Age of Conan launched in 2008 to mixed reactions, but much has changed since then. The development team has changed, the design philosophy has changed, items have become a lot more meaningful, and huge chunks of high-level content have been added. Now, the game's development team is hard at work on the next update for the game, Rise of the Godslayer, which will introduce a totally new area to explore--the faraway, vaguely Asia-inspired land of Khitai--along with tons of new gameplay options.
Khitai will be a huge land consisting of five contiguous zones filled with tons of new quests and new items. In addition, the land will house a group of about 10 new factions that will be tied to numerous faction-based quests and will offer dozens of new armor sets (in all of the game's armor types of light, medium, heavy, and silk), as well as one of two new riding mounts (either a tiger or a wolf) as rewards. While you can join more than one faction, joining them all and reaping each one's rewards will be nearly impossible because some these groups will have opposing goals, while others will flat-out hate each other.
In any case, it'll be worth it to try to gain at least a few loyalty ranks with one or two of them, especially the wilderness factions which have your potential new pet/mount. The new line of mount quests requires you to gain many loyalty ranks with the proper faction before you can even make the attempt. Once you do get in good with the right people, your character will need to strip naked (in game terms, that means un-equipping all your weapons and armor) and do battle with the mother she-wolf or tigress and actually steal one of its young. If you survive the battle, you'll have a wolf pup or young tiger that you must feed and care for until it matures to its "pet" state, at which point, you can have it accompany you into battle as a pet, much like any other pet in the game. However, you can perform an additional set of quests to fully mature your furry, fanged friend into a larger riding mount. Though if you do, your wolf or tiger will no longer be a fighting pet, so you'll have to make a choice.
We then watched a demonstration of some of the new dungeons that will be featured in the game. Like with some of the other, more recent dungeons in the game, the development team is designing new content that offers variety beyond what's already been seen in the game. In this case, one of the new dungeons, "Celestial Necropolis," will feature team-based puzzles that require members of your party to stand on certain tiles and perform a specific emote gesture.
One puzzle involves a chasm with a fallen bridge that will rebuild itself with the right combination, but requires some party members to stay behind and sit on their tiles while the others cross over and do battle with the bridge's guardians to secure the bridge from the other side. (These puzzles will be marked with hints that will tip you off about what kind of monsters guard the bridge and which party members you can leave behind on the far side.) The boss of this challenging dungeon, a meditating demon warrior, will use emote gestures of his own to summon floating stone monoliths to attack you, and you'll need to take careful note of those emotes to assemble the walkway to finally attack the boss. Another dungeon, "Pillars of Heaven," will be presided over by a bandit boss with the high ground who periodically orders his goons to pelt you with arrows from above. Unless you want to be Swiss cheese, you need to actually take cover in the surrounding areas to survive.
Interestingly, Rise of the Godslayer will launch simultaneously in Age of Conan's regular territories, as well as in South Korea with Funcom's Asia publishing partner Neowiz. This studio has provided helpful insight into the preferences of overseas players, from user interface details to the appearance of the game's new Khitai race, which will look suitably exotic and "Asian" while remaining true to Age of Conan's low-fantasy setting of barbarians, brutality, and exposed bits of skin. Rise of the Godslayer is currently being tested on Age of Conan's beta server and will go live later this year.