Thursday, April 30, 2009

Age of Conan - Community letter from Craig

A VERY interesting letter today from Craig Morrison, Game Director of Funcom.

It seems an issue a lot of people have with the game that have been playing for a while will finally be alleviated.

As noted...

""Characters above level 50 will now have a one time option to create a new character that starts life at level 50""

Basically for a level 50, you can start a new character at 50 to try different classes. It is not detailed much, but one thing is clear.

No more TORTAGE to play a new class.

This is huge, and for a PvP based game a boon to those who hate the thought of leveling up another alt. This also will help guilds build teams of alts for raids, sieges and more.

This is impressive.

More info is here. But, I am still looking over that small bit of news while salivating.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Age of Conan - By Crom!! Support!

Ok, a quick update.

I got my first email from Funcom support for Age of Conan and I am on step one of getting this issue resolved.

I will be keeping a diary of how this progresses for others to follow. I think it is important to see how the company is faring now based on how things were in the past.

I have answered the email, and here are the details of the letter for you to see. I will not include names, but only the main body, so follow along and lets see how this plays out.


I'm sorry you're having issues with DirectX 10 mode. I've reviewed your
thread on the test live forums, and I can see you're fairly frustrated
with the issue. As such, I want to make sure you're aware up front of
what I can and can't do for you. This is not a widespread problem; I
have not received any tickets except yours with this specific set of
problems. As such, I will need to try to troubleshoot this on the client
side with you, and I will need to get your dxdiag and may need to ask
you to try things you've already tried.

What I will not be able to do is provide you with direct access to the
developers, or answer most questions that start with 'why' or 'when'. :)
In other words, I will not be able to give you information on when a
change or fix might occur if this does appear to be a bug in the client
side, and I won't be able to provide ongoing status reports about our
development or QA process. Based on your issues so far, I just wanted to
make sure you were aware of this before we get started; I apologize for
any inconvenience this may cause.

What I'd like to get from you to start with is your dxdiag.txt (please
send as an attachment--I know you posted it on the forums but I am
working from within a different system), and if you could, a brief list
of the things you've tried so far.


Age of Conan - Loooking HAWT in my level 70 gear

Click me baby!

Age of Conan - Keeping an eye out

As some may know, I am in a make or break situation with Age of Conan and Funcom in regards to support.

Yesterday, after a busy day for forum discussion and blog ranting, I noted that some progress had been made on my issue getting resolved by opening some eyes.

A post I had made on Testlive about DX10 (it is still in testing mode, thus I felt the test forums were the best place to get this issue resolved) had been slightly dormant or mostly ignored, finally received an answer.
This of course after a rather lengthy post at and a detailed post here on my blog.
The post from a Dev noted that I needed to forward my issue to the tech support system at Funcom.

This was sent about 18 hours ago.

I decided to go back and check the post in the TL forum, and noted that thread was now "closed". I also had received a PM to this effect.


Recent patches to the Testlive and Live servers have resolved
resolution and camera issues for the majority of our players. Yours
appears to be a more unique case.

Unfortunately, I am not able to provide you further support in this
forum. Please email and they will attempt to
assist you further with this issue.

Please remember that DirectX10Test client is still being tested and
optimized at this time.

Regards, Haven"

Hmmm. This was not a unique case more than two months ago, when it was noted as a "known" issue. What gives?

Does this feel like a blow off?

As I said, I am being watchful. I would assume there is a turnaround on this, so I am being patient. I remember Blizzard needed 24 hours or less to get back to you. Of course they have 10+ million players also.

But, I wanted to make sure this is all noted as we go along. A lot rides on this fix, and the commitment of the Funcom team, and I feel other prospective customers need to be aware of this.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Age of Conan - Quick update-Support

Well, maybe every once in a while it does pay to shout it from the mountains?

Seems I have been asked to send in my support issue with Age of Conans DX10 by one of the Devs for Funcom.

This could be looking up now (and I am so glad as I just entered a new zone, Keshatta, and it looks like great fun, and gives me 3 different areas to quest in...and of course, more ammo for blog posting.)

More as this develops.


Age of Conan - Response to my leaving

I had an interesting response to my post on about my final leave of Age of Conan. I really appreciate that I had this post by Famine from the AoC forums there, and I wanted to share what he said..

"It's a shame to see you go Openedge. I say this because I do follow your posts and rather enjoy reading your feedback. Which might I say, is almost unknown in a non-official community where most developers don't tend to actually admit they do read your every move in the other gaming forums here.

Speaking on your post though. There are issues that will not be handled tomorrow. It's all apart of creating and maintaining a game. I would not go as far as to say your threads were ignored but instead letting you know that WE know it exists. The time to get to those issues is something we have to deal with daily because there simply is not enough resources to fix everything today and not enough time to do it all by tomorrow.

Now I'm not too sure if you're referring to Testlive patches not fixing the issues you're reporting on the Testlive forums or live but I wouldn't look at those updates (that don't include what you and others have suggested) as being ignored. If there is a bug, we will fix it. We have no gain in not fixing bugs that effect our game. The thing that most forget is like mentioned above, the time it takes and what we need in order to fix it. I know it's cool to assume we are all masters of what we command but we also have to give our developers some freedom to take time and address it. If we don't have time (crucial issues) then we need to get our heads together and fix it like now. But of course in reality that's not something commonly accepted looking on the outside in (your perspective).

