Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Age of Conan - Quarterly reports and more patching

Funcom released their 3rd quarter numbers. Though not a disaster as some may think.

It is not rosy, but it is not gloom either.

Based on the PDF here ending date of Sept. 30th, the numbers are acceptable and almost break even sort of.

But, some gloomy comments are noted, and do not gloss over the issues as previously used with the sales speak.

They state

"After the very strong launch period, the average subscription period for Age of Conan has been shorter than expected and this has led to a reduction in subscriber levels in the period."

Do they not believe it is based on false promises and broken mechanics and patching schemes?

"The Company has a clear analysis of the issues that have affected subscription longevity negatively and is well underway in addressing those issues."

See above (lol)

This bit is good, and is being shown by the company by offering a new content patch released today as we speak with the level 55 and up Ymir's Pass in full glory.

"In September 2008 Mr. Craig Morrison replaced Mr.Gaute Godager as Producer and Game Director for Age of Conan. Mr. Morrison has extensive experience as a Producer and Game Director for Anarchy Online over several years, and his entry has been well received by the game community"

This is very true. He is willing to step onto the forums and discuss issues quickly and precisely and with no "sugar coating" either (for example, he mentioned his hate of the numbering system for combat calculations, and plans a revamp by 2009).

This is the brief though for media release.
Some interesting data is more apparent in the company's larger presentation, and some major news bullet points are noted...

  • New price point - What could this be? AO is free with transactions and expansion purchasing.. Could Conan go to an alternate pay scheme?
  • Free trial offers –both digital and physical distribution - This will be huge and help to drive sales I believe.
  • Polish and Russian launches - As well as a Korean launch coming shortly within the next month or two.
  • Loyalty program to be implemented –rewarding long-time subscribers - Not even sure what could make a customer stay for longer pay periods...
And then down the road...we see..
  1. Ymirs Pass, New DX10, 2 High level Dungeons etc. (Q4)
  2. New item/RPG system, 1-2 new play fields, new dungeons etc. (Q1 '09)
  3. Continuous updates with high end content and systems (Q2-Q3 '09)
  4. Expansion pack (Q4 '09)
And we see Ymir Pass has already been implemented.
A notice to players was made in this patch to update players Direct X versions to the latest releases (this would be DX9 for now), so the game will be changing how DX works, which means DX10 soon.

I have stated in the past that AoC has something specific to it's game style that makes it a better contender for longevity (not to mention just the game engine, but mechanics as well).

With continued development (one item of note is that they increased employees and not just call staff either...) and the fact they wish to make sure their customers are happy, and by being humble, have made the first step in that regards...AoC could at least pull itself together.

XFire shows a steady logtime right now for players hitting a specific number of hours, and forum posts have noted the 4-6 servers that will be the main merge servers this weekend.

This could put the game back together from its great fall.


Anonymous said...

They actually earned money thsi quarter, so from that point of view it certainly looks better for them. Even though it seems they were hit by the low value of the US dollar in recent months. But with the recent increase in value that might end up a bit better for them.

I do not think they will change the pricing model for the game, rather it seems that they aim to try to provide more incentives for people to stick around as well as reducing operating costs (server mergers for example?).

Red Headed Tim said...

A note for anyone with problems running the dxwebsetup they link to on the launcher, search google for "age of conan directx update" and one of the first results has a link to the full download without any jumping through MS hoops (may be on the second page IIRC). The web setup didn't work for me but the full one did.

Also interesting, Ymir's pass and such was a 65mb update. A buddy of mine just re-upped to join me in slaughter. Since he had dropped his sub in mid/late August, there was 1.5gb of updates to download. What all did they add during that time?

Openedge1 said...

The consequence system, crafting updates, major fixes.

The last update in October was huge, so that really added a lot.

the game is making progress, and if they can keep it going, I have faith that it will be an awesome game.

I will be back when DX10 goes in.