Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures has been live for just more than four months right now, and though it#DY#s undoubtedly a great game, its players have been very vocal as far as complaints and suggestions are concerned. Funcom has always thought of itself as a company driven by its community, and if you#DY#re a fan, it#DY#ll probably come as no surprise to you that the Age of Conan team is currently working on implementing a number of fixes and new gameplay features. There#DY#s also an expansion pack in the works, by the way, but all we know about it is that it#DY#s scheduled for release sometime in 2009. Judging by a piece of teaser art that we were shown today, the expansion pack will feature masked Asian warriors who look a lot like the immortals that the Spartans go up against in the movie 300.
One of the more damning criticisms being leveled at Age of Conan since its release is the fact that, at certain character levels, there#DY#s simply a dearth of content to play through. There are a number of new content areas in development that will be appearing in the live game soon, and today we had an opportunity to check out a few of them.
First up was Tarantia Commons, a slum district that#DY#s part of the existing Tarantia City but which players are currently kept out of by a locked gate. Given that it#DY#s home to two warring gangs, Tarantia Commons is a dangerous area to frequent at night. As a hero in the Age of Conan world, you#DY#ll be able to undertake missions for either or both of the gangs in question, and though there will undoubtedly be plenty of violence involved, we#DY#re told that Funcom is aiming to incorporate more puzzle elements in the game via future updates. Tarantia Commons is a locale designed for players of level 40 and above, which, if you#DY#ve ever played a character at that level, you#DY#ll know is definitely an area in need of new content.
Another all-new area that we had an opportunity to take a look at was a mountainous zone known as The Dolmen that#DY#s designed for level 50 to 55 characters. Bandit forces are a constant threat in the area, and one of the sample quests that we were shown will task you with lighting signal fires dotted around the region in an attempt to call reinforcements to the aid of a settlement under attack. We were told that this zone will add "dozens of hours of content" on its own, and it also appears to be a great example of how Funcom is starting to incorporate Conan influences from a variety of different sources. For example, we saw the "wheel of pain" structure that appeared in the 1982 Conan movie, and later we encountered a beautiful frost giant#DY#s daughter lifted from a story by Robert E Howard. The beautiful, scantily clad girl was clearly beckoning the player to follow her up into to the mountains, and we#DY#re told that, sometimes, she#DY#ll reward those who oblige her with some kind of reward. It was a trap on this occasion, though, and within moments of reaching a spot where we could be alone with her, two angry giants (her brothers) showed up.