GDC 2009: Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures - What's Next

SAN FRANCISCO--With GDC 2009 underway, we took the opportunity to visit with Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures game director Craig Morrison on the game's current status and its planned updates. The game, Morrison admits, had a rocky launch and was lacking in some areas, but has since been...

SAN FRANCISCO--With GDC 2009 underway, we took the opportunity to visit with Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures game director Craig Morrison on the game's current status and its planned updates. The game, Morrison admits, had a rocky launch and was lacking in some areas, but has since been amended extensively based on feedback from the player community. Commonly cited launch issues, such as a lack of higher-end content, a lack of diversity in quests and dungeons,anda lack of higher-end player-versus-player battle have been worked on; content has been added steadily post-launch, and high-level siege combat is also in the game and enjoyed by players right now.


In Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, fire , brimstone, and a phat loot patch await you.

Variety is something that the development team has pushed strongly to implement as well, says Morrison, who cited the most recent in-game update that added a new dungeon, Xibaluku, which included several harrowing new encounters that require players to think on their feet, such as a powerful "boss" monster whose magical shielding can be deactivated only by solving an always-randomized jumping puzzle; and a monster-infested crevasse where sallying forth quickly means getting weakened by flocks of bats, but moving forwards too slowly means taking a nasty fall, since patrolling troll monsters will catch up to you and send you tumbling. And this push for variety will also be reflected in the coming update new content, which, in addition to including a new high-level dungeon area, will also include a wide-open outdoor commons area under siege by two rival gangs. These gangsconstantly battle for control in public, shared areas as part of a new story that will have new quests tied to it. Completing these new quests may turn the tide of battle in favor of one side or another...in real-time, as other players are making their way through this content. So, while you might be trying to advance the agenda of one faction, you may suddenly see the balance of power swing in favor of the opposing faction as a result of other players helping that rival faction...again, in real-time, with no instancing. Morrison explains that this kind of on-the-fly change, while very difficult to implement in the game,should help shake things up for players who are looking for something new.

However, the game still seemed to lack one crucial piece of the puzzle--powerful, desirable, and sexy loot items (known colloquially by massively multiplayer veterans as "phat loot"). This will also change. The Age of Conan team's next big project will be a gigantic overhaul of the way items work in the game, as well as the power and bonuses they provide. In most massively multiplayer games, you expect to keep fighting, keep questing, and keep looting more and more-powerful items that grant your characters huge bonuses that strengthen them considerably. Previously, Age of Conan's somewhat conservative loot system did just the opposite. Even powerful magical swords and armor would provide measly-sounding +0.02% bonuses to damage or protections against damage. With the next update of the game, items will instead carry "ranking" labels that provide easier-to-understand bonuses like "+10 to strength."

In addition, the game's basic item bonus system is also being overhauled. Previously, you could receive bonuses to certain attributes (strength, endurance, and so on) only from specific armor pieces; for instance, you could only get strength bonuses from gloves or helmets, which limited your choices considerably. Now, you'll be able to find armor in any slot that increases any character statistic, and really focusing on raising the power of a single statistic will have a noticeable, but not overwhelming, effect on your character's power level. Morrison was quick to point out that even a fully kitted adventurere with meticulously gathered enhancing armor will increase in power by about 50% (as opposed to the 200%-300% power increases you might see in other online games), so this advantage won't always guarantee you a victory, and isnt' intended to be something that players should obsess themselves with, unless they're looking to get into high-end raids, which, as Age ofConan players already understand,requires every advantage players can get their hands on. Hopefully, thisradical changewill help players get more enjoyment out of their game by pursuing powerful loot, but won't make players feel obligated to complete specific armor sets or end up limiting variety as all players of a certain class end up all wearing the same type of kitted armor.


They will tremble before the might of your new magic sword.Because your magic sword will have, like, +15 to strength.

While Morrison was happy to discuss the details in the upcoming updates for the game, he unfortunately remained completely silent about the full-on expansion pack, which was announced some time ago. There are no details on the expansion that can be shared right now, and the game director suggested this might be for the best, seeing as how there may be players who still aren't satisfied about current in-game issues and may not be happy to see the team focusing instead on a new project, instead of fixing what should be fixed. Still, the recent additions to the game seem to have improved it considerably, and Morrison tells us that now that siege PvP is in the game, about half of the player population plays in PvP, and the other half focuses on PvE...an almost eerily perfect split.

