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Age of Conan Open Beta Writeup
Part of Keen#DY#s adventure in Age of Conan, MMORPG, Reviews
The Age of Conan Open Beta began yesterday afternoon. I have been looking forward to this opportunity to test the game again so that I can further solidify my feelings about the game and determine once and for all if I will be playing AoC at release. It is my intention in this writeup to convey my true opinion on what I have experienced from levels 1-13 and then pass judgment on the parts of the game that I have played. I acknowledge that this is beta and the servers are being stress tested. However, anyone who believes that this is not what will be released in 16 days +/- a few bugs is a fool. Anyone with past open beta experience knows first hand that this is the game you will be playing at launch. Now let#DY#s get to the goods.
PvE Leveling Experience Levels 1-13, the story and more
During the Gamespot pvp weekend I was able to level from 1-6 in the singleplayer starting area. That means I had 7 levels of unexplored territory and adventures to experience. I created a Dark Templar Soldier Class because I am most interested in playing one at release. The first thing I noticed when I began fighting NPCs was that Funcom had upped the difficulty ever so slightly. It wasn#DY#t long though before I began 2 shotting Picts and obliterating these mini-bosses finding myself out of the 1-6 starting area and outside of Tortage itself. Outside of Tortage is a NPC who gave me a very simple task to gain access to the city. I wasn#DY#t allowed to enter until I had my slave shackles removed. He sent me to a blacksmith about 50 feet away who offered to help me, but I had to get him some bricks. To get the bricks I had to run up a hill about 45 seconds away and left click 3 bricks. Bringing the bricks back to the smith he removed my shackles and I was granted access to Tortage. My very first quest in Hyboria completed and although it was lackluster, it was neat.
As I entered Tortage it became immediately clear that the standard method of leveling in AoC would be questing. As far as the eye could see, and cluttering my mini-map, were orange exclamation points with NPCs offering me quests. I#DY#m not going to give you a recounting of each one but the majority were "Go here and kill X of Y" and "Pick this up off the ground across town for me and bring it back". Very standard questing and not something that hurts and helps my impressions of the game. When I reached level 7 I decided it was time to begin the singleplayer quest line again. In this Tortage area Night Time represents singleplay and Day Time represents multiplayer.
The singleplayer quest line was decent. The central focus of the story arc is to help free Tortage from its the Tyrant who bastardized the brotherhood that used to govern the city. This Tyrant has blockaded the harbor and made life miserable for the residents of Tortage. The missions and story from here on remained interesting and moving towards a solution. They involved visiting an island to rescue an agent of Conan, finding the lost brother of the bar maid, and the beginning of learning my true purpose in Hyboria from my mentor/trainer. All in all it#DY#s nothing to get excited about or declare revolutionary but the story and leveling from 1-13 are about as good as one can ask for in a mmorpg.
It#DY#s worth mentioning that I had a really big Guild Wars vibe with how the world was instanced. There is this slash command that lets you change which instance of the world you are in. This was the cause for many people#DY#s frustrations when they could not locate their party members who were supposed to be standing at the same location. I don#DY#t like instanced worlds because they break immersion completely. But it#DY#s a lesser evil I suppose.
How about the polish? Everyone#DY#s favorite word.
The game definitely has areas lacking polish. I feel the questing system needs to be polished up to at least the standards set by WoW (king of Polish). Running through the town is a great example of where the game needs polish because there are invisible walls and pathing issues all around, it feels clunky sometimes. Additionally there are even problems with combat that need polish. When fighting mobs they sometimes disappear and reappear or mobs add from miles away. It feels like it#DY#s almost there but that "Feeling" you get when you#DY#re playing a completely fine tuned game isn#DY#t there yet. Fixable. Very, very fixable.
Next Page: Combat and other Mechanics of the available Gameplay