Again, I'm only here to help stress how important it is we get things fixed and that you don't feel like you're being ignored. It's a hard job to do because it is a massively multiplayer game. But I will miss your posts for sure and as long as you know that then there is hope you don't feel it was for nothing..."

This is really cool he posted this, but I wonder about a few points made here.

"There are issues that will not be handled tomorrow"

This I understand. But, is an issue that is going on 4-5 months now a standard issue item that just needs to be fixed when fixed? I still continue to pay for the product while this is being fixed as well. Is my monthly fee really being put to good use when I am not serviced like in most industries?
This has been an ongoing concern of mine. If we pay each month to be serviced by a company to play their MMO, should we not expect some type of support..something like working with that customer? If I have a computer problem like say a Dell product, and I paid for a warranty, is the company not responsible to fix it? Why should MMO's get all our cash, and not offer any support?

"Again, I'm only here to help stress how important it is we get things fixed and that you don't feel like you're being ignored"

This is good to know. I mean, I do not expect "Gold" service with a smile. I expect some type of feedback.
An original post on my concern was bumped 3 times before I finally got a "canned" response, and that it was a known issue. 3 times before I even knew it was known...over an almost 2 week period.
Then the thread sat for a month, and was bumped again after I reloaded my OS, and the software. After another week, I bumped it again (with a refraction for mentioning that I thought this company did not want my money), and asking me to clear my prefs folder.
Totally ignoring the "clean install" stuff.
So, you can see how maybe I felt "ignored" even though I am being told I am not being ignored.
(PS: The thread still sits empty after another response asking for an ETA or at least an answer on if they need more can you work on a problem without data? And with a willing subject to boot!!)

I am pleased that Famine made mention that they will be sad to see any customer go. I think what will disappoint me is I will not even know if it is getting fixed or not. Thanks to low responses of the teams working on issues, it becomes a "Is it really being looked into?" or not situation.

Especially after hitting level 70 today and seeing the new zone that just opened for me, I am actually pretty excited to play yet, if I feel like I am being ignored as a customer, should I continue to pay for this?

Anyone have any thoughts? Am I being rash? Should I expect more from the company who runs my MMO? How long would you wait after reporting an issue and posting about it before wondering if the company really cares?


I know this game

I am just wondering (WoW) why this image looks familiar.. is shiny...that's for sure..WoW!

Wonder what game that is??

All I can say is...WoW!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Age of Conan - Final run to 70

Almost complete, as my character has just 4 notches to level 70.

I have decided to put my game on hold once I hit level 70. My sub expires on May 16th, so I will not renew.
But, I do have plans.

If I reach 70 before the end of my sub, I will move a copy to Testlive and check out the new zone for level 70+. As well, it does allow me to test patch 1.05 a bit more.
This will be important, as I will need a reason to return.

After being blown off by tech support regarding an issue going on 4 or more months (has been happening to others before me, and it has for myself just 4 months), I really do not see the team dedicated to all facets of the game.

There is no doubt that the game is fantastic, and in my list of favorite MMO's (With Guild Wars, EQ2, and WoW also in that list of favorites), but I will really need more of an incentive to come back when it comes time to renew...basically when I get an itch for an MMO.

The only other game this year I have even a remote interest in is Aion, and I do not think it will be here until near the end of the year. Also, no Xbox 360 games are calling my name just yet.

So, I may be in a dry period. I may actually...EXERCISE...ugh.

Anyways, I need to get into the game now and get leveling. Wish me luck, and hope the burn out does not take me away.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Age of Conan - 4 Months, No Fix

Maybe even longer now.

Just about oh not even a month ago, DX10 was released to the live servers in the same shape it was on Testlive servers.

Still being tested.

This is understood.

But, now it seems an issue I have been experiencing has been in existence for 4 months (if not longer...who knows...) with the Devs putting it on their "secret" known issues list.
Yea, seems the test server has no "known" issues thread. Thus, we are stuck trying to figure it out on our own.
I have reported the issue every patch on Test and Live, with nothing being done as well.

For myself, DX10, is 99% unplayable. I can log in with DX10 on, but several problems exists for me.

1. I cannot get a widescreen resolution below 1650 to work, and it resorts to a square resolution of the lowest denominator (1360 or 1280x720 goes to 800x600). Nothing works with this either. I cannot force it, cannot add it as a new resolution in my Graphics Control Panel...thus I am stuck at 1080p, which just makes the game run like mud in DX10, and of course, the fonts are too small on a 42" TV. I could play on my monitor, but why should I have to do that when I can run any other DX10 game in any resolution and in the comfort of my living room on the couch.

But, so what if I could go to 1080 on my office LCD, I still deal with...

2. When the left or right mouse buttons are touched to rotate the camera, the camera points at the sky, and you cannot get it behind your character anymore.
That is a serious issue, as it is not mouse related (tried various mice) and neither of these issues were fixed with a clean OS and Client install (which, the Devs master solution was to clear prefs...excuse me? did you not read FRESH INSTALL?...idiots)

So, Basically, as long as I do not touch my mouse (or Xbox controller) and can squint real good, I can run DX10 (thus my 1%)

The Testlive devs keep coming back with a "canned" response, twice in the months the issue has been on the TL forum.
And of course, you guys know me. I stated "This company must not want my money" and got a refraction (no really officer, I did not flip you off, sir)...

