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Age of Conan

Age of Conan has its eye on achievements, crafting for 2015

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Previews, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

Is Hyboria one of your planned destinations for 2015? If so, then you're in luck, as Joel Bylos has a taste of what's in store for Age of Conan this year in a new game director letter.

The two big initiatives for the year revolve around the brand-new achievement and revamped crafting systems. The first iteration of achievements are coming with update 4.5 in a few weeks. These will include achievements for completing speed challenges for dungeons. Following that, players will get to dive into a richer crafting experience.

Bylos hinted at a few other highlights for 2015, including the return of the world boss system and PvP festivals. "We are still nailing down our production schedule for the year," he wrote. "You can expect to hear more about the status of Palace of Cetriss and The Slithering Chaos in an upcoming letter."

Age of Conan is selling instant level-80s until January 2nd

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Free-to-Play, Promotions

Getting a high-level character in Age of Conan now requires you only to break out your wallet and plunk down a few bills. Funcom announced today that players can purchase an instant level 80 character on the cash shop for $40 (or $30 if that player already has another level 80 toon).

These new level 80s will come equipped with a set of rare gear, a fast mount, the riding skill, a 56-slot bag, 79 expertise points, and other goodies. If you're planning on picking up one of these "go straight to buff" packages, you'll need to do so before the promotion ends on January 2nd.

Age of Conan is also offering bonus free months of subscription and other goods when you sign up or extend your membership by at least three additional months.

Age of Conan gives rewards for testing achievement system

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

Age of Conan is hopping on board this cool, hip achievement train that all of the kids are talking about these days with its Update 4.5. In November's game director letter, Joel Bylos said that the upcoming achievements will be merely "the first wave" in an ever-expanding system. In fact, if players help the team test achievements before they go live, they will be given a random pet as a thank-you.

Bylos said that work is also progressing on revamping the world boss event "to provide a more entertaining experience." He also asked the community for its input on which one of two styles of lore entries that players preferred.

One Shots: Nowhere to hide

Screenshots, Age of Conan, Culture, Ultima Online, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

Generally, I don't like to be pessimistic, but I have to say that things don't look good for reader Brad here. Sooner or later his childish game will fall apart, and when that happens, it will be all teeth and claws and slavering fangs. But at least it's for a good cause, right Brad? Oh, it's just to level up his skills.

"To get your skills up in Ultima Online, you had to use them over and over," Brad explains. "As they got higher, you had to do more difficult things with some skills. This was me trying to up my hiding skill. Lets just say, trying to hide in front of this many Ophidians, was not easy... but I was gaining skill! They could not get to me up here."

Who here feels bad for the Ophidians? Raise your hands please. I thought as much.

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Age of Conan's achievement system, Pit of Trials coming soon

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries

It's still spooky in Age of Conan, at least according to today's dev update letter. The Hyborian Halloween event will run through November 12th, but chances are you'll be more interested in Funcom's plans for the game going forward. Chief among those plans is the achievement system slated for update 4.5.

Funcom says you'll collect achievements for everything from leveling to PvP stats and minigames to dungeon and raid completion. There's also a lore journal and a panorama mechanic that provides "a camera path, an achievement, and experience" each time you find one.

Don't forget about the pit of trials, a level 80 arena designed with both PvEers and PvPers in mind.

Donate to Age of Conan board game Kickstarter for an in-game MMO mount

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions, Crowdfunding

If you're an avid player of Funcom's Age of Conan MMORPG, chances are good you're a Conan fan and a gaming geek, so why not combine the three with an Age of Conan board game? Funcom posted today that Ares Games is remaking the Conan-flavored strategy board game complete with a new expansion called Adventures in Hyboria.

