Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures - updated impressions

Easily the most violent MMO of 2008

Why did it take six months to make such simple, yet fundamental changes to the way the game plays? “It’s because you have 14 classes,” answers Godager, “times 80 levels, times hundreds of abilities. Going through all of them is just a massive logistics job. But the beta was always running. We were always getting feedback from the players. For us, delaying the release was not such a big deal. Quality comes first.”

We spent time traipsing about Age of Conan’s creche area -that is, the island on which you’re hand-reared through the game’s first 20 levels. The city of Tortage offers a line of quests based around teaching you exactly how to use your particular class. It’s no longer a single-player game in these early stages either.

Interestingly, by day Tortage is a multiplayer arena, but find a bed to sleep in and you’ll wake up at night, where Age of Conan becomes an entirely single-player experience. You can flip between single and multiplayer just by hopping into bed.

In single-player mode you further your ‘destiny quest’ by completing a series of quests based around your class. As a barbarian (AoC’s rogue class), we found ourselves creeping along rooftops to eavesdrop on the local misfits, and stalking certain targets to subtly ensure their safety. Whether or not this kind of quest can work outside of Tortage’s single-player mode (and therefore anywhere past level 20), is unclear, but while it lasts it’s an impressive and interesting change of pace from the typical ‘kill X of Y’ missions we’re used to.

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