Double Buffered

A Programmer’s View of Game Design, Development, and Culture

Posts Tagged ‘aoc AgeOfConan mmo funcom’

Age of Conan: Level 25 Is Less Awesome

Posted by Ben Zeigler on May 26, 2008

My ranger is now level 25, so I thought I’d write up how I felt about at this phase in the game:

Levels 5-19 continued to be great. I finished up my single player quest at level 19, and it was nice and satisfying. So as a self-contained whole, the first 20 or so levels of Age of Conan are an extremely solid game, almost worth the price of admission by themselves. They were nicely paced, too. Just as I was getting tired of the area and ready to move on to the new hotness, I was done with my single player stuff and was able to move on. I’m somewhat concerned about forcing every alt to go through this, but I’ll see how that feels if I roll another character. Some of my friends say it’s frustrating to do the same content so many times when making multiple characters.

Once you leave the island, you’re in the MMO proper. You get shuttled off to your racial homeland. Mine was the desert land of Stygia, which was nicely detailed and suitably barren. They did a good job of making it seem hostile and lifeless, while still having some personality. There seem to be about enough quests for 3 whole playthroughs from levels 20-30 (there are 3 races and thus 3 20-30 zones), and the quests were a nice mix of kill tasks and fetch quests. They did a good job of pointing out the cool parts of the zone, and I still love the graphics. At level 25, the game feels like a very traditional, but very pretty, MMO. However, I have a major beef with one of the core components of an MMO…

Remember when I said that the AoC UI worked really well? So, what that ACTUALLY means is that the AoC UI works really well solo. The parts of the UI that deal with grouping are crap. The interface for finding a group was mediocre (still nothing is as good as CoH’s), but the first problem I ran into is that I couldn’t figure out how to remotely invite someone by name. Apparently there’s a /invite command but it didn’t seem to work for me when I tried it, and there wasn’t any easy way to do it from the UI. Then once you invite them, you have to get to the right instance. When you zone it doesn’t do this for you automatically (as far as I can tell), and you’ll have to switch instances by clicking a very small triangle in the upper right. And then once you’re in the same instance? Your teammates don’t show up on your minimap. The game appears to be only doing proximity-based player sending, so unless you’re right next to your teammates, you have absolutely no idea where they are. We got around this by sending coordinates back and forth. Sigh. Oh, and even though you can’t see each other and are accross the entire map, the game DOES do loot splitting, just to mock you. The teaming experience needs to be dramatically improved.

Age of Conan is now significantly less awesome than it was last week, and that is not a good trend. I’ll keep at it until at least 40 or so (mounts sound fun), but I’m not sure I’ll be up for the long haul. I am curious how the PvP works, though. I seem to have already passed through the best parts of AoC, and what’s left is a sorta buggy, pretty, but kinda boring MMO.


Posted in MMO Design | Tagged: | 1 Comment »