So, I am getting the "Be Quiet" and we will fix it if and WHEN we wish to.

Not sure how much longer I can play a game by a company who does not care that much...(ahh...memories of Turbine come back to haunt me...)

Anyways /rantoff for now. Guess we will see if I get kicked out or if this problem will get fixed.

(*Debates logging into TL every day to report the issue...hmmm*)

How do I feel about the free LOTRO weekend?

Thursday, April 23, 2009 gets ban happy.

Seems some new mods have been trolling the forums, and I got banned for really no reason that I can see.
But, maybe I am not objective enough, so see if you can understand this reasoning.
I have already asked them to review the answer again, and really find a better reason than given to ban me.
I was noted as flaming..
Their rules are... does not tolerate personal attacks on other posters. Please keep your arguments and posts on topic, and argue the ideas and topics of the thread instead of insulting other users.

Here was the result of the actual post.

Thread: Why the need to defend AoC so passionately?
Below is the content of the post:

Originally posted by GiveMePvP
I have never understood this kind of behavior. Right now I don't play any MMO's but when I did play I didn't spend all my free time lurking these forums. I PLAYED the game. Also if I saw someone badmouth my game, I didn't feel the need to write 10 pages of text explaining how that person knows nothing and how the game is awesome. During my most active time of playing, you know how many posts I wrote? None.

Why the need to defend AoC so passionately?

[Mod Edit]


Why the need to hate on AoC so passionately?

I guess we could ask...why does one person like McDonalds, yet another likes Burger King..You like Coke? I like Pepsi? I like the Lakers you like the Bulls....

See how this goes?

You hated the game, and do not want to play. Others do. I for example prefer Age of Conan over the multitude of other crap currently out.

This then brings out the fervent need for others to be the defenders, the ones who state their opinion about what you have gotten wrong..

Thus, we always return to it is "opinion".

You have the right to give yours, but don't expect those who ARE happy with a product to take it laying down. They are allowed to give theirs as well.

Good luck in your future endeavors. But, do not expect sympathy from players of a game they like, that you do not.


[Mod Edit]

(Note the multiple mod edits)

So, not only were the posts heavily modified (I am not even sure what was changed in mine to begin with, but there was not any attack AT the user), and the thread really was a troll thread to begin with. So, if they allow this type of post, then why ban someone who was stating their point in the thread.

But, hey, I leave it up to you. If you can see where the personal attack / flame is at, please let me know. really has a lower common denominator in their forums, with a few exceptions, but compared to an actual games forums, it is pretty rank and even vile at points.

Anyways, I really hate a ban for no reason. If I WAS banned for a reason (during my LOTRO playing days...hehe) I would not argue...but, this one is really not a bannable offense.

Did the mods go to far? Or are the mods showing favoritism even? (Maybe they are an AoC hater?)..


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Save Chuck - NBC

Just a friendly reminder.

If you have not watched this show, please watch it.

If you watch the show, on April 27th head to Subway, buy a "5 Dollar Footlong" and fill out a comment card stating "I bought this footlong thanks to Chuck on NBC. Save Chuck".

If you do not like the show, get some taste.


Age of Conan - Guild love

I just wanted to take a moment and give a shout out to my guild.

Amatheon is currently in this guild on the SET server. What I find enticing is the activities that the guild leader tries to involve the players in.
Various things are done like titles for players who stay involved in the guild, weekly gold giveaways and more.
We have a complete Guild City with all the benefits it bestows, and the ranks are always filling up due to a heavy recruiting system.
And players must respect the guild as well, so anyone not logging in for 30 days is removed.

Last count was 587 players on board.

This past weekend the guild ran a Scavenger Hunt, and I received an email from the Guild Leader reporting how this went...and they of course did it in their own fashion. Like the billboard itself on the site, the announcement of the hunt is in a medieval fashion.

I will let him speak...

Well met, fellow Scribe!
The Scavenger Hunt for the server Set in Hyboria went well, indeed, and was a lot of fun!
The hunters had to find simple items that were in the land, but became scarce quickly. Some went to the Trader to buy them, and then when the meager supply was exhausted, they went farming where they thought they might be.
Of course, they had their eye on which items counted the most points, and because the hunt was only five hours long, it tried their wits to find the most efficient way possible.
Some farmed their own alt's banks, while others sought out friends who might have such items.
Since the contest was for each character, some tried to get as many of their alts enlisted as contestants as possible, for the top ten placers received valuable gold prizes.
The contest paid out 10 gold to the top hunter, 7 gold to second place, 3 gold to the 3rd, 4th and 5th placers, and 1 gold each to the next five.
The items had to be mailed in and the name of the item had to match up exactly. Some had a limited time to hunt, so they had to make their time count with as many points as possible.
A donator sent in the gold to match the gold payments, so that has allowed another event to begin far sooner than we had it set to. So, this is why...
...the TREASURE HUNT has just begun! The Treasure Hunt began in the wee hours, instead of the busy time, to give the players then an equal chance to get in on an event early.
The Treasure Hunt is again for the entire server population. There is only one prize - a 30 gold treasure that goes to the finder! This total may very well only increase as some may donate to see it grow. An item, some where in or around Tortage, contains the hidden treasure! A series of clues is now on the website and more clues shall be added at least one time a day.
The only pitfall is that if a character answers too early and is wrong, they are out of the contest! However, they can always use an alt for their next guess, or roll as many as they wish!
You should play it yourself, good Scribe! There is a TREASURE HIDDEN OUT THERE TO BE FOUND!
Yours Truly from a Fellow Scribe,

He is quite involved, and as you can see, running it for the whole server. Very cool.