The next content update for Age of Conan: Hyborian adventures may make it out to the test server in the next week or so, but as the game director suggests, it'll require some time to tweak properly before pushing live.

Written By

Want the latest news about Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures?

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures

Follow

Discussion

21 comments
McVaFfLe
McVaFfLe

Its somehow encouraging that many players are considering of re-subing to AoC. Funcom deserves a gratz now that they finally pulled of and wiped most of the glitches the game had at launch... My CE may be worth its money now that the game is better... See you in Hyboria fellas :)

rad2071
rad2071

i played it at launch and besides the glitches and stuff i thought it was awesome. i've played a lot of mmo's so when you start playin AoC and are cutting peoples heads off it really is a breath of fresh air. I'll def start playing again someday, i would like to upgrade my computer first tho...

Jakeamalake
Jakeamalake

Thanks to all that are currently playing the game again and gave there opinon on whether the game was getting better or not. Reading this makes me want to give the game another go. My cousin and I got into the game at launch and enjoyed it together very much, but lost interest after about 3 months due to glitches and the things the game was lacking at launch. I always saw potential in the game though so I am confident that everyone is right about it being better.

makmaria
makmaria

great game and has definitely improved alot in the last few months ..pvp is more fun now since the servers have merged

Vlaimir_Lem86
Vlaimir_Lem86

I had three lvl 80's back in July/August timeframe before i quit. From what ive been hearing, the game is better, but is still AoC. Ill stick with EQ2, and check back again in a few months.

rando22
rando22

wasnt this game supposed to come out for the 360 at sometime? lol

Spyritwind
Spyritwind

I played for only two months after launch due to all the problems and resubbed about two months ago now. The game has greatly improved, but they still need to fix equipment, GEMS and the rest of the skill trade system. Direct X10 is now working, but your screen rates will suffer; looks amazing though. Basiclly, once they fix equipment/gems and the other trade skills the game will be what it should have been at launch. Hopefully these fixes will come soon as the one year anniversery of this game is in May. Yes I admit rolling out an expansion before they finish the first thing they rolled out would be very lame. Let's see if they finish it first.

teemu
teemu

The game is better than ever, that's my opinion at least, however I think that the bad rep. of the launch will be hard to wash off and it is up to Funcom to prove to their players that they're making amends... To all who quit only because the lack off content and buggs, but think that the game had potential, I recommend to resub. and give the game a month, I don't tink you will be disappointed...

bojan_sokol
bojan_sokol

cool, now it only needs more ppl playing

jingomelingo
jingomelingo

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

jingomelingo
jingomelingo

I quit the game 2 months after launch as each patch made it worse, I resubbed 3 months ago and have enjoyed every minute, if you rage quit like me then I urge you to give this game a 2nd chance. Runs extremely well, currently has a test version of DX10, loads of new content and server merges means busy servers now, great game compared to how it was. Start a new toon - loads of changes to the content as you level

DivineChampion
DivineChampion

Ive not only played AoC from launch, but i bought the Collector's Edition of the game (which beside the point is the coolest collector's edition box i've gotten from any game), and playing the game from the very beginning i saw how it GREATLY lacked in many areas. I postponed by subscription in September of last year after around a month and a half of play; play that was very rough and painful. But i'm glad that they're back on the saddle and patching the game. I just might renew my subscription during the summer, delete my 72 HoX and just make a new character to absorb Hyborea anew. ^.^

Duckshot
Duckshot

I stopped playing this about 6 months ago. So DX10 out yet? How about performance?

Oni
Oni

Awesome. I've been waiting for this. I always had hoped AoC would get past it's rocky start. :)

cthuludeath
cthuludeath

I just got back into this game about two weeks ago after a good four months off and I must say that the improvements are really noticeable. The new content is pretty awesome as well. It is definitely worth either giving it another shot or trying it for the first time.

Hate_Squad
Hate_Squad

yeah,i'm re-subscribing when i upgrade my pc

Killingspree303
Killingspree303

Age of Conan is the best PvP MMO I've played till now. But I haven't experienced the best yet, like siege fights. I will definitely buy more time to my account when I'm done with my current MMO subscription.

methzoom
methzoom

I`m considering resubscription too... I mean the box of the CE takes half the roomso at least I should try it again...

tomjacobs
tomjacobs

I'm considering resubscribing to AoC, but I'm too caught up in LotRO at the moment. 2 MMO subs at once is a bit much I think. Not enough free time.

