Friday, June 13, 2008

Age of Conan - To The Death Update and More

I love when news is released on Fridays. Great way to herald in the weekend. Today, Funcom released a slew of new info about the coming changes to PvP and what it's meant to be, plus further content updates. Here's the press release, copied and pasted from VN Boards. It's got a ton of typos as I believe it was done by a retarded monkey, but it's legible. It also states that more info on these new features will be on the official site, in the newsletter, and on the forums. So keep your eyes peeled. My comments are in bolded italics.

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Funcom and Eidos announce massive evolution plans for Age of Conan

Massive PvP update in June – New areas and dungeons – Powerpoints and Guild Alliance warfare to come

Durham, USA – June 13, 2008 – After the incredible initial success for Age of Conan, a whole world of MMO players are eagerly anticipating the future plans for one of the most popular online games ever released. While Age of Conan has already evolved massively since launch, numerous expansive additions are yet to come. Funcom and Eidos are therefore proud to lift the veil on Age of Conan’s promising future, and today the two companies reveal selected features which are now in production.

"While we have enjoyed the initial success for Age of Conan, we know that a solid launch is but the start when it comes to the MMO genre,” said Gaute Godager, Game Director on Age of Conan. ”As we look ahead we are preparing a huge amount of new content, and what we are presenting today will evolve Age of Conan even further. It’s naturally an incredibly ambitious update plan for a live MMO game, but we are certain our players would want nothing less.”

Without further ado, here are some of the cool things to expect in the months to come:

PVP EVOLVED - TO THE DEATH

The great combat system in Age of Conan has taken MMO fighting to a new level of fun, and Player versus Player combat plays a major part in this. As a result, a massive new PvP update is planned for late June. Aptly called To the death, this update brings more consequence and rewards to PvP, and an important part of it is the Fugitive system. The more lower level players you kill, the easier it is for others to hunt you down. In addition, ten PvP levels with additional ranks will be introduced, as well as specific gear and weapons for PvP.

Excuse my language but... FUCK YES! That is exactly what I was hoping to see for Conan's PvP. Now the only thing I worry about is how hard said ranks will be to get. But something tells me it's not active because they're reworking it from the elitist boner-fest that it was in beta. Or so I hope.

The Fugitive System is one step above the Prison idea too. Imagine being some player who doesn’t know about it, you go about ganking lowbies thinking you're hotshit… and then said lowbie comes for revenge and impales you on his pole-arm. Ooops, guess he won't be acting like a moron anymore. Good show, Funcom.


GUILD ALLIANCE WARFARE

Pre-production has started on a MASSIVE free update which will come later this year. Currently titled "Kingship!”, large clusters of guilds will be able to form alliances, and rule and conquer on a massive scale. Everyone in a guild alliance will play a part in this system, and together they can even erect unique looking alliance Battlekeeps. The alliances can also fight over, and build, culture-specific "Wonders of the World”, with a direct link to higher powers! As part of the system Funcom will also facilitate larger amounts of players in massive battles.

Are you reading this TTH guild members? Because I'm thinking that when this puppy hits we'd better all be level 80 and ready to go to war. This sounds amazing in print, and I really can't wait to see what it's like in reality. Definitely going to have to get in touch with Funcom to get more out of them in the coming months. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if this was to directly compete with people thinking about leaving for WAR. They'll need to weather that storm somehow, and this will surely help. Man... very enticing.

POWERPOINTS

This fall, a unique reward and character evolution system called Powerpoints will be introduced. This rewards active in-game behavior, and allows for gathering points through numerous methods, including owning a Battlekeep, playing the end-game at level 80, winning PvP matches, or simply being an active guild member or subscribing to the game. There will be many ways to obtain Powerpoints, and numerous rewards, ranging from exclusive Powerfeats to weapons, armor and potions. Powerpoints may even allow you to level faster!

This sounds to me a lot like an Achievement Point system, and I'm sure that's what it is in part. Hey, what can I say? Whatever lets me keep evolving my characters at level 80. That's what all games need to be sure of... that capped players have plenty to do. I just wonder exactly what it will entail.

NEW AREAS AND DUNGEONS

You won’t need to wait for an expansion pack to explore exciting new areas. In the next period, Funcom will include several new areas, as well as evolving already existing areas. This includes a brand new dungeon in Aquilonia, reshaping three dungeons in Stygia, and an entire mountain range in Cimmeria!

