Friday, October 30, 2009

Age of Conan - Issues all make sense now

Age of Conan's issues have all been explained now..We understand why the game is where it is at!

From Craig Morrisons blog...(Source)

"Alas there is one thing I am bad...really and that is actually finishing work."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Age of Conan - BROKEN game!

Age of Conan truly has hit rock bottom. Ongoing issues and then new bugs as well causes the game to become an almost unplayable mess.

Recently an update went live (Tuesday Oct. 27th) which added new event content and a new dungeon.
Along with this wonderful content ... a slew of new bugs like lag spikes kicking you out of the game, raids being borked due to mitigation issues, broken quests, trader issues...

Basically they fixed one issue and introduced three more.

I am now in a major discussion with my family of what to do. The wife is of course very forgiving...especially seeing she has not played an MMO in ages, and AoC is the first one to entice her back.

She loves it. And she does not want to give up that easy.

Same for me...

But, at what point do you say that you have had enough.

Do you go to a restaurant, eat a shoddy meal, yet have good appetizers, but the delivery of the food took forever, yet it was an excellent deal....and finally say...well, I will go back again or never return?

This is where I am. I love the meal, but man oh man, I hate the service.

Age of Conan is just on it's last legs. Maybe someone finally needs to put her out of her misery...or mine at least, as I just do not want to play another MMO. Maybe if they shut it down, I could finally move on.

Help me Obi-Wan!

EDIT: Just when you think you are talking to a brick wall, along comes the Game Director and opens the "Devtracker" (Source)
Looks like details on upcoming updates, a central source for info on the expansion and a way to see what bugs are being tracked, issues, concerns and more.
Alright, Funcom gains a small reprieve...but for how long?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Age of Conan - Ending? Beginning?

Well, a little hiatus never hurts.

I have been super busy, and as you can probably see above, my signatures show an "official" 3 level 80's in my repertoire.

So, where do I go? What do I do?

Hard to say.

Several things are keeping me busy right now.

Our Guild City as part of an experiment (only 3 people in the guild) is COMPLETELY Tier one. Seems it works if you have cash, and put the time into gathering. We liked having this goal.
We are now progressing on Tier Two. But, this requires even more cash, and that has been my current plan.
Gathering, job contracts and hopefully some dungeon runs will net me some goodies to sell and an abundance of cash (which is not easy in this game).
But, Raids are off limits. The time it takes, and the outcome is not really what I need.
We as a guild were able to afford several "Culture" pieces of armor, or called Tier Zero armor for running quests, etc. So, the need for Raid gear is not really there yet.
An example of how powerful we are was the 3 of us tackled the Slaughterhouse on normal in less than 30 minutes, which can net about 2-3, this is on our list of "to do". My hope is we may be able to go "Epic" mode on this dungeon and try to get even more cash...
Wonder what the payout is?
The Tarantia Commons is quick silver per contract (and the contracts are easy)...

But, that is all we got.

Luckily as you may have read, a new Halloween event is coming soon to occupy us, and the Iron Tower which is group based. I am interested on if it is any good or not.

But, the money is the key. I like having the guild city be a goal, and not raiding nightly.

But, my son desperately wants to raid, so I will need to go with him once so he can learn some raid etiquette, and then he can go on his own from that point on.

For myself, I have started to break my time up in game with some Single Player RPG's. I have went back to playing the Witcher (so love that game) and am playing Risen. Risen is truly enamoring and has kept me wanting to play more.

So my routine is now AoC in the mornings for gathering and contracts, and in the evening with the family. Afternoons and off times in SPRPG's.

Funcom's speed in updates is truly a cement and molasses affair, and I find it hard for them to continue to keep players entertained this way. I know it is killing me with nothing to do. I do not want to start again at this time on a new character, so what do I do?

Will this be the ending? Or a new beginning? Time will tell

Friday, October 16, 2009

Age of Conan - Upcoming Halloween Event

Age of Conan will be doing it's first holiday themed event.

For Halloween, Funcom will present "Nights of Lost Souls "

With two brand new solo quests, and an additional team quest, players will have to track down and defeat three Lost Souls. The quests will take you to places you thought you knew, but this time of year casts a shadow over things you once found familiar.

With fun and fantastic seasonal items to acquire, those that seek out the Lost Souls will find themselves facing the true dangers that lurk just beyond firelight.