Samox
Samox

Does anyone still play this?

AndrewP
AndrewP

SAN FRANCISCO--With GDC 2009 underway, we took the opportunity to visit with Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures game director Craig Morrison on the game's current status and its planned updates. The game, Morrison admits, had a rocky launch and was lacking in some areas, but has since been amended extensively based on feedback from the player community. Commonly cited launch issues, such as a lack of higher-end content, a lack of diversity in quests and dungeons,anda lack of higher-end player-versus-player battle have been worked on; content has been added steadily post-launch, and high-level siege combat is also in the game and enjoyed by players right now.

In Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, fire , brimstone, and a phat loot patch await you.

Variety is something that the development team has pushed strongly to implement as well, says Morrison, who cited the most recent in-game update that added a new dungeon, Xibaluku, which included several harrowing new encounters that require players to think on their feet, such as a powerful "boss" monster whose magical shielding can be deactivated only by solving an always-randomized jumping puzzle; and a monster-infested crevasse where sallying forth quickly means getting weakened by flocks of bats, but moving forwards too slowly means taking a nasty fall, since patrolling troll monsters will catch up to you and send you tumbling. And this push for variety will also be reflected in the coming update new content, which, in addition to including a new high-level dungeon area, will also include a wide-open outdoor commons area under siege by two rival gangs. These gangsconstantly battle for control in public, shared areas as part of a new story that will have new quests tied to it. Completing these new quests may turn the tide of battle in favor of one side or another...in real-time, as other players are making their way through this content. So, while you might be trying to advance the agenda of one faction, you may suddenly see the balance of power swing in favor of the opposing faction as a result of other players helping that rival faction...again, in real-time, with no instancing. Morrison explains that this kind of on-the-fly change, while very difficult to implement in the game,should help shake things up for players who are looking for something new.

However, the game still seemed to lack one crucial piece of the puzzle--powerful, desirable, and sexy loot items (known colloquially by massively multiplayer veterans as "phat loot"). This will also change. The Age of Conan team's next big project will be a gigantic overhaul of the way items work in the game, as well as the power and bonuses they provide. In most massively multiplayer games, you expect to keep fighting, keep questing, and keep looting more and more-powerful items that grant your characters huge bonuses that strengthen them considerably. Previously, Age of Conan's somewhat conservative loot system did just the opposite. Even powerful magical swords and armor would provide measly-sounding +0.02% bonuses to damage or protections against damage. With the next update of the game, items will instead carry "ranking" labels that provide easier-to-understand bonuses like "+10 to strength."

In addition, the game's basic item bonus system is also being overhauled. Previously, you could receive bonuses to certain attributes (strength, endurance, and so on) only from specific armor pieces; for instance, you could only get strength bonuses from gloves or helmets, which limited your choices considerably. Now, you'll be able to find armor in any slot that increases any character statistic, and really focusing on raising the power of a single statistic will have a noticeable, but not overwhelming, effect on your character's power level. Morrison was quick to point out that even a fully kitted adventurere with meticulously gathered enhancing armor will increase in power by about 50% (as opposed to the 200%-300% power increases you might see in other online games), so this advantage won't always guarantee you a victory, and isnt' intended to be something that players should obsess themselves with, unless they're looking to get into high-end raids, which, as Age ofConan players already understand,requires every advantage players can get their hands on. Hopefully, thisradical changewill help players get more enjoyment out of their game by pursuing powerful loot, but won't make players feel obligated to complete specific armor sets or end up limiting variety as all players of a certain class end up all wearing the same type of kitted armor.

They will tremble before the might of your new magic sword.Because your magic sword will have, like, +15 to strength.

While Morrison was happy to discuss the details in the upcoming updates for the game, he unfortunately remained completely silent about the full-on expansion pack, which was announced some time ago. There are no details on the expansion that can be shared right now, and the game director suggested this might be for the best, seeing as how there may be players who still aren't satisfied about current in-game issues and may not be happy to see the team focusing instead on a new project, instead of fixing what should be fixed. Still, the recent additions to the game seem to have improved it considerably, and Morrison tells us that now that siege PvP is in the game, about half of the player population plays in PvP, and the other half focuses on PvE...an almost eerily perfect split.

The next content update for Age of Conan: Hyborian adventures may make it out to the test server in the next week or so, but as the game director suggests, it'll require some time to tweak properly before pushing live.