Tag Archives: Age of Conan

Farewall to WAR…

As I had mentioned before I’m pretty burnt out on Warhammer Online and MMOs in general for the time being. As I still haven’t felt any kind of resurgence in interest despite lots of cool announcements from the fellows over at Mythic I suppose I’m going to go ahead and cancel my account.

Frankly I’m sure I’ll return to WAR eventually and I’m definitely not saying adios to MMOs forever – I can’t. In fact I’m very interested in how Jumpgate: Evolution, Star Trek Online, The Old Republic, Global Agenda, Free Realms, and Champions Online amongst others all turn out.

One of my WAR specific issues is that it’s simply not a great solo game. Its PVE level treadmill is decent enough but hardly feels rewarding enough on its own. Public Quests are nifty but hardly compelling enough to justify sticking around and I don’t have enough time to do many other group activities even if there were more dungeons and/or raids in Warhammer. World PVP, for me, seemed to devolve into a bunch of repetitious running back and forth and combat that never really felt that fun or interesting, and I’ve already had my fill of the PVP scenarios.

I’ve come to a new realization after thinking about my recent experiences in WAR. Something I’d love to see, and I know I’ve said in that I’m more of an advocate of sandbox style MMOs, is an “theme park” type MMO that feels like more of a single player game – that’s rewarding when I play it solo in more ways than just the occasional whiff of the carrot on the end of the stick you get from normal treadmills. I know some of the above upcoming games, most notably The Old Republic, are making strides in that direction and I can’t wait to see how those efforts pan out.

Sadly enough I’m tempted to give Age of Conan, a second try. I’m resisting though – it hasn’t been enough time and not enough has changed (or at least appears that way from the patch notes) since I last played it to guarantee I’ll even notice the difference. Saldy enough I suppose the lack of updates was part of the reason I cancelled in the first place.

Anyway, here’s a final batch of older Warhammer screenshots:

My level 40 White Lion mugging it up for the camera.
“My level 40 White Lion mugging it up for the camera.”

Wait... my ride!
“Wait… my ride!”

One of my guild leveling pact group's early outing.
“One of my guild leveling pact group’s early outing.”

We eventually graduated to killing daemons.
“We eventually graduated to killing daemons.”

...and guarding objectives in PVP!
“…and guarding objectives in PVP!”

Power tanking with my Swordmaster and a Knight of the Blazing Sun.
“Power tanking with my Swordmaster and a Knight of the Blazing Sun.”

Taking a break from all of that grinding to pose. This could make a decent desktop wallpaper.
“Taking a break from all of that grinding to pose. This could make a decent desktop wallpaper.”

Two Thousand Eight

Hey, it’s the new year!? Here are a few New Year tidbits:

Best 2008 game I played: Grand Theft Auto 4. I realized I hadn’t played nearly enough games this year, and of those, not many were 2008 games. In fact I was really struggling to come up with 2008 titles deserving of this accolade until I remembered that GTA4 was an 08 game. I’ve already talked about my experience with GTA4 a bit in past blog posts so enough about that. I will say, however, I can’t fathom why it has suddenly become so popular to hate on this game. Not as good as the previous ones and other, similar games in some ways? Sure… Heck, I had my initial complaints as well. But horrible garbage? Hardly!

Best 2008 game I didn’t play: Fallout 3. Yeah, I pretty much just made up this one but considering how much of the most interesting stuff that came out last year I haven’t actually played yet it seemed like a fitting topic. Being a big fan of open world, sandboxy RPGs, as well as Fallout along with Bethesda’s previous RPG efforts, I can’t help but predict that I’ll love Fallout 3 when I finally get around to playing it. I also predict that I’ll really, really enjoy Fable 2 when I finally pick it up as well.

