The bear from Khitai and Black Ring Citadel

July 6, 2013 1 comment

My Khitan bear shaman, Senken, has now returned to Khitai. I.e. he has now reached level 80 and the draw of the home land has brought him back to the Northern Grasslands.

Leveling up a bear shaman was quite fun – same as Herald of Xotli the bear shaman does not fit unto the usual stereotype for his archetype. Bear Shamans are priests – which in most other games are considered healers. In Age of Conan, all classes are DPS classes in a way – some just have the ability to do other things as well.

SenkenBackHome

Bear shamans are melee fighters that hit stuff with big blunt weapons and they can heal as well – in fact one of the heals requires the shaman to strike with his weapon to work. He is slower (lower DPS) than the Herald of Xotli, but on the other hand he can survive some fights better and longer than the “glass cannon” herald.

This was my third character to max level. Most of the leveling has been normal leveling, with an odd offline level inserted here and there. I did add a couple of offline levels towards the end in the mid-70s though. It is a good thing this system I think; one can take away some rough spots and thus can prolong the fun with playing.

Raid in Black Ring Citadel

Recently I was also in my first raid in the game – Wing 1 of the Black Ring Citadel. Some fellow guild members were in a raid when I logged on and asked if I wanted to join, since they were a bit short on people. SO I jumped in with my Herald of Xotli. It was a fun experience, the people in the raid were a nice and friendly group and it worked out rather well. I guess it is one of the easy raids and thus suited nicely as an introduction.

A nice bit of fun and certainly something I can consider to do a bit more of.

W1_Yaremka

Categories: Age of Conan

The voice of Joel – Age of Conan

June 26, 2013 3 comments

In May, Funcom started a new community<->developer exchange int he forums called Your Voice. In a forum thread players post questions they would like answered, a new thread for each month. Funcom would then answer 5 of these questions each month.

The answers for May were a bit delayed; most likely because Joel Bylos became a father and he had his attention elsewhere for a few weeks. But the answers are available now, answered by Joel Bylos. And a lot more questions got answers than the stipulated 5 as well.

Some of the answers had some good and interesting information and some were just enjoyable to read – Joel B has a nice style in hos posts and that shows here as well.

All the answers from May and June can be found at Your Voice – Answered Questions in the forums.

Some answers are funny to read, for example:

9. You gonna implement GLOBAL CHAT from TSW ?

TSW has no global chat. Intentionally. Because of AoC global chat 

It seems to be a nice complement to the information provided in Game Director’s monthly letter.

Categories: Age of Conan

Adventures in Khitai

June 23, 2013 Comments off

In the past few weeks my Herald of Xotli, Zelmira, have been adventuring a bit in Khitai. Around the time of the 5th year anniversary she reached level 80. Shortly after that she started to travel a bit in Khitai.

NorthernGrasslands1

Entering Khitai

Khitai is part of the Rise of the Godslayer expansion for Age of Conan. With the exception of the Gateway to Khitai zone it is completely focused on gameplay at max level 80. Thus a large portion of the content in the game at level 80 is in these areas. In order to access it the expansion must be bought, plus a subscription is needed as well.

There are four zones available when entering Khitai through the Great Wall, in Gateway To Khitai:

  • Northern Grasslands
  • Chosain Province
  • Kara Korum
  • Paikang

As one quickly notices, these have a distinctly far east flavour. The scenery is beautiful and also fits with the setting. There is a main story arc that takes you into Khitai, which starts with King Conan. A number of assassination attempts have been made against Conan, with assassins from Khitai. Conan wants you to go undercover and find out the reason behind all this. As part of this mission one will meet with other agents and also a need to befriend some of the locals in Khitai. This leads into the Khitai factions gameplay.

Read more…

Categories: Age of Conan

A Khitan final ding

June 9, 2013 1 comment

Today Senmei, my demonologist, reached max level 80 in Age of Conan. As a Khitan, she has now headed off to see her old home country again, after traveling around in Hyboria for around 40 levels.

SenmeiToKhitai

From my experience with my first level 80, Zelmira, I nudged Senmei a bit at various stages a bit with the offline leveling system – maybe about 10 levels in total, during various times. This was to skip some content – some which were less fun, but also some content which I do not want to repeat with every character.

There was also some content which I had not done before, for example the Coast of Ardashir zone (low 50s zone mainly when it comes to questing). The demonologist is a bit more traditional mage character when compared to other MMOs and thus quite unlike the Herald of Xotli. Quite enjoyable though I think, even though I like Herald of Xotli better.

Next of the agenda though is to get back to Kheshatta and do the level 80 Destiny quest and defeat The Grim Grey God

The lovely city of Kheshatta..

The lovely city of Kheshatta..

