Age of Conan

“Hold the line!”

He’s my captain. So I stand there, sweating under 40 pounds of 110-degree metal. The left side of my shield, which I would normally have tight to my side, is canted over the right side of Cedric, another newbie fighter. To my right is Jason, a vet. His shield is over mine. I can feel the press of them. A shield wall is no place for the homophobic.

Running towards us, the crazy, armor-hating bastards called the Tuchucks are running at us in a dead sprint. Screaming. Painted blue. Just behind them is an advancing line of orderly shields. Hundreds of them.

The noise when they ‘chucks hit our shield wall is a soundboard mix of screams and angry metal and breaking wood, so loud my ears crackle. My sword – just a hard, heavy stick of rattan - comes out from behind my shield. In a well practiced snap, I hit him on the head as hard as I possibly can. The shock travels all the way into my shoulder, which cries in pain as it pops out for the third time this week. The ‘chuck falls to the ground. “Good!” he yells.

Yes. Yes it is. It’s very good.

Over 10,000 people, from relatively normal history professors having a campout with their kids to whacked out social retrogrades following a Deadheads-but-with-mead-and-kilts lifestyle, show up every August for the Pennsic War. For many, the annual gathering of the Society for Creative Anachronism, is about dancing and fencing and pretending to be someone else. For me, it was only ever about one thing: hitting people as hard as I can.

SCA Heavy List Combat – the official name for putting on “realistic” 10-1600AD era armor and hitting people with sticks – was the last of my forays into contact sports. As the teen son of quaker pacifists at the end of the Vietnam era, what better rebellion could there be than an obsession with the pugilistic. By the age of 11 against objections that only spurred me on, I hung a heavy bag in the barn, took up fencing, and practiced hitting a like-minded friend as hard as I could with a quarterstaff made from an ash limb that fell down in an ice storm. We wore second hand lacrosse gear. I only broke my nose once.

As soon as I had a car, I switched to Tae Kwon Do. Not just normal Tae Kwon Do, but the studio of an admittedly off-the-reservation martial arts nut who would go on to thrive in the world of even-I-can't-watch mixed martial arts. Thursday night sparring at the studio frequently involved full helmets, chest protectors, neck guards and knee braces. At the end of two years I gave it up due primarily to incompetence: I was lucky to leave with three broken ribs, a broken thumb, rotator cuff injuries, a broken toe and two broken noses.

Even pretty-hard-contact sparring had nothing on the bloodlust of SCA combat. Of course, nobody says “hit me as hard as you can.” I have yet to meet a Tyler Durden in real life. In fact, my SCA marshals always said the opposite – hit people hard enough to register an inarguable hit, no more. But once I wasn’t training any more, and was just fighting with friends, the definition of what’s a “good hit” crept inexorably upwards as we all silently pushed it further and further.

Despite my complete and obvious ineptitude – I left SCA combat after breaking both thumbs, my nose (again), two more ribs, a knee injury, a probable concussion and a chronically dislocating right shoulder – I loved it. I loved getting hit almost as I loved being the ass-whooper. It’s real. It’s a barbaric yawp full of heat and blood.

As I’ve been tamed by life and love and children and conscience, I’ve tried to put this behind me. Despite my willingness to commit it to the page, I am in many ways ashamed of this uncivil need for expressive and unemotional violence. But the need for contact hasn’t gone away, so I’ve sublimated it. The heavy bag sits in the basement, not 15 feet from my computer, straps and gloves hanging. On a good day, I can see them hanging there, and my refusal to engage in the ritual of wrapping my hands is a kind of shallow and shameful victory. On a bad day, the house rattles with sweaty staccato until I can't lift my arms anymore. At the gym, I lift weights as hard as I possibly can. My continued membership is despite the tortured looks of the church ladies on treadmills as I grunt and hiss my way through 1-set-to-failure self-flagellations.

Age, infirmity, incompetence and inebriation lead inevitably to virtuality. Some small measure of the rush is there when watching a smashmouth football game, or a gung-ho superhero movie, or reading a well plotted comic book. The emotion can live on the back of Nine Inch Nails. They’re all expressions of the same chemical malfunctions whose suppression has likely allowed modern civilization to thrive.

