Thursday, October 2, 2008

Age of Conan - When a company listens to it's players..

They finally get their heads out and realize that there is a game that people want to play.
Just they were mucking it up all along.

On Testlive (the patch test server) this week, Funcom applied Patch 3.0. This introduces the first of many fundamental changes to the game mechanics.
The first part addresses an issue that people have complained about.

More Content!

As well, a reason to do endgame encounters and raids has been introduced with crafting getting a boost out of the deal.

From the forums...
"A few months ago Twicer laid out an overview/roadmap for crafting, and since then the team has been hard at work to get players all that was promised.
Along those lines I wanted to let players know what's going on with tradeskills both in the up-coming update"

Some of the major changes guessed it...itemization and of course...ARMOR..


City Armors

City armors are crafted armors which use the current feat progression, and utilize guild city buildings. Over a hundred of these recipes ranging in level from 42 to 80 may be found as world or dungeon loot.

Base Armors

Base armors are wearable armors, which are also consumed in crafting. For these base armors we have created a small number of mid-level recipes – one per base class. Each recipe can produce multiple pieces of the given base armor set. These recipes drop off specific bosses in appropriate level dungeons. Base armors have no gem slots.

Culture Armors

Culture armors are high level lore-related armors, and we have given each class their own set. The recipes for culture armors do not require the top tier Armorsmithing feats, nor do they require a guild city. Each recipe can produce multiple pieces of the set, and each piece requires the appropriate base armor piece as a component. We intend for this to be the first step in supplying players with explicit visual variety in crafted armor. I'll leave the details for you guys to explore in the world!

The culture armor recipes drop off lore-appropriate bosses in endgame group dungeons, group social dungeons, or ACGs.

The Culture armor sounding like an interesting way to promote players endgame antics.
Weapons and Alchemy will also gain recipes, with weapons having Culture counterparts.
The aspect of City based armor as well sounds quite cool. Visual style will mean everything, so I will be patient and wait for new on the "looks" of these.
Crafting is different in AoC, and adding more recipes can only be a good move.

Next up is changes to combat. There is no doubt combat is one of the unique aspects of Conan. But, some have relegated the combo system to a DDR dancing pad game or as "password protected" combo's.

Seems the first swipe at this has taken place in Patch 3.o, with this comment from the forums...

"Barbarians, Assassins and Bear Shamens received serious changes in this patch. Changes seem to be in these main categories:

- Combo length reduced across the board by at least one button press. Most buff/debuff combos have been made 1 button, some are 2 button.
= Combos with a major "effect" such as buff/debuff/DOT have had damage reduced but are also very short length 1 or 2 buttons mostly.
- At least on Barbarian, a good number of "useless" combos have been buffed, Jagged Cuts been best example.
- DPS order of classes seems to be restored. Bear Shamans now rest by the looks of it above tanks but significantly below true DPS classes. Barbarians have significant DPS bump between combo length reduction and buffing of Butcher. COS buffed slightly as well.
- Some undocumented feat changes.
- The DPS buff doesn't seem to go back into 1 shot territory. In fact a good deal of the "one shots" were caused by excessive white damage in the preparatory swings from gems.

Overall looks good, should make combat a good deal more strategic with buff/debuff combos now viable to use. Likewise good on overall speed increase and DPS balance restoration at least so far"

This will take some investigation and review, and I will be logging into Testlive over the weekend to see what this entails.

As part of this patch, a new zone..Ymir's Pass has been implemented which covers level ranges 50-60. Seems quite a few people left at the level 40 zone. So, this could be a renewed area to alleviate single leveling areas (like the Villa's which were the main source of adventure in this range...)

The notes for this patch were huge, and it will change as time moves on, but the timeline is the next month or two for this patch to be in. Took long enough, and the population as a whole is down on a lot of servers. The merge should help with that aspect.

As I receive more data I will post it here..



Scott said...

WOW! Sounds like the new lead designer has his head in the right place and it's good they're actually listening to their customers now.

Sounds like the crafting idea started a few months ago but it must have been good enough to stick with.

Are you playing on Testlive? Give us the info! :) lol

Hudson said...

This is actually good to see. They are finally fleshing it out. Perhaps this could be decent once they listen and add some cool extra things. I would actually prefer this game over something like Vanguard if it had all the cool touches

Stargrace said...

Wow! Looks like some really great things coming in AoC.. While I don't play the game (nor have I) I have read other people's experiences in it, and it looks like these changes are going to be very well received.

Openedge1 said...

Agreed. I logged into Vanguard last night for the "Free time", and it was a disaster...I will blog on that shortly.
But, I think your issue was the starting area in AoC, and that can actually be worked around now (like the Destiny Quest story I told of how you can actually not even play it), and really as a PvE game, AoC is great. It just needs more PvE to do.

I have the duplicator ready to set up AoC for Testlive this weekend...should be exciting.
I have a level 25 and a level 50 copied over right now, so I have an open area of testing.
I like how they have separated out crafting from the normal game in my opinion, and if they can flesh it out, it could truly be a fun experience.

Agreed. I honestly think as a PvE game, AoC has a lot more going for it than some others (it is a lot more stable than Vanguard now, has a more cohesive world than EQ2, and leaps and bounds above LOTRO in excitement and visual quality)
So, they need to just expand upon this system (right now, there is a count of 150+ emotes as an example, and even dancing is a little mini game)

Right now AoC could be a major niche PvE game. And with more changes coming to PvP for those inclined, it seems to be turning around thanks to the new Director.

Hopefully they have not lost too much ground for the crowd who likes it.

Stargrace said...

Completely unrelated but - love your header images.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that when I was playing Vanguard a few months back, it was rock solid for me, in terms of stability. Not a single crash, and I was playing a lot. I did not have a big issue with AoC crashing either, though.

It's good to see AoC finally starting to make some progress. It has a long way to go, I think, but it was never the disaster some ried to paint it as; it just needs some love, is all, and it's good to see it getting some. I will be checking back in with it at some point in the future... maybe when the expansion hits.