This final ding is kind of a special occasion, because it is the second fantasy MMO that I reached max level with more than one character. The first one was Guild Wars – although in Guild Wars one reaches max level by the time one takes off the training wheels for the character. One has barely started playing when reaching level 20 there.

In Age of Conan’s case I still enjoy playing it, both with alts and also with the level 80 characters. Even though there is certainly a raiding end game in Age of Conan, that is not the only thing to do at level 80. But more on that later. For now, it is nice to have reached this milestone also.

ApeKing

.

Categories: Age of Conan

The Grim Grey God

June 1, 2013 1 comment

About 10 days ago I reached level 80 wuth my Herald of Xotli, but it was not until today I decided to complete my level 80 Destiny question mission. This started off with chatting with Kalanthes in Kheshatta, doing some errands. After that it was time for the real mission, to defeat the Grim Grey God (GGG).

GGG1

Defeating gods are not the usual task on the menu, even for MMO heroes, so how to deal with it? It turns out there are a set of tablets located in a couple of sarcophagi that will help weaken and destroy GGG – so that is what we need to pick up. A god is not much without any worshippers though, so there are are some local cultists to defeat.

It starts pretty easy with a few regular mobs. After defeating the initial set of mobs one of the sarcophagus can be opened to get the tablet and that can then be placed at a certain location to weaken GGG. After placing the tablets there are reinforcements arriving, which becomes a bit tougher. However, each sarcophagus also gives a boost to the character, which helps with the enemies.

After some rounds of picking up tablets, Toth-Amon pops in and he is a bit annoyed with the whole situation. He summons a magic wave/field that pulsates though the area at regular intervals. If one is hit by this wave, on of the buffs receive from the sarcophagi is removed.

GGG2

The summoned enemies keeps getting tougher and Toth-Amon’s heralds appear. These are group enemies and a bunch of them, which means one needs the different sarcophagi buffs in order to beat them up.  This part ended up a bit tricky for me, since I had managed to get debuffed by the magic wave – I had a bit of trouble picking up the buffs again before being jumped at by multiple heralds.

Eventually that worked out though and the heralds were pulled and beaten one by one, away from the magic wave, afer running around to get the buffs in place again.

Then it is time for an incarnation of GGG to appear, also he a group mob. That fight took a bit of time, but eventually it succeeded and GGG was no more.

GGG3

Similar to the other destiny missions bthere were some specific mechanics in place, with both the buffs and the magic wave in this case.  I liked it, as I have liked the other Destiny quests. This one was bit longer than the other s. It did a pretty good job I think in projecting a sense of growing power and some challenges.

It was a nice mission. Now I am left with a mixed feeling of completion, as well as time for new exploration.  One does not defeat gods everyday, last time I did that was with a character in Guild Wars Nightfall.

I would have loved it if the Destiny quests had been a bit more extensive than just a couple of quest at min levels every now and then and a bit more like the Guild Wars campaign in terms of scope.  But the few missions that were part of it were reasonably good.

Next stop, Khitai.

Categories: Age of Conan

A generous surprise

May 31, 2013 Comments off

In a previous post I wrote about that Funcom decided to give all players with level 80 characters an additional 40 AA points (expertise points) this week and another 40 AA points 50 days later.

What I and I think many with me assumed, was that every level 80 character would get 40 AA points if they were on an active premium/member account. It turns out that this was not quite correct. Instead every character, regardless of level, were given 40 AA points, as long as there were at least one level 80 character on the account.

That was more generous than expected and a nice surprise!

I am glad also because there were some concerns with the other interpretation that Funcom was encouraging rushing through the content with this move. However, with the requirement being just a single kevek 80 character to get the points it becomes much more sane.

It is a bit limited what one can use the points on before level 80, so some people may want to save some of them until they reach level 80.

Good work, Funcom!

Categories: Age of Conan

Anniversary AA bonus

May 27, 2013 Comments off

When the 5th anniversary of Age of Conan started Funcom announced that they made some improvements to the premium membership program – members will get AA points (alternate advancement) everytime a character levels.

Compared to what was before, where characters would get maybe a couple of points at most before reaching level 80, if they were members during that time. Now they will have received 80+ points at max level.

A lot of people thought this was a great move and certainly an added incentive to go premium.

But – there always is a but – a number of people were also annoyed because they would not get these extra AA points, because they had leveled their character to max level already, in recent months.

So in response to this, Funcom decided to add a special additional reward. On May 29th, premium members with level 80 characters will receive an additional 40 AA points. Then 50 days later, every active member will receive 40 AA points extra for characters at level 80.

I do not think Funcom needed to do this; it was a nice improvement and certainly a good step towards bringing in more paying players. It is however a nice change – it gives current players some extra points for max level characters and also a chance for people to level their characters to max and get something extra for that as well.

