So here I am at the end of the two week reactivation trial from Funcom for Age of Conan.
For the first couple of days I replayed old characters, primarily Stropp the Aquilonian Dark Templar, and to be honest with you I didn’t find that character very engaging. I didn’t feel invested in the quests, and perhaps it was the area, those quests seemed to be a little disjointed and a bit boring.
So I decided to create a new character. Bargarse the Barbarian, a Cimmerian.
The Barbarian class in Age of Conan is effectively a rogue archetype. He’s able to stealth and do most everything a rogue does. At first blush this seemed a bit of a stretch for me, I’d never have pegged Arnie’s portrayal of Conan as anything but a warrior. But, I’ve never read any of the Conan books so I don’t know how Howard portrayed him. And at least for part of the film he’s involved in somewhat roguish behavior.
Anyway, I took Bargarse through all the Tortage quests, getting him up to level 20 over three nights, before heading out to Conarch Village and Conal Valley over Saturday and Sunday. With the help of an experience potion claimable throughout November, I took my Barbarian through most of the quests and nearly to level 27. I figure there may be enough quests left to get to level 30.
Some things I noticed:
- Tortage works like a charm now. It seems the bugs introduced throughout the release period have been fixed. Not that I expected they wouldn’t be.
- There is still an occasional crash to desktop. I had it happen once.
- There appears to still be a memory leak, but it’s nowhere near as bad as when I first played. Some of the map textures disappeared from time to time as before, but only happened once. I don’t know if it’s related, but every time I exited the game, a dialog popped up asking me to report a bug (and then the Microsoft one immediately after.)
- Funcom has some of the post-Tortage quest givers talking now. At release that was one of the big complaints. Tortage set everything up beautifully with fully voiced quest givers, and as soon as I left Tortage, no-one spoke anymore. Now, not every quest giver does, but there are some.
- There are still huge gaps in the destiny quests. I met up with the destiny guy in Conarch Village and he said, “Hi! Come back at 30.” Funcom needs to fill out these quests with at least a quest chain every 5 levels. Otherwise the destiny quests are nothing but an interruption.
- The combo’s are useful now. At release, it really didn’t matter if I used a combo or not. Just swinging my weapon did as much damage. Now, swinging wildly doesn’t do much damage at all. But using the combos correctly can really knock a mob down.
The biggest difference though was that I began to enjoy the game. I reckon it was the Barbarian class coupled with the usefulness of combos. The rogue aspects added to the gameplay since I could sneak up behind a mob and sneak attack which was kinda fun, especially when using one handers.
Perhaps the quests in Cimmeria were more fun too. It seemed to be a fairly logical chain of quests that were presented, and even though they ended up being kill x bad guys for the most part, they made sense. And there was the whole bloodlust thing too. Grrr.
Having said all that, I have unsubscribed before the trial period was up and my credit card charged.
I did seriously consider keeping the subscription going. but there were a couple of reasons for cancelling.
First, I’ve got too many games on the go now and, while a 2 week trial doesn’t hurt too much, I really don’t have time for AoC. The other is that I am now officially out of work (finished my contract at 5pm this afternoon.) That means some belt-tightening is required, and I don’t need the cost of another subscription.
But for you my friends, I think that if you played Age of Conan at release but left out of frustration at the time, then you might find the game has improved sufficiently to warrant resubscribing. That’s especially the case if you wanted to like the game and found it hard to leave.
If you want to do the trial, you had better be quick since it expires on the 27th, today.