But nowhere should the simulacrum of personal violence be more perfectly rendered than in our virtual worlds. But the silent click-and-poof of a well timed snipe, while an engaging experience, is nothing like delivering a well placed side kick to the chest of someone who falls over when you’re done. Being chainsawed in half by an alien malefactor is nothing like being laid low by a sharp thrust to the helmet, landing with a thud on the hot August dirt in a steel turtle-shell of sweat and ache.

Where games do succeed is in the formation of brotherhood. My small clan of shieldmates during my brief years in the SCA became tight and meaningful on the battlefield. In the real world, we never, ever crossed paths. We were not friends in any normal sense of the word. But when 10 of us were in a line together, there was a sense of the whole that can be very nearly simulated during a perfect night of online, voice-enabled mayhem. But that physical sense of contact is rarely well simulated, even with a vibrating controller in hand.

Often, the harder a game tries to recreate this intensity, the more it fails. Grand Theft Auto strives for gritty and violent while actually leaving the grit and violence to the storytelling. The actual acts are rote and uninteresting. Fight Night 3, while brilliant in its use of controls to create a real simulation, went too far in the other direction, making the bloodheating acts of beatdown too technical to inspire an epic poem.

Which is why Age of Conan is so refreshing.

Age of Conan, the just-launching MMO from Funcom, is far from a perfect game. It suffers from everything every MMO suffers from – a bit of grind, spawn camping, idiot players, technical bugs. But what it gets right is that feeling of being there in the heat of combat, that feeling of conquest and contest and struggle.

There’s no one thing that makes this so. I can only assume it's the concerted effort of a team of artists, animators, game designers, story tellers, sound designers, donut-gatherers and secretaries that focused on a single mantra: “get the combat right.” The sound design is brilliant, neither overbearing nor an afterthought. The combat animations are quick and real and heroic. Not realistic, in the sense that nobody I know can swing a 4 foot long sledgehammer 30 times a minute, but fluid and believable.

Ultimately it comes down to mashing keys – what else can it come down to really? But in Age of Conan, there is a real sense that you as the player are influencing combat. But because the game implements an active defense system, I have to be constantly worrying about how to attack (left, right, thrust, set up a combo) in relation to my understanding of my opponents’ defense. If I gauge it right, I can dodge, block and attack my foe into a position where I can unleash my strongest attacks against his weakest defense. This is a long, long way from the fire-and-forget combat of every other MMO I’ve played.

This difference is much more important than I would have expected. As Torgana, Tempest of Set charges into combat, I can see through on-screen cues that my unsuspecting pict opponent has a balanced defense. As I pound at my foe with my hammer, he starts raising the shield on his left side. Duped, one quick backhand and he goes down. Throughout the combat, I dodge out of his way, swooping in for attacks when the timing is right. In a group, facing, positioning and shield coordination all work exactly like they should. I can cower behind my better armed companions, run around for flanking attacks, or cower under my shield in fear and shame. There's no "standing inside the tank" here.

Age of Conan feels like standing in that Pennsic shield wall. Not all the time, but often enough. Knowing my limitations, understanding my opponent and making quick decisions about tactics - it all actually matters, and results in blood and grunts and glorious victory.

Does this lead to a game with endless lifespan, or to wealth beyond the dreams of avarice for its publisher? Who knows. But that feeling of ripe aggression without the moral hangover is extremely rare, and they got it right.

The Tuchux would be proud.

Comments

Nice writeup Rabbit.

I don't have the same personal experience with human v human violence that you do, but there is a different feel to Conan that I haven't felt in other games. There is something very engrossing about the combat. Part of it is the timing of your attacks with the flow of combat, the combo system, the character animations that flow together well, the fatalities at the end of a long fought battle. There's something else there that I can't quite put to words. All I know (and really all I care about) is that it is FUN!

At first, the combat feels a little spammy. You mash 1, 2 and 3 until the guy you're fighting falls down, but as you play more and more you fall into a rhythm as the combat "slows down".

Hopefully sometime in the next couple of months they will release a downloadable 10-day trial so everyone can take the opportunity to experience the combat system.

I couldn't be more happy I purchased the $100+ Collectors Edition. It is that good.

