Conan had no easy time ascending the Aquilonian throne, but it just might be an easier nut to crack than becoming the leader of the massively multiplayer online games kingdom. Funcom appeared to be on track to accomplish just that feat after the game's May launch, with the publisher touting Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures as "the biggest MMO launch since World of Warcraft" less than a month after the game debuted.
By August, however, growth on the game had taken a swing decidedly for the worse. In its second-quarter financial report, Funcom noted that subscriptions stood at 415,000, far less than the 1.2 million boxes it had shipped to retail. Making matters worse, the developer announced earlier this month that game director Gaute Godager had resigned from his position, citing irreconcilable "dissatisfaction" over portions of the game.
Today, Age of Conan hit more choppy waters. In a post to the game's official forums, new game director Craig Morrison (formerly of Anarchy Online) confirmed that Funcom would be consolidating several Age of Conan servers in both North America and Europe.
"It's important for us to ensure the best gameplay experience for you all, and more healthy populations on each and every server will make sure we maintain healthy communities for the game in the future," wrote Morrison. "Still, there are many complexities involved in this, and we want to ensure that everything happens as fair and streamlined as possible. That work has now started, and we are naturally making sure that guilds and players can get to new servers in the best possible way. We will come back with more info on this, but I hope that this will serve as a positive injection to the social scene in the game."
On a brighter note, Morrison also revealed that the Funcom team is inching closer to introducing DirectX 10 functionality into its MMOG. "Once the next gameplay update is out, expect to start to seeing the DX10 functionality coming to the test environment," commented the game lead. "How long it will take to transition to live will depend on the testing, of course, but it's starting to shape up nicely."