Funcom slashes Age of Conan servers

Norwegian MMOG developer plans to reduce Hyborian Age realm count from 49 to 18 beginning this week.

After its mid-year launch, Age of Conan appeared to have all the trappings of a successful massively multiplayer online role-playing game, logging a strong critical reception and respectable initial sales. However, the MMOG environment is nothing if not hostile, and Funcom soon found itself scrambling to retain the game's player base, thanks to Blizzard Entertainment's genre stalwart World of Warcraft and Mythic Entertainment's strong contender, Warhammer Online.

Soloing this man would probably have been difficult.

In September, Funcom said that to maintain a healthy player community, it had decided to redistribute server population by merging a number of its game realms. On Friday, the Norwegian developer revealed on its official forums the extent of that consolidation, saying that it would be slashing its total server count from 49 to 18 beginning next week.

US-based servers will see the bulk of Funcom's consolidation, with 24 servers being whittled down to just six. The remaining realms will continue to cover the fundamental rule sets currently available, with player-versus-environment, player-versus-player, and role-playing-themed servers all still available. EU servers will see similar cuts, with 13 servers being merged together so that only four remain. Funcom said that it still plans to maintain its German, Spanish, and French-language servers.

Server consolidation is only the latest rough patch that Funcom has hit since launching Age of Conan in May. Along with merger news, Funcom revealed last September that game director Gaute Godager had resigned from his position, citing irreconcilable "dissatisfaction" over portions of the game. In November, the game maker confirmed staff cuts for its US operations, with various online reports indicating that up to 70 percent of the company's customer-service and quality-assurance teams had been laid off.

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77 comments
samiup
samiup

makes total sense, are those guys at funcom idiots or what? here in the US, having the best product is only 30% of success, marketing is the 70%. Wow commercials run on every channel and the results are clear. if they don't want to loose the remaining players they better start an aggressive marketing campaign.

mortalsting
mortalsting

Ive back to game and im pleased! yeahh a lot of ppl to pve and pve! gj ;D

targetlkd
targetlkd

Since my toons have been merged onto "Tyranny" things have been great, there is plenty of people to pvp against, during prime time there is anywhere from 2-4 instances of kesh with people pvp'ing. There is many people to group up and quest, level, and instance. Funcom is working on adding dx10 into the game and from what I hear from the people on the testlive server that the game is running very well with the latest update. I've seen several people say "dx10 runs just as good if not better than dx9 and comes with all the eye candy" to me that is a huge plus since many previously released dx10 games run like crap except for FC2. If you played and enjoyed AOC before the merge and left because of the ghost towns then now is the time to resub because the servers are booming with people.

stianrin
stianrin

Love this game. But then again I didn't really like WoW all that much. Mybe it isnt for the average WoW'er.

Duke_Bootee
Duke_Bootee

The main reason i would leave is because my computer's good GPU took a crap and my current one isn't DirectX 10 compatible

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

This was a good move by Funcom, it will make their existing fanbase happy and maybe bring back a few more (like me, who re-subbed this past week). Basically, it stops the bleeding, now they just need to work on fixing PvP, adding more content (which they did already back in November - Ymir's Pass) and getting DX10 in this game. Overall this game has a good upside and if I were betting on MMO's I would put my money on this one.

Triplekill
Triplekill

I hope they wont cancel this game for 360, I really cant wait for it.

starbead
starbead

"If don't believe me create a character and go to Tyranny server now" What server will that be next week?

Mr_Yule
Mr_Yule

While I'm sad to see this happen, I can't say it isn't unexpected. after losing half of it's subscriber base in the first 6 months, then to have people leaving due to low server populations (which wasn't because of few people playing, it was way to many server options to play one) it was expected that this would happen. But I agree with Mad-Mack, this is a good move, and the new director is fixing many of the errors that had plagued this game at launch. On a side note, @ mcbizzle28: I have to disagree with you, especially since WoW can be compared easiest to Mcdonalds. It makes a product Widely available, fairly cheap, and something that many people enjoy (Mcdonalds: burgers, Wow: Social gathering that kills time). But to call WoW perfect is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Lets Compare WoW in the first year to AoC in the first year: Both had crap for servers, both lacked a lot of content, neither had very good class balance. The difference? WoW came first, and eventual improved these issues, and people aren't willing to wait for AoC to get to the level that WoW took several years to get to. My 2 copper, Yule

Mad-Mack
Mad-Mack

Im not here saying Age of Conan is better than WoW. WoW is the most popular MMO to date. Those who hated AoC had different expectations. I see it as the most immersive MMO out in the market. The launch was good, but it lacked higher content, and they had stability issues as well as some PVP issues. To say the game is garbage is a joke. To say the game is going to go away is a joke. The game is healthy, improving, has new content with more on the way and the new director is righting the ship. The consolation of servers is a good thing, and the game will only continue to get better and thrive in the years to come. I say enjoy WoW if you like it...I dont, but I do enjoy Age of Conan like many others, and many others who are coming back daily.