Very interesting review. Sounds to me like the "Age of Chivalry" mod for Source. That mod also has swords and shields and stuff. After you learn the weak point and the strong points of the characters you can have some epic duels. Although this combat mechanic sounds even deeper. This might just be what I have been waiting for, time for me to score a X-day trial.

Despite my complete and obvious ineptitude – I left SCA combat after breaking both thumbs, my nose (again), two more ribs, a knee injury, a probable concussion and a chronically dislocating right shoulder – I loved it. I loved getting hit almost as I loved being the ass-whooper. It’s real. It’s a barbaric yawp full of heat and blood.

Wrestling is the same way. There something about it when you condition someone to not want to stand up by slamming them into the mat repeatedly that I miss. Nothing beats feeling their body loose just a little bit of tension as they loose their will to fight, as you break them. I simply doubt that Age of Conan can vary enough away from the grindtastic-ness of MMO's to become less than a chore to me. That, my unwillingness to continually fork money over to the same people and my personal distaste for the 'skill' required to master MMO's makes me ean towards the side of the skeptic at launch. Now if it takes off, I'll be there, but for now I remain watching on the tall fence.

Ohhhhhhhh Rabbit you are soooooooooooooooo tempting me to abandon the realm of Middle Earth and strike out for Aquilonia and its environs. Being a Robert E. Howard fan as well as a Savage Sword of Conan collector I spent many a hour wandering around Hyboria with a broadsword swearing "Crom and Mitra!!"

Lets see .... when does my LOTRO account renew?

CROM!!!!

Just want to remind people to check out the Conan comics published in the last few years by Dark Horse. They're doing a great job with the series and following a regular sequence of events - incorporating the old material as necessary but adding new material in a seamless way. The art is fantastic and the story is grim and gritty swords and sorcery.

This regular series went up to #50, and now he's returning to Cimmeria with Conan of Cimmeria 0, 1, and 2 coming out soon. If you like trade paperbacks instead, start with Conan Volume 0, Born on the Battlefield. If you don't like that book, you're not a real Conan fan, period.

SOUNDS LIKE SOMEONE MIGHT BE UP FOR A LIL' TUBE DUELIN'!

http://www.tubeduel.com/

So that misspent youth of broken ribs and noses explains why your picture is so pink and puffy.

I understand the mechanics of attack, as Rabbit has mentioned - but am sadly lacking at paying attention to defense. Coming from a lot of time in EQ, combats feel better, because it should not take 6 people 3 minutes to wear down a single even level mob, when he is whacking your tank for 10% of hit points every 3 seconds (...ish). Could that be one of the things that makes combat seem real, Rabbit? I can size someone up, and it just seems like it either I fall in about the right amount of time, or my enemy does.

Maybe I would pay closer attention to defense if I were not an assassin. My mashing of the buttons is better spent optimizing my attacks, by Set!

gargamello wrote:

SOUNDS LIKE SOMEONE MIGHT BE UP FOR A LIL' TUBE DUELIN'!

http://www.tubeduel.com/

OMFG!!! They made a sport of my prepubescent, post-Christmas vacation, play time.
Many a dragon (err.. cat) or knave (err ... best friend) felt the wrath of my steel (err ... cardboard) sword (err ... tube)!!!

TANJ

Excellent review, rabbit - right in line with N'gai Croal's call to focus on experiential gameplay in reviews, rather than mechanic descriptions and plot summaries.

Very nice Rabbit - AoC does not get everything right, and has plenty of things I would like to see different - but it "feels" so good!

Installing now. And yes I know better then to buy any MMO at release so that should say something (mostly that I'm a slow learner I guess).

I liked the close beta enough that despite the warts there is something there worth perusing.

Two things that drives me nuts though that no game has gotten right IMO.

Mobs are not itemized. If I kill three sword/spear Armour wielding maniacs I expect to be able to find some of said equipment. Don't want them to cough up that gear then don't draw them that way, or at least have the decency of showing rending their gear past usable in the close of the fight.

Loot is still not geared in so a way to to really make you feel you got something precious or unique to your battle/quest toils.

That said AoC defitly seems to have some good stuff going on. I was especially enjoying the Assassin's solo story line (though the stealth game is no Thief class play for sure, and that is a little sad).
I hope it doesn't generate into a soulless affair the way Tabula Rosa dose in short order, off hand it didn't seem like it would.

