Questions by Cody
Jørgen Tharaldsen, Product Director for Funcom
When it comes to anticipated games, few are as sought after as
Funcom’s upcoming MMORPG epic, style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures.
With the backing of the Conan
IP and their previous experience with MMOG games, Funcom has set a high
bar for themselves and their competition, creating a world that will
include intense player versus player and player versus environment
interaction. From the screenshots we’ve seen of the game, style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan looks
tremendous and seems to be offering something for every player.
But despite all the hype and anticipation surrounding the game, Funcom
has kept a tight lid on Age
of Conan and has withheld a lot of information concerning
the classes in the game. While short class previews have been published
for several of the in-game classes on the href="http://www.ageofconan.com">official website,
questions still remain unanswered about the classes. Fortunately, the
staff at Ten Ton Hammer is hoping to alleviate some of those worries.
Starting with today’s Dark Templar interview, Ten Ton Hammer
will be running in-depth bi-weekly class interviews with
Funcom’s Product Director, Jørgen Tharaldsen, in
an attempt to iron out all of our questions before the game’s
release in March 2008. As the first in this series, the Dark Templar
interview explores the evil nature of the Dark Templar, his specific
class combos, whether this class is a hybrid, and much more!
So grab your axes, don your armor, and prepare yourselves for some dark
magic….the Ten Ton Hammer AoC class interviews have begun!
Ten Ton Hammer: On the
official site, the Dark Templar is described as essentially "an evil
warrior." What sort of visual and gameplay characteristics make him
evil? Does this class choice affect the NPCs that the player might
meet, making them hesitant (or eager) to work with such an evil being?
Will other players be able to see that a certain character is a Dark
Templar when they see them on the battlefield?
style="font-style: italic;">The Dark Templar
will definitely be identifiable on the battlefield when he calls upon
his dark magic.
Tharaldsen: In Hyboria the divide between good and evil
depends on the eye of the beholder to a large extent, but the Dark
Templar is indeed marked by all the dark forces he is dabbling with.
Even though you would call him, or her, evil, the world itself will not
react to the Dark Templar as evil. This means that the NPC’s
won’t shy away, or treat a Dark Templar any different than
they would another class. Given the extreme freedom we have within the
game when it comes to customization and choice of armor it might not
always be possible to spot a Dark Templar in action, but the trained
eye should quickly mark him out when in combat. The Dark Templar will
be right at the front of the action, and you will see the dark magic
Ten Ton Hammer: Being a
melee class, the Dark Templar will certainly have a variety of combos
to work with. Will there be class specific melee combos that only a
Dark Templar will use? Or will those combos access some of his dark
Yes, the Dark Templar will for sure have class specific melee combos,
and also class specific fatalities (by the way; there really
aren’t any cross-class combos in the game). The Dark Templar
has five core combo lines, with a total of 18 combos in total (from
level 20 to 80), and another five combos which can only be obtained
from certain feat choices. Many of the combos will directly tap into
the dark magic, and many of these effects are first triggered when
performing a combo in the right manner (i.e. some of his life drain
abilities will only kick in after successfully drawing enemy blood). In
general he can also run two core kinds of spell lines; namely Auras and
Soul Covenants. The choices you make at various times also ties into
the general damage output.
The Dark Templar can also remove his shield, and instead focus on
holding magical talismans in the offhand, which will give him
additional combat effects like bonus damage or procs. He
won’t actually make any attacks with that offhand and gets
absolutely no benefit if not using a shield and not having a talisman
Since his many magic attacks have different effects, it becomes a
choice for the player what to focus on in different situations, and
this need to “go with the flow” will be evident as
you learn his many forms of attacks and buffs.
Ten Ton Hammer: In some
of the other class descriptions you've gone through on the main site,
you've listed some "top-tier" abilities that your classes can choose
from or transformations that might occur when a class gets to a
high-level. Will the Dark Templar have access to
“top-tier” abilities and can you give us some hints
at the top-tier abilities for the Dark Templar?
style="font-style: italic;">Hyboria is full of
evil and dark entities, the Dark Templar is always looking for the one
that can best serve his needs.
We have ensured that every single class will get special
“top-tier “ abilities, and the Dark Templar is no
exception. This is an important aspect of the RPG evolution in the
game, and as a player you can expect new stuff all the way to level 80.
A lot of this evolution is also tied to the feat system in Age of
Conan, like mentioned above. In addition the Dark Templar naturally has
a whole host of dirty tricks up his sleeve, and many are based around
dark magic. As this class is the only one outside the Mage Archetype
who can wield dark magic, it makes for an interesting fighter with both
the ability to wield damage and tank.
Ten Ton Hammer: When it
comes to worshiping particular gods, it sounds like the Dark Templar
really doesn't care what sort of demon being he makes his pact with.
