April 18th through April 21st, Funcom, together with Gamespot, organised the Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures (AoC) Beta Player vs Player (PvP) weekend. I was one of the lucky ones to get a key, and this is the story of my experiences. There were many things to do ranging from the character creation to PvP combat. Lets take a look at what AoC had to offer.
The client I played was only a small portion of the whole game. It contained the first five levels (tutorial), the PvP minigames and the PvP lobby. All twelve classes are in, and were given out at level 20 with a standard kit of gear for each class. At level 20 you have 12 feat points to spend, and 722 skill points. To give you an idea of what you can place your points into, casting concentration at this level is maxed at 300 skill points, bandaging, renew mana, and hiding max at 200.
style="font-style: italic;">The Conqueror holds his own in PvP.
Graphics, Performance, and Sound
The game looks gorgeous. At high settings think Oblivion, but better looking. My system specs are as follows: CPU: E6750 @ 2.7 GHz, GPU: 8800GTS-320, RAM: 2 Gb DDR2 @ 1066 MHz, and I can usually run it at high (1280x1024 res) with 25+ FPS. However, in busy PvP times it drops to ~4 FPS. This could well be due to the fact it's a beta client (I presume it will improve further upon release). Either way, I put it to medium, it still looks gorgeous, and it played smooth as butter (25-50 FPS). This game sounds as awesome as it looks, the music is epic and fitting, and the combat and ambient sounds as visceral and real as it looks.
Character Creation and Tutorial
After choosing your race and class, you get to the much touted customization part, and Funcom wasnt lying when they said youd be able to recognize someone based on their looks, as there are sliders for virtually everything. After character creation you are prompted to do the tutorial if you want to.
When you enter the world you get to see this beautiful environment created by Funcom. The water, sand and trees look very nice, and you get a few quests to get you started. There are a lot of easy enemies to hack through, that obviously only serve for you to practice on. You get a nice taste of the dynamic shielding Funcom keeps talking about. It is good fun, and a nice taste of what lies in wait within the rest of Tortage. I cant say I could notice how much of the advanced AI mobs are supposed to have, but this will likely improve beyond the tutorial.
The Lobby and General Feel
When you enter the PvP lobby, you can meet other people to adventure with. A lot of people were testing out abilities for their classes, and they all looked pretty awesome. The chat was buzzing with activity, and a lot of people were discussing the merits or demerits of the game. It was often compared to World of Warcraft (WoW), which was fairly inevitable, but mostly there was a sense of excitement about the game, one I happened to share. After taking this in, I decided it was time to join my first PvP game. This works via an easy menu you access in your top left corner, you choose which game type (and level) you want, then click search, and soon a game pops up for you to join.
Classes and PvP
The PvP is something I thoroughly enjoyed. Its pretty fast paced, bloody, well designed, and from the looks of it fairly balanced too. There are a few bugs, but I expect they will be worked out before launch. To get an idea of how it plays, think Unreal Tournament Capture the Flag (CTF) mixed with WoWs Warsong Gulch, and you're almost there. CTF has three different maps, two with lots of different indoor passages, and one outdoor level with each team in a big keep of sorts, with a valley in between. It also has one normal team deathmatch level where you have to just kill the other team more than they kill you, or try and destroy their totem before the timer runs out. Then they can't spawn anymore and lose upon death of all their members. Mind you, all the following experiences are at level 20, and therefore are very much subject to change at later levels or during the course of beta.
For this weekend I rolled three classes; a conqueror, a demonologist and a necromancer. There are three feat trees for each class, of which one general is shared by all classes in the archetype. The general tree is much shorter, and only goes down to the twenty point mark. The other two class specific trees go down to forty point feats. All three trees are pretty wide, with up to five feats in one tier, and five points per tier needed to get to the next.
Classes have three bars; a health bar, a stamina bar, and a mana bar. All classes have a sprint ability, which drains stamina. For casters, sprinting is the main use of stamina. The skills each class can level differ based on the class. For example, only soldiers have taunt.
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