It has been more than a year since Age of Conan’s launch
and what a turbulent ride it has been!  Boasting an impressive initial sale
followed by a deep fall in interest, then managing a slow climb back up again in
gamer favor, Age of Conan is doing what many MMOGs cannot; recovering from a
launch flop.

Even though I was and still am a fan of the game, I still
can’t deny the troubles that have plagued AoC from the start.  I was one of the
lucky few invited to experience technical beta and while I loved the concept of
the game and enjoyed the gameplay immensely, I was not blind to the many issues
that were pushing gamers away by the hundreds of thousands. A year later, has
much changed? 

I’ve often called Age of Conan the hardest working MMOG in
the industry and I stand by that statement.  Funcom has gone beyond just adding
shiny new zones and content; they have a dedication to make the game better in
every way.  Game systems have been overhauled, class balance has been re-worked,
PvP has been put under the magnifying glass repeatedly, and technical troubles
have been ironed out.  Over the next few weeks Ten Ton Hammer will be
re-visiting Age of Conan and sharing what changes have been made and what
aspects of the game still need some attention.  For those who haven’t been in
AoC since launch, it may inspire you to take a second look.

Signed, Technically Yours.

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One of the biggest frustrations for players at launch had
been the plethora of technical troubles in AoC, including low frame rates,
frequent crashing, and low playability for many machines.  While the system
requirements remain the same, average systems are catching up, making AoC more
playable for the general public.  Along with this, performance has greatly
improved.  During beta I was lucky to get 12 frames per second.  Shortly after
launch I worked up to 30 FPS.  When I had stopped playing a few months ago , I
was up to 40+ FPS.  Now I can rely on 60+ FPS and much quicker zoning.  I still
have minor stuttering in the cities when I’m in highly populated areas. This
could be a performance thing or simply because there might be another machine on
my network streaming YouTube.  Either way, performance is nothing like it was at
launch and many of the scary technical troubles that so many had to deal with
are a thing of the past.

Hello?  Is Anyone out There?

After launch and just before the server merge, chat was
just a little too quiet for an MMOG.  I think the last time I actually saw a
global channel that silent was back when I was forced to check out Asheron’s
Call 2.  Silence in a game that depends on player community is a scary thing and
it ends up being a sort of domino effect.  “No one else is playing?  Well then
I’m not gonna play either! “ Community population can make or break a game.

Server mergers were announced, and the doomsayers came out
of the woodwork to build the coffin and dig the grave for AoC. However, I feel
that the server mergers were some of the smartest moves that Funcom could have
made.  Nothing is worse than a game clinging to high hopes of a better
population while they watch the few followers they have left flounder on dead
servers.  It’s a hard call for developers to make, but this server merge was
well timed and much needed.

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I currently play on the Wiccana server which is enjoying a
decent population.  Even when I log in late at night on west coast hours, there
is still quite a bit of activity happening.  I see people harvesting in the
tradeskill zones, players running through the cities, and groups being formed in
global chat.  All great signs that players are in game and looking to have some
good gaming fun!

There are How Many Gems?  *Faint*

I’ll get more into the crafting changes in another
installment but this particular change deserved its own entry.  I have a
gemcrafter and spent countless hours documenting the gem recipes for player
guides.  I was outright flabbergasted at the sheer complication!  Anyone that
has done any gemcrafting knows what an overwhelming feat that was prior to the
gem changes and anyone who has crafted or used gems knows how badly this system
needed a complete overhaul.  Basically, gems made very little sense to the
average player and a feature that requires good balance and usability was at
times overpowered, underpowered, or completely unusable.  This has all been

The sheer volume of uncut gems has been reduced by more
than half.  Inventories and banks everywhere heaved a sigh of great relief at
this news!  There are less gem colors and there is only one gem quality now. 
Even better, cut gems now stack so they will take up less space once they have
been crafted. 

Another great feature of gems is the scaling system.  When
you create a gem, it will show in its tool tip what effect it adds and how much
of the effect will be added for each tier.  The tier applies to whatever item
you are socketing the gem into.  This way you can create a single gem and have
it be relevant regardless of an item’s tier, making it much easier to market
your product for sale.

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Along with scaling, uncut gems now have the ability to be
transformed by an alchemist.  Basically what this means is, an alchemist can
take a higher level gem and transform it into multiple lower level gems in the
same gem family.  What does this mean for the player?  A level 80 player who
picks up gems in this tier through typical gameplay will not have to farm low
level content just to obtain lower level gems.  This player can take high level
gems and have an alchemist transform them into multiple lower level gems.  Less
need for gray farming = good.

There’s More!

These changes are just the tip of the iceberg!  Be sure to
check back next week to hear more about the massive happenings that have been
shaking up Hyboria.  In the mean time, be sure to get in on

the limited time offer
from Funcom that invites former players to come back
and try Age of Conan again free for a couple of weeks.   There is no obligation
and if you like it, there are special offers for renewing your subscription.

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

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016