I'm liking the sound of it but i'm still yet to be convinced enough to leave LoTRO, or even consider picking up a second MMO...

Launching an MMO is one thing, it's gonna be interesting becuase of all the hype they have created, if they don't live up to it... watch out!

Yeah, that's always the case. LOTRO eventually lost me in the mid-level grind, which is, frankly, where most MMOs lose me. I haven't gone far enough in this to say whether AoC breaks that lock.

Nice read Rabbit, thank you. Most of us Goodjers have been through many cycles of mmorpgs: the anticipation, the hype, the beta, the flamers & trolls, the buggy release, and then the longer phase when everyone settles down and gnaws on the game for a while. For me it was Ultima Online, Anarchy Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Horizons (shudder), City of Heroes, WoW, and now AoC.

Not since my first few days playing Ultima Online a decade ago has a game -single or multiplayer or massively multiplayer- grabbed me by the throat and left me gasping for more the way Age of Conan has done.

There is so much potential for long term enjoyment here. For those that are on the fence about signing up, please ask around for a free 7-day trial.

This game sounds better and better by the day. The combat sounds awesome, but transatlantic lag will most likely be an issue. I need to wait for some other local players to give impressions first.

Heehee... I too love to strap on my Visby Coat and stand in a shield wall, waiting to crush those before me. I knew there were a few closeted SCAers, SSGers, and Live steel participants around here.

Ok, I kept going back and forth on this game, but this MMORPG cycle has officially ended for me. This game is LOTRO with a gimmick (3-directional melee with shaky camera) and less stable network/graphics than LOTRO had at launch.

Today I got into the multiplayer portion and its a disaster in both design and technical terms. Nothing in the world fits visually with anything else, except the environment fitting in with the environment. The spells have atrocious coloring and appearance, the minions look completely uninspired, everything on the screen is busy and counterintuitive.

The unimportant looks distinctive, the important looks indistinctive. Things run around with pointless 3D arrows around them. It's like an indie development team got a big budget and a lot of time to get things wrong. Even the spell progress bars are not clean, they're TEXTURED like a goddamn carpet. Why ? BECAUSE THEY COULD.

It's like Starcraft alpha all over again, except there's no guarantee that the game will experience overhaul as significant as Starcraft did before it was released.

City of Heroes and WoW were the last two MMORPGs that I still consider decent... typical server problems aside, their client's design and engine felt RIGHT and rock-solid on the launch day, and, in my mind, neither have been dethroned thus far.

Recently, "Vince D. Weller", an indie developer said this, dripping with sarcasm:

[...] here is a tip: get rid of most designers - they are a useless scum anyway - and replace them with graphics artists. Your game can become a huge success with one or less designers, but it simply won't do well if you have less 100 artists.

I didn't know someone would actually follow it to the letter.

A bit negative don't you think shihonage? Not knocking your chronically negative outlook on things but I think AoC is a bit better than you have described.
Yes it has many issues and yes it seems like a glorified LOTRO with a nifty combat system interface but I believe the graphic and story style as well as the classes, skills, powers, craftsman and the tower and keeps element in PVP does change and move the MMORPG genre forward. Yes it does seem to have more than enough graphics and nifty little icons that it all pretty and fun looking but does this annoying tidbit take away from all the good in the game? It's not the best thing you will ever see but I certainly put it over WoW which is 800lb gorilla in the room (Terminology used in normal terms and not referring to the community person of the same name.).

Bottom line, you see a lot of negative and I see a lot of potential. Especially in six months when I'll buy the retail version. Even in the best looking MMORPGs I've learned my lesson and would rather not go through the initial 6 month growing pains of constant bug fixes, downloads and user influx and then deflation of population and excitement.

Running Man wrote:

Nice read Rabbit, thank you. Most of us Goodjers have been through many cycles of mmorpgs: the anticipation, the hype, the beta, the flamers & trolls, the buggy release, and then the longer phase when everyone settles down and gnaws on the game for a while. For me it was Ultima Online, Anarchy Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Horizons (shudder), City of Heroes, WoW, and now AoC.

Not since my first few days playing Ultima Online a decade ago has a game -single or multiplayer or massively multiplayer- grabbed me by the throat and left me gasping for more the way Age of Conan has done.

There is so much potential for long term enjoyment here. For those that are on the fence about signing up, please ask around for a free 7-day trial.

