Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor
Five years is a long time. Two presidents can be elected, young men and
women can complete their schooling at a university, and a family can
have a handful of children. Most employees can hardly stay in a job for
more than a few years in the modern era, and the length of time a
person finds employment in the video gaming industry is far shorter
than five years.
Yet here we are, five years after the original unveiling of style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures,
and the game is now up and running on servers all across the world.
Barbarians, conquerors, and assassins are lining up in droves to be the
first to meet with the mighty King Conan, and still more are joining
the realms every day. The world of Hyboria is a crowded place these
days and the Ten Ton Hammer community managers have been working
day-and-night to bring you the best information we can find about
everything in the game, from href="http://aocfeats.tentonhammer.com/">Feat Calculators
The world in Age of
Conan is a brutal and violent place.
However, for those of you that haven’t taken the plunge, the
world of Hyboria may seem like a brutal, savage place. Stories of rough
beta experiences and unfortunate server issues have been piling up
across the internet, casting a harsh shadow on the raw world. That
said, there are a number of questions many of you have been asking on
forums, email and IM exchanges, and in talks around the water cooler.
What can I expect from Age
of Conan? Will the game play on my computer? Is it worth
While I cannot answer these questions for each and every person on the
internet, I will do my best to give you my broad first impressions of a
game that I consider to be one of the most revolutionary titles to hit
the massively multiplayer online gaming space in years. This is by no
means the official review for Ten Ton Hammer, it’s just my
experiences with the Age
of Conan world straight from store shelves on to my
computer. I hope you enjoy it.
A Fresh Start in a Harsh
For the experienced MMOG players, Age
of Conan starts with the sort of introductory set-up
we’ve come to expect. Installation of the client is a fairly
enormous and time consuming prospect, and it took me over a day to
download the entire monolithic file from the Funcom servers. However,
as soon as the client was installed and patched, I had no problem
logging into the game. Unlike some reports, my pre-order headstart went
off with only a small amount of downtime, right at the end of the
After a series of cinematic sequences and movies, the player logs into
the game and is asked to create their character. You’re
presented with a number of choices, ranging from your race (Aquilonian,
Cimmerian, and Stygian) to your class (Assassin, Barbarian, Bear
Shaman, Conqueror, Dark Templar, Demonologist, Guardian, Herald of
Xotli, Necromancer, Priest of Mitra, Ranger, and Tempest of Set), on
top of the basic sort of options concerning your height, build, and
Even at this early level, however, it becomes obvious that Funcom knows
that they’re making a game for a crowd that has already
experienced a number of MMOGs before their game. By clicking on an
“Advanced” settings tab, players can adjust almost
everything about their character’s appearance: from the size
of their waists to the width of their cheekbones. For me, character
customization is always a fascinating part of developing your online
persona, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan
isn't ignored in AoC.
Once I had spent thirty minutes absorbing every facet of the creator,
it became quickly apparent that even at the basic
“Medium” graphic settings, the art style and beauty
of the Age of Conan
experience is clearly and abundantly visible. The in-game character
models are some of the best that I’ve seen in an MMOG, and
even though AoC strove for a more “realistic”
approach to graphics, the developers at Funcom pulled it off with such
flair that it’s hard to find any reason to fault the choice.
And once I entered the game, the graphics continued to shock and awe.
As my character’s body sank to the bottom of the ocean after
a disastrous shipwreck, the undulating waves of the water distorted my
view of his body until finally he washed up onto the shoreline.
Telling the Story of Conan
Frankly, the beginning of the story of style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan is a
bit clichéd, but almost all video game opening sequences
are. You begin your life in the savage land with no memory, yet you
have been branded with a “dark mark” that has
stripped you of all your previous memories. It’s your duty to
regain your memories in hopes that your knowledge of the rising evil
can be used to aid in King Conan’s battle against the demonic
First time participants in the world of Robert E. Howard need not worry
about knowing the lore of the world beforehand. Although I’ve
read a number of Howard’s short stories, I’m
nowhere near as competent with the Conan mythologies as some, and I
easily fell into the twisting yarn that Funcom had produced. Even
though the story may have clichéd beginnings, it’s
easy to feel that your character is venturing into the middle of a vast
adventure where he or she is the central protagonist.
encounter is seen through the eyes of the player character.
Unlike most MMOGs, many of the quest interactions you have with the
characters in the game are done using a combination of voice work, style="font-style: italic;">Knights of the Old Republic
style camera angles, and branching dialogue trees. Although many MMOG
players simply plow through this sort of text interaction, this sort of
high detail work is what drew me to style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan in the
first place and the whole presentation looks to have gone off without a
As many previews and first impression reports have stated in the past,
your character begins his experience on the crowded island of Tortage
where a vast number of drunks, prostitutes, and conmen reside. As you
advance through the city, taking on one quest after another,
you’ll become quite familiar with many of the faces: Laranga
the Red Hand traitor, Donus the beggar, Phaedic the drunk sea captain,
Sigurd the inn keeper at the Thirsty Dog Inn, and the list only
continues on from there.
Crush Your Enemies
While all of those faces may speak with you time and time again, most
of them will be only concerned with one thing: getting revenge on those
who have wronged them. From the lowly alley wastrel to the exiled
noblewomen, almost all of the NPCs want you to kill for them. Your
quest journal – which I have rarely read thanks to the
intricate voice over work – will be full of “Kill
X” quests by the time you reach your teens.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Age of Conan: Unchained Game Page.