Of course, there are plenty of rewards as well. How about the Fermented Brain Juice that causes you to vomit and become drunk, or the Void Essence that changes your skin? Here is a selection of the great, new items you can collect from these autumn quests! The nights begin after Update 5.6!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Age of Conan - Defensive, On Message or Right?

Craig Morrison has dropped into a forum post based on a recent blog post he did a little over a week ago...(Source).
Craig called the blog post "Community Communication...Between a rock and a hard place".
In it he discusses how difficult it can be to communicate with the "forum" crowd when stating his message.
He points out how someone "argued" with him over PM about Age of Conan.

The conversation went

"'[PM'er]You can't possibly tell me what I like or dislike most' and I [Craig] replied explaining that I wasn't trying to do that at all, that I was just pointing out that there were different playstyles out there and that we, as an MMO developer, had to try and balance the needs of many different playstyles. (much in the way I have discussed it here before) to which he then replied - 'That's exactly the same thing no matter how you word it. You are still telling me I am wrong in my opinion."

This is understandable on Craig's part. The person was still seeing it his way. But, then the blog post does go on to state that he maybe felt this person was wrong in his basically, wrong?

A fine line there.

Anyways, someone posted his conversation (blog post) on the AoC forums. And seems Craig gets a bit defensive. (Source) At least from my viewpoint.

I am trying my best to understand if Craig is trying to just make sure he stays on his message, is being defensive or is he right? Or should the old adage apply..."The customer is always right".

The post takes a turn into some "opinion" territory, with players stopping in to point out their concerns, with Craig stating the reasons they have done what they did in the game...yet, so many seem to think it is NOT the right "direction".

What basically started as a "state your point in a concise manner" looks to me to turn into a "now dear forum poster, here is why your point is NOT right"

For example...

POSTER: I really think you should make some new armor/weapons, so everyone isn't pigeon holed into a single set of options in order to be viable in pvp.

CRAIG: ON an aside first, I think 'viable' is subjective to your personal approach to gaming. If you are a true min/maxer there will only ever be one 'viable' choice....aside from that though we are working on adding more items and armor into the game, and the expansion will see a huge addition there.

So Craig DOES answer his post, but seems to take an attitude that this specific posters opinion of viable is...not viable?

That poster returns and states...

POSTER: Great! Love the idea of an expansion other than that I shouldn't have to pay for content that should have already been here. Hate to hear that I'm stuck with mostly the same gear as what I've been wearing for the last 18 months for at least another 6-10. That seems like an awful lot to ask of your subscribers.

I also don't agree with your assessment about being "viable". I'm approaching 'viable' from the standpoint of 'I want to kill people, rather than be killed by people'. There is no reason to level up in pvp or use pvp gear in this game other than if you don't have the raid equivalent. DPS > mitigation in this game, so if you're using Pvp gear over raid gear, you're fooling yourself.

The way your gear progression should be going based on how hard it is to acquire in this game is :

(He goes on to explain what he sees as viable)

This gets no response from Craig. But he does have this to say when someone points out that he looks like he is defending and not saying --Well, we may be wrong, or we need to look into that--......

POSTER: I think the real issue is that Craig is "defending" his stance, and these points will go on deaf ears. But, that was a really good (but tough) read. Everyone at the Funcom offices should also read it thoroughly, and not reply or defend anything.

CRAIG: They don't fall on deaf ears, all the feedback is read and assimilated and while we won't always agree hearing other opinions is always valid, and being able to discuss them without feeling like it is 'defending' is an important part of taking part in an actual discussion. Think of it more as explaining rather than defending.

I guess I do not understand that if opinions are "valid", why must you always explain away the opinion to make it feel like the person is "wrong".

Or is it wrong to believe the dev is trying to do this, and just needs to give you the "reason" they did something?

This is a really tough situation right now for Craig, with updates being few and far between for Age of Conan, layoffs, subs seeming to disappear (based on visual acuity as well as sources like Xfire).

Should Craig even be in this discussion? for now...Cheers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Age of Conan - Progressions

As you may see above (in my signatures list), several characters have leveled.

Ethalos, my Tempest of Set has hit level 73. He plays with the family guild. Tabari, my Herald of Xotli is 79 and just 6 bars from 80.

Basically Tabari has been on morning duty, and tackling contracts and running what is called the Slaughterhouse. He also has several quests yet to complete in Kheshatta, the region of Stygia where Thoth-Amons castle reigns.
He does not have much further and will start the final road of quests for the storyline. I have not debated what I will do with him once I hit 80. I am unsure of raiding with him at this point. But, due to how he does combat, it sure would be a blast.

