Time,the measurement of which ultimately controls everything about our
lives, seems to be in an increasingly short supply. Nowhere, in the
gaming world at least, is time more critical, and more of a factor in
success, than in the MMOG. Games, and the developers who make them, are
given precious little of the aforementioned quantity with which to meet
the high expectations of their exceedingly fickle fan bases. While many
recent releases have either pulled the plug or settled into a defacto
acceptance of their product’s station in the gaming
hierarchy, a couple titles have risen to the challenge and aggressively
fought to keep their games moving forward and recapturing some of the
launch day magic. Funcom’s Age of Conan is leading that
charge with sweeping additions and a new expansion, Rise of the
Godslayer, in the works. We sat down recently with Craig Morrison, the
games Director and Executive Producer to talk about the renown system
and other changes in store for the game:
Ton Hammer: High level guilds can get team-based PvP arenas through the
renown system. What sorts of games can be played in these arenas, and
does the owning guild have any sort of advantage when competing in them?
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Morrison: These arenas are
really just for fun. They are intended to give guilds a PVP environment
that they can control access to and allow them to have fights on the
terms they want. The system in the arena allows players to choose how
many they want on either side of a fight to the death, it might be one
on one, six on six, or even one on many if they want to! There
aren’t any rewards, or advantages to the guild themselves,
like I said this is mainly a fun toy for the PVP players to use for
their own fights and tournaments without having to worry about outside
Ton Hammer: Are there any other new buildings that will be rewarded for
Players will be able to get a brand new tavern building for their guild
city. In addition they will be able to earn a new social instance,
which is themed to their culture, which appears beneath their existing
Ton Hammer: Can you give us some examples of some of the new
decorations available through renown?
There are a variety of
banners and environmental objects like shrubs, sculptures, and totems.
For the more macabre amongst you there are even some corpses that can
be strewn around.
Ton Hammer: Has guild city land expanded, or will the new buildings
take place of older ones?
The new building appears in a completely new slot, so you
won’t have to replace anything in your city.
Ton Hammer: In the IGN article, it was mentioned that mounts and
companions will be renown rewards as well, and can be shared by the
guild. How does this work? If someone takes out a mount for a run, will
it be unavailable to others?
The renown ranks open up quests that can then be done by anyone in the
guild so they can all earn the rewards. So access to the rewards is
shared and it is then down to each player to seek out the rewards they
want to get for themselves.
Ton Hammer: How do the renown-rewarded mounts compare with other mounts
in the game?
The main difference is in the
visuals; we didn’t want the new mounts to take the place of
the old ones. The new mount gives players another option.
Ton Hammer: Are the renown rewards free once you’re of
sufficient renown level, or are they simply unlocked, and
you’ll still have to buy and/or build them? And if so, where
can they be purchased?
A combination of all of the above! Some will unlock quests that you
have to complete in order to get the reward, some will unlock vendors
and some will unlock new buildings. The vendors and quest givers will
appear in your guild city.
Ton Hammer: Do you predict
large guilds will reach renown level 20 very fast, and conversely, how
long would it take a smaller guild of 10 or so players to progress?
Larger guilds will of course progress quicker, but we want [satisfying
progression] to be achievable for the smaller guilds as well. We are
currently balancing that during testing and there will most likely be
some form of weekly contribution caps to ensure the gap isn’t
too extreme. But, as I said, that’s something we will fine
tune during testing.
Ton Hammer: Valor renown can be earned by killing monsters and
completing quests. As there are a finite amount of quests in the game,
will it be of significant advantage to start new characters to earn
renown through all the low level quests again, or will it be easy
enough to gain valor renown on a veteran character who’s
already done a lot of the content?
I don’t think
[there will be an advantage to starting a new character.] There are
also lots of repeatable quests and we are also going to be introducing
a lot of new content in the expansion with lots more quests for people
to work on.
Ton Hammer: Without spoiling anything, could you give us a small taste
of the kinds of fights players will be experiencing in
I really don’t want
to spoil anything there, but as we have hinted at in the promotional
material, players will find that King Conan himself is taking an
interest in the attempts to battle his old foe. I think the team has
done a great job making the encounters interesting, and continued the
trend we have tried with recent updates of hiding special extra
challenges within the encounters, effectively offering an optional
‘hard mode’ for additional rewards.
Ton Hammer: The loot in the dungeon is the best gear seen yet. Will
players be able to get by here if they haven’t raided before,
or would it be more recommended for seasoned raiders?
Players will have to have worked through some of the existing raids
first. [The Stronghold] is adding a new tier of challenges above what
already exists so players will have to have experienced the existing
raid content first before trying to take on Thoth-Amon
Ton Hammer: Players will be able to fight alongside Conan in part of
this expansion. Is this a new story arc or will it tie in from
something else previously hinted at?
Well, Thoth-Amon is one of
Conan’s best known adversaries, and the King will take a keen
interest in your attempts to take him down. The story does tie in to
some of the elements the players have already experienced through their
destiny quest as well.
Ton Hammer: Is there anything else you’d like to share about
the Update at this time?
Just that I hope players enjoy the new content and features when they
reach the live servers, and remind everyone that the update will be
available for public testing very shortly as well. We look forward to
seeing what the players make of the new additions to the game!
We would like to thank Craig for taking time out of his busy schedule
to speak with us regarding Age of Conan; with the new
expansion looming we can imagine all the folks at Funcom are burning
the candle at both ends. What do you think? Can the Rise of the
Godslayer breathe new life into the game? The new features certainly
look exciting and ambitious, but will they be enough to return interest
to pre-release levels? Only time will tell for sure.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Age of Conan: Unchained Game Page.