Will player controlled Dark Templars be able to choose a god that they
make their demonic pact with? If not, how does the Dark Templar stand
out in the darker Conan storyline compared to the classes that worship
Set or any other vile god?
That is entirely correct, a Dark Templar is not bowing to any one god
or demon, but to the ones who at any given time can give him the best
(or worst *winks*) beneficial powers. We have not made direct god
encounters a part of the gameplay when it comes to worshiping though,
so don’t expect, for instance, that a “Monty
Python-like” hand of god will come down. A lot is therefore
explained through other aspects than pure encounters. This is done on
purpose; making such encounters worthy enough would be tricky to pull
off for each individual class.
When it comes to the role of the Dark Templar in the bigger storyline
of Hyboria, it is a great archetype from lore and one we’ve
worked hard on so players can enjoy the role of a sorcerous warlord
from the Hyborian age. This class seeks to carve out their own kingdom,
lead their own armies and fight for their own personal glory. By not
tying them to any specific god or mythos we allow players to determine
what type of dark powers they sell their soul to – demon
lords, elder gods of pre-history or viler unnamed gods of Hyboria. The
warlord aspect really identifies them, for they wield both the
soldier’s sword and armor with the sorcerer’s foul
magic. They contrast well with the holy powers of the Mitran Priest,
the alien powers of the Herald of Xotli and more martial based
soldiers. Playing the role of a Dark Templar warlord well will give a
totally different insight into the Age of Conan storyline. But it is in
the player-generated side of the MMO we expect the Dark Templar to
really stand out as it rewards power hungry players who feed off
battle, almost in the literal sense. And who knows, maybe
they’ll get that chance to forge their own kingdom in the
brutal world of Conan...
Ten Ton Hammer: The Dark
Templar, while being a solid melee combatant, seems like he falls into
a sort of hybrid-class when compared to some of the other melee classes
like the Guardian or Barbarian. Is this a correct assumption? What sort
of benefits will a Dark Templar bring to a group-oriented situation?
You list one ability - "Martyrdom" - in the class preview, but how else
will a group benefit from a Dark Templar compared to the other melee
combatants like the Guardian or Barbarian?
style="font-style: italic;">Melee combat is the
Dark Templar's first priority despite being able to wield awe-inspiring
Well, I guess that is partially true, but the Dark Templar is first and
foremost a melee class, as his primary abilities are with one-hand
edged and one-hand blunt weapons. He can also equip a crossbow at level
50. However, in essence, he shares the role as tank with two other
classes in the game. Still, he has been given several special abilities
that the other tanks cannot access, for instance his dabbling with dark
forces and the constant stream of life he can drain from enemies (or
give to his team). As a consequence we have given the Dark Templar less
health than the other two tanks (but still way more than other
classes). A well performing Dark Templar can therefore, at times, be
quite self sufficient, allowing the healers in a group to be a bit more
“careful” on buffs on them compared to, say, a
Guardian. That is also a weakness, of course, for by securing most for
himself the Templar also has less to spare for others, in many cases.
We have tried to ensure that our tanks, in general, are good damage
dealers. This is in order to ensure that there can be more than one
tank in a group. There are also some other aspects about the Dark
Templar I find intriguing, and I think Templars played by skilled
gamers have interesting ways of shifting combat outcomes. For instance,
we have a mode in the game called Frenzy, and a Dark Templar going into
this mode can deal around 150% extra damage, so say you hit 100
normally you would deal 250 with this running. On the other hand that
gives (approximately, differs from class) three times the damage if
someone hits you, so you would need to time the attacks carefully.
Since the Dark Templar also gets increased life drain (and more), when
hitting with this kind of extra damage it means that a correctly timed
Frenzy can really bring the Templar back into the fight, giving you the
upper hand when you were about to lose.
Ten Ton Hammer: Finally,
is there anything else you'd like to tell the Ten Ton Hammer readers
about the Dark Templar?
In Age of Conan
we have tried to make all of the classes interesting and intriguing,
and I think the Dark Templar is a great example of that. He is a tank,
which you know from most all MMOs, but he is also something more. In
this Q&A I have just touched on some of the aspects surrounding
this class, but as a player you will soon enough figure out the entire
depth by yourself. *smiles*
Suffice to say becoming a Dark Templar is a journey of power and death,
dark magic and self-focus. I am also pretty sure the Dark Templar will
be a worthy challenger in PvP. For instance the Frenzy / drain attacks
will lead to many an enemy death, but also many a death for the Dark
Templars themselves. *winks*
Ten Ton Hammer is your
unofficial source for Age of Conan href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/115">news
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Age of Conan: Unchained Game Page.