I appreciate what he is doing, and if I had more time than logging in once in a while to see what the game just looks like, I would be there also. Hopefully work will slow down.

Anyways, thought this was awesome, and glad to have such a guild leader running my guild!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Quick note...Brit TV

Why are the British versions of the shows we stole from them so much better. Not as formulaic, and the show seems to sell itself.

Example. Watching Hell's Kitchen UK currently.
I like Gordon Ramsey more than Marco Pierre White, the current Chef on staff, personality wise. Yet, the Marco version is more fun to watch and not so melodramatic as the US based HK with Gordon.

And...why must we have to do the stupid voiceovers in the US version?

"For the first time ever on Hells Kitchen"

"Tonight on Hells Kitchen"


Also, The F Word with Gordon Ramsay will be returning this season on Channel 4 in Britain, and this show makes any US based Gordon Ramsey show look idiotic. Here Gordon does what he is meant to a Chef..but also sharing with new friends like many a famous personality in the UK.

Good stuff.

Anyways, don't get me wrong..I do like HK USA, but watching the Brit versions and any Brit show really shows some better TV than we have in the US.

Luckily it looks like the US is getting smart, and following one style of Brit programming.

Harpers Island, a slasher/horror show in only 13 parts will have an ending to the story. This is just one example of how the Brits do some great shows without formula and LONG seasons of drivel. See example...Dead Set, a one off series in the UK.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Week ending round up

Quite a week and quite a weekend planned.

I have been busy...

First off, I have started working on Social Networking for the Non-profit I work for. I have set them up on Facebook and Twitter, and then I am responsible for filling these with content.
Tough work...especially when you are usually a static website which discusses what you do, so it has been quite a trip constantly having chatter for Twitter and adding goodies to FB.
So, far I have grown our FB page to twice the size of a standard group we had on there (we now have a "Page"), and Twitter is almost up to 200 followers.

Next up, I got featured on SUWT, and it has made me start looking at my blog again. I have noted a drop in bloggers discussing their games, and I guess we need all of us we can get, so I have been trying to make sure and stay focused on my game, and put out some info once in a while. Thanks guys for making me look twice at my ramblings.
They have offered me a day to run my mouth on their show also..dread those moments eh? Now, should I tell them I went to school when I was about 20 to be a radio announcer? Lasted about 1 month...haha.

Back to gaming..I hit level 69 today in Age of Conan. This means one more level, and then I can move a copy to Testlive and check out the new zone...Tarantia Commons.
You can check out a HD Video in DX10 here.

At this point, I think it is time to look at how AoC has been doing since the release of the Trial (almost a month ago). Also a contest had been taking place on Xfire, which has helped build up audience participation.

The game had hit some high points on Xfire, getting as high as #17 or #18. The contest ended on April 16th though, and as of Saturday the 18th, they have dropped down to #27.
Now this is not too bad, as the retention after the contest is considerably higher than it had been (roughly averaging between #40 to #50 on Xfire).

My only question at this point is if the game can survive the long haul. Especially with Patch 1.05 which will be the make or break of the game.

Many titles kind of fell to the wayside since last year, and this years offerings are not that accesible (Sci-Fi and Superhero games will be pretty niche, and Free Realms will be good, just very young adult and kid oriented). To keep some variety in Fantasy, I can only hope AoC survives. I really have not felt like going back to Global Cooldowns and slow mo combat. Also, I am unsure if I want Elves in my Fantasy anymore as well (lol).

Anyways, I need to get a few more quests done so I can hopefully get on to TL by next week.

Later today I am heading out for Japanese steakhouse to celebrate a good week for work, and what!

As always, I appreciate those who look here once in a while. Guess I should feel lucky I lasted through a major blog blowup and downtime between games.

Has been fun.

Anyways, Cheers soon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Age of Conan - Amphiteater of Karutonia

An excellent instance for Age of Conan in Ymirs Pass, it is considered also the final zone for the area with a complete story within.
Amatheon joined a group to adventure within this noted prison.
Like Guild Wars and LOTRO, there are specific goals, and cutscene drama within, when you complete quests.

Upon entering, we are greeted by a familiar woman

From the trailer that starts the game, we meet the woman known as Keaira. Noted as a "close ally" of Conan, she is here to start us upon the quests regarding a specific creature that is holding the Frost Giant at bay.

As we travel further into the zone, we are met with portals being opened by Black Ring Witches. They are usings demons to guard the entryway to the main location of the Frost Giant. If we do not destroy the portals, demons continue to spew forth

This is not all we must deal with. As further in, we meet up with demons set to guard the witches..

Known as Guardian Fiends, their attacks are powerful, and if hit with even a couple of strokes, you could die. We must keep this one on its toes, and off guard to defeat...

