Home > Age of Conan > The darkness of Hyboria

The darkness of Hyboria

March 3, 2009

It was bound to happen. I am not really a big fan of fantasy, but some settings do have an appeal for various reasons. Guild Wars is beautiful, has some great stories and some really great game mechanics. Chronicles of Spellborn has this mystical and fascinating story and environment and is different in a number of ways. Runes of Magic on the other hand does not really fascinate and does not have a compelling story to drive the game like the two others. But it works for casual short session dabbling.

And neither of them have any elves. This is a big plus. I hope neither game will ever introduce elves. A view of elves that I liked is from an author who wrote this:

Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.

Say fellows, any relationship with the creature from the Black Lagoon?

Say fellows, any relationship with the creature from the Black Lagoon?

Age of Conan is another of those games. It has no elves and a setting that has good potential for interesting stories and adventures. And it has a few game mechanics that I like. So I decided to give it a 3rd time to see how the game worked out. The first time was just when the game launched, with a number of issues. The second time was late last year and the game was better to play then, but rather empty and perhaps not quite fulfilling its potential for epic adventure.

This time the emptiness does not seem to be an issue and it is quite noticeable that there is more life in the game now after the server merges. There is plenty of talk in the chat channels, more people running around in the areas etc. The chat is not of the Barrens chat type and seesm generally to be kept at a nice level.

I decided to play a bit with one of my lowbies first; Ghorash, a Dark templar who was level 8 when I last left the game. This meant going through Tortage again, which I did have some reservations against before. But the experience turned out better than I had expected.

The story followed a different path than I had played before, which meant there were some new elements. But it was also interesting to see that they had done some changes in the game that did contribute to a better overall experience. There was less trash loot filling up and more of stackable stuff. There were also vendors outside Tortage itself, like in White Sands Isles. Various small changes like that, which removes some earlier annoyance factors.

Hey, it is a foul to attack a player without the ball!

Hey, it is a foul to attack a player without the ball!

While I was still longing to get out of Tortage to get out in the real world, it was still a rather nice experience and I quite liked the Dark Templar. I also had a go with my fiery missionary (the Herald of Xotli), getting back into the Evangelism by Fire game play. Also taking a peek at the crafting side in Purple Lotus Swamp, I found it a nice change to actually see other people there – did not happen the previous time I played. The bug which causes play to start at midnight in the game became noticeable outside Tortage. It was generally dark when I played, except for the multi-player part in Tortage.

It has only been a brief re-visit so far, but I hope it can work out better this time. The activity in chat channels and in various areas was more encouraging this time. I do hope the story elements of the game can play out better and keep it interesting, It already has the advantage of no elves compared to LOTRO for example, and also nicer combat mechanics.

Categories: Age of Conan
  1. March 4, 2009 at 00:52

    The midnight bug was fixed today…hooray.
    And you are exactly in the same boat as me.
    I really got sick of the elves / dwarves conundrum of High Fantasy. The Low Fantasy settings of GW and AoC are right for me.
    AoC has really come a long way, and if people would just get over the hate for a bit, and actually give the game time, they would be surprised.
    Keep me informed on how it is going. Also, do some searching and you can find cheap time cards.
    I enter Conan’s castle tonight to finish up the main destiny quest line for level 60+…Can’t wait.

  2. Yasmina
    March 4, 2009 at 21:33

    It really is a different game these days, isn’t it! I always have a good time when I log on. The game is getting older, though, and can’t ride on its innovations and good looks forever. But the setting (especially as evoked by the writers and artists) does wonders for me.

  3. March 5, 2009 at 21:50

    I try to give credit where it’s due. For all the things I didn’t like about AOC there were two that stood out as excellent. 1. Bear Shaman was the best melee hybrid class I’ve ever played, bar none. 2. AOC showed me that it wasn’t that I didn’t like questing as much as I didn’t like inconvenient and non value-add quest mechanics.

    If there was a way for players to have a subscription model based only on doing their Destiny Quest and some areas within the DS to farm the items to gear up for each quest, I’d subscribe. I enjoyed doing my DS but not enough of the rest to stay a customer.

  4. March 6, 2009 at 00:12

    Saylah, there is one game that allows you to do that, but it is not subscription-based though.

    The Prophecies, Factions, Nightfall and Eye of the North main storylines are pretty much the only questing necessary (except some additional quests in the early levels).

  5. March 6, 2009 at 02:49

    I have GW Prophecies and Nightfall. I played Prophs for a bit during one of my “I must leave WOW” fits. I purchased NF another time but never even installed it. You’re right though I should at least give NF a try since it’s no subscription. My beef with GW is how static the world feels and I don’t like the on rails invisible barriers. I’m looking forward to giving GW2 a try when it comes out. I should put it out on my desk though so that the next time I need something new to try I give it a whirl. I forgot I even had it.

  6. March 6, 2009 at 05:46

    I think the “on rails” world design is more noticeable in the first one, Prophecies, and that they did a better job in later releases to make that not stand out although it is still there.

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