Thursday, February 25, 2010

Age of Conan - Why no PvP love?

Over the last year or more Age of Conan has been taking strides to fix the overall structure of it's game-play to accommodate new players. In all actuality it has been a move to "fix" the original launch issues and at least make the game playable.

Balance, content, new additions of armor, crafting recipes and more have been put into the game.

What does that all sound like though? PVE.

Simply put, the direction of the game has changed since launch. It is now more of a casual friendly MMO RPG for PVE players than the original intent; "A Savage, brutal world...".

As of late, a sea change has occurred though in respects to how players are feeling about these changes. There is no doubt that the discussion of the changes have shown to be effective. So much so, that the game is receiving "Most improved" awards through some news outlets, population is holding steady and even rising on Xfire; players have been discussing their return to the game on the forums.
But, there is no doubt that the changes have not been enough for those players who respected Funcom enough to stick it out through their endeavors. Dissent and discourse has been the result of ignoring a half of the population (according to Craig Morrison, there is a 50/50 split of PVE-PVP players).

PVP players have started quite a few threads on the forums discussing that in reality, two years of Age of Conan has not brought any NEW challenge for PVP players, except the murder system. But, this system has proven to be broken and causes more heartache than adventure. The Siege mechanics, which was another form of high end group PVP is still in dire need of fixes due to lag and unplayability. The list goes on.

This thread describes it best..."It is quite obvious that the whole PVP department of Age of Conan is put on the back burner and is always the "last thing to work on".

Some of the concerns are:
  1. Mini-game maps - 2 years and the same 4 maps still exist since launch
  2. Battlekeeps - No change for 2 years running. New content was teased on testlive, then taken away and noted probably not until after expansion (6-8 months?)
  3. Sieges - hardware changes to help with DC's, but no fix for lags or certain criteria still causing poor performance.
  4. World PVP - Seems to take place mostly in one location, as most players are afraid of irritating guards which gives murder status...even if you were the one murdered.
  5. Glory - Part of the new renown system. Yet, takes twice as long to level as just sitting around and crafting.
  6. Arena's - Awesome idea. But, why would a PVP player do them when they equal ZERO PVP points?
It is quite obvious that after the change of Game Director, we can see that the focus of the game changed immensely. But, you may ask; does it matter?

We have the financials which show revenue for the game is still not quite there yet. But, since the new renown system has been added as of last patch (1.06), Xfire shows a major increase in activity bumping it into the high 40's (#48 today for example, which it has not seen since the 1.05 patch over 8 months ago). Discussion of the new expansion has people ready to return once that launches.

Could it be that forgetting a part of your player population and going for that PVE slant is more in line toward profit? Is PvP even needed? With the new expansion (estimates place it launching anywhere between April to June), and the core of that new game having over 85 to 90% PVE, maybe the expansion will give us the final answer.

We kinda miss ya PVP, but PVE seems to love us more.

Should Funcom be ignoring this population so long? Should more effort be put into PVP now? Or is PVE where it's at for Age of Conan? Voice your opinions.



Anonymous said...

I just posted on the upcoming expansion as they're rolling out some new advancement paths - one of which further rewards folks for PvP. However, your post seems to indicate this may create some issues :) I really wish someone would be able to figure this out as I'd love to find a good balanced PvP and PvE game :)

Scott said...

When it comes to MMO's you already know I'm more of a PvE guy anyway, *but* my dream is that eventually someone will figure out a *fun* and *compelling* way to build a PvP system that has *meaning!* The "meaning" part is important there, and directly feeds into the "compelling and fun" because I want a system that even PvE-only players *want* to participate in -- even if they're not actually directly involved in the combat.

Regarding AoC, I don't see my dream coming to fruition there, but look at most MMO's where the PvP is a tacked-on feature that serves as little more than a diversion. The game's faults weren't just PvE or PvP oriented, they were faults that affected everything. Being that there are more PvE players out there, I'm glad they're focusing more on that area and *hopefully* planning on revamping and expanding PvP with a more meaningful system than they launched with, and one that fully utilizes all the new changes to avoid once more feeling like the whole thing is tacked on.

esoteric said...

Craig is saying after the expansion PvP will be a major focus. I definitely hope so.

esoteric said...

also regarding sieges, I think for the most part they have been improved, I know fury still has issues and I've heard of issues on Cimmeria as well, but on Wiccana the last few sieges have been really smooth.

Anonymous said...

Like you saw from my post, I'm just getting back into the game so I haven't had a chance to see much of it yet.

Now that you mention it though, most of the "most improved" articles I've ever read about AoC don't talk much about the PvP, and I can tell you that from the snippets of conversations I've caught in Global chat over the last week, players aren't completely satisfied with the state of PvP right now. It doesn't really affect me, since I'm more of a PvE person, but I hope the new expansion will bring something for everyone, including the PvPers.

Allan said...

I was never too excited about Age of Conan PvP, as I couldn't resist turning my graphics settings up too high for my poor old system. Thus, I could gawk at the pretty PvE settings and creatures, but always seemed to lag behind in PvP minimaps or duels.

I really enjoyed the constant stream of new gear and...whatever those little powers were called...that you got from leveling Renown in Warhammer. Granted, I didn't get much past level 20 in that game, but I found that much more innovative than the Conan PvP reward system.