SuperSpicoli
SuperSpicoli

I must say I agree with Mcbizzle. I purchased this game, let it soak up way way too much of my hard drive, played it for a few days straight waiting for the greatness that everyone talks about to take me, and when it never happened and the game play only got worse as I went on, I became irate and quickly uninstalled the waste of space and immediately re-installed WoW because this game was bad enough to make me sign back up after a year of not playing because it made me see how great of a game WoW really is. Thank you Funcom for sucking so much that you made me give my hard earned duckets back to Blizzard again. BTW pparache, good things do take time, but you don't release a game for months while you fix all the bugs and expect the end user to pay full price to be your game testers! Funcom, the way I see it you owe me $9,750. $50 for the software that I can't even give away with a Big Mac to a homeless person, $4,700 for time wasted testing yourt product for you, and $5,000 for punitive damages since something inside of me is dead after playing it! I'll see you on Judge Judy!

mcbizzle28
mcbizzle28

Just to go on and get to the point... this is quite possibly the worst MMO I have ever touched. I bought a new graphics card and upped my computer to 8gb of ram to find out that it was just a waste of time. The first 20 lvls or so seemed okay but something seemed to be missing... oh that was the open world environment. With great hope of heading to the continent to find only more loading screens as you go in and out of town and heading to new environments, I was all but slightly assumed. The voice sounds didn't work anymore and I confirmed that this was not just my computer but the games fault. I hope they close all the servers and give me my $50 bucks back for this steaming pile of dung. WoW is not McDonald's (as some of you have said), WoW is perfect and will continue to provide stable, enjoyable, addictive, and open ended content. If you are remotely considering this don't waste your time or money!

pparache
pparache

HaHa, the game its just great right now, if u don't like paying 15 bucks a month or you find it expensive go elsewhere. The game its great for those who have doubts. Bugs are much less now. Good things take time. The game was brought to sales before it was finished? yes , probably they needed to pay all those developers that had worked for 5 years ? probably. Its safer to play a mmo after the first year after launch but since we all wanted to played right away they delivered. Final : The game its getting better and better and its not dying for sure. If don't believe me create a character and go to Tyranny server now ;)

JS0123456789
JS0123456789

I still hope they go ahead with the 360 version, maybe that would bail them out, if they were the first MMO on XBOX Live.

Deckard2323
Deckard2323

Funcom wanted to avoid the typical MMORPG pitfall - not having enough servers at launch time to accommodate the demand they were hoping for and did generate. Unfortunately, relatively smooth start did not save them from another pitfall - lack of polish and content. I enjoyed the game for the first couple of months. Cimmeria has never looked better on PC. But, when compared to its competition, there just wasn't enough for me to stick around and pay $15 a month for an unfinished product.

teirdome
teirdome

Not sure why this is such a huge deal. Warhammer only has 19 NA servers that they haven't encouraged people to transfer off of. Both MMOs needed to be delayed until after Lich King. WotLK absolutely slaughtered any chance they ever had.

Elbowsmash
Elbowsmash

Bring on the 360 version!!!!!!!!

Mad-Mack
Mad-Mack

McDonalds is the most popular restaurant chain and makes tons of money. I am a chef, and would never want to work at or even own a chain like McDonalds, so consider Age of Conan a fine dining restaurant, and WoW McDonalds. I dont deny WoW's success, but dosnt mean its a quality product that I enjoy.

AzureWind213
AzureWind213

Everyone wants to be WoW. Wow = $$$$$$$$$$. You don't have to be an aeronautical engineer (^_^) to understand that...

