If Conan wanted me back in the game, he has his wish, to a certain extent anyway.
I decided on Saturday afternoon to accede to the wishes of the muscle-bound warrior king and took Funcom up on their offer of two free weeks. After all, I didn’t really want 6’6″ of angry muscle smashing down my door and screaming, “Get to da CHOPPA! Da CHOPPAAA!” (Sorry wrong movie.) Doors aren’t cheap to fix you know, let alone the hassle of getting a locksmith on the weekend.
I did however decide against actually subscribing for any of the payment plans. I’m currently more interested in seeing how Age of Conan has improved since I last played. That was nearly 2 years ago. If I recall correctly, I quit after the first or second month because of the following reasons.
- The game was woefully incomplete. There was a considerable lack of content in the middle levels. While I hadn’t got that far, level 21 was my highest level, even post-Tortage felt lacking.
- Funcom was breaking more that it was fixing. At release Tortage was polished and smooth (for me.) Less than a month later, I was falling through geometry and not having a smooth and polished experience.
- I was experiencing a crash to desktop regularly. Some form of memory leak I think was responsible.
- Gear and equipment were not properly itemized. At that point it made no difference wearing or upgrading armor, or even fighting naked. Item stats didn’t seem to do anything.
So after clicking on the trial button and refreshing my details, it didn’t ask for my credit card details by the way, I started the patching process.
And boy, was there a lot of patching to be done. A bit over 3GB of patching to be exact. Here’s what I learned. Three gig of patching takes a lot of time. I started just after 3pm and it finished close to 10pm. The patcher also crashed halfway through, but recovered the process when I restarted (otherwise I might not be writing this post.)
The problems that encouraged me to previously cancel my account were the things that I wanted to have a really good look at in this trial period. Here’s what I’ve found so far.
- Most importantly, the memory leak issues and bugs appear to have been fixed. Not unexpected, I would have been profoundly disappointed if after this amount of time Funcom had failed to have fixed these problems. No CTD is a good start as far as I’m concerned. All the geometry issues I found previously in Tortage seem to have been resolved.
- Gear and equipment look like they are working as in any other MMORPG now. Items have stats, and from what I could tell, better equipment made a difference. It’s all good, except I have no reason to flash my hairy chest in public anymore, even on my male characters.
I wasn’t able to see if the lack of content had been addressed since all of my characters are still too low level. I played Stropp my Dark Templar for a while today and dinged up to 22.
To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll have enough time in the next two weeks to get any character to the levels that were reported as being inadequate. I figure there will be other bloggers with higher level characters taking advantage of Funcoms trial offer. It might pay to seek them out for that info.
There are still a few bad points though.
- I think there are still a few bugs. One quest target was marked on the map, but I was unable to complete the quest because she did not appear to be at the specified location.
- None of the servers were registering more than medium load, and still showed green, but there were moments of lag. Actually, there were some very long moments where I thought I was going to be disconnected, mostly in the middle of fights. On the plus side, the system seemed to handle them and I didn’t come out of the lag dead, only where I left off.
- Unfortunately the UI is somewhat confusing. That hasn’t changed, but I didn’t really like it back then; it’s still a poor UI now.
- Global chat appears to be channeling World of Warcraft’s Barrens chat, except without the restraint.
- Someone ninja invited me to a guild, while I was in night time mode in Tortage. Must have just done a who all and invited folks not in a guild. Not even a hello, hows it going…
So where does this leave me?
Primarily with a much better impression of Age of Conan before I left. The shame of the matter is that a game has to work much harder to regain a players trust if it loses it, than if it gets it right in the first place. My view of AoC is probably a little tainted by those poor first impressions. If I were playing for the first time ever, today, I might feel a lot different about Age of Conan.
It is a graphically gorgeous game, with a lot of imagination behind it, and a lot of potential too.
However, at this stage, I’ll continue my re-visitation of Age of Conan for the remainder of the two week trial, but at logout today there was nothing there to make me want to pay any money to resubscribe.
That might change if I find some compelling content before the trial ends, or if the game succeeds at recapturing my imagination, but like I said in my last post about this offer by Funcom, there are too many games around at the moment that I want to play. There’s so much going on any game, not just AoC, is going to have to stand out in a big way.
Now a Barbarian breaking down my door might catch my eye, but if Conan sent that assassin my way. That, might get my attention.