The catch is that the board game's designers are seeking Kickstarter funding, but it's already raised $52,000 more than asked for as of the time of this writing, so faith in the project appears high. There's even a tie-in for Age of Conan MMO players who pledge funds to the campaign. Writes Funcom,
[W]e are happy to announce that anyone who contributes to this Kickstarter will get the all new Strategist's Steed mount in our Age of Conan Unchained MMORPG! Once the Kickstarter is finished, anyone who has contributed will receive a key which can be used on the Age of Conan account pages. This key gives the Strategist's Steed armored swift horse in-game (requiring advanced riding training to use), which can then be claimed in the Item Shop once per account.
Stretch goal rewards for the Kickstarter include special miniatures, bonus cards, and die-cut board pieces.

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Age of Conan's Update 4.4 ushers in new raids, new tier sets

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Free-to-Play

It's barbaric, but hey - it's home.
As summer fades into memory, Age of Conan players turn their gaze toward the Halloween event and the next major patch of the game. The latest game director's letter is about exactly those topics, as well, so that works out nicely. While update 4.4 will bring with it new Unchained raids, there are other improvements coming along as well, not the least of which are visual improvements to the Tier 5 sets that will be released along with the raids.

The update also brings with it the PvP streak system and new area looting functionality; pressing Shift and V will automatically loot all eligible corpses in the immediate area. Players can also look forward to the upcoming gem system and Thirst of the Serpent God event at the end of the month. Check out the full letter for more details about what's coming next for the game over the next 31 days.

Age of Conan update talks streaking, crafting, and more

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items

Hearken to me, Hyborian faithful, for I've an Age of Conan update to share. Actually, hearken to game director Joel Bylos, who has posted an August update letter that talks about raiding updates and tier 5 gear as well as the new PvP minigame streak system (no, not that kind of streaking, you naughty Barbarian).

AoC is also getting a version of The Secret World's achievement and lore system, and the loooooong-delayed crafting revamp is still in process.

Funcom's revenues decrease in Q2

Age of Conan, Anarchy Online, MMO Industry, News Items, The Secret World, Miscellaneous

It's still a better business model than Orochi.
Funcom has released its second-quarter financial results for the year, and it's not a glowing success story. Revenue dropped roughly $600,000 compared to Q1, a drop attributed to weaker in-game item sales over the quarter. Despite this, the report indicates that the company remains on-track as a whole, with the overall pattern of expenses not significantly changed. All of the major MMOs in the studio's portfolio are stated to be cash-flow positive, which is good news for fans.

While the company launched several marketing attempts to draw more players into its titles, The Secret World was the most successful at bringing in more players via its most recent major update. The company projects good results for LEGO Minifigures Online when it releases in October. Interested players can look at the full report, which is less overwhelmingly positive than might be ideal but hardly paints a picture of doom.

Jukebox Heroes: Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer's soundtrack

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Fans (or ex-fans?) of this column might recall that I went against the grain of popular opinion by pronouncing Age of Conan's soundtrack "adequate" rather than an "outstanding masterpiece." I think that I can extend an olive branch to the player army that's been chasing me since then, however, as I hold the expansion soundtrack in much higher regard.

Composer Knut Avenstroup Haugen returned for Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer, creating a 22-track journey through all new barbaric lands. Unlike his first score for this MMO, this one latches onto the Asian themes of the expansion and takes the score in a decidedly Chinese direction. It's well-done across the board and aided by a full orchestra. Really, my biggest complaint is that it's not easy to purchase here in the states for some reason. You can listen to and even download a few samples from the official soundtrack site, which still remains in operation.

So let's head to the far east for this week's exploration of MMO soundtracks, looking at the highlights from Rise of the Godslayer!

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Age of Conan's anniversary celebration starts today

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

Age of Conan
Age of Conan turns six today, and doesn't that make you feel old? As we reported last week, Funcom is gifting players with a new PvP-themed Festival of Bloodshed that lead content designer Matthew Bennett calls "arguably our largest PvP patch in the game's history."

But wait, there's more!

The Shadows of the Past anniversary event sees players uncovering a plot against King Conan and traveling back to Tortage. The event, as well as a cash shop treasure chest giveaway, starts today and runs through June 3rd. The Festival of Bloodshed starts on May 21st, lasts for one week, and will recur on a monthly basis.