Free 7-day trial? PM Me. Fence sitter that I am.

kilroy0097 wrote:

A bit negative don't you think shihonage? Not knocking your chronically negative outlook on things

It's not on things, it's on games. And it's not my fault, it's the game industry's fault, because they failed to grow with me and are intent on reinventing the wheel and pretending that I'm as indiscriminate and forgiving toward gaping flaws when I was 12. Seeing this kind of repetition of errors bores me violently.

Didn't they see Hellgate London or LOTRO ? Couldn't they learn some "not to dos" from the UI of those games ? The answer is, they couldn't, because they looked but didn't see.

but I think AoC is a bit better than you have described.
Yes it has many issues and yes it seems like a glorified LOTRO with a nifty combat system interface but I believe the graphic and story style as well as the classes, skills, powers, craftsman and the tower and keeps element in PVP does change and move the MMORPG genre forward. Yes it does seem to have more than enough graphics and nifty little icons that it all pretty and fun looking but does this annoying tidbit take away from all the good in the game?

Its not pretty and fun looking. The interface is butt-ugly, distracting and counterintuitive.

It's not the best thing you will ever see but I certainly put it over WoW which is 800lb gorilla in the room (Terminology used in normal terms and not referring to the community person of the same name.).

No, you won't. I believe the UI in this game is so bad nobody can objectively rate it as better than WoW's. Even the talent screen is full of busy same-looking icons with no permanent text labels.

Bottom line, you see a lot of negative and I see a lot of potential. Especially in six months when I'll buy the retail version. Even in the best looking MMORPGs I've learned my lesson and would rather not go through the initial 6 month growing pains of constant bug fixes, downloads and user influx and then deflation of population and excitement.

The problem is, the essence of the game is always there at the start. The essence is the sum of all the talents of the development team. This is their best work to date. Something they decided was GOOD ENOUGH. This is the result of 5 years of non-stop work.

CoH and WoW at launch had the same "feel" and general appearance as they do now. Sure, there have been enhancements, but it's not the same. Many parts of AoC need to be reworked from the ground up, and rarely in the history of game development has anyone done this after the game came out, MMO or not MMO.

I have a funny thought on the so-called revolutionary melee system. I predict that soon people will discover, all things combined, that there's more strategy/fun to using a WoW warrior at level cap than his equivalent in AoC at level cap, despite this "innovative approach".

Shihonage,

I'm not trying to convince you otherwise, you've made some well reasoned points. I did however have this same conversation with one of my editors on IM yesterday, and we posited a similar scenario setup. I'm a guardian at the front of a big fight against a boss. I've got three folks with me, one on each side and a healer behind me. The question is, at any given moment where I have an action, how many things can I do (how many tactical choices do I have). The answer is (I believe):

WoW: Attack, Use a skill, Use an Item (lots of each of the last two, but generally, one of 3-4 skills and 2-3 items).

AoC: 5 Attacks, 4 Defends, 4 dodges,Use a skill, Use an item

Whether those extra tactical choices in combat make a difference remains to be seen. My suspicion is counter to yours, which is that in big-ass PVP or raids, there will be lots of fun and strategy in AOC.

Don't disagree about any of the interface stuff, but I hate WoW's interface with a burning passion too, and essentially don't run any of it. My hope is that AoC gets modded as well.

All this coming from someone who is, I suspect, a MUCH more casual MMO player.

rabbit wrote:

Shihonage,

I'm not trying to convince you otherwise, you've made some well reasoned points. I did however have this same conversation with one of my editors on IM yesterday, and we posited a similar scenario setup. I'm a guardian at the front of a big fight against a boss. I've got three folks with me, one on each side and a healer behind me. The question is, at any given moment where I have an action, how many things can I do (how many tactical choices do I have). The answer is (I believe):

WoW: Attack, Use a skill, Use an Item (lots of each of the last two, but generally, one of 3-4 skills and 2-3 items).

AoC: 5 Attacks, 4 Defends, 4 dodges,Use a skill, Use an item

Whether those extra tactical choices in combat make a difference remains to be seen. My suspicion is counter to yours, which is that in big-ass PVP or raids, there will be lots of fun and strategy in AOC.

