Age of Conan Review: Fanservice to the Extreme!


By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), Onrpg writer

Conan the Barbarian has been a long surviving character in our history, it has become a cartoon hero, a movie star even an action figure, now with the help of Funcom, creators of the critically-acclaimed MMO, Anarchy Online, Conan’s world of Hyboria has evolved into an MMO.

To Hyboria or bust

Your story in Age of Conan starts with your ship crashing into an unknown island. You and your slave master are the only two remaining of the boat you are aboard on and from here you are then slowly swept into this dark and chaotic world. Character creation in Age of Conan is very detailed and intricate. Besides the usual choose of hair styles, skin and whatnot you can further customize your character by going into the details of the looks. You can change

Character Customization in Age of Conan

Besides being able to customize how your character looks, you are obliged to decide what culture your character belongs to. In Hyboria there are three major cultures which are namely the Aquilorian, the Cimmerian and the Stygian. Each culture has its own story that intertwines with the whole Age of Conan storyline.

The game has a unique class system where you get to choose from four general job class types which are namely the Soldier, Priest, Rogue and Mage. From there you can then choose from one of the three available options for your character.

There are limitations in the job class selection in Age of Conan, there are cultures where certain job classes are not enabled. One example would be that Cimmerian’s can’t become a mage of any of the three because the Cimmerian’s do not like magic.

Combat System and Skills

The combat system is one of the things that set Age of Conan apart from the rest of the big wig P2P MMOs out in the market today. The game uses a different approach in combat by making you decide where to attack. You initially get to choose from three general directions to where you can attack and as you progress through the game.

Also, Age of Conan utilizes in its combat system combos. As you successfully do a series of attacks your character then gets to execute a brutal fatality move that kills your enemy instantly. However, you have to be nimble with your fingers here or you won’t be able to execute the finisher.

Skill allocation in Age of Conan meanwhile is different compared to other MMOs, you are given attribute points per level to allocate on certain skills and abilities your character has. However, unlike in other MMOs where it’s via stat points, here your ability has a maximum amount to put into and as you put more attribute points your character becomes more proficient in that said skill or ability. One example is adding more points to your running or climbing ability makes you a faster runner or climber.

Features

Age of Conan has a lot of features that makes the game top notch. Besides the combat system, the game also lets you create a city of your own. However only guilds can create a city of their own, as long as your guild is earning well and that your members are active your city will flourish.

Tradeskills are also part of the game. Tradeskills in Age of Conan enables players to earn gold besides the usual PvE. Mounts are also found in the game and you can even attack while mounted on them.

When it comes to Pvp in Age of Conan, the siege system would be the feature you would probably enjoy. In the battle siege system, your guild can participate in taking over or defending cities.

Conclusion

Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures is one of those games which makes you feel like that you are swept into a someplace that is out of this world. With the game’s rich history, which is taken from one of the longest surviving characters in a fantasy story, it wouldn’t be a surprise that you’d feel that “this is no longer Oz anymore”.

The game sets the tone of the dark world of Hyboria wonderfully and there is no doubt that this is may be what Robert E. Howard’s world would have looked like if you consider it outside of what he has written.

Detail in Age of Conan

However, with such an extravagant display of a lush and dark world comes with a price as a game. In an industry where your game needs to not only look good but deliver as well, it seems that Age of Conan fails to deliver as an MMO in stability.

Age of Conan burden’s your desktop with its heavy graphics that sometimes it freezes the game. At first thought it may be really not that problematic but you haven’t experienced fighting with 3 enemies then your game freezes for about ten seconds, insta-death and of irritation don’t you agree?

Next problem would be is that the game takes too long to load especially if you just started out. I practically took a nap first before I finally got to create my character, that’s after the third time I tried creating a character without forcing the game to close, thinking that the game crashed on me.

Still, with the initial frustrations the game gave me I can really say that the game did some things right. The character creation is superb. You can really be picky on how your character looks like right to the tiniest detail.

The job class too is something that brings that comfy feeling of something new to the genre, there is no “super culture” in Age of Conan that has can become every job class that is available, though I really cannot remove the idea that maybe this is brought by the history of the game rather than the game itself.

The combat system on the other hand is the game’s strength and weakness. How so? Well I must say that Funcom did a swell job with the in-game combat system because it really makes you feel like you are a swashbuckling hero or villain, however, looking at the game in the long run it becomes tedious and cumbersome. As soon as the novelty of the combat system disappears, you are going to start wishing that they should not have included that into the game.

Overall, Age of Conan is a game that has a lot of things done right, however, the game has a lot of things wrong too, the thing is, most of the things wrong in Age of Conan are the things that make a game a great MMO. The game’s fanservice may not be enough to cover the problems the game has.

Pros:
– The combat system is a refreshing change from the point and click gameplay
– The environment is beautifully done and really completes the AOC feel
– Unique skill allocation system is a change from the usual skill system found on MMOs

Cons:
– The combat system becomes tedious in the long run.
– The game freezes at the most inconvenient time
– Long loading periods.

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