Age of Conan kicks off the Festival of Bloodshed for its anniversary

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Events (In-Game), PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play

It's the most wonderful time of the year, unless you'd prefer to not have a battle-axe lodged in your trachea.
What's the best way to celebrate six years for Age of Conan? Obviously, by encouraging the players to kill each other! In the game, we mean. Put down that hammer. The Festival of Bloodshed is a new event that will be running for one week every month, offering players a chance to take part in all-new PvP modes and events while earning fantastic prizes.

On PvP servers, the zone flagged for the Festival will rotate from place to place, while on the game's dedicated PvE server the festival will take place in the Border Kingdoms to ensure all PvP remains consensual. While in these regions, players can take part in the new Fields of Slaughter events (teams holding a designated region against all comers) as well as the Arena of Death. This comes along with new PvP daily quests, improved PvP gear, bonus experience for alternate advancement, and other rewards. So to celebrate six years of the game, read up on how you can reach out and touch someone. With a pointy bit of metal.

[Thanks to Anders for the tip!]

Anarchy Online and Age of Conan players vote on new content

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Age of Conan, Anarchy Online, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Anniversaries

Anarchy Online
Newsletters for Anarchy Online and Age of Conan were posted yesterday, and both of them had a common theme: an intiative by Funcom to let players vote on what new content they want to see developed.

Anarchy Online players voted for a new Shadowlands mission, which is currently being made for the Inferno zone. AO is also getting ready to show off the 18.7 patch, which contains a new ICC headquarters, the new player experience, and shop changes.

As for the Age of Conan community, players voted to see Conall's Valley and the Wild Lands of Zelata included with PvP events. The studio has scheduled a world boss event for May 7th, the sixth anniversary event for May 20th, and Patch 4.2 for some time this month.

Age of Conan introduces new subscription benefits along with a new world boss

Fantasy, Age of Conan, News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions, Subscription

What if we tried killing her with drowning?  It's got to take eventually!
The latest of Age of Conan's monthly world bosses has arrived in the form of the Thrice Drowned queen. Emerging to terrorize the Thunder River, she will wreak havoc if left unchecked, since anyone who can be drowned three times and still come back for more is no one to be trifled with. Perhaps you'll be so enthusiastic about fighting her that you decide you simply can't miss out on any of the future bosses; if so, there's a subscription offer you might be interested in.

Two new rewards are available to players who subscribe for six months or a year at a time; a ring that grants bonus alternate advancement XP and another ring that grants a bonus to PvP and Prowess XP gain. Subscribing for six months nets a version of these rings with a 25% bonus along with an extra two months of subscription time; subscribing for a year nets an extra four months and rings with a 50% bonus. In short, if you want to step up your subscription game, now is the time to do so.

CEO Ole Schreiner on Funcom's future and that police investigation

Fantasy, Horror, Age of Conan, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, The Secret World, Buy-to-Play

Funcom logo
Funcom CEO Ole Schreiner recently spoke with GamesIndustry.biz in a lengthy interview that covers everything from the performance of The Secret World to the future of the company to the recent Økokrim raid.

The police action has to do with former CEO Trond Arne Aas and accusations of insider trading relating to The Secret World's launch. "What we know is actually very little and the few things we do know, we can't talk about because it's an ongoing case," Schreiner says. "The charges are two-fold. The first is that Funcom, between August 2011 and August 2012, manipulated the market. The other is that we had wrongfully filed insider information."

It's not all gloom-and-doom going forward, though, as Funcom has gotten the Dreamworld tech behind Age of Conan and The Secret World to work on consoles, Android, and iOS devices. "It's not so much about the technology as the knowledge, which we've been building for 13 years," Schreiner explains. "It's a platform -- it has all the elements you need to make, run, and maintain a game from the production tools right down to the customer service and QA tools."

Schreiner is also optimistic about Funcom's future, which is currently focused on LEGO Minifigures Online. "This new strategy is a natural evolution of the company," he states. "We would have taken this path anyway, no matter how The Secret World turned out."

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