Age of Conan: Update Preview

The next game update is now progressing very nicely on the test server and we hope to have it ready for the live servers over the next couple of weeks. As anyone who has read the test server update notes or visited the test server will be aware the amount of changes and new content coming with this update is substantial. The next update will introduce many new adjustments and additions so today we wanted to give you all an idea of what to expect from this update.

PVP Consequence System – The Notoriety System

The next game update brings with it a major new game-play feature – a new consequence system for PVP. Off the back of the PVP leveling system introduced in the last update, this new system aims to bring even deeper meaning to PVP and introduce real consequences for your actions. Players will be now run the risk of becoming a criminal or even a murderer depending on their actions in PVP.

If you take part in anti-social actions in PVP, picking on weaker foes and such you will find yourself accruing ‘murder points’ that will eventually mean the attitudes of NPCs in the world will change towards you! Murderers will be outcast from society and will have to depend on new outlaw camps which can be found at remote locations in various different playfields. You will still have access to vendors and travel through these camps, but that will now come at a cost! A consequence for being a dangerous individual!

It will be possible for those evil doers to redeem themselves however. Murderers can try to solve specific quests to lower their murder points to one day receive amnesty and loose the status of a murderer. Until that time other players can hunt down and kill murderers to punish them for their crimes. We think this system will introduce a great new dynamic to PVP game-play. Do you dare to try and live a life outside of the laws of the land? Do you have what it takes to be infamous, or indeed become famous for hunting down these most treacherous of player targets!

Changes to Trade-skills

Brand new types of armor and weapons will be introduced with the next update. There are so called ‘Base’, ‘Culture’ and ‘City’ armors and weapons recipes which give weapon-smiths and armor-smiths many new pieces to craft. The recipes for these new items also include new resources that Alchemists, Skinners, Weavers and Woodcutters will have to provide so working together with other player crafters and gatherers is encouraged and even necessary.

Listening to player feedback made it clear to us that especially the Alchemist profession had to get an overhaul in terms of the too high number of available alchemy recipes and needed resources to craft these sorts of items. With this update the number of alchemy resources has been reduced by about two thirds and existing recipes have been adjusted accordingly. This will make crafting for alchemists much more enjoyable and allows this profession to focus on crafting specific items and potions as an unnecessary high number of different recipes and resources made it hard to actually find what was needed.

In addition all other trade-skill resources have had their chance to drop increased which should result in players being able to gather the resources needed for recipes much easier.

Combat Updates

There are quite a few significant adjustments to the combat system for this update and we wanted to give a sneak preview of some of the significant changes here.

Firstly the way how crowd control and immunities work has been adjusted. This change now will cause players to break stuns, fears, roots, snares and charms when they have lost a certain amount of health. This should give players a fair chance to withstand these spells and fight back.

We are in this patch making some changes to combos which will affect melee and ranged classes. The background for this is split in two; first we saw a problem where the longest combos generated damage spikes that were too big. This is due to the combo length being the most important factor in defining the damage of the combo. Players had also taken to firing the first stages of their combos ‘into thin air’ to better land a big blow at the end. For the longest combos this strategy would deal a lot of damage – even though the majority of the strikes of the combo did not land on the target. This just didn’t feel quite right, and we felt that we needed to adjust the system to provide the right reward for executing your combos effectively, while also ensuring they aren’t cumbersome to pull in PVP.

This patch will fix these two issues by changing, across the board, lots of combos to have fewer steps. As they will take shorter time to execute, and then deal less damage, the DPS should not be significantly different. The damage you deal should merely be distributed more evenly throughout battle than before. The second change we are making is to introduce a penalty when you miss with your directional combo strikes. This penalty will increase with the number of missed strikes the following way: If you miss one strike, you get a 5% damage penalty. For each additional strike you miss, you will get another 10% penalty on the finishing blow. As an example, if you have a four-step combo (including your finishing blow) and you miss with two strikes, you will get a total of 15% damage penalty on your finishing blow.

We have also received feedback that too many combos were too long to perform, where players felt that hitting directional keys was dominating the game-play more than it should. Reducing the number of steps on the longer combos should hopefully rectify this feeling.

Obviously this move does affect the potential damage players do, and given that we also wanted to start addressing the effectiveness of healing in combat. We approached this by giving some classes utilities to make the healing of others less efficient. As a result, the Ranger, the Demonologist and the Herald of Xotli have all received healing debuff abilities. This is obviously an area that we will track closely and if additional changes are required it will be an area that continues to get tweaks and adjustments.

GUI Adjustments and Additions

Additional possibilities for raid leaders to add and move members from different raid teams and also added more versions to display more detailed information about the team members to show different bars as well as debuffs will be coming with the next udpate. And this is not all! Many other changes and improvements to the GUI are added and we also will continue to bring such adjustments in future updates.

Wrapping up!

In addition to the content highlighted above this update brings also brings many more changes on various other topics like for example, massive PVP sieges, mounts, quests, raid encounters, items and tradeposts –to mention just some of them.

A full list of updates will be made available when it is deployed to the live servers, but remember if you want to take a look for yourself right now, head over to the test server to experience the new content for yourself, or check on the latest opinions and feedback over on the test live forums!

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