Well done, Funcom!

Categories: Age of Conan

More monster bash

May 26, 2013 Comments off

After a long day helping my nephew study for a physics exam, I jumped into Age of Conan again this evening for a bit of monster hunting.  The new monster for today was a Leviathus Spawn, which could spawn either in Dragon’s Spire area or in Khopshef province, near Black Castle. Being more familiar with Khopshef, I decided to do a bit of Monster Watch in the different instances of Khopshef. I was not the only one doing that.

Monster Watch in Khopshef

Monster Watch in Khopshef

After about one hour the watch paid off  and some spotted the Leviathus Spawn roaming around. The call went out, more people gathered and then the bash began.  Being the new kid on the block, a lot of people jumped in to meet this … thing.

Read more…

Categories: Age of Conan

Monster bash

May 25, 2013 Comments off

The 5th anniversary of Age of Conan is on-going right now – which includes the new feature of major monster attacks in various places in Hyboria. It is pretty fun and is increasing in activity and intensity each day.

Vistrix lookalike attacking Tarantia

Vistrix lookalike attacking Tarantia

The whole event is ongoing for 5 days, started on Thursday the 23rd. During the first day one monster, the dragon above, started attacking in different areas of Tarantia (Noble District and Commons District), i.e. mid- and high-level areas. For day 2 on Friday, the Kraken started to attack in the harbour in Khemi – and the dragon continues to attack as well.

On Saturday, a big Ice Worm started to appear in some places in Cimmeria (Eiglophian Mountains & Ymir’s Pass), with the other two fellows continuing their attacks. Two additional monsters are supposed to be added to this gang on Sunday and Monday, with all five of them going wild on Monday.

Kraken attacking in Khemi harbour

Kraken attacking in Khemi harbour

If a player is nearby when the monster is defeated, they get a mission to go visit a story-teller, just outside Tarantia. If one tells this story-teller about the monster slaying, he will give you a box with a reward. This box contains some random reward. Most of the time it is just some kind of “social” effect (e.g. icy trail when running), but sometimes the rewards can be more valuable.

Zelmira, my Herald of Xotli, have been in 3 different fights so far and got the social effect drops in two cases and an epic armor piece in one case. Much better item than anything I had before, so that was a most welcome reward!

Yahkmar body double messing around in Eiglophian Mountains

Yahkmar body double messing around in Eiglophian Mountains

Funcom (Joel Bylos) has also stated that as the event progresses, the chance for good rewards will increase each day. Too bad I am out of town on Monday, although will hopefully have a bit of time on Sunday to play as well. Even if I possibly may not be able to do any more monster fights and there has been some issues around this; overall I think it has been a fairly good event. Quite nice idea!

Hopefully something like this will be back in some form later, at least during next anniversary – perhaps with an additional monster then ? (6 monsters for 6th anniversary)

Categories: Age of Conan

Happy anniversary, Age of Conan!

May 22, 2013 1 comment

Tomorrow is the 5th anniversary for Age of Conan, on May 23rd.

It is a game that certainly has seen some ups and downs. The launch was far from perfect, there were various issues and some game systems may not have worked out as well as the developers may have hoped. But it was and still is a great fantasy setting and not your cookie cutter fantasy MMO.

For me this is currently my 4th visit into the game, each time have so far lasted 2-3 months. Similar to Guild Wars it took me a few visits for me to embrace it, but I quite enjoy it now.

The anniversary, starting tomorrow, promises a few interesting things:

In-game events with big monsters attacking, everyone can participate to fight them. Sound like this could be fun (and makes me think about some City of Heroes events, with the everyone-can-participate part)

Changes & improvements to membership/premium accounts (permanent, not just during the anniversary):

  • Alternate advancement points will now be earned every time a character level. This will help close the gap somewhat between fresh max levels and old veterans, in terms of abilities
  • An item which gives double XP for one hour, per day. This sounds quite similar to what membership/premium accounts get in The Secret World
  • Additional bonus points per month (200) to use in item shop

Various gifts and items are promised to be available. Members also get additional discounts in the in-game store. During the celebrations access is also opened for everyone to Khitai, i.e. the areas in the Rise of the Godslayer expansion.

Between May 19th and May 30th anyone who buys a 3, 6 or 12 months also gets 50% extra game time.

When Age of Conan originally went into its hybrid business model (would not quite all it “free to play”) it was a somewhat restrictive model. Since then it has opened up more and essentially the whole original game is available without requiring the player to pay. It was even perhaps to the point that there was not much reason to go premium/member unless you wanted to play end-game content. Some of the changes announced here will probably give more incentives to people to pay the membership/subscription fee, if they like the game.

Categories: Age of Conan