Ethalos of course travels with the family pack, and progression is FAST due to being grouped and being able to tackle quests quickly and efficiently.
We have been in Kheshatta, but have still some quests in Atzels Fortress zone.

But, all of this is moot, as the big news is the Guild City.

We tackled this as a 3 person team. My old main, Amatheon, became an Architect, and we have been working on the build of the city gradually.
We have all of the main Professions and standard buildings in place (Temple, Keep, Barracks). One set of walls and tower up to the gates (the gates have been built as well).
We still have about 17 wall pieces and 3 towers left, then we can move to the inner wall.

Once that is complete, we will be Tier One!

This has actually proven to be a major fun project for us. From working on the Trader to sell goods, collecting gold, gathering resources...we really made an effort.
I can see how tough this is, and with just 3 of us, I think it is pretty impressive work.

I think the best part is it allows us to do something different than the norm of questing and killing, and it has been a blast.

Well, that is all for now. Our main goal at this point is to have our family team hit level 80 and hit Tier one on the city. After this we will make some decisions on what we want to do. As long as Funcom can't get content out, then it is hard to say where we will go.
No other MMO works for us, so we could all go our separate ways...hard to say.

For now, all we know is we are happy, and the family that plays together...stays


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Age of Conan - Bizarre downtime for Oct. 7th

Tomorrow, October 7th, Age of Conan will come down for maintenance. This in itself is not bizarre. What IS bizarre is first...we had maintenance last week. We have never had more than one maintenance in a month... except once.

Which leads me to #2. The usual times for maintenance is 2 hours. This one is scheduled for...SIX?

The last time we had SIX hours or more AND more than once in a month for maintenance...

We had MERGES!

Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Age of Conan - Economy?

As we have been discussing, Age of Conan has of course (like other MMO's) seen a loss of players due to Aion's launch, Champions Online (not so much there, seeing how it keeps dropping on Xfire) and Fallen Earth (indie = niche = small pop.).
But, it seems a huge discussion is going on at the community (probably the lowest denominator of posters you are likely to see except for a select few..)

I call them "The Kids are NOT alright" there.

Anyways, I have been having a Twitter discussion with Sevenwind, another regular player of AoC, as he has seen someone start a thread called "Another reason not to play...Age of Conan - Economy".

It seems the poster is using a tool called Yellow Gremlin to discuss how there not that many items for level 80's to purchase, and uses an example of the Cloth Wearer and notes a total of just...25 items in all.

As quoted

"Of level 80 items, there are 171 for sale. If you wanted to buy level 80 equipment for your character, this is what is available in the game at the moment:

Yoggite Ritual Club
Darkfate Mask
Crown of Torment
Robes of Torment
Belt of Torment
Fine Steelsilk hood, robe, sash, tunic, cap, wristbands (cloth player made)
Impskin Tunic
Illfated belt
voidseeker sash
wildfire sash
celeritous slippers
palemoon leggings
deathvigil tunic
shadowslick treads
blacknettle sash
bloodrill pants
nadiril sash
nadiril wristbands

25 things in total, including the player made cloth items. "

Basically he is saying whether it is Armor, weapons, rings, etc...there are a total of 25 items IN ALL for sale for level 80.
As I can see first, he took the "Steelsilk" items (which are each one piece) and made that ONE piece. He also lists NO rings, NO necklaces...etc.

Sevenwind asked me to see if this was possible. I decided to log into SET (server where he said his data is from) and see what the problem was (as you could see, this WOULD be a worrisome issue).

First off, I noted in Cloth armor alone, there was a total of 40 "unique" pieces (that means head, wrist, legs, chest...) etc pieces in all available. Quite a few crafted items were available also.
When looking at weapons I came up with 4 "unique" maces (while the above poster lists ONE).

I mean, really, what is the purpose of doing this in the first place? As one note, there are NO or virtually no Chest pieces that are available for sale at higher levels, as they are all strictly Bind on, any chest piece will already be worn by the player...who PICKED IT UP...not as a for sale item.
Second, a majority of players will actually wear level 78 or 79 pieces known as "Culture" armor which, if a person can afford them, as they go between 8 all the way up to 40 gold for one piece and they are CRAFTED and EPIC RARE, can actually wear those pieces until they get Tier one pieces.