Don't disagree about any of the interface stuff, but I hate WoW's interface with a burning passion too, and essentially don't run any of it. My hope is that AoC gets modded as well.

All this coming from someone who is, I suspect, a MUCH more casual MMO player.

Don't forget that in a raid or large PVP battle you can have a wall of Guardians protecting the squishes and you either have to beat them down or run around them because a wall of guardians is a WALL. People may think "pfft, easy to counter" but in the gaggle that is massive PVP, the warriors will create a signifigant impedement as they all gather around the enemy and they enemy attempts to get at the casters, wether they intend to impede or not. Of course, this probably works against you too.

Oh, also - Spending 1/2 a page bashing the UI is pointless, it's XML like any next gen MMO and like any next gen MMO no matter how good it is, people will use mods. They will just use them sooner in AoCs case then say, EQ2, which had an ok interface. Either way, why waste time as a developer when you know it's "good enough" and people are going to mod it anyway?

Hi all,

I don t have much experience with MMO, being WOW the first, and last, and it was a hate/love relationship guided by the moto: "This is crap, but we only have that." TBH, i divorced 1 year ago from this 7 month madness and i m happy. Taking a step back until it was out of my veins, and looking at it again, i wonder how could i play such silly thing for so much time. The answear is easy, wow was fun to explore (Until CAP LVL then it was awesomely boredooming, i haven t even tryed TBC as i knew it would be more of the same)

I haven played AOC but i am gathering bits of info (in a lot of) here and there, and after some time you can trace a line.

First picture that come to me today about AOC is : Some new features, but Funcom hadn t enought balls to go further and do it right.
I will still try AOC mind you, for the fun of exploration if only that, i love Conan's world.
Aside that see a lot of love and hate. So i keep on the wall (firing arrows both sides).

For those who have played it past lvl 20 (where free madness begin, i´ll ask a dificult question : Is the world good enought to be explored ?
I know the game isn t the Graal of most combat loving or/and RPG players...
My graal is an RPG with MMO capacity, and the way industry suffer from Marketing Miopy, i ll probably ne dead before it happens. I had hopes for AOC, those have vanished. Why can those slimeballs get lessons from the multiplayer part of NWN1 ?

IMHO, the "M" content is retarded has its restricted to boobs and blood...Imho this will only attract wankers, and most wankers today are above 18.
I had thought they would go further because of CONAN INC not willing to crack their rep, but i think i was wrong. The grab the flag and other silly (AOC unfiting) pvp games proove me right.
I fear because end lvl is designed to be reached in 1 month only for unocupied people, and 3 month for people with social life. This is way too short, IMHO, i love the feeling of building a character way more than game ( unfortunatly), i suppose this come from Rolemaster sessions presided by sadistic Gamemasters. A high lvl of mortality make you care for what your building. As much as a broken rib remembers you that self preservation is a good idea too in combat .
Sadly, yesterday it has been noticed thats theres already people at lvl 60 ++ 1 day after release. Not that i care, but this doesn t speak well for the game, as wel as the fact the forums are totally entropic, as if the **** wouldn t poor out if it have to.

The combat seem good, and Rabbit got me drooling. But the "always multiple adversaries and you will get out winning, to make you feel like a hero from the start" (quoted from game designers) rebuke me as the smell of a week old, hundred decaying bodies in plain noon sunshiny day.
This bring us to :
How hard fight are (PVE) and how costly death is ? In Conans world, death is permanent and a thing to be avoided, in AOC much people says death is irrelevent are the penalties, is that last statement true ?

Many more questions would arise, but in the end the ultimate question comes back ... Is AOC fun to explore ? Does it offer challeges ?
Does it live to R.E.Howard vision, or is it another MMOAC with diferent pixels ?
Thansk for answers, and damn sorry for thelong post.

Slaunyeh wrote:

How hard fight are (PVE) and how costly death is ? In Conans world, death is permanent and a thing to be avoided, in AOC much people says death is irrelevent are the penalties, is that last statement true ?

In my experience, death is not really much of a big deal. I have actually killed myself on purpose to spawn back near where my quest turn ins were. Maybe the death penalty is more noticeable past level 20 (which is as far as I've gotten).

