by Benjamin J. de la Durantaye - June 15, 2008

border="1" width="200">
target="_blank">Age of Conan Limited Edition Keyset for
href="" target="_blank">Ideazon

As a long term MMOG player and a writer, my keyboards see a lot of use.
I select them with care and a lot of thought. When I received the new
Age of Conan keyset and Z-board in the mail, I was a little more
impressed than I thought I'd be. Admittedly I'm a sucker for bright
colors and pretty packaging and the Z-board had that. It was quite
attractive. But would it hold up to a week of Age of Conan? Would it be
intuitive and handy, or would I just end up going back to my old trusty
Logitech G-15?

The Installation

I was about to learn that answering those questions
wasn’t going to be that easy. I popped in the installation CD
and was immediately notified that it wouldn't run on Windows Vista 64.
However, the manual did tell me that I could get a 64-bit version from
the Z-board website.

alt="The Age of Conan Keyset for Zboard"
title="The Age of Conan Keyset for Zboard"
src="" hspace="3"
vspace="3">I downloaded and installed the 64-bit version of
the Z-engine, Ideazon's management utility for the Z-board. The
installation went smoothly enough and I rebooted my computer.
That’s when the real problems started. The profiler simply
would not run after the reboot. Windows kept telling me an error had
occurred, and the program was shut down. I tried re-installing,
rebooting and a brief prayer, but I could not get the program to run -
at all. While in some cases you can overlook installing the
manufacturer's software, this is not the case with the Z-board. You
need the software in order to download and install the various profiles
they have available - in this case, Age of Conan.

After a frustrating hour or so, I gave up and decided to give the
installation a shot on Windows XP. This installation and update went
much smoother. I was able to quickly download the Age of Conan Profile
from the available games list, and get rolling in game to see what
advantages the keyboard held.

The Keyset

The Z-board comes with a standard keyset, a gaming keyset,
and the keyboard itself. When you want to change keysets for different
games, you simply lift a tab on the right of the keyboard, and the
keyset folds right off of the keyboard. You can then install your
specialized keysets. Finally, I settled down and installed the Age of
Conan Keyset that was also shipped to me, and I booted up the game.

As mentioned, I've been playing MMOGs for some time. I had been playing
Age of Conan beta for about five months before I tried out this
keyboard. I was familiar with the game and its macros and hotkeys. What
I had really been hoping was that the Age of Conan keyset for the
Z-board was going to include some cool independent keys for executing
combos. However, these were not on the keyboard. What was available on
the keyboard were several keys at the right side of the keyboard for
various game functions such as pulling up the quest list, feats tree,
friends list, and various chat commands.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 300px; height: 249px; float: right;"
alt="Custom Keys" title="Custom Keys"
hspace="3" vspace="3">
While this could be
useful to a beginner player, particularly if they're inexperienced to
MMOGs all together, I didn't find the built-in hotkeys very useful. In
fact, it would take me longer to find the specialized key on the
z-board than it would to just hit "N" for my feats, or "R" to reply to
a friend's message. With a bit of use though, eventually I did get used
to the hotkey's locations, and could use them relatively quickly. I
still, however, found it difficult to justify why I would ever prefer
using the customized keys as opposed to their in-game defaults.

The keyboard also has the Age of Conan font for its decal letters on
the keys. Beneath the letters are descriptions for various in-game
functions. For instance, there are movement arrows on the W,S,A and D
keys, and "assist" written on the F key and so on. Again, while this
could be useful for a beginner, I had little use for it personally.
Additionally, the writing is fairly small in order to fit it on a
standard-sized key, so it's often difficult to read the descriptions.

Along the top of the keyboard are the standard function keys. Beside
those keys are "Emote Toggle" buttons. This allows a different emote to
be macroed into each of the 12 function keys, and the toggle buttons
allow you to change banks of emotes. Thusly, the keyboard offers 24
built-in macros for emotes in the game.

Age of Conan emotes are fun, so I was glad to see this included. It's
often difficult to remember the proper syntax for various emotes, so
having them built into the keyboard saves time. While this doesn't
necessarily make the game a lot more enjoyable, it does offer a
convenience, which, albeit, is more useful for the role-playing
demographic than most other players.

The keyset also includes a code for an in-game item – the
Enruned Kosalan Ring. You can claim this item in game and it offers a
small damage output increase for any level. I did get use out of the
ring, as it can be claimed by any character on your account and has
some use for a large level range.

The Conclusion

With ring in hand, it was a bit easier to enjoy the
keyboard, yet overall I found the keyset somewhat lackluster. It's far
from being an Age of Conan essential. Some of the features of the
keyset are mildly useful, with only a slight advantage for beginner
players who haven't yet familiarized themselves with the in-game
commands. The built-in emote macros offer a bit of value to the keyset,
but not much. Buying a new Z-board specifically for Age of Conan would,
in this reviewer's opinion, be wasteful. But if you already have a
Z-board, the Age of Conan keyset may be worth the $20 value to you,
mainly for the in-game ring you receive.

style="width: 454px; text-align: left; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"
border="0" cellpadding="3">
style="border: 0px solid ; width: 227px; height: 83px;"
alt="The Good"
src=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 227px; height: 83px;"
alt="The Bad" src="">
  • 24 emote macros
  • Easy to access commands for beginners
  • Attractive artwork
  • In-Game Ring
  • Difficult Installation for 64-bit Operating Systems
  • Limited functionality for experienced gamers
  • Hard-to-read key descriptions

style="width: 35px; height: 35px;" alt=""
src=""> style="width: 35px; height: 35px;" alt=""
src=""> style="width: 35px; height: 35px;" alt=""
src=""> style="width: 35px; height: 35px;" alt=""
src=""> style="width: 35px; height: 35px;" alt=""

(5 / 10 Hammers)

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

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016