Not sure what the "next period" means, but likely over the next few months. They've already started overhauling Pyramid of the Ancients in Stygia, so I guess that was the beginning. New content is ALWAYS a good thing. Especially if it helps avoid that level gap around 60. The more the merrier, I say. Mountain range in Cimmeria? Can you say Frost Giants?

IMPROVED PLAYER-MADE VILLAGES AND BATTLEKEEP SYSTEMS

While the guild alliance system brings a whole new level to the game, Funcom will continue to expand the existing player-made areas and the systems running them. A focus on evolving the massive elements of the game even further continues, ranging from placing NPC’s in the cities to more choices and benefits.

This stuff we already knew was coming. It's been in the works for a while, and hopefully isn't too far off. The cities as they stand now look cool... but do nothing. Looking forward to when they're actually beneficial to our guild.

SOCIAL UPDATES

An MMO is nothing without a good social scene. While Conan is all about crushing your enemies, social enhancements are also getting some love. A fun example is the combo-based dancing system which is now coming to the game, and it’s entirely motion captured by professional dance artists.

Um, okay? I know there are people out there that love the RP stuff, but really it doesn't benefit me at all. Glad to see more social aspects being added though. I'd prefer an overhaul of the UI to dancing though... heh.

MORE ADVENTURES

Age of Conan has received tremendous praise for immersion and the great voice-over quests. This is but the start of the adventure, and numerous new quests are coming into the game, spread across the entire world and across the level ranges. Soon 60 additional quests will also get full voice acting, further improving immersion.

This is great news. One of the best aspects of Tortage was the voice over quests. I know some disagree, but to me voice acting, even the bad kind, is far preferable to just reading text when it comes to immersion. I'm hoping this means that the Destiny Quests are getting more extensive.

No more comments from me, as the rest is not really gameplay related. Hot damn though, Funcom. Deliver on this stuff and you'll have happy customers.


Embracing community feedback since launch several enhancements and fixes have been implemented to Age of Conan, and Funcom has continuously staffed up the service departments to improve customer satisfaction. This has already resulted in a better game experience, but the work will continue. At the heart of all of this stands the Age of Conan community. A lot of the upcoming improvements to the game will be based directly on community feedback, and the wishes and concerns players have when it comes to the future of the game will always be taken into account.

By reading the community websites, official forums and the monthly Clan of Conan newsletter you can expect additional information about upcoming features and released updates, as well as an arena to give your feedback. A new Clan of Conan newsletter is also going live today, with more details on the upcoming features.

4 comments:

Werit said...

Some nice things up ahead for AoC.

The Guild alliance system is interesting. It all hinges on the improvements to the Battlekeep system.

Currently AoC's pvp seems much too exclusive (Battlekeeps) compared to open world RvR. That could just be me though, as I don't have a taste for pointless open world PvP (ala many other games).

I am not a huge fan of AoC, but the Battlekeep system is one thing that keeps me interested, so I look forward to more news.

br3ntbr0 said...

If they can deliver on this effectively I just might have to upgrade my video card and come back to Hyboria to check it out!

I stopped playing AoC to give them time to see if they could or would implement just these kinds of things. I think Funcom has a golden opportunity to turn the game around for me if all this happens.

Openedge1 said...

I just do not know what to do with myself...

Several of the issues I noted to you before are being rectified according to this (I just wrote a blog post yesterday about the Pyramid...and lo and behold...here is a discussion of changes...WoW)

Also, I had written an article a while back on the social aspects of MMO's and Web 2.0 (I currently do research for a firm on Socialization and Web 2.o features...) and the chat changes going into that update in the newsletter strikes me as very MSN Messenger/Yahoo chat style...and that is a plus..
A familiar interface for users and players, and you get a winning combination of Socialization in a game made for that type of communication.

I am looking at maybe a 60 or 90 day scrip now..

Well played Funcom!

Bildo said...

I have to say, I didn't expect plans of this magnitude. Not so soon anyway.

Word on the street is that they will likely announce an expansion before the Fall too. They plan on having one out (so far as we know) around the same time the game hits the 360 next year.

It's great to see them so proactive right after launch and getting all this content that's sorely needed in place.

Hats off to FC.