50 MMOs in 50 Days #1: Age of Conan

Last played: 2011
Experience: Minimal

Age of Conan was one of the first MMOs I can think of that launched with massive hype and fell flat on its face. As such, when I tried it out, shortly after it went free-to-play, I wasn’t expecting much.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a solid game, with well-voiced and paced cut scenes, which seems to be something that Funcom excels at, judging by The Secret World and the non-MMO The Longest Journey games. A lot of companies could stand to look at how they do framing in particular.

The combat system, which I’d heard so much about, positive and negative, wasn’t too bad, but I wonder how much I’d like to deal with the attacking and counter-attacking for hundreds of hours. It might be a little too much to try and include in a non-action-based MMO, but it was nice to see Funcom try something different from the basic skill rotation found in most games.

As I was thinking about what else I liked about a game I only played briefly three years ago, I thought, “Wasn’t the music really good?” Sure enough, a quick search on YouTube gave me this, this, and this:

Even the environmental music had an ethereal, otherworldly quality:

I’m not sure how many of those tracks I encountered in-game, but they’re a big step up from what you hear in most MMOs.

Though I only got into the low double digits in terms of level, what I’ve heard after you leave the opening area and story lines of Tortage Island is pretty bleak. I know I’m supposed to just comment on my opinions of the game based on what I experienced, but just knowing about this colors my opinion. Since launch, Funcom’s tried to address this, but so many people had so negative a reaction that it probably doomed the game from the start. It’s a prime example of never getting a second chance to make a first impression.

Maybe they should have spent more time and money on the game and less on the music…

The other thing people think about Age of Conan? Boobies. Kudos to Funcom for being willing to “go there” and produce a mature-rated game, but it shouldn’t have been hard to figure out what would happen when you give a mostly young and male audience access to in-game jiggle. You get Scarlet Blade light, is what, and people have a hard time taking your game seriously. I’m not a prude, and I think America is way too uptight regarding this kind of stuff (as opposed to Funcom’s home country of Norway), but there’s probably no way to make it work in an online game without seeming farcical. Stick with bikini plate mail if you must have your MMO skin.

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One Response to 50 MMOs in 50 Days #1: Age of Conan

  1. Pingback: 50 MMOs in 50 Days #41: The Secret World | Wintry Mix

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