Questions by Cody “Micajah” Bye (Managing Editor)
and Ben Avery (Community Member)
Answers by Joel Bylos (Quest Designer), Thorbjørn Olsen
(Associate Producer), Mats Tveita (Lead GFX), and Thomas C.M. Lindseth
(Lead Item Designer)
For massively multiplayer online gamers, often their biggest desire in
their favorite game is to get amazing pieces of loot. Function, look,
and rarity all have an impact on how players react to particular items,
so it often becomes a fairly difficult task to create the perfect
armors and weapons for the level of a character. It takes an army of
people to create an MMOG, and a good chunk of those folks are
interested in how these items will affect the game.
Therefore, when the Ten Ton Hammer staff was interested in the items in
Age of Conan,
we turned to a group of individuals who had their hands in making
appropriate items for the game. Joel Bylos, Thorbjørn Olsen,
Mats Tveita, and Thomas C.M. Lindseth all sat down with Cody
“Micajah” Bye and Ben Avery to answer our questions
Note: For another view on items, make sure you check out write-up on
crafting that can be found href="http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=53149">here.)
style="font-style: italic;">Items in Age of
Conan will look functional and fantastic at the same time.
How would you describe
the armor and weapons in Age of Conan? Are the items going to be as
“fancy” looking as what we see in other games?
graphical assets to reflect that this is equipment intended to be used.
We don’t have huge flaring shoulder pads, we don’t
have pants that are burning in six places. We have equipment that
serves a purpose, and it looks the part.
That said, the amount of detail that is in our equipment is astounding.
If you equip a full set of chainmail, for instance, you’ll be
able to see every link in the armor. It has specular as well, so it
reflects light, casts shadow, and so on.
And that’s just how it looks.
In some games, we’ve seen a tendency to just toss items at
the player without giving it any thought. We will not be dropping loot,
equipment, or items that aren’t suitable for the monster
you’re fighting. Chickens will not drop full plate armor.
Wolves won’t have two bags worth of gold in their bellies
visual looks of the armor and stuff are also culture based. It ranges
in power as well, depending on the strengths and the weaknesses of the
culture. Also, if you go further back in time, you might begin to
notice that some of the items that are based on the ancient
civilizations are much more powerful than anything you could find from
the cultures of the current time period.
have such a complex world when it comes to how many cultures you could
Also, we have introduced a concept called “community
loot” where you kill a monster – a Vanir invader
for instance – you have a chance of actually finding
something that he’s actually using. It obviously has the
appropriate bonuses and is available to the appropriate classes, but
what you see is what you get, basically.
Will there be some
“Easter Eggs” in the Age of Conan?
tell you that we have a few.
We have one quest in Cimmeria that’s actually a little
tribute to Anarchy Online. It’s a quest where you have to go
out and kill a monster and bring back a “monster
part.” And it actually looks like a monster part from Anarchy
Will you be able to pick
items up off the ground or make fires?
There are not many items that you can actually pick up off the ground.
We will have the standard treasure chest, and we’re trying to
put some destructibles into the game as well, so you can wack away
happily on a barrel or a crate.
Obviously in quests you’ll be able to interact with certain
However, we know that in the game world, wherever you go, you are
probably going to face some sort of conflict. Although you could find
swords and armor strewn across the battlefield in days of old, they
wouldn’t be there for long. People would come along and pick
them up, but you don’t necessarily get that in an MMOG.
Having that many active items scattered throughout the world would
certainly slow things down.
How do you determine the
drop rate for an item in the game? Are items going to feel
“epic” rather than simply being a random drop from
a particular loot table? Or will bigger creatures always drop certain
It’s a combination. We want to reward the exploring players,
so if you come across a boss mob that isn’t connected to any
quest, he will have something interesting for the player. Something
specific in some cases or random in others. It just depends.
So you’re partially going back to the idea of needing to hunt
X monster to get Y weapon?
Some bosses, especially group bosses, will have quite specific loot.
They will have items and equipment that are connected to their own
only need to kill fifteen of these monsters to complete a quest that
needs fifteen items.
