Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer Review
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
It’s been a while since I’ve heard of any major update from Funcom and Age of Conan so I was surprised to hear that the game finally released its first expansion pack, Rise of the Godslayer. This update piqued my interest so I dredged up my old account and went back into AoC.
Rise of the Godslayer opens up the eastern country of Khitai, the Hyborian age’s version of the Far East. Before I jumped into the game I read a little about the lore behind Khitai and, from what I read, I expected Khitai to give off an eastern medieval feel and I wasn’t disappointed. Upon arrival at Khitai I saw a lot of familiar eastern architectural designs that are really close to historical designs. Being an Asian myself I liked how Funcom designed the update to really appeal to eastern players.
Khitai is supposed to be a haven for players of levels 20-40. So players who reached 80 are kind of left out in terms of the quests in Rise of the Godslayer. The expansion does provide a few game system updates that would in fact serve for level 80 players, but I would elaborate on them later on.
Two new mounts were included in the expansion which are totally different from the others you can acquire in the game. The biggest difference is that these mounts can either be turned into damage dealing pets or you can use them as your mount.
Through a series of quests, you are given a wolf or a tiger cub and train them from pup into either a full grown attack companion or an alternate steed for your character. A series of quests will allow your chosen cub to grow and eventually be useful to you.
These two new mounts are in fact intimately tied to another expansion update which will eventually shape how you play AoC, the faction system.
To acquire the two pets, you need to swear allegiance to either the wolf pack or the Tamarin tigers to get hold of the cub. Actually, there are more factions included in the game aside from the two I mentioned. Each faction you will see in Khitai has its own back-story and its own series of quests where players can accomplish to gain honor and fame within its ranks.
The factions you get to see in the game are in fact tied deeply into the lore behind Age of Conan. I liked how Funcom made each faction possess a distinct character unique in itself that makes the expansion more than just a system update but also a content filled add-on to the Conan lore.
Gameplay wise, choosing a faction will make your character an enemy to some and a friend to others. Factions are also handing out faction specific tier armors from the each faction vendor representative. However you can only have access to these armors when you are high enough in the faction’s ranks.
The Alternate Advancement System
While the game’s content may be targeting the mid-level characters of AoC, there’s an added Alternate Advancement System that’s suited for players from level 20-80. This is a new way of progressing through the game by earning new combos, abilities, spells and passive increases.
Without going into details (because I truly believe discovering something is half the fun) the alternate advancement system provides veterans with a whole new tree to unlock while newbies are given a lot more things to handle with the addition of more skills they can use in the game.
There are two ways for players to reach Khitai, there’s the usual way of paying through the fare and the other more scenic route. You can be hired as a guard for the caravan headed to Khitai, and along the way you may experience random encounters. The encounters you experience vary from collecting supplies for the ship to taking down a kraken that attacks your ship.
The random encounters add color to your trip to Khitai. This keeps things upbeat and exciting especially for players who are more into the whole Conan experience rather than just playing.
As I traveled the new world I encountered a lot of players that quit the game for as long as a year to return to Conan just because of this expansion. I personally liked the expansion because it added more than just a new area for players to venture into, it gave the game more depth. The lands of Khitai are so vast that players really have a lot of area to travel just to enjoy it fully. The small things such as the half-naked dancing women who’ll sacrifice themselves for their religion to how the eastern armor designs and even the food are all based on actual eastern products gives Khitai more color than you would expect from it.
However, there are still problems facing Age of Conan and some are as old as the game itself. One big example is the lag issue in AoC. Though I personally haven’t experienced lag while traveling in other lands it was definitely felt upon arrival to Khitai. There are some players who were complaining about the lack of quests for a level 36 character for a mid level update, although they still agree that this is an update long overdue.
Rise of the Godslayer actually gave Age of Conan the second wind it needs as competition in the MMORPG race is really getting tougher. Though high level characters are left hanging in terms of content, there are still enough content in the mid levels for players to go around. The one thing that bothered me is the amount of content the game still needs to put into servers. This means the servers needs to go down more than usual because there are still kinks in the game but I personally think that by the time servers are stable, players will definitely enjoy this expansion.