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Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer Expansion Preview

Updated Wed, May 12, 2010 by Ethec

Introducing a Far Eastern feel to Age of Conan, Rise of the Godslayer includes a new race and a vast number of new playfields, dungeons, and instances stretching from level 20 to level 80. It's no understatement to sat that this represents one of the most sweeping MMORPG expansions ever made. Today marks not only RotG's release, but is also nearly two years to the day since Age of Conan's launch. To celebrate the dual occasion, Ten Ton Hammer previews the race, zones, mounts, factions, instances, and much more from Age of Conan's premier retail expansion.

Khitan - The New Race

While choosing the Khitan (pronounced "kit-TAHN") race doesn't impact gameplay or offer different starting stats - all races and both genders in Age of Conan are equal in this respect - Khitan characters add a distinctly Asian element to the European (Cimmerian, Aquilonian) and North African (Stygian) character models in pre-expansion AoC. A whole new set of hairstyles, facial features, body markings, and tattooes is just the beginning of Funcom's collaboration with Korean partner Neowiz to deliver an authentic Far Eastern flavor for the expansion.

While no new classes were introduced with the expansion, Khitans have eight class choices - more than any other race - and tend towards soldiers, rogues, and especially mages. (The complete list of Khitan classes: Guardian, Dark Templar, Bear Shaman, Assassin, Ranger, Demonologist, Herald of Xotli, and Necromancer.)

The Journey to Khitai

The Gateway to Khitai (with the Great Wall distant center)

As represented on Robert E. Howard's maps, Khitai is a long way away from the playfields of classic Age of Conan. Both the Vilayet Sea (Howard's Caspian Sea) and the vast desert of Hyrkania stand in your way. To cover the distance at level 20, players will either sign on for guard duty or pay for passage on an eastbound caravan from either Tortage or Khemi, the Stygian hub city.

Pay your way and you can sit back and enjoy a Gateway to Khitai loading screen. However, if you're short on cash or if you have a spare 15-20 minutes and want to take the authentic Conan route, enlist as a guard. You'll enter one of nine different solo instances, ranging from firing the ship's ballistas to discourage a hungry kraken, foraging water and food from an cove infested with pirates, or investigating a strange oasis plagued by the undead. None of the challenges should be particularly difficult for a seasoned adventurer, but fail and it's back to your port of origin.

Gateway to Khitai

From the stinging deserts of Hyrkania, you'll set foot in Khitai, a land nominally controlled by the crumbling Khitan empire. In the distance players will see shrines on many hilltops, a gigantic wagon that forms the centerpiece of a nearby Hyrkanian village, and the Great Wall, which forms the western boundary of the Northern Grasslands. Gateway to Khitai will be your home for levels 20-40, and you'll begin your level-up experience by aiding a caravan ravaged by Hyrkanian raiders. In typical Howard-esque faction, you'll trade sides and help the Hyrkanian villagers, where two clans vie for power to stop the strange taint affecting their nearby burial ground- a taint that they feel is Khatani in origin. This will be your first experience with dynamic content in Khitai - the Hyrkanian burial ground is filled with strange, powerful animals by day and something far more disturbing at night.

One item of particular interest - the giant Hyrkanian "welcome wagon" - is filled with half-naked concubines, so if you missed out on the bare-chested women in your original Age of Conan experience, well, there you go (just level-up a bit first, lest a Hyrkanian marksman make short work of you). If you're offended by mature content, aside from asking yourself why you're playing Age of Conan, you might want to uncheck "Show Mature Content" on the options screen.

The Hyrkanian welcome wagon (left) and burial grounds.

From there, you'll explore the trading village at the foot of the Great Wall. Here you'll encounter shrines where the gods respond to your donations and emotes. Drop a copper and you might earn a 10 minute buff. Try out another of the game's long list of emotes (type /help for inspiration), and you might experience something else. I wouldn't recommend loosing a /fart at the gods, but for the third-grade comedians among us, thankfully debuffs (and buffs) don't stack.

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