2008 game that everyone tried to get me to play that I didn’t: Left 4 Dead. A lot of old gaming chums had been picking this up, I’d been hearing tales of it on podcasts and reading about how awesome it was in forums, but I just couldn’t convince myself to drop any money on it. I came VERY close a couple of times but the vast majority of opinions I’ve come across on the subject pretty much imply that Left 4 Dead is a game best played with friends. Most of the friends of mine who wanted me to play it with them are in fact in different time zones than I so I figured I’d never end up playing it not unlike Team Fortress 2. I had actually decided to check out the demo of the 360 version the other day with the intent of possibly trying some split screen co-op but for some reason Valve has already removed the demo from everywhere. Hmph, here I was not even slightly interested in the 360 version now considering buying it? Boo! One potential sale down the drain!

Most disappointing 2008 game: Age of Conan. Easy… So much potential! You can read a lot more about my feelings on the subject in earlier posts. Pirates of The Burning Sea was also a big let down for me as well.

Most anticipated 2009 game: I don’t know! 2009 feels very different from 2008 so far. There really isn’t a ton of games I’m dying to get my hands on though there are many I’m fairly interested in. I might have to go ahead and name Diablo 3 as my most anticipated game of 2009 but it is a little optimistic to even assume it’ll be out this year.

Gaming related New Year’s resolution:I need to play more games! Yeah, looking back over 2008 I’m surprised how relatively little gaming I’ve done. I chalk most of that up to being hooked onto MMOs, Age of Conan and then Warhammer Online, for a large portion of the time. I also let two lengthy Xbox 360 games, Grand Theft Auto 4 and Warhammer: Battle March, dominate far too much of my limited console time. I really feel like I need to spend more time beating and completing more games. I’ve got massive 360 and DS backlogs now and there are countless PC games, new and old, I’m pining to revisit not to mention titles I plan to discuss, log, and/or review for this site. What’s the solution to this problem? One great first step would be to stop sinking so much of my gaming time into these damn MMORPGs, all of which usually end up sucking in the end anyway. Hmph.

Site related plans: I’ll continue slowly working on Garn’s Oblivion adventure. It hasn’t even gotten too interesting yet, I know, but it’ll get there. I also hope to do some others as well. Some potential possibilities are Stalker, Fallout 3, and some one off ArmA missions. I’d also like to do some logs of older games, such as Master of Orion and X-com. Who knows how many of these I can pull off though. I also intend on putting out more and more retro PC and console game reviews. I only got one full review out the entire time last year which is really quite pathetic though I am currently wrapping up a playthrough of a combined 3 games in a series for my next review. Yes, there are a lot more old games I’m just ping to replay.

I was going to make this sort of thing my first post of the year but I’ve been busy and the 1UP thing seemed to take precedent.

More MMO madness

You'd think someone with pigtails would be a little more cheerful.
“You’d think someone with pigtails would be a little more cheerful.”

After writing the last article I took a long, detailed look at what had been patched recently in Age of Conan and had been unpleasantly surprised to see that they had done even less than I’d suspected. Until we see some of the new content I mentioned before (which, by the way, still seems a long ways off and sounds like it may not be enough regardless) I remain really quite disappointed in the state of the game. I loaded up a new character to show the game to a friend the other day and after just a minute or two of wandering the beaches whacking bandits and crocodiles I quickly remembered why I liked it so much – the beautiful graphics, the awesome and unique setting, and the fun combat mechanics. 🙁

Lazy screenshot: One of the very first fights in the game.
“Lazy screenshot: One of the very first fights in the game.”

I will definitely be coming back to Age of Conan again at some point in the future unless it ends up closing its doors much earlier than I’d expect. However when I do so it will be to play through with a new character on a new server and more or less as a single player experience with the objective of soaking in the PVE content. This is in sharp contrast to my original plans of attempting to dedicate myself to all aspects of the game (guild membership, PVP, crafting, end game stuff, etc.) for the long term.

