by Cody "Micajah" Bye,
From the standpoint of the community, nothing hits harder than having
classes or features in the gameplay that were established by the
developers suddenly ripped from your grasp. You base all of your
initial gameplay ideas around a certain class, and that class is your
basis in the world. As a player of MMORPGs, almost everyone that the
Ten Ton Hammer staff has talked to has been there. Today's press event
was a hard blow to the general player community, but the general
opinion - both from the press and the Funcom side - is that all these
particular changes were necessary to make style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan a
splendid game. So please read on before you make your final judgments
on the reduced class list, possibility of prestige classes dissipated,
and the new "M" rating by the ESRB.
Reduced Class List
Before I go on any further with my commentary, I'd like to go over the
details of what we've learned about the various announcements made
during the day. First off, the official style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan class
list has been weaned down to twelve classes. Here's what we learned
later on in the day. To make sure that the community knew exactly which
classes would be part of the game, I asked the developers during the
dev panel exactly which of the classes would be stricken and where they
would be integrated back into the game.
Although two classes
are being cut from the class list, these two classes will be integrated
into the pre-existing Necromancer and the newly dubbed Tempest of Set.
The "class guru" Evan Michaels (who has also done a fair number of our
class interviews) answered the question with his official statements.
To paraphrase, the Lich's abilities are going to be integrated into the
Necromancer's feat and spell list, and the Scion of Set is going to
become part of the newest class in the game - the Tempest of Set. For
those of you keeping track, this was the Stormcaller/Druid of the Storm
class that has gone through a number of different incarnations in its
relatively short life span. Here are Evan's official words on
the class change:
"I'm sure you've heard some of it already, but I don't view it as
removing classes. What we found was that one of the toolsets was a bit
too narrow. People were playing it, but they weren't finding it fun. As
we've said earlier, a lot of our classes are "hybrids" of what you'd
normally see in an MMOG, and we want people to experience variety in
their MMORPG. What we did was we took those two classes and we stored
their cool abilities and all the stuff people enjoyed and wrapped them
into something similar and coherent."
"The Tempest of Set, which used to be the Stormcaller/Scion of Set has
the abilities of both of them. It's just been "re-themed" around a
whole Set type of idea. The response to that, at least internally, has
been very favorable. The external stuff that people know has also been
favorable as well."
"We just weren't very content with those two classes as they were, so
when we combined them and started meshing out the new theme, it really
meshed well together."
"The Lich we found was a little to similar to the Herald of Xotli. They
had a very similar vision, which is kind of our fault for making two
classes that are so similar. The people really enjoyed the theme about
the Lich - the undead, evil overlord type stuff. We thought that went
well with the Necromancer class that we've been trying to evolve away
from the Demonologist sort of idea."
"The Necro does get an ability now that allows him to transform into a
Lich, along with some of his other cool abilities. It already went
along with his whole undead theme and I think it meshed well.
The resulting class seems more interesting and definitely more
"Almost everything has been preserved from the two classes. Most of the
abilities are still there. The only thing that is different is the
concept that the Lich was more of a melee class and the Necromancer was
more of a spellcaster. He still has all of the spells and trigger
abilities of the Lich. The Tempest of Set almost has all of the
toolsets almost completely, but re-themed to the Tempest of Set sort of
At this point, Gaute Godager (the head honcho/Game Director) stepped in
with his comment on the whole scenario:
"It's interesting because people view class balance and marketing
reveal as a sort of contract. It makes it very hard for me to do my job
properly, which is to make the game fun. We have to make a decision
about how much this is going to shake the boat versus how much worse
the boat is going to float when it launches out. I wish I could just
reveal the finished game, but it can't be done."
"Yes we expect that there will be some upset people from this, but we
are truly sorry that these classes do disappear after we merge them up."
Prestige Classes Possibly
Another meaty announcement that came during the entire press day was
the reveal that the prestige classes may be removed from the game.
According to Gaute, the prestige classes were "limiting players" and
that the Funcom development team decided to take more of a "salad bowl" type approach. What this
means is that the prestige class abilities would be spread out through
the various existing classes will be integrating many of the features previously announced for the various prestige classes. To the Ten Ton Hammer staff, this seemed ideal rather than pinning characters into one particular set of "prestige" abilities.
While this is still a "possibility" type of announcement, the Ten Ton
Hammer staff is working on getting a more official answer to this
question throughout the weekend. More on this to come.
Please don't panic. *smiles*
Age of Conan Receives an
"M" ESRB Rating
Finally, it was officially announced today that style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan: Hyborian
Adventures will receive a "M" rating from the ESRB and an
18+ rating from PEGI. This means that every single retailer will have style="font-style: italic;"> Age of Conan
available, so stop your beating hearts. AoC will be on game shelves
Thanks for taking the time to hear the news from Ten Ton Hammer! We
know that you're constantly watching, so we will try to continue to
have updates throughout the weekend and into next week! There's more to
the new class list? What about the prestige classes? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?p=199933#post199933">Let
us know on the
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