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May 2008 18

By Crom, it's Age of Conan!

Games Review

It's interesting.. I pride myself on beta testing just about every MMO that has ever been.. So I was a little sad when for whatever reason, the gods decided to not let me into the Age of Conan beta.  Eh, these things happen, however this meant I was pretty much slobbering at the bit waiting for access to the game. (I was one of the few that got into the paid early access for the game however, so that's close enough for me. )

Firstly let me say, funcom has done a wonderful job capturing and portraying the world of Conan.. I'm having a lot of fun.

However, I was initially worried.   I beta tested and played Anarchy Online and by all accounts it's initial release was a nightmare. It was truly, truly bad.  Funcom, and all other game companies for that matter, learned that day that to release a broken game dooms the game forever.  I had assumed that funcom learned its lesson and would release a stable game, in fact I had visions of board meetings in which the members all chanted, "please not like AO"... So you can imagine my shock when at 12pm my time, when the doors were to open.. Nothing happened.

I refreshed the game a couple times and found out that it got pushed back to 3pm.  Fine fine.. understandable.. these things are complex..  So I played some Call of Duty 4 for a couple hours and dreamed of headchopping..   3pm came along and...   Nothing.  Plus, now the funcom forums have crashed due to a database error..

"Oh god.." I cried, "funcom is doing it again! Its Anarchy Online all over.. "

Now before you get disappointed, at 3:30pm the servers came online and I played for 12 hours straight.. but I get ahead of myself..

At this point the forums are coming up and down and having all manner of issues.  People are yammering away about lawsuits and making immature pointless complains.. (Seriously folks.. build a bridge and get over it.. )  Constant cries about how funcom has screwed the pooch!  About how players are going to sue, and about boycotting them, how this is the worse release ever (I WAY disagree)..etc.  (it was really lame.. I hope funcom knows that the vocal and annoying minority are just a bunch of douche bags that don't represent the rest of us.)

The game isn't actually to be released until the 20th.. so at this point the game isn't much more than a paid beta..  I'm not sure what people were/are complaining about.

Once the game did finally go live for those of us in the Early Access program at around 3:30 I jumped in and made 4 characters to get my commonly used names.  I then played the game as my ranger for the next 12 hours!

Seriously.. 12 hours.. straight..   I got my character to level 17, and at around 4 am I went to bed..

I had my graphics set to max and played without a hiccup or a glitch until around 6 hours in when my frame rate went into the toilet.   I relogged, and went right back at it. So they have a very minor memory leak most likely.. but hell if thats the worst of it.. YAY US!

Seriously, what a fantastic game.  Funcom has done a marvelous job here folks.  Those who are saying this release was a bad one.. A) You're retarded -- the game isn't out yet.  That happens on the 20th in the US and the 23rd in Europe (Sucks.. sorry about that guys)..  B) this has been the cleanest deployment I've ever seen and I have played a lot of games of this nature.

I think funcom has done a very good job.  Now I'll admit there is still ample time for them to screw it up between now and release, but so far so good.

Major game issues:

  • In the 14 or so hours total that I have played the game at this point, I have only had one blue screen of death.  The game was running smoothly then the sound locks up, BSoD and auto-reboot.  No idea why it happened.  shrug  Could have been anything, so I am not even sure if it was the game.  It could have just as easily been the Microsoft auto updater which has caused me issues before and was demanding I install something upon reboot.

Minor game issues:

  • After 8 hours of game play my frame rate tanked -- which of course just required me to re-log and all was well.  I class this as a minor issue because there was an easy fix.  Most likely it was a memory leak issue somewhere..
  • Climbing interface needs work -- you just kind of pop onto a ladder and then pop off of it.  Plus if you have multiple climbable surfaces near one another the game often gets confused as to which one you actually want to climb.
  • Mob AI is kinda weak -- when sneaking through the keep to steal the phoenix medallion often you must dispatch some troublesome guards.  Typically I wait for one to be alone, then kill him.  Wait for the next one to path along, then kill him.  Etc..  It amuses me that often one mob will path over the body of his fallen comrade without a care in the world.  I expect this behavour out of unintelligent mobs.. but not guards..
  • Grouping Colors -- by default player names are turned off..  To include those in your group!  I want to be able to see my group mates easily and can't do that in a pack of mobs.  Give us an option to show just our group mate names and make the icons for group members bigger on the mini map please.
  • First Person Shooting -- why does it take me from first person shooting to an over the shoulder view then back after combat?  this confuses me.. and frankly I hate it.
  • Range First/Third Person difference -- why does my bow have a different range depending on my view?  that's retarded.

Requests:

  • I want a way to set a view preset for each of my weapon sets.  You have two weapon sets that you can swap between, I want my view to be able to swap too!  First person for bows, third person for swords.  Should be simple.
  • My bows range should be the same no matter what view I'm in.  Its really lame that they are different.  Both third person and first person should work as first person currently does.  If I miss, then I miss.  Don't tell me I'm out of range though.. thats really dumb.

more as I think of them...

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