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Reader Comments (55)

Posted: May 5th 2008 12:05PM (Unverified) said

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We're seeing a lot of really OLD mechanics being brought back into the third-gen MMOs.

Things such as dialogue trees in games as old as Runescape.

For the record, just because these things have been done in old games, do not in any way make them bad. I'm really glad designers are finally putting the mechanics back that WoW removed.

And yes, they might as well just build in a single button for each combo, because people with macros could have an advantage, and it really is kind of pointless when that happens.

Unfortunately, I'm a huge story/exploration junkie. That means that there are no MMOs available that appeal to my niche. So, I'll be waiting until something comes out that has some form of fun non-combat features.

Best of luck to AoC. Best of luck to WAR and the rest in 2008.

Posted: May 5th 2008 12:21PM (Unverified) said

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You may want to take another look at AoC if you're a big fan of exploration and story... as I mentioned in the article, even NPCs that don't have quests often have their own dialogue trees (as in other single player CRPGs by Bioware and Interplay). They'll talk to you about their background and local events quite readily. I've also had a lot of fun just exploring the zones and climbing on ruins.
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Posted: May 9th 2008 11:29AM (Unverified) said

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Normally, I'd try out a game like AoC.

It has all these great features and looks AMAZING, but there are 2 limiting factors for me:

1) Mac. (yes I kind of screwed myself here, my bad)

2) The Conan IP just doesn't do it for me. It just doesn't feel that appealing at all to slaughter and hear the lamentation of women. I have more needs in an MMO than killing everything that moves. (If I wanted just that, I'd play Fury).
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Posted: May 5th 2008 12:05PM (Unverified) said

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The closed beta client is really hit or miss depending on your system. There are severe performance problems with it even on my system. I have 4GB ram, Raid5 array, 2 8800GTX on winxp pro.

"Loading was on the long side, but it got better each time I entered a zone, and it's not much different from what you'd see in any game with load times"

This is laugh. I've used HD Tach to benchmark my system and I get around 80MB/s on random access reads, so I know it's not my system.

I've seen the close beta engine sit on loading screens for 5 minutes, average is probably 30 seconds. I've rezoned into instances I had been inside of not 5 minutes ago only to have the zoning process never end, I had to kill the process.

I've never experienced loading times similar to aoc in EQ2 or WoW, or even WAR of which I am also in the beta.

Posted: May 5th 2008 12:17PM (Unverified) said

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I don't know what to tell you, other than what I saw. For me, load times weren't onerous. Longest one I saw was maybe 30 secs to a minute.
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Posted: May 5th 2008 12:06PM (Unverified) said

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Good point about just making macros to do the combo as I didn't think about that.

One thing though that I think is overlooked in the combo is the AE damage. It really adds a lot of positional depth to the way you melee.

I also like how you point out Funcom's excellent use of the vertical landscape. My favorite PvE moments so far involve climbing really high up on various structures/mountains and being able to look down and see the world below.

As for awkward keys for your abilities I recommend binding r,t,f,g,v,b,5, and shift+1 to shift+4 as many of your hotkey actions. Then remap sprint off shift (shift is bad for sprint anyways because it prevents you from doing some things like sprinting + using a special ability or attack) and you're good to go.

Posted: May 5th 2008 12:17PM (Unverified) said

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I didn't have room to talk about the positioning, but yes -- that adds a ton of depth to the combat. When I realized I could line up my enemies to hit 2 or 3 at once, my Barbarian started ripping through enemies.
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Posted: May 5th 2008 12:06PM Triskelion said

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I've been in the closed beta for a while now and though some things have improved the instability of the client is disconcerting. The crashes, hang-ups, stuttering, lag and getting stuck everywhere has gotten very frustrating. The long load times are a hassle as well.

Also keep in mind that they're limiting the open testers to level 13 and the closed testers are bound to an NDA beyond level 13. Which can only mean one thing, I'll let you read between the lines.

You must also remember that the game has gone GOLD. It went gold several weeks ago. So, the buggy and laggy gold/beta client we're all playing will need to be patched BIG time on launch day. Launch day will be a mess, people will be hitting their login/patch servers and it will be ugly. The fanboys keep talking about an internal client that the devs have that will solve everything, lol. The last time we were told that there was a special/stable internal client was with Hellgate:London and we all remember how that worked out. And now the devs are going to launch this special client onto to us when? As a patch? Because we know that the beta testers aren't using this client and the game already shipped.

