Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Epic Fail 2: Second Age of Conan Siege

Openedge was kind enough to point out that a second siege occurred in Age of Conan. According to him it went "much better", but I'm not quite sure our idea of "better" are exactly the same. For example: to me filet mignon is a much better cut of beef than sirloin. To Openedge, cube steak is better than ground beef, because its not ground as much. See what I did there?

From all reports on the second siege, the only aspect to improve, was that it was semi-playable this time around with top-end gaming rigs reaching an astonishing 15 FPS. Everything else STILL did not work. Walls were still exploited, and when the legitimate way to get through a wall, by smashing it to bits occurred, the attackers could not get past the now demolished structure. Siege weapons sat idle.

Really, I could go on and on with the list of problems that AoC's siege warfare has currently, but it isn't worth the typing. The fact is: AoC's end-game siege warfare was not ready at launch. This is fine for the hardcore guilds currently battling each other. They expected as much, are used to such failures, and will battle on into the future.

Problem is, the hardcore guilds are going to quit, regardless of whether sieges get fixed or not. I've played with every single hardcore guild listed, both against and alongside them, and none of them has stuck in any MMO for any length of time. Sure, their name lives on, but rarely do the mainstay players and leaders of the guild last long. There is always a greener pasture to look forward to.

What happens when these early adopter guilds decline? Does Funcom have the system fixed by then or will the majority of AoC players walk into a disaster? I'm not going to sit around and say Funcom can't get it fixed, but I will chastise them for leaving it in-game in such disrepair. It definitely nailed the coffin shut in my mind. I will never play Age of Conan.

I spent a lot of energy arguing that AoC was a direct WoW knock-off and that the only defining features of AoC were not complete, would not work, and are exactly in the state that beta testers predicted them to be.

AoC has proven beyond a doubt that it is a WoW clone, a barely-capable WoW-clone at that. The PvE game is almost an exact copy, which is fine, but the features meant to define AoC as a non-WoW-clone, just are not ready. Will Funcom fix them and develop AoC into a long-standing MMO for their core audience? Probably, but don't expect any more massive interest in the title. Launch was as good as it will get for AoC.


  1. Anonymous2:39 PM

    I think someone at FunCom pissed in Heartless' Corn Flakes.

    We get that you don't like AoC.

    We get it.


    Now let it go.

  2. Funcom didn't piss in my Corn Flakes, because I would have had to actually have bought Age of Conan for them to do so.

    Actually, I played Anarchy Online for six or so months, well before it was free to play the basic game. I came back and played the free version as well, but the game was just too segmented at that time to enjoy.

    I think Funcom did a lot of good things for Anarchy Online over its lifespan, but little of what they learned seems to have made its way into AoC and that is disappointing.

    AoC does not have the luxury of launching into an infantile market where massive mistakes are acceptable. AoC needed to be a finished product, without the hollow promises of past games. Funcom did not deliver and I'm gladly going to sit on a fence and throw stones at them.

    It isn't a matter of liking AoC. It is a matter of my opinion on how games are performing in the market and I'm not going to just shake hands and play the I-agree-too game. Sorry if that makes my Corn Flakes smell like urine, because I'll be smiling the whole time I eat them :)

  3. Eww... pissy cornflakes.

    Adds nothing to the conversation, sure. But, honestly until I see a siege for myself it doesn't matter to me as the consumer.

    The game I have seen works well enough to be quite fun at level 46. But crafting sucks horribly. The cities are pointless. And from what I gather I'm about to hit the lack of quests wall very soon.

    I love the game, but it doesn't mean I'm blind to its faults. I often disagree with Heartless_, but here we're in agreement. They'd better get on top of the main issues before WAR hits. It is crucial to their continued existence as a relevant company in the MMOG genre.

  4. Bildo, it has nothing to do with WAR coming down the pipe. There are plenty of games on the market that can deliver a complete performance at the moment, which is even more the reason Funcom should of held back features until complete, tested, and fun.

  5. Anonymous5:30 PM

    I see what you did there! ;) I agree completely.

  6. Anonymous8:40 PM

    I disagree. It most certainly DOES matter that WAR is coming. A percentage of the players in AOC were bored to tears with the current games, myself among them. AOC is a space filler. However, if they had an exceptionally polished game it could have become main game or at least secondary game. If they can't fix it before I get to what's really broken and WAR releases, then it becomes a non-existent subscription. I seriously doubt I'm alone in that line of thinking.

