impressions

I got my hands on a copy of Age of Conan a lot earlier than I had planned on buying my own, so I went ahead and installed it. The following are my first impressions from playing through the very first area on my way towards the town of Tortage. You’ll have to excuse the scattershot topic jumping.

It seems all the male faces are portraying the “less than a full deck” look. I had to play a female instead because of that. Really, are nipples *that* important to the game? One of the first cut scenes used a generic character to represent mine, that bothered me. Can we get some *more* splash screens to click past during log in? Where is the log out option so I can switch characters? I don’t want to exit the game and then log in again. I found a helmet and put it on, did not like it so I chose the “don’t show helmet” option and it took off my hair too (update: I’m told this bug was actually the result of changing into and out of the demon form – I did both around the same time). I crashed at log out most of the time and once when I tried to get a screenshot. I don’t really have any opinions on the user interface. It didn’t get in the way of me doing what I needed to do, so I guess that is good enough for now.

The scenery is lush and amazing (keep in mind this was just in the single player area so far). The male characters run funny. I had a few of those bloody critical kill blows but the only way I could tell is because blood splashed on my screen. My character blocked the view of the big moves. Combat is fun so far, a little different – but nothing amazing about it. It makes you pay more attention, which is good. The world (again, intro solo area impressions only) makes me feel walled in, restricted to certain areas. Does not feel like a seamless world, which is an important thing for the explorer in me. The hints might be helpful but I went out of my way to get them off the screen and did not read them.

Class choices seem very interesting. I tried a Herald of Xotli and a Ranger. The Herald of Xotli could turn into a demon, which is always a cool thing. When I was the Ranger I needed to switch from bow to sword frequently. The key to do that is “Shift + R”. G15 keyboard to the rescue. The sound your character makes when you find something is silly. “Aha!”. I found a broken bottle on the beach, picked it up, and used it as a weapon – cool. I seemed to level up really fast.

It looks like the launch was quite solid and I’m impressed. If you like Conan, this appears to be a big win. There is a lot more to the game I’d like to discover and so I will continue to play it as my second game for now. Congratulations to Funcom for fixing the multitudes of problems I was hearing about from beta testers. I will post more as I get time to play.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

11 thoughts on “Age of Conan – Early Impressions”

  1. That looks like a pretty observant first impression. For sure there are those annoyances that you mentioned. The whole UI isn’t as good as it could or should be, I’ve actually done some similar impressions on my blog, but you hit on some things I hadn’t mentioned yet.

    The game is more fun than I thought it would be but there are things that need work.

  2. Heh… did you choose “helmet hair” for your character, perhaps? That is too funny.

    I look forward to reading more as you get deeper into the game. I’m toying with the idea of giving it a try.

  3. @Angstrom: They way I have been playing so far, there is 3 directional attack buttons (left middle right) on keys 1, 2 and 3. That is your normal attacks. Seems to swing every time I press a key almost, but there is no auto-attack that I am aware of. The direction you want to attack from is keyed off a graphic display on the mob you are fighting which shows the direction they are shielding. You attack from an unshielded direction and they do change them around during the battle. Then on the rest of the number keys you will have special attacks to use. There is some sort of combo feature that pops onto the screen – or perhaps it is just a attack queue feature – not sure I have to spend some time playing around with it.

    One thing is for sure, you can use terrain as an advantage. You will also move around during the fight. Root and back up – change positions, etc. Don’t stand in one place and swing your sword.

    There is also some sort of double-tap key movement that I have not come to grips with understanding all the aspects of it. Like if you double-tap forward you get a bonus. Lots of little tricks in the game like that.

  4. Actually, the double-tap lets you hop to one side or the other, or forward or back. It’s helpful if you are getting flanked (I think you take more damage if flanked, for sure you want all your enemies in front of you as your melee damage hits everyone in that cone) or if you need to get a spell off and don’t want to be interrupted.

  5. This is what I read about double-tapping from “If in melee, double tap forward and you’ll get a short ‘momentum’ buff that increases your next attack to do its damage/effect + stun. Double tapping left, right, or backwards gives you a short evasion buff that increases your defense. Keep in mind that these double taps use up stamina.”

  6. Despite the minor annoyances…the game just feels so much more fun than previous MMO’s…
    It is making it difficult to think of going back to my Hit number key, and watch combat gameplay from my other MMO..
    And visually, the game is a step way above all other games, as well as character models from any other game…

    As to annoyances…mine is the chat system (the worst so far) and the guild system seems lacking…
    But…these are minor annoyances that take nothing from the sheer pleasure of doing my bloody fatalities…(ps: the best way to get a fatality is learning how much damage your skills are doing…then to time a specific skill that will kill that mob…then you activate your fatality…takes some work..)

  7. Well, at the very least you’ll have a few new title images to put into the random pool at the top of the page.

    Very pretty images too…

  8. Apparently the melee classes get the combo attacks sooner than say caster types. But at level 50 casters can spellweave which from what I heard is pretty sweet, it doubles the output of certain spells.

    I have encountered several head glitches that are much similar. When I was in the water swimming, my hair would disappear as I popped in and out of the water. I’ve also put on a cloth helm and it looks like I’ve got a giant cat with a huge tail under it. Apparently it turned my normal hair, which is red, to white and gave me a large pony tail out the back. But still not a huge issue.

  9. Yeah I figured out the combos last night while I tried out a melee class. Not totally sure what each combo does as combat moves so fast, but at least I know I’m doing them right!

    Now to find a decent guild…

  10. Please don’t associate spellweaving with melee combos. They are not the same. Spellweaving is an incredibly long casting process that acts nothing like melee combos. Calling them spell combos is a nice summary, but really leads to some misconceptions.

    Anyways, I’ve rerolled twice in this game so far. Started out as a level 18 Demonologist and started fealing the typical boredom of a ranged DPSer (granted, their feats seemed to really flush the class out, but I didn’t stick around). Then I rolled Tempest of Set, which I was originally going to play, and then I started fealing like a healbot that wasn’t very powerful in PvP (PvP being the main reason I’m playing the game)…which I have previously experienced on my holy Pally in WoW. I want to roll a class that can kill stuff, especially in a Conan MMO. So now I’m a level 28 Barbarian. I can’t believe it, I actually rolled an overplayed rogue class and am having a blast.

    One thing I’ve really noticed, especially after looking at an online combo/spell list for each level of the game, is that you really learn your bread and butter combos/spells early on in the game. You don’t get that many new abilities as you level, just upgraded versions, especially for a melee character. What I have noticed is that feat trees seem to play a much larger roll in what abilities you have, as opposed to something like WoW where every class almost has every skill and talents just augment those skills, making frostbolt your primary nuke rather than fireball, or whatever. So in essence, I’m learning brand new skills from my feats, not from leveling up.

    One last thing I’ll note, which is part of the reason I packed up my ToS, is that healing is a real chore in PvP. It’s mostly AoE type healing that requires positioning and often close ranges. Close range and being a squishy are just two things that don’t go together well, especially when the PoM and ToS are technically ranged nuker classes to begin with. PvP healing just feels odd.

    Oh, and I lied, this is the last thing I wanted to note. While they released a smooth launch and a game that works pretty well without any giant gamebreaking bugs (except maybe the one people were exploiting to already hit level 80 that I’ve heard about), there are A LOT, and I mean A LOT, of things that don’t seem to be “working as intended.” Most noticeably being the skills that you allocate points to. Most people are baffled at how any of them work and some don’t seem to do anything for putting hundreds of points into them. Feats would be runner up on the list of things not working. It seems like there are numerous feats for each class that don’t work or cause buggy issues.

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