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Reader Comments (24)

Posted: Jun 26th 2010 7:05PM JediPagan said

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I have a ton of respect for Morrison. I hope Secret World is a big success for Funcom. I love AoConan, but Craig's right. The game is a niche product. TSW will probably fare much better because it is more casual friendly, and Morrison is at the helm.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 7:53AM anduz said

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I'm not sure I agree with you. I actually think one of AoC's core problems was that it was too casual friendly while at the same time trying to do too much and compete on the mainstream fantasy market. Funcom is a relatively small company and you honestly have to do niche to survive as that.

The combat system is one area where I think that really shined through. I liked it, but I think the game in general would have done a lot better if they'd stuck to some of their original ideas. If combo activation had been something you did by actually doing the right moves instead of just hitting a button and entering a directional mini-game of "simon says" (something they dropped because it wasn't casual friendly) and let it affect magical combat as well they would've had a real unique combat base to build the rest of the game on.

It probably still would've taken them a year to get the game into shape, but it frankly took longer for CCP to get eve-online into shape. But for a small MMO company the way to go is frankly the CCP way, where you start with a small niche aspect and just build upon it forever.

Ironically I think TSW will be more of a niche game than AoC simply because of it's setting. But if they fail to deliver strong story telling and puzzle solving for hardcore players I'm not sure how well it'll do.

I'm not sure casual players should ever be a target group for a game that isn't free to play, browser based etc, though. If you look at mainstream games like Quake, Starcraft 2 and World of Warcraft then they aren't really build for casual players. Sure Blizzard have added so much sugar coating even your grandma will enjoy her nigh-elf and she'll be able to blow up the other seniors with her rocket launcher but at their core the games allow for some pretty hardcore play styles.

It's odd that Funcom is going in that direction though. I still think AO is one of the better MMOs released to date, and that game was anything but casual friendly.
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Posted: Jun 26th 2010 8:15PM blix2006 said

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i dont think i have ever seen anyone say they respect that spin doctor/bag of wind.i hate morrison and funcom..aoc was and is terrible..the first 20 levels of the game is nothing like what comes next....was a huge rip off out of the gate and thats 50 bucks i will never see again...

Posted: Jun 26th 2010 8:28PM (Unverified) said

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"the first 20 levels of the game is nothing like what comes next"

and i for one am very glad for it.
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Posted: Jun 26th 2010 8:55PM (Unverified) said

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@Kevin

Get your facts straight before you start spouting nonsense.

Have you even played the game since its shoddy release? While the current game does have some problems mostly in relation to pvp and bori, its a different game than it was at launch. Also the games launch state was due to Gaute Godager the original producer and lead designer, also co founder of funcom, who actually resigned due to the fail launch.. Morrison did great things for Anarchy online as lead designer and you can see why they transferred him to fix Conan..

Funcom is one of the most open and down to earth companies i know in regards to player interaction, only other companies I can think of is CCP, which surprisingly enough both of them are European companies... norweigh and iceland respectively.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 3:01AM (Unverified) said

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funny thing is craig has made aoc less friendly to casual players

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 3:18AM Lateris said

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Rabbid rabbits singing "pinhead" by Trunk Federation. The end users know nothing but the products they buy. Download the UDK Tools and make your own game. Mr. Mojo Rising never frakked up anything. Your the consumer. The spoiled brat, the idiot who sits in the car without a gf or a bf or even a chance for a lay. How did you get here? Little statements make me laugh.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 3:42AM Craig Silirrion Morrison said

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It's ok that some people don't agree with where we took the game (although I'd obviously argue the team have made the smart choices and believe in them providing the best possible future for the game)...there were a lot of promises made before launch and some of them weren't lived up to, so I understand fully why some people hold a grudge. It's perfectly understandable...likewise some people will have preferred the original vision of the game to the path we have chosen now...that's also ok, I think people are entitled to their opinions. (of course I would rather they present them constructively, but hey, the internet isn't always conducive to that :p)

When you make a decision to take a role that involves speaking on behalf of the team, and the game, you kind of accept that based on whether people agree with you precisely you will either get praise, or alternatively, generally have your genetic lineage questioned ;)

@Ragemaster thanks :) The credit though goes to the team, not to me, I am just here to make sure the folks here can do their jobs properly, they do the hard work!

@drjakle I don't think we have made it any less friendly to casual players in general. (depending of course on your definition of 'casual'!) Over-time progression, both in levels and in the alternate advancement system aid the more casual player, and many general changes to the game have made the game more open to new players, and hopefully more appealing to returning players alike. I think from your previous post your issue is different, and is relating specifically to the higher tier and faction rewards in the expansion. Yes, the curve there is probably too steep, we have acknowledged this, and explained that it was an intentional starting point to ensure we didn't have to 'nerf' things later, and that we are, and will continue, to adjust that curve downwards over the coming updates.