  7. Saylah, I think you are somewhat right, but Funcom doesn't need to fix this stuff just because WAR is coming down the pipe. AoC was never poised to be a big player in the market. The M rating, the gore, and the hardcore nature of its PvP endgame all determined its positioning prior to launch.

    The "AoC is a filler" players are gone regardless of what game or expansion comes next. Funcom lost them a long time ago. AoC would have had to had a perfect launch with the perfect game to stop the exodus for the "next big thing".

    AoC needed a solid launch, which it did get to a degree, to even think about sticking around longterm. However, the complete package needed to be there in order to compete in TODAYS market, and not just become "the new thing to try for a month". AoC is showing its true colors, an unfinished, lackluster, and disappointment of a game... and not just for the filler crowd.

  8. Anonymous12:40 AM

    "an unfinished, lackluster, and disappointment of a game... and not just for the filler crowd."

    The definition of an MMORPG.

    I'm waiting for a company to do something with the genre. WoW didn't do it, EverQuest II didn't do it, Tabula Rasa didn't do it, and WAR won't do it.

    The genre is based on game mechanics from the pen and paper days. What else is there to say?

  9. Honestly, I'm no longer impressed with anything the MMO market has to offer. AOC overall was a big disappointment: more of the same kill 10 x quests, bring a newspaper to non caring NPC y, ect. It felt like WOW on steroids except for the fact that the melee combat actually IS fun imo.

    I'll be impressed when an MMO is able to offer what comes standard on xbox live: voice communication that actually works in party, achievements that make me want to get them, customizable avatars/armor, a world that actually changes so when I roll alts I don't feel like I'm doing the same shit over and over again, and an end game that doesn't result in a treadmill grind session with intense loot whoring.

  10. Wolfgang, just a side note on your Xbox live voice chat comment.

    Voice chat is used and work on Xbox Live because there isn't an alternative. PC gamers have Vent, TeamSpeak, or other means to communicate.

    The advantage of these other options on the PC is that:

    1. You don't have to be on the same server or in the same game to talk.
    People are strange, they like to talk without having to log into the game.

    2. Players actually have control over the voice chat and will kick the fucktards.

    I think voice chat has its place, but it is just an extra, not something that needs to be there. I played WoW and EVE when voice chat was implemented into both games... I have never ONCE heard it used in either game.

    I am actually glad Mythic decided voice chat wasn't feasible and will not worry about including it with WAR.

    Hell, if it was largely a waste of time with WoW and took forever to get working (which is still debatable), then that should herald a sign that it can't be done at the current subscription costs. The only solution is to offer it via a paid service such as EVE through Vivox and that doesn't make sense compared to the pennies per person a Vent or TS server costs to run.

  11. @Heartless_: Saylah hit it on the head for me regarding AoC vs. WAR. You're right too, but what she said is along the lines of what I feel PERSONALLY. If AoC doesn't get its shit together before WAR, it'll lose me likely forever as a serious paying customer.

    As for voice and this is kind of an aside... I never tried this but for small groups in any game is it possible to use a conference call in Skype in the background as voice chat? Like I said... that was sort of a random question.

  12. I've never tried Skype for gaming, but it works wonders for conference calls. Not sure how much bandwidth it eats up though.

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  14. Anonymous3:22 PM

    Poor Funcom. I was hoping they would have better luck. :(

  15. @Bildo: yes, Skype works fine for group-sized VOIP. In fact, I was doing Skype back in the early days of Guild Wars way before anyone was pushing Ventrilo or TeamSpeak. As long as you keep it to the typical group size (4-6 people) the quality is so much better than the other VOIP options.

  16. Anonymous4:53 PM

    AOC is beyond doubt the worst MMO i played in my 11 years of MMO history.

    I dont care about missing content or technical glitches as long the game entertain you in some way ,i leveled a necro to 80 completed my tier 1 set ,finished my gemcutting tiers ,did many onyx and atzel runs with billion epic farms, but no it was just so boring someday i just cancelled my account and unistalled the game.

    Honestly i WANT this game to be unsucessful so game companys understand that MMOO community wont accept any crap thrown at them and swallow it.


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