How will quest item drops
work in the game?
drop, they will drop. If you need to kill a Vanir to get a Vanir head,
it’ll drop a head.
So I don’t need
to kill twenty Vanirs to get ten heads?
That’s gotta be the most frustrating thing in games
sometimes. If you have a quest to get the claws of a monster, you can
often look at the monster and see that the claws are right there! I was
really careful! Gimme the damn claws!
However, there are some quests where you get a variable number of items
that drop with each creature.
Let’s say, for example, you have a quest and some
sick-twisted wanderer wants you to kill Vanir because he wants their
teeth to create a necklace.
He’s going to make you a necklace too!
*laughs* So you get the quest, and it’s really daunting
because you see that you have to get 150 teeth or something like that.
But, as you know, the human mouth has a good number of teeth. So you go
out and kill them and get a bundle of these teeth.
They’re actually molars in this particular quest and the
minimum drop rate is around three or six. But you do get them fairly
There’s nothing more frustrating than that, as a player,
because you felt like you just killed twelve bloody zebras to get their
skins and you didn’t get any!
Will players need to raid
over and over again to get the best items in the game? Or will players
be able to find particular pieces by looking elsewhere?
be able to get comparative equipment from different sources. Raiders,
crafters, and casual players should all be able to get decent items for
their level. The raid instances will be, more or less, the type of loot
you’d see from other games.
Crafting will allow you to make decent weapons, but the gem slots are
really what separates crafting from everything else. We try to blend
the gem-finding in with everything else in the game. For instance, you
can find gems in a raid encounter that goes into a crafted item. So you
can actually – through raiding – improve on crafted
Could you give a
character a crafted weapon that’s better than what you find
in a raid?
weapons are more customizable then the raid loot, because you actually
get to choose what’s going into a particular weapon because
of the gem slots that are available to you. With raiding you get a
pre-made weapon instead.
In Age of Conan, being a top level crafter is actually going to mean
So, as a crafter, am I
going to need to raid all the time to have the best loot?
into raiding, you will get equipment that is good for your class for
raiding. If you go into PvP, you will get loot that is good for you in
PvP. Each piece obviously carries bonuses with it into each field, but
these pieces are specifically made for either PvP or raids.
The crafter is the wild card. The crafter makes a template item, and
then he can insert the gems that he wants to have in the item, thus
giving the item the desired bonus. So, the crafter can make items that
are good for PvP and make items that are good for PvE. A crafter can
also make a specific weapon that is really, really good against this
one boss in raids.
Generic raid items that you’ll find will cater to every raid
boss that you will face.
In short, the raid item may be a better weapon for the overall raid
encounter, but the crafted item will be a better item for one
particular encounter in that instance.
style="font-style: italic;">Crafters and
raiders will both be able to collect extremely powerful equipment
What about the
mount’s armor being a particular item? What sort of
flexibility do we have with these? Can we stick gems in the armor? Can
we do that or is it just a set piece?
won’t have this for launch, but I have talked with the
“Horse Master” and we’ve bounced this
idea around a bit. We really want to give the player base a means of
customizing their mounts. Players are going to be riding into mounted
combat and having some barding or armor on the horse that we can
replace is something we really want to do.
We are looking at getting this in the game, and we’re going
to allow the players to really manipulate what their horse looks like.
Different sets of armor, different pieces and locations on your horse,
and things like that.
Can you dye your armor
pieces different colors?
We’ve looked at it several times, and we have the tech for
it. I don’t think it will make launch, but it’s
certainly something we’re looking at.
only problem is – do we really want pink and neon green
armors in Age of Conan? Because even if we try to avoid it, there will
be people who figure out how to make the neon green armors. Some people
just want it.
Thanks again to Thomas,
Mats, Joel and Thorbjørn for taking the time to chat with us
about the items in Age of Conan! It was a really entertaining
discussion and we hope that these answers clarify any
questions you may have had about the items in the game!
the items and the crafting system in Age of Conan? Do you think
crafters will finally find their day in the sun? Let us know on the
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Age of Conan: Unchained Game Page.