Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures - first impressions

It doesn't matter whether or not you liked the Conan films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger or are familiar with Robert E. Howard's famous fantasy tales of the alpha-male Cimmerian. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures promises to provide a truly next-gen MMO experience with retina searing graphics and innovations in both gameplay and design that threaten to shake up many stale standards in the increasingly popular genre. Big talk, butafter seeing a demo of the latest build of the game, we were thoroughly impressed.

In an effort to break away from the traditional "click and wait" method of combat common in most MMORPGs, AoC's Real Combat engine takes a more visceral approach to combat. Instead of passively watching your character swing at foes, you'll direct attacks towards six different areas of the enemy with combos and brutal finishing moves similar to God of War.

Not content with just breaking ties with the hands-off approach to melee combat, AoC also shatters the mold of how spell casting characters are played with its Spellweaving system. Think of Spellweaving as a combo system for casters. You start off with a container or starter spell and string together additional spells that can result in various bonuses. But be careful. As you continue weaving spells together, the risk of your character failing to cast increases and could result in negative effects.