Then we find the ringleader. The Dimensionalist.

As you can probably assume, he is the one who continues to call the Guardian Fiends. This battle was tough due to the fact that we had to split the team to take out the Dimensionalits while keeping the Guardians at bay.

After a long hard fight, the barrier blocking us breaks down and we move further in.

We can finally catch a small glimpse of the Giant, but we do have a quest further within this "prison".
It seems a boss known as the "Hunter" has entrapped some type of lion like creature known as a Vortex Stalker. The Hunter carries a special prize for Rangers, thus we ensure to take this prize from him, as well as defeating his main pet, a VERY large stalker.

Upon its death, we move to our final free the Frost Father.

Chains in flames entrap the Frost Father, and lurking around the prison of the Father is a creature known as the Devourer. We must engage this creature and force it to dissolve from our realm to free the Frost Father.

We lure the Devourer near the frost giant, as this helps weaken the Devourer. But, he is also not whithout his wiles. He will drain your stamina and mana if you get too close, so you are quite limited in what you can do.

Various members of the group would stand a distance away and keep him occupied or even try to run him off as various warriors came to the front to engage him, then pull back.
Eventually his connection with our realm would fade, then we had time to attack the chains holding the father, and break him free.

Once the Frost Father is free, we are able to engage the Devourer for the final battle, as his hold on the realm is weakened. We must keep the Devourer close to the frost giant to keep him at bay.

Upon the Devourers defeat we have freed the Frost Father.

He is noted to not be pleased that it was "mortals" who freed him, but he stays his hand, and lets us return to our lands once more.

We find out though to Keaira, that this was a test for Conan and herself.
And the reward is a gorgeous cloak (with some great attributes to boot).

There is no doubt that any player should not pass up this final zone. Groups are running this aplenty, so there is no excuse not to go in.
This zone has indeed reminded me of my old days in Guild Wars and how fun the missions were.

Ethalos still has a few levels to go, but he will run it as well.

Hope you enjoyed my Ymir pass phtoto diary...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Age of Conan - Estimating patch 1.05 release

Speculation has been making the rounds on when the final iteration of patch .05 will hit live in Age of Conan.
We are unsure really as Craig, the GD has stated "We will release no patch before it's time" being dev speak for "STFU and let us finish it".

But, we can at least get an estimate based on the current release schedules of the patches hitting live in the 1.04 series.

Today 1.04.7 hits live.

I think a countdown to 1.04.9 could take place before we see final. But again that has NOT always been the case...1.03 had 5 releases before 1.04 hit due to demand.
With the new content and new trials in place, I am sure they will not take any chances though.
Someone stated June in my comments, and this could be possible.
Lets look at some other criteria.
We could have at least 2 more patches, so two weeks of patching to be done. But, that only takes us to May.
They started offering 7 day trials. Then the hope is the 7 day trials will turn into 30 day players.
I think the two patches will be released, then a 30 day moratorium on patches to allow these new players to get acclimated before htitting them with an NGE (I mean the changes are drastic enough to warant the NGE title. Luckily it is not a game destroying altercation.)
Any other theories?

I call end of May / Early June to see the new systems in place.

Ok...well, I am off..I have one hour to play then major dental surgery (for the morbid, look up post core dentistry to see the procedure...nothing like drilling and placing spikes into my head)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Age of Conan - It is the little things..

That matter the most while playing a game.

Stupid things I have noticed that has changed in Age of Conan since launch!

I do not get stuck on little things in the road as often..
I can climb hills more efficiently, even to the point of feeling like a mountain climber..
UI gives you more effective notation of usage (colorization, flashing, etc..)..
The long combos have been toned down (some combos were getting to 4 or 5 presses before firing)..
The level curve is more in line with making it not feel like a grind to go from one level to the next..
Some more variety of armors than before, and combination's of styles also work better..
Less abnormal graphic glitches..
Stability is at an all time high, and I have zero crashes..

And the biggie...

More fun thanks to all the above.

Ok...enough on that. Just after playing this morning, I did not want to log off. It made me think of all these little things I enjoyed.


Blogger spotlight and future updates...

Well, looks like I got a mention on episode #45 of the SUWT Virgin Worlds.

Appreciate the call out.

Looks like I get the spotlight thanks to sticking to this darn Age of Conan. And I plan on it for quite a while.

This years offerings seem to be less than admirable in what MMO's will offer, and with so many changes going into the new patch coming "SOON", I figure this game has what I enjoy.

The headway in stability and gameplay in AoC has taken leaps and bounds beyond the launch. It looks like it will also retain quite a few players from the trial as well. This is excellent, due to the fact that the dungeons and instances in AoC are some of the best I have played. Group dynamics are key to this fun, and patch 1.05 will be even better thanks to group buff skills.

Anyways, I went back to live servers for a bit, as I plan to get Amatheon up to level 70 (he is now 68) due to the fact that patch 1.05 will offer the new level 70 zone Tarantia Commons.
I have not read up on it too much, but I wish to see what is in store, and of course share it with you guys.
So, the level blitz is on.