The issue boils down to a person who is not a player trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. His information is way off, and he is strictly trying to start an argument.
There is a REASON level 80 equipment is thin, as FIRST this is not WoW.. AoC is not such a gear oriented game, that all the player does is camp the AH and wait for their armor piece to appear. There are no tokens to get armor, and everything in Age of Conan must be EARNED.
Crafted pieces are just a bandaid until someone gets the drop they REALLY want.
And that is the SECOND item. Most pieces are NOT for sale, but instead are BoP and as such, everyone is out getting what they want...thus PLAYING the game, and not camping the Trader.

A final say on the market. The economy actually revolves around resources. THIS is what the poster at should have noted. He cannot note it as for some reason when you search the rare resources on AoC.YG.COM...for some reason they do not appear.

An example, Tainted Alkahest, a needed potion to remove gems from crafted items to place new ones in...each sell for 1G 25S on a regular basis (this does not waver..)

AoC.YG shows ZERO of these on Set.

There is a full page of these when I search the Trader on Set in game.

Platinum, one of the more expensive crafting pieces needed to make the "Culture" armor I noted above? A full page in game at 1G or more.


Good thing this poster had a reliable source!

Next time, please poor argumentative poster who has nothing better to do, get your facts from a true source, and not use a tool that has it's ups and downs (PS: More downs than ups...)

What are your thoughts on economies and MMO success? Pipe in...and btw...


(Just an EDIT: Seems this DIIIMaster who started the hate thread at is now stating he has been in contact with me, and he has not. Also of note, I was FORCED to create a new MMORPG account to set the record straight ...I am known as TempestNews there. I do not plan to keep it...but, when you have someone causing issues like that, hard not to pop in and say otherwise)

(EDIT TWO: Seems that I am a liar unless I have pictures of the Trader, as this is some VAST, here are the pictures. Enjoy folks...)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Age of Conan - As we go into October...

Age of Conan players are left with a bitter taste in their mouths.

With the announced layoffs, it seems that the forums have started to fill up at the community site for AoC with discussion of where Funcom is headed with Age of Conan.

Several posts really speak out for how everyone is feeling both in the community and in the game as well...

This last thread speaks volumes.

What the issue boils down to is priorities of the Funcom staff.

Many surveys have gone out, and many times the forums fill up with the same concerns after this happens.

Not enough endgame and not enough PvP fixes.

The first issue is that the raids have been relatively the same (except for fixes to certain raids that already existed but were a buggy mess). As these raids grow stagnant, the team has been working on??...

Another 6 man dungeon.

If we look, most content has been new dungeons for small teams. It is getting old for many.
Guild Tools was another gripe that has been on the forefront of player concerns. We may not see any Guild changes (like the Renown system) until the end of the year.
Finally, PvP has done absolutely NOTHING since the new "Criminal" system went into place last year (around September actually)...except again for some "fixes".

Is Age of Conan just in maintenance mode? And how can they continue in that aspect with "The Secret World" being delayed?

Is the main push now for the free to play MMO that Funcom has been working on? As we can see, the Free to Play market is becoming lucrative for many companies (overseas and local to the US, like Dungeons & Dragons Online, which has seen a massive jump in the number of players since going free)..

Or is it that Age of Conan's issues continue to cause havoc for the team as they try and add new content? For example, the next patch is to include the Iron Tower which has been discussed for several months now (in the Tarantia Commons district which was added several months ago), yet the first iteration to hit Testlive is buggy beyond belief (with complaints of all bosses being bugged, issues with lighting and shading, etc...).
And for the Iron Tower, Funcom has put T3 raids in "dev" mode...meaning it will not show up for some time..

Vets are the main concern now, as with new games launched like Aion pulling scrips from EVERYONE who is a fantasy nut. Fallen Earth and Champions Online and their niche playing in those worlds...the vets who love the game are the ones Funcom should be concerned about pleasing.
Yet, all they will offer vets are rewards in the new vet program...which are things like horses and bags (which most vets have), Cassilda following you around and cheering you on like she does in the tutorial island (annoying) and BREAST ENLARGEMENT POTIONS...yea...everyone needs those.

So, with layoffs, this may not be a concern for Funcom, as moving to Canada allows them to take a huge tax break and really get motivated...but so far a lot of the team is not leaving Norway (as who wants to leave one of the top 5 best countries to live in?..I think it was #2 - SOURCE)

So, really...where does this leave Funcom...and where does this leave Age of Conan?

Looks like scary times for AoC and those who love her, thanks to a company so many do not love...