Also DX10 is not yet implemented, they're holding that client till launch? WHAT?!?!?!?! So, there won't be any way to test DX10? So the myriad of Vista owners, and their thousands of hardware configurations and driver versions will roll the dice on launch? There are graphic issues and anomalies with today's client, I can't help but think that the DX10 will have issues as well.

The game is not done, bottom line.

Posted: May 5th 2008 12:17PM (Unverified) said

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Like I said, I haven't had a single crash to desktop yet. I've been playing the game for two days and I've only had to restart the client twice. I haven't experienced most of those frustrating elements you're talking about either. Are you sure you mean the closed beta? The fileplanet keys are open beta. As far as I'm concerned, the game is quite playable (and will only get better).

Launch day is always a mess. WoW was nearly unplayable for like 3 weeks at launch. That was considered one of the best launches MMOGs had seen, as well. Once they get over that hump, I think what's left is a very solid game. The client I'm using doesn't seem to have too many problems.

As for the DX10 comments, I agree with you. That's something that really should have been ready for launch. That said, it's a feature I can live without (being an XP user).

And the level 13 press cap... eh. I'm hoping that content continues at the same excellent level I've seen so far. I'm pleased enough with the game that I'm willing to give them some leeway if the higher stuff isn't polished to a brilliant sheen quite yet.

I really think it's a good game that's going to get better.
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Posted: May 5th 2008 12:17PM Ayenn said

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I’m going to be nit picky here about a phrase Humble Hobo has used. It may be that AoC is a hint of a potential third generation. But, until other titles come out that diverge from what we have come to identify as the current “norm” making the claim that AoC is in the third generation cannot be made with any precision. Generational difference in most things can only be an assessment made after that generation has been in existence for a time.

That being said, the resurrection of features from older games, such as AoC and the dialogue trees or Earth Rise and the open skill system, is a likely inclusion for gen 2.5 or gen 3. Something else will define gen 3 though, something we may not be expecting. A recycling of old mechanics with out implementation of new forms or systems is not a new generation.

It could be that the inclusion of manual skill based attacks or crafting IS possibly a hint at the next gen. again, one new feature like that is not the makings of a next gen. there will have to me more innovation that just one feature.

Posted: May 5th 2008 12:20PM (Unverified) said

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"You must also remember that the game has gone GOLD. It went gold several weeks ago. So, the buggy and laggy gold/beta client we're all playing will need to be patched BIG time on launch day. Launch day will be a mess, people will be hitting their login/patch servers and it will be ugly."

That's pretty much every MMORPG launch ever.

One thing though Conan has 2 release dates, the pre-order head start and the real launch 3 days later. I think this will help a ton to stagger the people and prevent a flood of hits against the login server.
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Posted: May 5th 2008 12:29PM (Unverified) said

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I have a dual core 2.66 processor w/ 2GB memory and an 8500GT card (w/ 512MB on board). I was seeing 22-29FPS with my latest video settings (all low, no shadows, etc). Players in global were claiming to be getting 60FPS with similar rigs - yet their video cards were the 8800's.

I'm running XP and not Vista.

My initial load into Age of Conan resulted in BSOD on the nvidia display adapter. I AM running the latest drivers.

Reboot, things are choppy at 1680x1050 full screen mode. Switch to windowed mode, same resolution. Still choppy. Switch to 1024x968...much better. At least on Friday night it was. There were a few crashes. I noticed its a real bad thing to Alt+tab during loading screens.

Saturday - i all but gave up playing Age of Conan. I couldnt create new toons, I log in and couldn't move 2 ft while I was getting 2FPS in night time mode!

Sunday - they patched some things up and it ran a bit smoother. Still got some crashes, but wasn't too bad. But now...I get these huge polygonal effects on screen that effectively reduce my FPS to nothing when looking in certain directions. I also recalled to the Inn...and ended up under water. Somehow I was able to maneuver myself through the landscape and make it back to tortage. it was an interesting journey. it was either that or wait 30 minutes to recall again, and I really didn't feel like logging out to a AgeOfConan.exe crash to login to make a new toon that crashes before the boat/choose your character cinematic came up.

I really hope they patch it to the beta levels that were touted as being really stable for the remainder of the open beta. If the final game comes out like this and I can't play it due to constant crashes, I will be quite upset and just continue on WoW and give up on AoC forever.