Ethalos, my Tempest of Set, has hit the 40's zones, which use to be annoying, thanks to the fact that the Villas was the only zone for leveling, and running these over and over proved to be a drag.
Luckily, Field of the Dead has had some adjustments to level and Villas still exists, and then the Arena is another fun area. This is proving to me that the grind of the past is gone now thanks to an excellent level curve. A player is guaranteed as many quests as they want without the need to grind it out too much.
I would also like to recopy Ethalos to test to see how FoTD and Villas work now with the changes to the stats.

I have a lot to write, but it seems work has become more of a focus, as the economy has made it that we need to keep on top of raising funds, and getting the word out on our Non-profit.
But, I will attempt to keep this running, with just maybe a few posts a week..I may even try to go on a schedule if possible.

I appreciate those that continue to visit, and I will try to make sure to share as much data as I can about Conan.

Stick around, as the good stuff is coming.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Age of Conan - New Approach to Patch 1.05

Today I spent some time trying a new angle on the Testlive server. I recopied my character from live and started anew on my feat tree.
The feats are probably the most dire change from live that is affecting the playability of 1.05, besides gear.
I had found some new Full Plate Armor on live yesterday, thus my reason to give it a second go for my Dark Templar. With the changes to items, it means I need to be aware of what I am wearing. Patch 1.05 introduces Full Plate to ALL soldier based classes now (which was not the case before), so lets see what this does for me..

As you may have previously read, the changes to the Dark Templars feat tree had caused some major concern due to issues with Stamina Drain and Mana Drain in combat.
I tried to stick to my previous tree on TL that I used on live and died horribly on a regular basis. This time I looked in on ways to retrieve more stamina, but also protect myself with armor and upgrading my protection based skills...along with more damage meters to make combat go mores smoothly with less skill usage and more overall DPS.

Things actually worked.

I was using less potions, and being careful about my stance dancing (sticking to defensive more often), and it made it so survivability was better versus multiple mobs.

I need to study on it more, but I think this will work. I took some screenies of my skill trees and plan to see how they compare to live.

I think I may be getting over the "Patch 1.05 is doom" feeling, and can learn to work with the changes.

Here is hoping!

Anyways, I got the chance to finally finish the Ymir questline on live yesterday, so hopefully I can post a photo diary a little later..


Thursday, April 9, 2009

The twitterverse is crashing..

The loads are EXTREME...

The number of users is EXTREME...

Twitter is being driven into the ground ....HARD!

Even applications using the Twitterverse is bombing out.

It is proving difficult to even Tweet every once in a while.

I have started working on gathering followers in Twitter (and doing some Facebook action) for the non-profit I work for. But, talk about a time waster. The constant "Capacity" fail whales, the options not working (I can click on follow up to 3 times, and still not have it work..).

This thing has exploded.

What is my ROI on this?

I was almost worried that my old skills were gone, and I was just going to be an information "push" jockey..but I had an issue with one of our sites which was done in Drupal, which called for some quick PHP troubleshooting...and I got her fixed.

As for my personal tweets and blogging, it really has taken a nosedive...and I really want to blog...just that work has taken up my time quite a bit.
And it is worth it.
Having a job, especially during these economic times is a blessing.

And just in time, Easter arrives. I am not sure of everyone beliefs, but no matter what they are, prayer, meditation, the joy of spring (finally), the world seeming to settle down after elections and economic turmoil...there is a lot to think about on this next leg of our journey of 2009.

I just hope you and yours are I am ecstatic about how life is right now.

Now, I finally will have a small bit of time off, and will be playing my butt off in AoC, and I also am thinking of going back to Devil May Cry 4 (which I never finished, thanks to other games catching my attention)...

Lets all have a great weekend, shall we?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Age of Conan - Patch 1.05 misgivings

I still have them.

I will note that the spellcasters seemed to still be ok. I will let you know a little more about my Tempest of Set soon.
But, today was the last straw for my Dark all time favorite class.
They have been ruined with this patch.
Where before, the more mobs you pulled, the better chance of survival you had thanks to the health tap.
Now, the more mobs you pull, the better damage THEY get thanks to an "Overpower" feature..

Which makes a normal human sort of way....

Now I do not feel like the Hero anymore.

Basically I am just another guy in a Fantasy world...the Regular Joe of the MMO.

The gear has been WoW-ified (with stats that need to be babysitted) and the potion spam sucks.

Right now, I think I better get a move on with my DT before this patch gets in and get to 80 as SOON as possible. The game looks like it will lose the fun factor that made me keep coming back to play..(man I hope this gets tweaked)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Whiny bloggers...

Just gotta love em...

Wait...does this make me a whiner?


All I have to say is if you cannot discuss your comments, why bother even having them on (and taking offense to everything people say, even when it was not meant to be offensive...I can only assume they are being defensive then...not cool)

Didn't we just do this several months ago?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Age of Conan - Lets look at some changes..

For the last couple of days, I have been messing around on the Testlive server for Age of Conan, compiling some minor notes, and screenies of the changes.

I wish to report on some of the differences, but keep in mind...

The changes are not complete.
The changes are bound to...change.
Limited playability due to testing changes specifically for the DT.

My main plan was to see what they would be doing to my DT, who has been underpowered as a class, but lately has been more fun than it has been. Changes in patch 1.04 made survivability better overall (though this class is still one of the slowest when it comes to killing).
Discussion has been about a major buff to some attributes of this class, thus the reason for my test.
But, we can look at these changes and use it as a basis for what has happened to the "Soldier" based classes overall at least.