Mad-Mack
Mad-Mack

And AoC is going nowhere...trust me, the game will be around for years to come, maybe not as the WoW killer (but then who wants to be WoW...just because its the most popular, dosnt make it the best). If any of you are interested in trying the game, now is the time...There is new content, PVP patches, more stability on lesser machines, and an expansion coming in the end of 09 (well, knowing that FC takes their sweet time, maybe early 2010). Seriously, this is not the end of Conan...it is a fresh new begining. Consider this the launch Funcom should have done in the first place.

Mad-Mack
Mad-Mack

Yes AoC hit a rough spot, and yes they are merging servers...at the communities request. Since Gaute left, things have only gotten better, and we continue to see imporvements. The lay-off of staff is not uncommon after a launch, or with any business after opening. It is a common practice to overstaff for the launch, then cut back once things have settled down. This may be due to some of the rough waters AoC experienced, but not entirely. AoC is the best MMO out there right now in terms of graphics, mechanics, and immersive environment....even with its flawed launch I find it more entertaining than any of the other MMO's I have played (including WoW, Warhammer, EQ, UO, CoH). People are coming back, and if anything this is a sign of good things to come since the servers will be even more populated. I have been playing since launch, and still enjoy every minute of it. Good Job (NOT!!!) Gamespot of delivering such a one sided view of Conan. I used to depend on you as my first choice for objective game news, but seeing such reckless typical internet news garbage knocks you down in my opinion.

hegemon44
hegemon44

Sword of Damocles. Not Damascus.

Gen-Gawl
Gen-Gawl

I thought AoC was great. I stopped playing though because their maint day was one of the days I had available to play. @kavadias: I think you meant sword of damocles, right?

juggalo
juggalo

Gutting. I've never played MMO's before so this was my first as I LOVE the Conan mythos and world. Beautifully realised but dull as ditchwater gameplay so far as I had gotten. It SCREAMED to be made into a console game with better controls...playing the PC version with a gamepad and switchblade was revelation enough. I can only pray that the reported 360 version sees full gestation! In the meantime I am retiring my account from the PC version...it'sjust too much to pay per month for a single game. Such a shame...sorry Funcom, the passion evident in the design makes this a tough choice. ROLL ON THE 360 VERSION.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Whoa. 70% of their staff?! Crap time to be working in the games industry, what with the sword of damascus dangling over your head the whole time.

jay0013
jay0013

How did things go so wrong for them.

Bytor60150
Bytor60150

@iuns At no point in my post had I stated that playing WoW was better than going to a movie, I was just wondering how you could spring for two movie tickets with refreshments and not pay over $15. You assume too much.

zbu85
zbu85

Damn, I don't see this lasting too much longer. I wonder if it is still coming out for the 360 then?

Blackfriend8
Blackfriend8

it sucks but that's what they get for having no end game when it first came out. By the time they actually got their act together the new WOW expansion was coming out. So its there own fault really.

Otacon6669
Otacon6669

I loved AoC, if it wasn't for my ghetto computer, I'd still be playing it. Then again there were a lot of networking and video issues, shame they're beginning to close it up.

Vistaer
Vistaer

This game was so rushed, and it still looks incomplete. Last I checked a couple months ago, you could build a player run town... but there's nothing you can really do with the buildings. They're just empty spaces with nothing in them. Basically something for someone else to burn down.

Vambran
Vambran

Oh well i was never going to play this game anyway.

viewtiful_jay
viewtiful_jay

Damn. Tough times for any MMORPG not named World of Warcraft...

ihma
ihma

(lights a match) and so we stand here, and bid farewell to another game by Eidos, and hope that it burns in hell for all time FOR GEFF!

ihma
ihma

"omg i can behead ppl!!!" (gratz on lvl 2) "well im bored"

jrabbit99
jrabbit99

look at the bright side, at least you'll be seeing other people while playing now :)

ggregd
ggregd

If you ask people what MMO they liked best, they'll almost always tell you it was the first one they played. When they get tired of their first love and break up, the go from game to game trying to recapture what they loved about the first one, which never happens. I think that since WoW is so huge, the portential audience for the traditional MMO (based primarily on killing things for experience and stuff) has already played their first game, and nothing that comes along from now on is going to do well. Once you've played one Fighting = Experience MMO you've pretty much played them all, haven't you? Same $#!+, different scenery. If you're tired of one, you're tired of them all. Once the novelty of the new world wears off, you're left with the same old same old. MMO's like Second Life that dump the fighting and experience paradigm are where the money is now. The social aspects of the genre appeals to everyone, combat and playing 40 hours a week only appeals to the hardcore minority.