That leads me to Tabula Rasa. The game came in the mail soon enough and I started playing it immediately. It really is quite innovative and fresh in a number of ways. Here’s some quick notes:

At first I was a little underwhelmed by it but after getting the hang of it I’ve got to say that I really enjoy the combat. It plays almost like a 3rd person shooter. You’ve got to aim at your target, you’ve got to click to fire, you’ll be reloading your weapons, and sometimes even changing equipment loadouts around, in addition to using special skills here and there, and unlike almost every MMO I’ve ever played combat is typically very quick. I’ve actually found myself wandering around, engaging in combat just for fun.

Enjoying a peaceful moment between massive alien assaults.
“Enjoying a peaceful moment between massive alien assaults.”

I like the way zones are structured. They tend to feel more like large, sandboxy areas, almost like a level in one of the GTA games or its successors. Perhaps that is being a bit too generous but by the time you’re around the middle of the level range for a zone (which is a pretty small range, by the way) you can pretty much go anywhere and do anything. It might not always be easy, but you don’t really run into “fenced off” areas like you did in a lot of older theme park style MMOs.

Each zone also has an associated “targets of opportunity” quest which goes on to help enforce this feeling by providing you with a lot of random, free form objectives such as “kill xxx enemies” and “go to all these different areas”. We’ve also got achievements as well, which earn your character titles and experience, although they tend to fairly boring and very repetitive.

To further this less structured feel of the game every map has some “control point” bases that can be taken over by the enemy mobs in large, chaotic battles. It’s usually in your best interest to defend these bases or help take them back if they’re under enemy control. Again, very free form and surprisingly fun.

I also appreciate the fact the almost all of the content is soloable. You may have to wait a few more levels to run an instance dungeon area solo and it may still be challenging, but it isn’t impossible nor do you have to wait so long to do it that it is no longer be rewarding.

Not actually anything like Mass Effect.
“Not actually anything like Mass Effect.”

On the top of my list of negatives against the game is that despite being innovative and just plain cool in many areas I don’t necessarily feel compelled to keep going through the levels. The zones seem to quickly become repetitive – sure, new areas, new layouts, new enemies even, but the same “targets of opportunity” quests and achievements for each one, the same experience with attacking and defending control points, and the same laundry list of boring quests to work through. The combat isn’t quite fun enough to keep me playing month after month on its own.

The variety of equipment available could be a bit better, with not a ton of different options for visuals, but I dare say that it’s not too bad. Most people tend to wear what has the best stats regardless of visuals anyway.

The class system seems a little on the restrictive side given that every class is more or less restricted to their own types of weapons and armor. Still, coupled with the unique cloning system that lets you make a copy of your character which you can spec differently or even fork into another class, and the fact that none of the classes or equipment feel particularly underpowerered in the first place, its hard to really cite this as a major problem.

The lore doesn’t do much more me. It borders on generic sci-fi and I really feel like it could be a lot more compelling. Some people are really into it though so I’ll chalk that up to personal taste. Still, the whole “logos” system, and indeed “logos” powers themselves do nothing for me. In fact the logos powers are somewhat of a negative to me by themselves – they seem like another attempt to shoehorn magic into a setting that doesn’t need it so that they can compete in a genre filled with fantasy games. What is wrong with just having guns, bombs, and other, more unusual technology? At least to Tabula Rasa’s credit it isn’t 1:1 a magic system disguised as something else like in, say, Anarchy Online.

Apparently future man is still captivated by shiny objects.
“Apparently future man is still captivated by shiny objects.”

Anyway, I’m grasping at straws now. To sum it up, in its current, patched up state, the game has a lot to offer both in terms of entertainment and advancement of the MMORPG genre as a whole. If you’re looking for or even just want to try out another MMORPG that isn’t Everquest inspired fantasy theme park #203 I’d definitely recommend giving it a shot.

I’ll talk more about TR later, I’m sure, as well as possibly write a proper review of it in the future. For now though I’ve had to put it down in anticipation for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning!