Joel Bylos returns this week with a trio of new updates for Age of Conan: Unchained (AoC), Anarchy Online (AO), and The Secret World (TSW) to discuss future content plans and improvements for the MMOG now that the team has settled into their new working environment.
First up is TSW. Bylos reflected on the release of Issue #6: The Last Train to Cairo and the recent addition of a new Lair raid before moving on to Issue #7, which is currently in development. Bylos shared some of the story details about the update that will take players to Transylvania to investigate werewolves in the area and the appearance of the Orochi and their new secret base beneath a frozen glacier in the Carpathian Fangs. Along with some old allies and a new one, players will investigate the mystery, taking on the role of a secret agent and even engaging in a high-speed snowmobile chase.
There will also be a new Auxiliary weapon - the flamethrower Â which comes with a set of new abilities such as a channeled large cone of fire, the ability to place a wall of fire down, and a gas cloud that can be ignited for extra damage on enemies.
The next update will also include some new changes to PvP with further improvements to FusangÂs capture and optional reward mechanics and matchmaking improvements. The devs have also begun early work on the new Black Ops PvP mechanic, which will make an area of the playfield become contested and prompt the three factions to fight for control of relics, areas, or important people passing through the region. If youÂre familiar with DefianceÂs Shadow War mechanic, it sounds somewhat similar but takes it a step further. Unfortunately, since it is in the early stages of development, this feature is unlikely to make it into the Issue #7 update.
Bylos rounded out the letter with a brief teaser of the Issue #8 update, which will take players to the headquarters of the Council of Venice for the first time to undergo new training for a mission in Tokyo.
Next up is AO. BylosÂs update for AO was a relatively brief one. In his update, Bylos reflected on the recent merging of the game down to a single server and provided players with more information on getting the max number of character slots for their accounts.
A reminder to people who want maximum character slots - if you are a subscriber during the next patch you will receive 12 character slots, else the number will be 10 for future subscribers and 8 for froob accounts.
Bylos briefly touched on a few upcoming changes such as the revamp to the new player experience and the item shop, improving the leveling experience, and the continued work on the game engine, which the team hopes to have in an open beta testing phase later this year.
Last up is AoC and Bylos had quite a bit to say in this one. The first item of business dealt with the upcoming server merges and the single server technology that will consolidate the community by bringing US and EU servers together and merging same server rulesets. Bylos also hopes to begin integrating TSWÂs cross-server PvP queuing tech sometime in May if all goes as planned.
If youÂre waiting for the next installment of content for the DragonÂs Spine series, you should be seeing some of the new stuff on Testlive in May with Coils of Ubah Kan and The Slithering Chaos 6-person dungeons, but due to their design complexities could require additional work and testing before released, so a delay is possible. Bylos also stated that the new Palace of Cetriss Raid & Minigame is still several months from being ready.
Bylos also touched on the ever-elusive tradeskill revamp, which it seems is going to require even more work than originally thought, so expect that to be delayed a while longer. The devs are going to be porting their tradeskill design system to the same one used by TSW, but thatÂs going to take some time as theyÂll need to move over all of the recipes, do some backend design work, and then test everything to make sure nothing goes boom.
Rounding out the update, Bylos also discussed changes coming to PvP and minigames to make them more skill-based and allow new players to have an even chance at defeating their better-equipped veteran counterparts, code and quality of life fixes, and plans for the upcoming 5th anniversary of AoC.