Posted: May 5th 2008 12:56PM (Unverified) said

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There is a strange paradox of giving 50k potential customers a glimpse of the game, and limiting that experience to largely solo play in very small zones with lots of loading screens - then saying their experience of the game is misleading because of the way content was limited.

"Open" beta, as advertised on Fileplanet for however many weeks, is a chance to boost pre-orders and opening retail numbers, at least to the commercial team. For the technical guys, it's a chance to test the game environment with heavier loads.

Given the original launch date was in 06, I think they drawn their line in the sand, and actually could have spent the last 3 weeks before retail distribution more productively than the Fileplanet beta has allowed. Almost non existently moderated official community moderated forums, especially outside normal working hours, have allowed the knockers and long term followers to blaze a trail of abuse, which makes the community look very ghettoed.

Funcom need to address a number of new player concerns otherwise the Fileplanet beta will have done more harm than good to the launch. Many people mention the WOW launch, but 6 months before gold it was the most stable beta I have ever seen (and I've done EQ2, Ryzom, HZ, EnB, WoW, WAR and AoC betas). Issues were post launch.

Posted: May 5th 2008 12:57PM Triskelion said

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Agree - some folks are really in the dark, or just plain WoW haters, but WoW's beta was as smooth as silk.
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Posted: May 5th 2008 5:11PM Azazel28 said

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Leshrac,

You have no idea what you are talking about, I was in the WoW beta for almost a year and it was far from smooth as silk. On top of that there were so many huge changes it was not even funny.

Now a month before release, yes WoW beta was in better shape then AoC. However, if you would played it another month before then you would not be saying smooth as silk. Alt+tab crashes, huge balance issues, particle effects not showing, graphical glitches with armor, texture problems, randomly deleted characters, stats not registering correctly, missing classes from the game, no talent tree, Manuel stat point manipulation, the list goes on and on man.
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Posted: May 5th 2008 12:57PM Triskelion said

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Guys.......its not ok to have a bad launch nor should we expect it or accept it. I hate the mentality of MMOG gamers today; "it's ok to have a fugly launch because thats just how MMOG games are today". Its not ok. Let me repeat IT'S NOT OK! Developers need to understand that we want them to spend the extra time to polish their games or they must suffer the same fate as Hellgate:London.

WoW was a finished game when it shipped, they had issues due to overloading, but the game was not some buggy mess and it shipped in a finished state. WoW was not unplayable at launch, I was in the WoW beta and the beta was more stable then what AoC is today. WoW's launch was flawless, WoW got nailed about 2-4 weeks after launch because the game caught fire and they had hardware issues. They had queues and kicks but they addressed that by opening up additional servers, credits, etc. WoW's issue were not due to the fact that the game was a beta in a box. CoH had a good launch, LotRO had a good launch.

And I know about the 2 release dates, it still doesn't matter. You guys on the 2-day open beta pass all have that 2-day newbie excitement, we all did. But then reality sets in.

Posted: May 5th 2008 1:02PM (Unverified) said

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Agreed.

However, I wouldn't call my closed beta experience "unplayable." I would pay (and will pay) to play the game in the state that I've seen.

Your mileage (and opinion) may vary.
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Posted: May 5th 2008 6:12PM Azazel28 said

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I am by no means an unintelligent individual. As a recent graduate in 3D Animation I understand the issues that can arise.

I am willing to put my money down on this game and give the developers what I believe they deserve.
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Posted: May 5th 2008 12:57PM vicryixiv said

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I was on the fence about getting AoC anyway, but i dont understand how they can release such a completely unplayable open beta client THREE WEEKS before launch and expect that to not negatively affect their sales. Word spread pretty quick of how terrlble the game played, and while the combat is interesting, im just not seeing anything super compelling (in between 5 minute zone in times and desktop crashes).

Posted: May 5th 2008 1:10PM Pagan said

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AoC runs very well for me. I pre-ordered the CE and I'm keeping it. I'm running AoC on a C2De6600 3 GB ram, 8800GT. Other than an FPS drop in Tortage when I enter the Salty Dog Inn, I don't have many performance issues. I crash between one and three hours during some gameplay sessions, but nothing I've seen is a dealbreaker for me, not even close.

Stunningly beautiful game at times, with the best emotes i've ever seen in an MMORPG. I love the character models and animations as well.

Can't wait for the 17th!

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