Many more questions would arise, but in the end the ultimate question comes back ... Is AOC fun to explore ? Does it offer challeges ?
Does it live to R.E.Howard vision, or is it another MMOAC with diferent pixels ?
Sadly, yesterday it has been noticed thats theres already people at lvl 60 ++ 1 day after release.

Thansk for answers, and damn sorry for thelong post.

Yes. It is fun to explore. Very pretty world.

Yes. It does offer challenges. Part of that is the fact that most of your fights are not 1v1 they're 2v1 or 3v1 or 4v1. Like you mentioned, you come out feeling like a badass, but for the most part, there is some challenge involved to defeating groups of 3 or more.

I can't really speak to it living up to R.E. Howard's vision, but it has been a pretty gritty world.

spoiler wrote:

[color=white]One quest had me (a female character) sleep with a drunkard to get him off the streets. Another quest had me replace some virginal blood for a ceremony with a local whore's "tainted" blood.[/color]

Sadly, yesterday it has been noticed thats theres already people at lvl 60 ++ 1 day after release

The early access has been going since the 17th, so it's not in one day. Also when TBC came out for WOW, my roommate and I leveled a Blood Elf Paladin from level 1-60 in just over 4 days (4 days played in 4 days real time). There are always going to be some people who just put in much too much time into these kinds of things. If it took those people 1 month to get to the cap, those of us with lives who can't devote 80+ hour weeks to a video game for a month would have to play for a year to get to cap. I don't think the fact that some people have been able to fly through the levels should be a detriment to the rest of us.

Thank you kaos

kaostheory wrote:
Sadly, yesterday it has been noticed thats theres already people at lvl 60 ++ 1 day after release

The early access has been going since the 17th, so it's not in one day. Also when TBC came out for WOW, my roommate and I leveled a Blood Elf Paladin from level 1-60 in just over 4 days (4 days played in 4 days real time). There are always going to be some people who just put in much too much time into these kinds of things. If it took those people 1 month to get to the cap, those of us with lives who can't devote 80+ hour weeks to a video game for a month would have to play for a year to get to cap. I don't think the fact that some people have been able to fly through the levels should be a detriment to the rest of us.

This is why I think that there should be lower caps of 40 or so. That way, less grind and less reward for the antisocial freaks.

I was going to pass on this game, but all the positive feedback changed my mind. The game did not immediately win me over, but the more time I spent with it the more I started to really dig it. I decided to go ahead and upgrade my video card from an 8600GTS to an 8800GT and it gave me a huge boost in performance, the game is just beautiful. I've only gotten as far as the white sands (level 16 Barbarian) but already the environments are detailed and atmospheric and just wonderful spaces to play in. Combat has really grown on me after the first few levels, it has a great level of interactivity and does just have a satisfying feel to it.

[quote=boogle]

kaostheory wrote:
Sadly, yesterday it has been noticed thats theres already people at lvl 60 ++ 1 day after release

This is why I think that there should be lower caps of 40 or so. That way, less grind and less reward for the antisocial freaks.

I think just the opposite way : No lvl cap. In this way the freaks will run to get the highest possible, and not grind others when they reach LVL cap. Once the skills are up to a certain number, you just stop having them. You can only redistribute some points at lvl passage (if you wish), You still have crafting, attributes and stats to gamble with eternally. This would make people be more carefull in char building.

A possible way is to make the player start with weak statistics. And have maximum (unknow ones). Each level he gain points that he can distribute. But each time there s a probability (ramdom+ oriented) that he may loose points. Can be based on some of his blunders, of even PVE magic could weaken him. When he get to CAP attribute lvl, he has a chance every passing lvl to get 1 point above his cap atribute (this new number becoming his cap attribute) and so on. For those who played Rolemaster this is familiar.

Or make slow leveling once there s enought content. I never was able to lvl to 60 in WOW in less than a month, so you can judge my gaming window.

Anyway i think classes shouldn t be limited. Attributes/skill should cost more or less when tied to theyr classes. Example, it would cost a huge amount to a Barbarian to grab magic healing but very low to get motre proeficient in reducing armor penalties, opposing being true.
Sure it will be hard to see 2 PC equals in apparence but after some month all characters in a class will probably have the same characteristics as most people wil seek the "i win button". Sad.

I felt like it was more of what a true hack and slah game was supposed to be, and I do mean that in the literal sense.