Getting Mature Again

Age of Conan: Jungle PathwayAdmit it, we all thought the writing was well and truly on the wall for Age of Conan. Its bug-ridden launch and subsequent bad press seemed to ensure that it was headed for the same untimely fate as the Dodo. Even the sales assistant in GAME looked at me dubiously when I brought the box to the counter late last year and hesitated before gingerly asking me why I even wanted to buy such a ‘dead’ game. But with a stubborness matched only by the mighty Conan himself, the AoC Development Team have refused to go down without a fight and I think it’s only fair to give their valiant efforts another chance.

For me, that chance amounts to a 3 month re-subscription.

AoC was always a pretty game. The lush and vibrant jungle setting of the starter area was, and still is, a real optical treat and definitely sets a new standard in MMO gameworld content. The interface is tidy and unobtrusive and exerts a feeling of simplicity, yet quiet confidence. Graphically, everything has a genuinely polished and finished feel to it. The machine I run it on is by no means a slouch, but it is a couple of years old now and CPU architecture and speeds have obviously improved. However, driven by an XFX 9800GTX, AoC runs nice and smoothly in the PvE areas at around 40fps with almost every slider set to maximum and this gives a nice gaming experience. As I’m also sticking with XP for the foreseeable future, this is without any DirectX 10 enhancements which are said to improve the game’s visuals even further.

Alas, sadly I cannot really comment on whether the recent fifth major update has improved AoC to be the MMO it always should have been because my character had only ever reached Level 21 and is still only just beyond the confines of the beginner stages of the game. But Funcom obviously feel confident enough that the developers’ hard work has transformed the game, so much so, that they are currently heavily inviting previous subscribers and players to rediscover Hyboria via a free, 14 day no obligation re-evaluation offer.

Two weeks is not really enough time for me to make an informed decision on whether AoC is now a viable candidate for THE MMO to be playing, but what I will say is that if you’ve played Age of Conan before, or have never experienced the mystical and enchanting realms of Hyboria, give the new (and hopefully improved) version a chance – you never know, you might like it!

5 Comments

  • If I had the time I would probably try the trial but for now I will have to wait for your future AoC posts. :)

    Look forward to reading them.

  • This short remembrance of AoC almost piques my curiosity to try it again. Still having too much fun with dfo though.

  • I think I got to around level 30 in the beta and the one thing that really bothered me about AoC was that it never felt like a real world you were playing in. All the different areas are accessed via fast travel from various hubs and you get no sense of travelling or how all the areas fit together (especially as they are all different in look and feel, e.g. the jungle area, the desert area, etc.).

    It's what sucked me in to LotRO the most – that there's a natural progression between the areas. And you can travel from Thorin's Hall to Lorien with less than a handful of very quick loading screens along the way.

  • At least they're trying to exert such effort to regain our support and I think it isn't bad at all. But what's bothering me now is whether to re-subscribe with AOC or wait for the Aion which I think is a much better MMORPG, it's actually produced by NCSoft known for Lineage and Lineage 2.

  • Well. I loved AOC. Had 2 lvl 80 toons on 2 accounts, and even though the sieging was really buggy at the time I left, I only left because my guild moved. I would have stayed and continued to really enjoy its game play. And now that it has been updated many times I will definately give it another go. Right now in fact.

    As for Aion – I played it one week, was utterly bored with it and didnt enjoy it one bit. It was a mad rush to level up, so much so I would be constantly lost because I was only focused on the icon for where the next quest was, and not in taking in the surroundings. The only cool bit was the wings and flying, but even that wasnt a patch on the dragon flight of Dark and Light. The horrendous queues to get in game (4 hrs every day) quickly lead me to quit that game, and MMO's in total for several months. But as I troll the MMO's sites in search of a new MMO – I see people raving about AOC once more. So in the words of Arnie 'I'll be back'

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