As I reported earlier, there is no doubt...

Potions and Gear matter. Food will as well.

Food in the game allows quick recovery of hit points, stamina and mana after combat. Not just that, it also will give bonuses to these attributes as well.
Potions work in a manner that they give a quick boost to health, mana and stamina when first used, then a gradual over time boost to healing for a period of time.
The timer is usually 15 sec's for a HoT (heal over time).

Gear now uses a straightfoward + to attributes, combat ratings (new) etc.
Before, most items listed themselves as say 0.5% to STR. and sometimes some had a +5, 10...but mostly, you really could not tell the difference.
Here, the changes are drastic. Based on my before armor (what I came over with when I did the copy to Testlive with Amatheon), then switching to armor "suggested" for my level, it changed how many mobs I could deal with and the overall survivability factor.

Now, before I go any further, keep in mind, this is all PvE based data, as this is what will be affected the most, even though some new changes will go into the PvP level system, gear and attributes.
They are calling this the RPG system, due to the straight forward changes to attributes, not unlike a D&D style mechanic. This is the reason I assume the RPG title for the changes.

Now, here are some quick screenshots of some changes to help explain the overall system differences. Make sure to click through to the actual screens on some of these shots to get a blow up.

This first shot shows the new attributes system on the left. More explainantion is included here of what actually is being changed. You get straight forward readable data to get an idea of how well your character is doing when changing gear, etc.
You now get a generalized "Armor Mitigation" and "DPS" rating. Very helpful.

This shot shows the "Combat rating" system. It gives overall ratings (I am not sure on what yet) for how effective you are in certain categories.
You get a listing of a percentage chance for gettting fatalities, criticals, and more.
Look it over, as it seems pretty explainatory.

The above two images give various ratings for your Physical and Magical attributes and how they affect your health, stamina and more. Again, great reading if you zoom in with more than ample information on what is happening here.

These are some pretty drastic changes. I am miffed that some people keep calling it the NGE, when it is not a wholesale change to everything that has come before, and instead it is more of a "Hey, this is what this REALLY means" type of change.
It looks good.

Here is an example of how the attributes are listed for armor and items.

Like I said fonts...looks great. But, again, zoom in and note the listings, which make total sense to the standard +, - crowd. I now know what the attributes are helping and by how much.

Looking at that pic should give you an idea of a new piece of armor I am wearing. I did a search in the AoC.YG database of that name and could not find it...
Hooray, NEW stuff...
Here are some examples of the new armor I got when I went to Fate, the "upgrades" NPC for Testlive.

All sorts of cool changes. Variations in vambraces, boots, belts, chest pieces, and more.

Overall, I am still worried about these changes because my DT felt totally different, and no change to my Feat tree helped. I was draining Stamina like no tomorrow, and some mobs took longer to kill than normal. But, it did not mean I died just felt different combat wise.
One new thing I started doing was "Stance" dancing. I would switch back and forth between Frenzied and Defensive stance depending on the number of mobs and my health. Kind of weird to be doing it constantly in combat as I have not really had to deal with this before. Maybe PvE has been too easy? I do not think so.
For example, I knew if I was going to take on 2 or 3 mobs then I had better down a potion immediately.
All I know is if this change takes place, they better start dropping a little more cash also. Buying potions will get expensive and piss people off.

Now, supposedly the Tempest of Set has been major nerfed, as it has been the OP class for a while...moreso than the Priest of Mitra.
I will be copying over Ethalos to TL to see how he is working now and get prepared for those changes...

And, of course, report back to you.

Now, I am off. Make sure that if you have any questions of the RPG system or PvE, let me know.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Age of Conan - Running Testlive 1.05

Ok, I have been spending some time on the TL server since the update to Age of Conan testing with patch 1.05.

There are some unique changes, I will go into it a little more later on.

Two things have already become apparent.
First...Potions, Food, and your items will make a difference in PvE. The listing for items stats make sense now, and to help, they even upgraded the fonts used in the game for the UI to make things more legible (a minor change that makes a world of difference...especially us high resolution players...).
Second up is how your feats work, and picking accordingly. Seems my original layout which was working in Live, is now questionable (at least for my Dark Templar).
Like I said, I need more time with it.

I did go to Fate, who will give you free upgrades for testing, and decided to change armor so I can see how it compares to what I have been wearing. My survivability went up after doing, the stats are working as intended.
I will get some screenies of that armor also, as it is very different than what I am use to wearing...
They actually gave me a few to try, so I will get those put on, and give a little fashion show (lol).

Ok, that is all for now...expect more on this as I progress.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Age of Conan - And Patch 1.05 hits test

What a week for Age of Conan. Funcom really kicked things into gear. From Free Trials, to a re-review that really had some great things to say...and now...

Patch 1.05 enters Testlive (only accesible to subscribers right now...I may post some info on this later)

Lets just say there is about an hour's worth of reading with multiple pages of notes and changes...from stats to gems to crafting to itemization...

This one is huge.

Now, if this can be done within one to two months, I think they could double their subscribers easily (in so many words, get to 300k or i.e: the same as ALL niche MMO's like WAR, LOTRO, EQ2, etc...)

