Age of Conan ReviewAge of Conan Review
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Age of Conan Review

Age of Conan MMO Review

Age of Conan had one of the most notorious MMORPG launches in the history of the genre. After being released by Funcom in May of 2008 as a subscription based MMO, things went downhill very quickly. Bugs, missing zones, overall performance issues, and no end game content quickly drew the ire of gamers.

Over the years a lot has changed in the land of Hyboria though and after a free to play conversion (followed up later in 2012 with a full free to play model revamp) the game has a surprising amount of features that should be revisited by old Conan fans or gamers looking for something a bit different.

Sights and Sounds

Even comparing Age of Conan to some more recently released MMORPGs, the graphics and sound design in Age of Conan is very well done. When the game originally released the graphics caused a lot of strain on machines that met the actual specs released by Funcom. While the strain may have subsided as technology has advanced, Funcom continues to deliver an impressive visual design that is sure to cause players to find themselves just exploring for long periods of time. If you appreciate sound design, Age of Conan has some of the best musical hands down…at times. It isn’t all top notch but you’ll certainly find yourself a few favorite tunes while playing.

Gameplay

Once downloaded, players will have the ability to create a character by choosing one of four classes (now all available to free to play players that purchased the latest expansion, 3 classes if you haven’t) and then choose from 12 different classes. Some classes are restricted from certain race combinations. This forms the basis for your character but the vast array of skill customization on your way to level 80 ensures you’ll find a niche for yourself no matter what your favored play style may be.

Age of Conan features a lot of familiar MMO mechanics but was one of the first MMORPGs (not THE first obviously) to adopt a more action oriented combat. While it may not be “action based” as we know it today, Age of Conan’s core combat allows players to strike from different angles depending on how the target is defending themselves. This combat allows you to target 3 different parts of your enemy’s body. Admittedly the combat scheme does take a little bit to get used to and certainly carters a bit more towards the “skill” side of play but gear and stats do enter the combat equation from a secondary point of view.

PvE

The PvE in Age of Conan is a pretty standard formula. Questing, dungeons, and raids are available for the leveling process. There is a bit of a caveat though on the word “standard” here. Quests can be tackled from a solo play perspective or a multiplayer perspective.

While initially this sounds intriguing, what it really boils down to is that multi-player quests usually are of the “kill” or “collect” variety but require much higher numbers to complete. Instead of “Kill 12 Rats”, multiplayer quests are “Kill 50 Rats”. This can lead to the game feeling extremely slow and “grindy” if you don’t have a few in game friends to pass the time with you.

One thing that bears mentioning here though is the game’s community. Simply, Age of Conan has one of the most helpful communities in the genre. While it may not be as active as other MMOS, most players seem willing to jump in and give you advice or help you with that quest, all you have to do is ask.

PvP

If you roll on a PvP server, be advised, the game is open PvP and all players fend for themselves.

The main PvP draw in Age of Conan is the siege strike system. Free to play players cannot take advantage of this system. Guilds are able to build cities together and then wage war against other guilds in a “Conquer or Defend” type PvP mode.

Odds and Ends

Age of Conan has a few items you should know about before you jump in just so they don’t take you by surprise.

First, the game is more on the “mature” side. Age of Conan does feature adult language, blood and gore (include fatality type finishing moves), and nudity. There is no shortage of players running around town topless and ready to give your character a hug.

Second, after level 10, if you die you are ported to the nearest spawn point and given a debuff until you make it back to the tombstone at your death spot. This debuff can stack up to three times and will force you to have to collect all of your tombstones. PvP kills do NOT cause this debuff though.

Finally, Age of Conan features a very nice vanity gear system that other games should adopt. You have two gear sets on your character. The first is for your stat based gear and the second is for your appearance. If you get a chest piece that has higher stats but you like the look of your previous chest pice, feel free to take the weaker chest piece and add it to your vanity set. You lose the stats in favor of the higher stat chest piece, but you retain the look you liked from your previous piece.

Currency and the Cash Shop

Age of Conan used to fall into a more “freemium” payment model but Funcom elected to change a great deal about the free to play model late in 2012 while getting ready for their “Dragon Spine” update. Currently, free players now have access to all 4 races (provided they have at least purchased the most recent expansion, otherwise free players get 3 races to choose from), almost all PvE dungeons, and have an increased gold cap which was a necessity for the coming crafting system changes.

Gamers that still wish to pay a subscription are given a few perks though including access to all raids, siege battles, increased bag space, and alternate advancement and offline leveling.

Expansion packs still require a purchase to gain access. Gear with stats is also available in the cash shop and while comparable gear is certainly available in game, new players should make sure to examine this feature prior to playing.

Recommended Age of Conan System Requirements:

OS: Windows Vista/XP

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz (E6600) or better

Memory: 2GB or more

Video: NVIDIA GeForce 7950GX2 or better

Sound: Enhanced for: DirectX 10, 64-bit processors, multi-core

Broadband Internet Connection Required

Minimum Age of Conan System Requirements:

OS: Windows Vista/XP

Processor: 3GHz Pentium IV

Memory: 2GB RAM

Video: Shader Model 2.0 and 128MB RAM: NVIDIA GeForce 5800 or ATI 9800

Sound: Enhanced for: DirectX 10, 64-bit processors, multi-core

Broadband Internet Connection Required

Publisher: Funcom

Playerbase: Low

Graphics: Medium

Type: Fantasy MMORPG

EXP Rate: Can Be Slow

PvP: Yes

Filesize: ~25 GB