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Daily Column

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First, the Ten Ton Pulse, your finger on the beating heart of the MMOG industry.

If the Top 10 isn't enough, we now show the Top 20 and Top 50 lists as well, available to everyone on our homepage. (What is Pulse?)

  1. Age of Conan - 200 BPM
  2. World of Warcraft - 71 BPM
  3. Lord of the Rings Online - 25 BPM
  4. EverQuest 2 - 25 BPM
  5. EVE Online - 16 BPM
  6. Warhammer Online - 16 BPM
  7. Guild Wars - 15 BPM
  8. Lineage 2 - 13 BPM
  9. Vanguard - 11 BPM
  10. Sword of the New World - 13 BPM

I mentioned yesterday that Age of Conan had topped the charts in some European and Scandinavian countries. Today we find out that it also topped the charts in the U.S. as compiled by the NPD group.

1) Age Of Conan: Hyborian Adventures – Eidos
2) World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest – Vivendi
3) Age Of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (Collectors Edition) – Eidos
4) The Sims 2 Double Deluxe – EA
5) The Sims 2 Kitchen & Bath Interior Stuff – EA
6) World Of Warcraft – Vivendi
7) World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade – Vivendi
8) Call OF Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Activision
9) The Sims 2 Freetime Expansion Pack – EA
10) Crysis – EA

More amazing perhaps is that World of Warcraft remains the #2 game based on sales over three years after release. Perhaps even more astonishing is the entertainment content that has been produced by the community. Kim T., sent me this gem (which is not safe for work, contains coarse language) World of WifeCraft.

From the 'What were they thinking when they wrote this title' department comes, Warhammer Online: Crafting a Mechanic with Mark Jacobs. If you ever need your car fixed, apparently Mark Jacobs, the General Manager at EA-Mythic can build you your own personal mechanic. You never know when that will come in handy, so pay special attention to our latest Warhammer article and your check engine light.

My inbox is flooded with questions about my impressions of Age of Conan. It's still too early to give a decent recap of my experiences, but if it will stem the tide of questions I'll tell you what I think of the game after approximately two weeks of play.

The Pros

  • Melee combat is fun. I have never enjoyed playing melee characters, but I've taken a Dark Templar to level 31 solely because of the interactive combat. It's fun to wade through the bad guys without an autoattack button.
  • Quests are descriptive and most give you detailed markers right on your mini-map.
  • The single-player level 1-20 (destiny) quests are superb! If the level of detail in that quest line permeated the game people would not be able to stop playing. It would also take a team of thousands to pull that off.
  • Getting a guild formed is as easy as clicking a button.
  • Forming a city is almost as easy as forming a guild. Gathering the money and resources is difficult, but the actual mechanic of building a keep or other buildings is intuitive and simple.
  • Spell effects are superb. I have always enjoyed playing casters and part of that is the fancy spell effects. Age of Conan won't let you down.
  • The graphics in general are well done. The load screens are worth the excellent graphics in my opinion.
  • Healers are a viable solo class, yet still required in groups.
  • Healing isn't an exercise in 'whack-a-mole'. Heals are for the most part targeted and regenerative (heal over time). If you are tired of sitting in the corner mashing a heal button every 10 seconds to keep the main tank alive this may be the game for you.

The Cons

  • The classes don't seem to take on their true flavour until level 30 or higher. You can roar through the initial 20 levels in an evening or two. The next 10 levels can be completed in a couple of evenings if you know the quests and in a considerably longer time if you are brand new to the game. Even so, it can add up to a week or more of investment in a class that you don't enjoy.
  • The mini-map is a schizophrenic sociopath that will bring you joy one minute and turn on you the next. Quest markers will appear and disappear faster than Lindsay Lohan at a rehab clinic. Sometimes the quest that you have highlighted in your journal is not the quest that is highlighted on the minimap. Confusing? Indeed.
  • The guild tools are kludgy.
  • You are only allowed eight character slots. Altaholics will need to begin the 12-step program or be frustrated.
  • Lack of early group dungeons. Encouraging players to group at early levels to take on difficult foes builds community and gives players the feeling of being the hero. I have rolled two characters to 24 and 31, yet I have never had a need to group. I'm not saying that it should be necessity, but it should be an option that quest lines lead to. Players need to be introduced to the group mechanics early.
  • There is no indication that you leveled, except for some text on your screen. Where is my glorious "Ding"? Often, I don't even know that I leveled until guildies congratulate me.
  • The U.I. is not as well designed as you would expect. Mods are being released by the community, but the default U.I. isn't what most players will expect.
  • I can swim up a waterfall, but I can't climb a three-foot ledge. The Z-axis seems broken. The only way I can get to many objectives is by following roads. Why can't I find another way, up the hill and over the dale, the road or lack thereof less traveled?
  • No numbers. The stats are vague and feats are not well explained. Telling me that Feat ABC increases your damage doesn't help me. I want to know how much it increases my damage before I spend my points. It's in the database. It should be in the tooltip.
  • Loot is boring. One of the biggest hooks of most MMOGs is the loot. Where is my fancy green, blue, purple and orange loot? Mobs don't drop much that I care to use. Basically I kill things to fill my very small inventory bag to sell as junk to a vendor.

The biggest problem for Age of Conan is going to be breaking the social bonds that players have formed in other games. If you have friends who you have played with for years, then Age of Conan may not be enough of a game to pull you away from them.

What are your Pros and Cons?

That's it for today! The Loading Forums await you. Do you feel the need to contact me personally with naughty pictures or derogatory comments? Here's my E-mail.

--
[A big thanks to Phil Comeau for putting together the links, headlines and taglines today. ]

9 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 38 in June! 1334 in 2008!

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Thanks as always for visiting TenTonHammer.com. Thanks to Phil Comeau for doing the heavy lifting with the links.

- John "Boomjack" Hoskin and the Ten Ton Hammer Team

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Hoskin 0
Dissecting and distilling the game industry since 1994. Lover of family time, youth hockey, eSports, and the game industry in general.

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