I have been spending some of my spare time this weekend playing a few of the classes up to level 13 to get a feel for how each class develops in the lower levels. Considering that overall I can only disclose information about the classes from levels 1-13 and then at 20, take what I am going to say about any of these classes with a grain of salt.
Age of Conan was originally designed on an Archetypal progression system similar to what EQ2 used to run on.Â You would start as a simple Soldier and at level 20 pick your class.Â If I had to venture a guess I would say that Funcom changed the system for the same reasons SOE did – playing a basic class before the real thing blows!Â Even though the system now lets you pick your class immediately, there are still maaaany signs of the old system lingering about.Â Itemization, classes sharing many skills at low levels, and all classes “feeling” the same until level 10ish are just a few remnants that Funcom needs to polish out of the game.Â Should be easy enough.
The first two classes I want to talk about are the Dark Templar and Ranger.
The DT is in the Soldier Archetype which stereotypes him as a sturdier taunting class meant to tank and take more damage than he is capable of dealing. I’ve played this class quite extensively in the PvP Weekend (DT was my favorite class then) and in the beta (open and closed). The DT fits the stereotype quite well. So far, even with traits spent, I feel like I can take far more damage than I can deal. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.Â There are many situations in the early levels of AoC where you’ll have to fight 3 or more NPCs at once and having a shield to actively block and the HP to sustain a few hits really helps.
I love the “Shadow Knight” nature of this class with its life drains and unholy procs.Â At lower levels the DT is left with much to be desired but still, ever so slowly, begins to transform into something more than just a tank with a sword and shield. From looking ahead at the feats, this class has A LOT of flashy skills and plenty to look forward to as either a damage dealer or tanker/healer — yes, even a very poor paladinesque healer.
In PvP the DT performed about as well as could be expected from a lowbie tank type class in poor gear.Â The only players I was really feeling like I could damage well were the pure casters.Â Â When I focused on those with low hp and cloth armor I felt really useful.Â Additionally in CTF when I carried the flag we always got the cap.Â The Dark Templar is without a doubt a late bloomer… and I truly feel everyone should fear this class at higher levels on the battlefield.Â The DT is definitely my favorite melee class.
A true DPS class. In the PvP Weekend there was an itemization bug that was causing the ranger to deal more damage than it should. When the itemization problem was fixed I felt as though the ranger was having a lot of issues. I’m happy to say that in my opinion Funcom made a few tweaks to this class and now it’s 100% pure ranged dps fun. I leveled a ranger from 1-13 in OB yesterday and took him out for a spin in PvP. What a complete monster! I was obliterating people with ease because of the ranger’s pure raw dps capabilities.
I found myself struggling when going against 3 or more even level or greater mobs but that’s really to be expected.Â At lower levels the class does feel a bit like a one trick pony because of a lack of different abilities.Â Find your target, execute the bleed combo, snare combo, an extra combo if needed, then proceed to shoot it until it dies.Â I rarely get hit on even level or lower mobs. Â The traps were not useful because mobs died too quickly, however I expect that to change later on.Â The ranger, for me, was the easiest class to level.
More specifically in PvP I find the Ranger at lower levels to be very solid.Â People would rarely go for me because I guess they realized it would be tough to kill someone who can snare you and run.Â In CTF I would laugh until my side was sore watching people grab the flag then try to get away.Â Here’s a tip:Â You can’t run from a ranger. ;)Â FUN class, and if the DT doesn’t win me over soon I’ll quickly be switching to ranger full time.
That’s just a quick look at two of my favorite classes so far.Â I have plans to talk about as many classes as possible this coming week.Â If you have any questions about the 1-13 or level 20 play for either of these classes I would be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.