VGuzz
VGuzz

I gave up on pc games along time ago. I will play starcraft 2 though and diablo 3

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

@Templar_Bladema: AoC didn't fail because of a "complex" combat system. Not in the slightest. For starters, what was so complex about it in the first place? It was real time and had combos, which was nothing more than hitting the appropriate buttons in a sequence - that isn't complex at all. Most people who played AoC actually liked the combat. AoC failed entirely because of Funcom's incompetence. It was marketed as a PvP game to beat all PvP games. Except that it was so horribly unbalanced PvP was pretty much a joke. Each fix they made seem to make things even more unbalanced. Several things promised to be in the game weren't in at launch. Not even months after launch. And, worst of all, lack of content. Lack of content is going to kill any MMO, and Funcom totally dropped the ball. Level's 1-20 were good because of the storyline you could advance through. That was done really well. After that, it completely fell apart. I actually wanted AoC to succeed. It seemed somewhat refreshing when the only other big MMO prospect on the horizon was Warhammer, which was just more orcs and elves like WoW. The Conan universe was something unique that hadn't been done before, and it is a shame that Funcom failed this franchise. The unbalanced PvP, rampant bugs, lack of content, and terrible support from Funcom is why AoC failed.

troness
troness

The problem with this MMO, from the very beginning was the fact that it was a broken/unfinished game after the first 25 levels. The game was very popular early on, I believe it sold over a million copies (which is an achievement for any MMO) but it couldn't retain its subscribers simply because it was a very flawed game, and that's the main reason. Games like these can thrive if they find a niche. They aren't going to be as popular as WoW, but they can be successful in their own right, and where Funcom failed was in its polish and execution. It had a lot of great things going for it with this MMO, but it was a failure mainly because of their own shortcomings and not because of releases from Blizzard and EA.

Zerabp
Zerabp

This game was full of potential but was blown simply because they didn't listen to their Beta testers who all said it needed at least another six months. We warned them again and again that they were launching too soon and they didn't listen. So it came out and while the bugs were bad that wasn't what drove people to quit, it was the lack of content, which still exists btw. I and all my friends could take the bugs and glitches as the first 20 levels were simply awe inspiring in their content and storytelling, and after that nothing. They turned all that potential into all style with no substance and that's why people left and are still leaving.

Templar_Bladema
Templar_Bladema

I never subscribe to MMOs because I am cheap like that. But this MMO seemed to peak my interest except that from what I heard, there is little content from levels 20 to 40. I can handle the bugs, because most MMOs launch with bugs, WoW was no exception. I like AoC:HA because it did stuff different, it kept to the violent world of Conan almost accurately, and the story was interesting. Sad that games like this and Hellgate falter due to a weak player base to begin with, and sometimes due to the complex gameplay. AoC failed to attract a much larger casual base due to the unique, but complex combat system, and because most of them flock to WoW.

Ra-Devil
Ra-Devil

All you guys talking about the movies, I honestly do want to know where you live. I need to get in on these deals. I payed $11 a ticket in Denver, and about $6 for popcorn, $3 for a drink, or $10 for 2 drinks and popcorn. Now I'm in Nashville, and it's still $9 a tickent, and about $5 something for popcorn... even with just 2 people going, it comes out to be about $30 every time. Also, is anyone surprised that the other MMOs out there can't survive when there's another one with a far larger population that's not going anywhere? I think it's a stupid idea to try and make all these games when your target audience is already playing another MMO of a different series they think it absolutely amazing... meaning not only do you have to convince them that they should come play your game, abandoning all the time and effort they put into their first one, but you have to try and be as good if not better than the compition... whoever thought making an MMO in the day and age of WoW is an idiot and needs his job taken away. Hell, I still don't play them because for even less I can get games on my PS3 and 360 and play them just as much as any WoW player... not the hardcore freaks, but the other people.

pathock3
pathock3

Of course it's always easy to see the problems in hindsight, so here's what happened. Everyone that was interested in a mature MMO bought this. Some stuck with it, many left, and few joined post-launch. So the number of players was doomed to decay and now it's crashing. Much faster than I would have guessed. There are many lessons for the industry to learn from this.

Killingspree303
Killingspree303

I've returned to Age of Conan, and since last I played (the release), they have fixed a lot of bugs. But there are still many bugs to be fixed, and I hope they can do it as soon as possible.