@nt I genuinely think they are good for us as an industry yes. They make people more interested in the genre, make them used to the concept of what an MMO is and what it involves, and just like any starting point a percentage of those people also grow and develop and want more and want to play different games with different ruleset. To dismiss the worth of a game just because it is designed to have mass appeal and have less 'hardcore' elements can be a little short sighted, as in the long run it benefits all of us.

MMO games will develop to be far more than just traditional MMORPGs, and that means more choice and more options. The downside, as I mentioned in the post linked above, is that for those in the 'veteran community' is does mean their tastes will most likely increasingly be dealt with by niche titles...but again, that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Just like in cinema, where you might have the blockbusters drawing in huge crowds, making the cash, being enjoyable, but being various degrees of forgettable, so you have art house and indie films that might not have a wide appeal, but are awesome to _you_ (and a smaller sub group of people), there is still a place for them though, and that's the point. The bigger the budget the more risk adverse those developing might tend to be (until of course the 'game changers' come around, as they do every so often to shake up a genre or space) so it's only natural you have that development...but going back to the point..is having successful mass market titles out there a bad thing? I honestly think not...

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 4:15AM Pan1 said

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Craig with all due respect.

I've been with FC since TLJ but I just can't convince myself to log on anymore.
I'm sure you have noticed that customer retention has dropped again with the release of the expansion.

I'm not a gamedesigner so I don't claim to know the answer.
But for having it stuck out so long with FC I'm growing slightly tired of seeing the same mistakes being repeated again and again.


I will stick around for TSW, since I have been accepted into the sanctuary, but if the same mistakes are repeated I will give up on FC all together.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 4:24AM Pan1 said

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And no RotGS is most certainly not casual friendly.
The entire game is solo able and then the last part of the game you lock those players out completly.

The expansion has no single player adventure regions.
But nevermind that you have told your customers for the first 80 levels that it is perfectly OK to single play AoC.

And then there is the serious disparity in what the community asks and what the development team delivers. From the simple appearance tab to the shrines of Bori.

I'm not being negative for the sake of it. Just pointing out that there's a serious difference between how the customer sees AoC compared to its developers.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 4:32AM (Unverified) said

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IMHO,
What MMO's are going to face in the near future is as they go more casual, people are are not going to stick with them as long with a monthly fee.

I'm not advocating F2P but the reality is if MMO soften up to much, it's a risk they will face. What I don't want to see happen is MMO's evolving into "Club Penguin" with a Fantasy or SciFi skin.

@Craig - AoC is a damn good MMO, keep up the good work. The one pet peeve I have is the inconsistency with the voice overs. Need to keep it up, it really breaks the immersion when one NPC talks to you then the next 5 don't...

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 4:57AM Craig Silirrion Morrison said

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@pan I don't think it's necessarily a 'serious disparity in what the community asks and what the development team delivers. From the simple appearance tab to the shrines of Bori.' as you put it...in terms of feature requests there are a lot of things we still want to add too :) A social appearance tab would be one of those things, so some of the things we agree with, we just need to find the right time to make that specific change. In an MMO space there will always be many, many different opinions out there, and we can't possibly keep everyone happy, so the team focus on the areas we think add the most value for that update, whether it is a small update or the expansion. To say it is a 'serious disparity' I think is slightly unfair in that it doesn't recognize that there is an inherent 'serious disparity' between what any two distinct opinions in the community might think, and there are many, many, more than two distinct opinions out here ;) In each update we always try and make the changes, tweaks or additions that will make for the best game moving forward, any given individual may or may not disagree with those choices.

@torak Thanks :) Voice over is something we would all like to do more of if we could, alas it is also one of the more expensive things to do, so we have to be very selective about what we voice record.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 5:00AM eNTi said

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who would have thought... well i'll tell you from a long-time wow player who was on and off for every addon for a few months: i've tried your game... the first twenty levels. it's boring as hell! you can't get any more casual and at the same time hardcore as wow in respect of pve and questing. aoc is just another quest grind and it feels very generic. i've played with my gf and she feels the same. as 5 of my friends do, with which i played too.

get real, your game is crap.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 8:46AM (Unverified) said

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See, Craig? He played with his girlfriend and 5 others too and they all ended up thinking the same! Whatcha gonna do now eh? WHATCHA GONNA DO?????
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Posted: Jun 27th 2010 6:41AM strychnine said

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How verry constructive of you nt.
Reading trolly comments like yours, and then reading about your gf and friends, makes me wonder if you even have any to begin with, or if your just some mad at the world 16yo trying to get some point accros.

