As a self
proclaimed forum junkie and long time follower of gaming communities, I think it
is very true that you can see the fall or growth of a game by listening to each
game's respective communities.  Happy players are in game playing and unhappy
players are on the gaming forums telling the developers where they mucked up. 
This little fact of life was very apparent in the Age of Conan community after
launch, but now we are seeing a different tempo on the forums these days with
more helpful posts with solid feedback, a few friendly discussions amongst
players, and even a thread here and there giving thanks to Funcom for all their
hard work.

It isn't
easy bringing a game back from the dead, but with the leadership of Game
Director Craig 'Silirrion' Morrison and a dev team that is clearly willing to
listen to the playerbase and work hard, Age of Conan is certainly pulling it

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Beautiful and dangerous Tarantia Commons awaits.

Ten Ton Hammer is taking a look back at the Age of Conan from launch over a
year ago, to what it is today.  We've already covered technical
improvements, server population, and gems in
our first installment
.  Then we touched upon combat, questing, and
PvP gameplay in our
second look at AoC.  Now, in our third and
final re-review of Age of Conan we are inspecting the major changes that have
happened to player classes, itemization, and crafting!

They Did
What to my Barbarian?!

alterations, big or small, are never easy on the player or developer.  Balance
is always what we all hope for, but sometimes getting there can be frustrating
and painful.  Whether you are a PvPer or a PvE adventurer, the news on class
balance is good!  Funcom has spent a great deal of time examining the classes
and player feedback and have altered classes across the board.  Because of the
changes to stats and how they work, enemy mobs also had some re-balancing done.

Soldiers:  Additional damage to some of these classes as well as new and improved buffs as
well as better taunting and aggro control.  All soldiers can now wear plate
armor which, ya know, woohoo!  My Conqueror isn't seeing much change but I just
redid her feats, so I might see a boost from that.


I've seen mixed reviews on how the changes are playing out.  Overall, rogues
have better survivability with the utilization of debuffs and an increase in
strength.  I've heard that the Assassin could use more help, but I'm seeing a
great boost in the survivability of my Barbarian, so no complaints from me!


These classes saw a better balance with a rise in healing power and a portion
control on damage.  Tempest of Set seemed particularly over-powered prior to the
class update and that seems to be a bit more even handed now.  These are still
very viable classes, just a bit more healer and a little less nuker.


These classes keep their frightful power of “kaboom!” and gain a few bonuses in
damage output, debuffs, and decreased reuse timers.  The Necromancer gets some
huge help with much better behaved and useful pets that are more in line with
the power and level of the player.

The end
result has been that most classes have seen some improvements to how their
classes play.  Nothing is ever perfect though, so I expect to see class balance
continue to be an ongoing project.  Player feedback is extraordinarily important
in class playability so each player should feel free to keep dialog open with
Funcom regarding how their class is currently doing.

Oooh… Stats!

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Armor items have gotten far less complicated and far
more useful.

Age of
Conan was never meant to be an item-centric game and while I think that's good,
there does need to be a reason to keep playing and upgrading, and this is where
AoC fell short early on.  It was completely possible for a player to pick up a
nice item at level 30 and still have use of it at level 50 and this should NEVER
be the case.  Along with that, changing stats around through gear, feats, and
gems didn't have the customization that it should have had.  Striving for better
and more useful gear and weapons is such a big part of gameplay that without it,
players are left aimlessly blowing in the wind.

brought on the Itemization Revamp addressed in update 1.5.0.  Funcom realized
that not being item-centric did not mean making items and their stats useless! 
What we needed was a reason to look at our gear and make a choice, a real
choice, on what we would equip and have those choices effect how our character
plays in some way and this is exactly what 1.5.0 did.

Each class
has base stats that grow with them as the gain in level.  With no equipment or
feats set, one level 50 Conqueror should look just like the next stat wise. 
Through item choices, feats, and gems these two fighters should be able to alter
the focus of their character allowing for one player to choose a decked out
defensive fighter that could hold off the Roman army while still allowing the
other player to choose an offensive fighter that could likely lay waste to that
same army.  They also should be able to manipulate non-primary stats to assist
with their defenses against certain types of attacks, such as physical damage,
magic damage, holy damage, etc.  It is this meaningful choice that lets each
player decide what works for them in their own unique way of gaming, and gives
that player a tangible way of implementing it.

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New zones bring future fun with the announced

big update to items is the simplification of stats.  Not only were stats close
to worthless, they were often confusing as the good items had a stat list a mile
long.  This made things very confusing for the average player because you never
really knew what you should be upgrading and which item was the better item. 
Now when you're shopping for new gear, in a glance you can pick out the better

these changes gave the player more ways to further customize their gaming
experience and made it a lot more user friendly.  Half the fun of playing a game
like Age of Conan is in the strategic planning, and the itemization revamp went
a long way in making that happen.

for Fun and Coin

At launch,
crafting felt sort of tossed in as an afterthought.  It was something for
players to do once they reached mid levels in game, but it was complicated, time
consuming, and not particularly lucrative.  Crafting is generally used as a time
sink in MMOGs but that certainly doesn't mean it can't be interesting and

two of the biggest boosts to crafting were the itemization changes and the gem
revamp.  These updates, all by themselves, gave crafting far more purpose. 
Itemization changes gave crafters a reason to actually create better quality
armor and weapons and actually get to see players buying them.  Gems, after a
roller coaster ride of usefulness, finally have found a happy medium and are
enjoying a life of balance and stackability that makes my bank super happy.

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Rise of the Godslayer has lots of goodies to wow

The actual
mechanics of crafting remain pretty much the same with a few tweaks for
convenience sake.  Minor updates have gone in such as the map showing which
nodes are currently being harvested from, and drop rates being fixed a bit so we
can have a shot at getting the things we need without being spammed with things
that we don't need.

I would
like to see crafting get a bit more attention. The drop rate on leather is
atrocious, and I think that crafted food, drink, and potions really should be
far superior than vendor bought items.  I have complete faith though that Funcom
is watching the community closely and we can look forward to more updates
addressing current player concerns.

 With the
last year being so turbulent for Age of Conan, players are enjoying a period of
continuity and peace.  What does the future bring for the land of Hyboria?  A
new expansion "Rise of the Godslayer" is on the horizon and players are making their way back into game
at a steady pace.  With this kind of momentum, we can continue to enjoy Age of
Conan for a very long while.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Age of Conan: Unchained Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016