The Age of Conan Begins! (belatedly)

May 26th, 2011

Yes, here it is, I'm finally back from Vancouver so the Age of Conan category can be added to the site. I could have technically added it remotely but I lacked the technical utilities to create the icon for the button. Anyhow, all's well that ends well?

I recall a conversation I had with Craig between sessions last week. He asked me if I had played Age of Conan and I replied that I had, but never got into it. When he asked me what I didn't like about it, I was at a loss for words. Turns out the only thing worse than someone who is vocal about why they hate your game is someone who can't even remember having played it. So I was, of course, going to give it another whirl. I loaded it up on my laptop and played through part of the beginning before my trip back. Turns out they don't like you playing MMOs over Wi-Fi on Air Canada flights ;)

Playing it again I immediately remembered part of what I played the first time: I definitely played up until I killed Saddur, the fat slaver you encounter within the first, like, ten minutes of the game. But everything after that was new to me. So I must have bailed on the game pretty darned fast the first time in. That's pretty unusual for me, I normally grit through games much longer than that. I mean, I grinded to 50 in vanilla DAoC, didn't I?

Both the first time I played and the subsequent efforts I made this week have been with mage-type characters. I tend to gravitate towards mages or other DPS classes, especially pet-based classes. And maybe that's why I lost interest in Age of Conan so quickly before. To say the least, the early experiences I've had with two of the mage classes (demonologist and necromancer) in this recent playthrough have been painful.

I hopped in as Demonologist first, never got any pet by level 6, and dumped the class. Maybe that whole thing about demons was a lie. I restarted as Necromancer and started with a spell that could potentially summon a temporary pet, but only when I got a "fatality," whatever that is. Thankfully it happened early enough that I stuck with the class until I got a "real" pet summon. So I stuck with it a bit more until level 8 or 9...

So far, the experience has been dreary. First of all, I only have one spell to use. My level 1 direct damage spell is the only spell I ever cast. The experience of playing a necromancer would be no different if none of the other spells were ever granted to me, they're just that useless. So far the game is just stupidly boring. I tab to some targets, hit "4" a couple times, walk around, repeat. There's no strategy, no tactics, no threat or concern or any excitement whatsoever. All that advertising speak of visceral combat? Nuh uh.

What's worse is that the pets are so meaningless. Maybe I'm just spoiled by WoW and Rift, but even DAoC's pets way back when seemed more responsive and interactive than the pets in AoC. At least in WoW I could assign keys to "attack" and "return" so pet control was a meaningful part of the combat strategy. And in Rift the pet AI is so good I rarely have to do anything, the pets just seem to know what to do. But in AoC? The stupid things just sit there while I'm shooting, then maybe they'll help out after I'm being punched in the face, but if I'm fighting two monsters, they'll stop helping after the first face-puncher is dead and leave me to finish off the second alone. It's just plain dumb.

I'm not really sure where to go with the game from here. I guess I'll keep trudging through the single-player tutorial, but what class should I play? Clearly, these mages aren't cutting it. A rogue type maybe? I liked hunter in WoW, but again, because of the pets. I like the rogues in Rift, but they have a tremendous amount of versatility and utility even at low levels; and, again, they have pets. I liked my druid in EQ2, and no pet there, maybe I should try a healer? I never really got into warrior classes at all in any game... Well, except for my Firbolg Hero in DAoC.

Also, so far the single player intro - what I dub the "boring tutorial" - is so long (apparently all the way to level 20?) consists primarily of insignificant speed-bump monsters and bosses and a ton of running back and forth wasting time. It's not grabbing me at all. I just want it over. I want to find that "multiplayer" part in "massively multiplayer online role playing game." Finding some role playing would be a nice touch too.

Here's where you come in. Clearly, my initial impressions of Age of Conan must be dead wrong, you have to tell me how to do it right. I've gone ahead and tried to integrate Twitter into my site. You can reach me @SimonLudgate because some jerk stole Soulrift. That's probably the best way to share comments with me and other readers. Just mention me or add #Soulrift to your tweet!

Posted by: Soulrift

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