Theres nothing wrong with giving your opinion but please do so in an adult, constructive manner instead of ending any chance for discussion by calling something crap.

Ps. I've tried AoC, wasnt really my thing but I can see why other people might enjoy it.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 6:47AM Draccan said

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@Craig

Why make AoC into a pve grindfest?

What happened to the brutal pvp game??

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 6:48AM Graill440 said

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Well if that is Morrison then kudos for at least answering some tough posts, if not, burn in hell whomever that is :P

AOC is NOT casual/solo friendly(talking the good stuff contentwise). The first 20 levels were a blast for all, what happened after that? Where does the lore carry over to "groups" needing to do everything that is exceptional ingame? Last time i checked Conan did his best work alone, very little was done in a group. To have a paying business model i suppose you need to throttle somewhere and force groups and restrict the great content to those in guilds so folks keep paying over time to get the good stuff.

Where does the majority come in though? Ya know us little folks that thought we liked to craft and found that after a certain level all great recipes and training are locked out and require guilds and groups to continue, whom had that brainstorm? what happened to the bosses scaling to our needs? What happened to having a choice in whether to group or not? Dont get me wrong groups are fine and used when needed, but if i want to live as the hero, the copy of conans life of adventure, AOC isnt the place. Looking at the expansion and the transition over two years i still assume that your company still thinks that "MMO" means must be in guild or must group to get to the good stuff.

AOC successes: Level 1-20 bigtime kudos, outstanding graphics and atmosphere, giving "groups" a choice to make encounters tougher. Casulas/solo do not get that choice among many many other restrictions. Not much else, and not worth my dollar in its current form, even with that expansion. If your demographic playerbase are the folks that need that guild action, and must be in a group, then i assume you have hit your goals.

Choice. Without it, my dollar stays in my wallet.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 8:15AM Seffrid said

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My main is 44 and hasn't grouped yet. Whilst there has doubtless been some dungeon content that I haven't managed to do I don't feel I've missed out on the best gear because if you don't do the group content you don't need the best gear. From my perspective the game is casual and solo friendly thus far. I've no doubt that will change especially from the crafting point of view.

Although I'm paid up for the whole of the year what keeps me from logging in more regularly is the lack of anything worthwhile to do outside of adventuring. Crafting/harvesting desperately needs an upgrade and the reliance on guilds for high level crafting needs to be dropped. They also need to implement some fluff stuff like the shiny collection quests in EQ2, the diplomacy in Vanguard, or player housing.

It's a fantastic game nonetheless, and has come on a great distance since the problems at launch. Kudos to the whole team. Kudos also to Craig for keeping in touch with the community. He stands alongside Scott Hartsman in his EQ2 days as inspirational producers, people who motivate both their teams and their players. I hope AoC can go from strength to strength, it deserves to do so.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 8:50AM (Unverified) said

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I am a casual player, and I generally find Age of Conan to be quite accessible to me. The only areas that I feel need tweaked, are by and large areas that Funcom have already identified as needing work. Such as the expansion Faction system and the disparity in PvP between the haves and the have-nots. I would add to that however, that the LFG system needs a major overhaul, as right now it's pretty useless and a frustration to a lot of new players.

The problem I see for the likes of Age of Conan, is that the essentially have two markets. Casual players, and hardcore players. How do you satisfy both at the same time? I don't think you can, because any "timesink" rewards you give to the hardcore players, is going to be desired by the casuals. And if they can['t get the reward, they are going to be frustrated.

I anticipate in the future we'll see servers with either a "casual" or a "hardcore" ruleset. On casual servers, rewards come easier but don't have as significant a different compared to earlier gear. Whereas on a hardcore server, the difference is more significant between gear etc.

Posted: Jun 27th 2010 8:57AM (Unverified) said

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Craig it's really great to see you get involved in the community like this but if you stop doing it in the future it will cause you trouble so i hope you already know that and get involved accordingly :)

Only thing that keeps me from logging in these days is i'm bored of Cimmeria and Aquilonia. I mean why don't we have one more Stygia zone in the mid-levels. I'm level 62 now and again there is Atzel's Approach. I mean i've been already in FoTD-Eig. Mount.-Ymir's Pass. I prefer Thunder River for now but it would really help if there was a Stygian zone in those levels.

I'm not even mentioning the dread of doing tortage again and again. I hate it from the bottom of my heart and would sell my soul for an alternative starting area.

And more Cthulhu Mythos please or gief TSW nau. kkthxbai.

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