Like I said, I will post some more information later, as I need time to absorb all of this stuff...amazing.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Age of Conan - Eurogamer Re-Review

As part of the 7 day trial offer, Eurogamer posted a Re-review of the game. With so many fixes and changes since launch, this seemed to be the perfect time too.

As noted in the article...

"Moreover, the whole journey was incredibly good fun - the best fun I've had in an MMORPG since I first got to rampage through the Death Knight's starting zone in WOW. But in Conan's case, the enjoyment lasted for a couple of weeks rather than a couple of hours."

Interesting that bit...

There is no doubt that the game is not perfect, but then I can name so many others which are in the same boat even after a year (Read the latest patching debacles for LOTRO over at KillTenRats "Turbines recent technical record")

Well, that looks like the run for AoC today. I still have some DX10 shots to post soon, and if I get the time, hopefully some more on my adventures (Ethalos hit 40 today...woot)


Age of Conan - Good info on changes

Saw posted somewhere a discussion from Craig on the changes that have taken place since Age of Conan's launch. It is a good rundown, so I thought I would plagiarize...


So what exactly has been done since launch?

  • New Content - We have added countless hours of more content through updates such as Ymir’s Pass – the largest playfield yet that comes with an entirely new storyline inspired by the classic Howard tale ‘The Frost Giant’s Daughter’. Then you have Xibaluku, a new end game dungeon packed with dynamic and engaging boss encounters for maximum level players. In addition we have added countless more quests and rewards to the game for players of all level ranges. The launch dungeons have also been revisited, revamped and generally improved to provide new and more interesting game-play and rewards.
  • Enhancing PVP - The world of King Conan is a brutal one and we have made sure to focus on building on the PVP offerings. One of the key elements that players reported enjoying in the game was the ability to be part of a bloody and exciting game-world and we wanted to build on that. Not only have we added a full PVP leveling system, with a host of rewards – we have also built upon this with a full PVP consequence system that adds a true meaning to PVP combat and allows those that would tread a darker path to actually become criminals based on their actions, opening up a whole new game-play experience.
  • Conan Screenshots
  • Improved Sieges - Building on the desire to have truly meaningful and engaging PVP in every update we are continuing to refine, add to and improve the Siege warfare PVP elements. We are striving to keep adding new features to make guild vs. guild game-play matter more. In the most recent updates new PVP specific resources required to build and repair battle-keeps have been added. These resources must be fought over between players, and can be looted from vanquished foes corpses, adding more intensity and drama to the siege experience.
  • Stability and Performance - Our technical team has been hard at work ensuring that there are constant improvements being made to performance and stability. Framerate has been increased on a wider range of computers, memory leaks have been corrected and bugs have been ironed out making the game-play experience a lot smoother and stable for the user.
  • General Improvements - The big main features always get the headlines and previews, but we have also gone to great lengths to ensure that the smaller points and general polish also get some care and attention. A huge amount of general improvements and enhancements have been made, some small, some larger, but all combining to provide a better Age of Conan experience. More travel options have been added, more voice-overs, a new friend interface, the raid interface has been improved, a new GUI options mean it’s now easier to locate and get into PvP mini-games, tradeskills have been improved, loot rewards have been re-distributed, vanity pets are available as a special reward for those who adventure through the new Xibaluku dungeon… and the list goes on! These changes may never be in the spotlight but they all contribute to improving the experience for players each and every time they log in
  • An Amazing World - While we already have a fantastically realized game-world we have been hard at work ensuring it continues to shine as the most stunningly rendered MMO world to date. First and foremost in this development is the new DX10 functionality that will allow players to see the kingdoms of Hyboria like never before. Launching soon the DX10 version will bring more spectacular visuals to the beautiful vistas of King Conan’s world.

What the future brings

During the development of the game the key phrase that was used to establish the goals of the project was ‘Combat, Combat, Combat’ and I think that goal was perfectly realized in our combat system, and element of the game that continues to be a key feature and unique element players enjoy with our game. When we set out to define the goals for the development team for the ongoing production we decided to keep with the ‘C’ theme, so the goals of the team are to focus on ‘Content, Conflict, Character and Community’

Conan Screenshots
  • Content – Our continued desire to keep providing exciting and engaging new content for players
  • Conflict – Build on the game’s strong PVP elements and continue to expand on the brutal world of Hyboria
  • Character – Strive to provide better options for character development, something that is a key focus at the moment with our impending revamp of items and statistics in the next major game update.
  • Community – One of the key goals for the next year will be improving upon the community and guild functionality in the game to give the players more tools to craft their own space and identity in the world of Hyboria

All of us on both development teams are looking forward to telling you even more about it soon!

Craig Morrison
Game Director
Age of Conan

Age of Conan - 7 Day Trial

Funcom is now offering a free 7 day trial for Age of Conan. If you have the machine to run it, check it out.
Looks like they also created a smaller client for download...yet it is still huge at a little over 14 gigs.
More information is located here

Age of Conan trial

The changes have been phenomenal since launch and the game runs better, questing is much improved, and coming next week is discussion of the 1.05 patch going to test, which introduces new gear mechanics and new level 70 gameplay.

Here is hoping things work out for Funcom, as this game has finally become great, and they really need to recover from the launch.