I logged into Conan last night around 8pm expecting to play for an hour or so before I logged out and got ready for bed... that one hour turned into roughly 3 as Brendon (my buddy) and I ended up joining 3 other guild members and another non-guilded player in the Sanctum of the Burning Souls - Age of Conan's first real group dungeon. It's not that the dungeon took 3 hours though. The actual running of the place only took about 60-70 minutes. It was the logging in, getting Brendon set up on Vent, running to the dungeon and getting started in general that took the other 2 hours. Thank Jeebus for fun chat on Vent or that first 120 minutes would have been really boring. But the dungeon itself?
Hot damn... the best time I've had in an MMOG since my first Van Cleef run back in 2004's WoW or at least since that last time I ran a dungeon in any MMOG. I honestly can't remember the last one I ran either... it has to have been almost a year ago now.
It's not that the dungeon was particularly well scripted either. It was essentially a basic mob clear then tank and spank on the bosses. But there's something special about being in a new game and seeing sights unseen for the first time. The loot was good there, is not especially helpful to a Tempest of Set (though I did get some nice upgraded boots which you might see on my character in a few of the screens below. Very "Cimmerian" looking.
The setting was appropriately atmospheric and wonderous. Lots of creepy crawlies, undead, and religious fanatics throughout. On top of it all, I had about 6 or 7 quests for this place and I managed to get them all done in one run. And even without turning them in (though a couple finished just by completing the objectives) I managed to go from the beginning of 39 all the way to level 40. That's right, JoBildo can now ride his Mammoth! Though when I tried to do so after leaving the dungeon I got stuck on the terrain and had to log out... Mr. Mammoth will be ridden tonight then.
Anyway, there's not a whole lot to really tell you about strategy in this place. Like I said it's pretty much an exercise in tanking and spanking the bosses, a good introduction to how healing full groups and tanking will work later. Really, what's oddest now about Conan to me seems to be the extreme emphasis on AOE not only in damaging spells, but also healing. So what happens in groups like ours last night is that we basically all huddle around the mobs, the DPS guys go nuts, the Tanks try to hold aggro, and the healers are behind them all casting their AOE heals and the occasional damage spell. Very different from the stand back and heal, or stand back and cast approach I'm used to.
Overall it was a really good time, and my wife particularly enjoyed the sound of one of our guild members' voice (he's Australian). Hoping this is the start of many successful dungeon runs in Age of Conan.
Now for the pics of our little adventure. Sorry if they're a bit dark... I didn't think they'd be so shadowy. But you can get the gist from them. Just click to see it bigger. Hope they're at least semi-visible...