Thursday, May 14, 2009

Age of Conan - Shocking quote

Perusing my blogs I read, I stepped over to MMORog today.

He had this to say about a current title some people may recognize.."Free Realms".

"My first impressions of Free Realms aren't likely to lead to second impressions.

Have you ever walked past a Lush or a perfume counter and the sheer assault on your nose makes you blanch? The word fragrance lacks the weight of pure evil that is unleashed upon the world (or at least the immediate area) from these high dosage overloads. That's what Free Realms feels like to me: an affront on my senses from the sounds and visuals."

I am afraid I agree with this as well. If I was younger, or still playing Nintendo or Wii or Playstation 2, I would enjoy the visuals and gameplay. I even believe the visuals closely match WoW so much as to feel like a graphical clone. They are not awful, but definitely childish.

I have moved beyond that style of graphics now.

But, then I saw this in comments for this post. A unusual statement from Ixobelle who blogs at

"The world itself is very polished, and has a distinct art STYLE to it. To this day, I can be found praising WoW's art direction, not because it's OMGWOW and I'm a sheeple, but because the art team at blizzard had a creative vision, and frigging nailed it. WoW has style. Age of Conan is just ugly."

WTF? Age of Conan????...UGLY?


So, I thought I would share why I feel Ixobelle needs glasses. I understand enjoying "Distinct graphics", but to believe the most gorgeous MMO available right now is "Ugly" ludicrous.

So, enjoy this little video as the celebration for Age of Conan's 1 year anniversary gets underway. (Make sure to also click the video and watch this in HD...amazing)


Scott said...

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Ixobelle obviously prefers the art style of WoW. One problem with trying to make more "realistic" or even "photorealistic" graphics is that you often end up with very uneven results. EQ2, Vanguard, and yes, AoC, all demonstrate this. Of the bunch, AoC probably pulls it off best but even then, would you consider every single aspect of AoC's art direction, style, graphics, etc. to be gorgeous and consistent? If I remember, I wasn't too fond of SpeedTree, for example (in any game, not just AoC).

WoW, LOTRO, GW, and games that use a more "stylized" art direction over pseudo-photorealism tend to be more consistent and at least for me, will keep me playing longer with more a sense of "oooh this is pretty" where in Vanguard the pretty eye candy wore off quickly. Maybe it's just me?

Openedge1 said...

It is not to say that AoC does not have it's issues.
I DO have an issue with saying it is ugly, even when someone prefers "stylized" visuals.

I do not consider Free Realms, WoW, even LOTRO (which as you know I despise their graphics) UGLY. Just not my preference.

I do enjoy some features of Guild Wars more than AoC even, but I still think what they have done with AoC is spectacular...


The one word and the connotation makes all the difference..agreed?

AoC is far from UGLY, just not their preference is what should be said.

Especially from someone who is dealing with another person giving their opinion about them blogging about their "real life"...maybe they need to learn how to control their dialogue actually!

Ardwulf said...

In all fairness, if I were a guy calling himself "Ixobelle", I'd probably be a little touchy as well. :)

Seriously, though, it's all a matter of taste. WoW's art style works for me despite my not having a general fondness for the cartoonish style of art, and so does AoC's for different reasons. AoC nails its look just as well IMO, although the 'realistic' style does have some drawbacks, including implicit system demands and the fact that it'll look outdated faster than WoW funnybook-style art will.

Coherence is also important. The oldest WoW stuff is very much in the same vein as the newer stuff released with WotLK, maintaining the game's look after several years. EQ2, say, doesn't have that coherence, with zones having a jumble of different styles that don't always work together.

Ardwulf said...

I forgot to mention: Congrats on making SUWT. It was a great episode.

Openedge1 said...

EQ2 does have issues in regards to coherence.
When you jump from the Arabian stylings to the Dark enclosed woods, it feels so out of place..

But, again, it is not that they are "Ugly" per se, just not a preference.

And this is what it boils down to...did they mean "Ugly" or "Not preferred"

Sad state of language we live with.

Scott said...

On the flip side, it does seem this Ixobelle (and that's a chick's name if ever I heard one) does seem to (intentionally? probably) make a lot of controversial statements. It works too, look at all the attention he's gotten the past few months whereas before he's just write normal articles, participate on other's comment threads, but was pretty much only known in those circles. Now he gets quoted everywhere...

Rory said...

Suppose that boils down to the fact of "do you want internet fame?" or "internet respect?", and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Controversy works to a point, if you're going for the shock factor anyway (ala Syncaine) but after a while it becomes tiresome and dull, unfortunately by then you've either driven your initial audience away or can't keep them coming back because you're less edgy.

For the record, originally I thought Tortage was amazing looking but a vast majority of AoC lands were either dull or pretty fugly. It seemed EQ2/Vanguard next age - but I only played for the first month so I can't comment on how good it looks now.

I do miss my Bear Shammie every now n' again though.

The Hawk Speaks said...

Im surprise to see so many supporters of AOC. I'm inclined to agree that AoC has the most realistic graphics in any current MMO at this moment. Nothing comes close to the details and the artwork that follows the lore of Conan as much as what Funcom has done.

However this comes with a heavy price, the contents itself is huge and could be the largest of any MMO out there.

Still, the screen shots of the game does not give it justice, one has to be immerse in the game to really appreciate the beauty of the game.

I really hope the AoC community would come out and champion the game more. Many out there has not even seen Tortage yet.

Matt said...

Edge, what you mentioned above about EQ2's changes in styles from zone to zone is one of the reasons I really like the graphics of the game. It gives more depth to the world to go from the arid, dry feel of the Deserts of Ro to the dense, dank, shadowed confines of Nektulos Forest, or the icy cold lands of Everfrost. I think the art team did a very good job interpreting the standard fantasy settings in unique ways, to give each area a distinct feel.

But I fully agree with you, AOC is far from ugly! The video you posted looks amazing. I haven't tried the game, too much on my plate already, but it looks beautiful to me!

Openedge1 said...

I loved playing EQ2, but I also felt disoriented, and could not get an overall feel for the world due to such changes in atmosphere.
I think it had more to do with going from an open space (Desert) to confined and almost unrealistic (Nektulos)
Some areas shine (like the Hobbit Style zone I cannot remember the name of), but there was more miss than hit...thus why I do not play (well one reason).
Personally if I play a stylized MMO, Guild Wars wins hands down for looking like a well drawn comic book of fantasy...and the music, and everything combines to make a really ultra cool setting.

Tesh said...

I'd not call AoC ugly, nor do I have a problem with the stylized graphic style of FR. It's an art direction choice, and blasting one or the other over a matter of opinion and personal preference is silly. Of course I wouldn't expect a heavy AoC guy to want to play FR; he's not the target audience.

Objectively, if the art direction is consistent and does what it sets out to do with polish, it's a job well done. I don't play AoC because I don't like the setting or themes, but it's definitely not ugly.