GDC 07: Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Updated Impressions

Funcom shows off group combat in its upcoming Conan-based massively multiplayer role-playing game, as well as the game running in DirectX 10.

Funcom and Eidos continue to work on Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, the upcoming massively multiplayer role-playing game for the Xbox 360 and PC set in Robert E. Howard's famous fantasy universe of Conan the Barbarian. With Age of Conan set to launch in late October, the company plans to reveal more and more of the game in the coming months. To that end, Funcom's Jorgen Tharaldsen was on hand at the Game Developers Conference to show off the latest progress on the game, specifically group gameplay.

You can create and develop a formidable character in Age of Conan, one capable of mowing down most opponents with ease, just like the titular character. You won't be able to play as Conan himself, but the big guy will play a significant role in the story. You will play as a former galley slave who, after escaping captivity, sets out on the road to fame and glory. One of the more unique aspects of Age of Conan is that it blends single-player and multiplayer gameplay together. You can play the game by yourself, but you can also jump into the massively multiplayer aspects of the game and play with others.

Tharaldsen showed off the character-customization options briefly, illustrating the power of the character editor. After that, he dived straight into the game with a high-level character. Enlisting the aid of employees at Funcom's US offices, he then showed off what a group of characters is capable of. With a flurry of sword strikes, the group mowed through waves of enemies easily. It's not just hack-and-slash gameplay, though, as the composition of the group highlighted how tactics can play a role in the game. The real-time combat system in Age of Conan means that each battle can be a tactical dance to the death. Multiply that further with group combat, and there's a rush as players race to aid one another.

One of the things that Funcom wants to emphasize in Age of Conan is that this is a game that captures the gory nature of the Conan universe. To that end, you can decapitate and dismember someone in combat with a sword swing, or you'll encounter human sacrifices and more. The quest system can get pretty dark, as well. For instance, one quest will have you retrieve the half-eaten body of a woman from a giant crocodile so that her husband can move on.

This was the first time that we saw the DirectX 10 version of the game running, although it was very much in the early stages of development. Still, it clearly looked sharper and better than the DirectX 9 version of the game. In particular, the longer draw distances stood out, as well as the abundant shadowing and self-shadowing effects everywhere. With that said, it was still evident that it was a work in progress, though Funcom plans to spend the coming months polishing and optimizing the game. The company still has a fair amount of time, as Age of Conan is scheduled to launch in late October.

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Discussion

31 comments
JaredTrotterboy
JaredTrotterboy

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

JaredTrotterboy
JaredTrotterboy

I'm gonna buy Fable 2, and rent this. I usually have a knack for picking out good games, but just to be safe.

HolteEnder4Life
HolteEnder4Life

please be good, im sick of WoW now, id like a descent MMO on my 360 to keep me off it

Shishio817
Shishio817

I hope there's no monthly payment, and if there is, then I hope it's not unreasonable, especially if the game ends up sucking.

packernation31
packernation31

I'm really excited for this to be the first mmorpg for a console that might actually survive.

ryanbell36788
ryanbell36788

They had better incorporate the original Basil Poledourius soundtrack or someone comparable..... ehh.. and.. Maybe try to get the governator to do some voice overs if possible. :-) Oh my God I AM a nerd...!!!

Faith256
Faith256

Sadly I have lost a bit of my enthusiasm.. got a beta key great, signed up on forum np, downloaded the 4g file np, installed it, logged in and it say I am banned? WTF! 6 emails later, no response in forum from adminstrators, funcom or customer services...this makes me wonder :(

mithon81
mithon81

This is gonna be great! I wonder, however, did they get their idea for the combat system from "Die by the Sword" or the "Elder Scrolls"-series? I'm especially looking forward to this game because finally somebody makes an MMO for adults. I'll spill blood in the name of crom for the months to come, praying that whiny snots, griefers and imature kiddies won't find their way to this game.

angkawsw
angkawsw

gonna be awesome by the looks of it... love the idea and the era too... should be fun doing such creative quests...

Modx22
Modx22

this looks like it will be a fun game. I like the look of it really has kind of a classic look while providing high tech graphics

xGollumx
xGollumx

rokkuman09 your lack of knowledge on both games and consoles is astonishing. 1) DX10 is for Windows Vista only. The 360 has nothing to do with DX10. 2) FFXI runs slow on just about any system, whether it's the 360, a PC, or the PS2. SquareEnix is to blame for this, as their rendering engine is the bottleneck, not the platform. Any crowded area will slow to a crawl on any system. Anyway, AoC looks promising, and even if the gameplay won't be breaking any new ground, the technology behind it will.

denaz
denaz

My god this game sounds great!! Dismembering and decapitation... what more could you want?!

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

I thought the 360 only had very limited DX10 support? So I guess it won't look as pretty. But anyway I can't imagine this will run very good on the 360, because it is really lacking in the RAM area. RAM is very important for most MMORPGs too. I mean if the 360 can't ran FFXI without slowdown it's screwed for this. Also I just can't imagine a MMORPG can be as fun on a console, it's just not the same. But even with all my pessimism about this, it could end up being good you never know.

sicscum
sicscum

if this is 3/4 as good as they make it out to be then i think it'll be an ok transition from WoW. however it could be a complete flop like fable was...

pythxvii
pythxvii

well it looks amazing im syked its comin to the 360 too so i can actually play it with solid fps lol

stanislavski86
stanislavski86

bookum9of9 you sound like a very ignorant person or rather slow!!! Dude! Presenter says he is lvl 32 and the people he chops are lvl 15 plus since he is demonstrating his character is very well equiped as well! That's why he can chop 5 people in one go!!! Posts like bookum9of9's piss me off bad!

truemattyz
truemattyz

sounds and looks ace i cant wait to see more about this game and am specially looking forward to demo..

bookum9of9
bookum9of9

The gameplay vids look kak, run,run,run,run,hit mob once. gamplayvid 2,also kak,again lots of slow running,for the character to swing like 2 times and all 5 mobs are gone. looks well boring. altho nice graphics.

TheForgotten0ne
TheForgotten0ne

Great game for sure....The battle system might be good after all:)

BrUnOdeFeNiX
BrUnOdeFeNiX

Very nice game!!Go to my blog and answer the questions... And in my videos you see videos of that game!!Find and see!!Hugs!!

Ravi_1900
Ravi_1900

I hope it to be as good as said!!!!!!!

trasherhead
trasherhead

Its good to be norwegian:D (Funcom is a norwegian game company)

stanislavski86
stanislavski86

Well definitly one of the best MMOs! Not only this year but probably this decade!

Jerian
Jerian

This game is gonna put all other MMO's to shame when it comes out

Matti9845
Matti9845

I decided yesterday i'm getting this instead of huxley. I also love the fact that funcom is sooo open about what they are doing.

august_king
august_king

I'm definitely getting this when it comes out.

august_king
august_king

I'm definitely getting this when it comes out.

samhellbringer
samhellbringer

This game just sounds better and better the more I hear about it.