Age of Conan - single-player

There’s been no shortage of confidence from the Age of Conan camp, perhaps befitting the game’s namesake: the last press release we received from developer Funcom heralds the game as “one of the most highly anticipated MMO games in history” - and announces that the PC version’s gone gold, despite much Internet buzz among beta testers that it needs more polish than the remaining weeks to launch can possibly allow.

At a time when most MMO developers simply deal in a “there’s WoW, and then there’s everyone else” mentality, the Funcom developers are clear on the ways they see their game as competitively different. And they’re right - compared to World of Warcraft or any other MMO, Age of Conan’s Mature rating, high-end graphics, and dark, literary setting put it in a class by itself. The team takes great pride in that - very great.

The fierce commitment is admirable… but the MMO road is littered with great ideas that simply didn’t resonate enough to be worthy of anyone’s monthly devotion - or, as with the team’s previous MMO, Anarchy Online, suffered from technical problems at launch that kept many away in the first place. Funcom says they’ve learned the lessons that AO’s troubles taught, and the result will be an MMO that’s different from what we’ve seen before.

We playtested Age of Conan’s first 20 levels, in single-player and multiplayer, to find out just how well Funcom has delivered on the promise of a rougher, readier, red-spattered MMO.

Check out the other parts of the Age of Conan Week:

Day 2 - multiplayer

Day 3 - Tortage Island guide

Day 4 - Monster Mash

Day 5 - Hyborian strongholds