“It’s not an old client… we just screwed up.”

I learned about this from two of my regular morning stops in the Blogosphere. My buddy Bildo (who is with the TTH Conan crew) and Darren (the ever wise common sense gamer) have both written their thoughts on the Age of Conan Open beta client debacle. Bildo, who I doubt would mind being labeled as a fan of the game, is being very optimistic. Darren on the other hand subscribes to a theory similar to my own that this does not bode well for AoC at all. Before I give my own thoughts on the subject I want to quote the mmorpg interview:

MMORPG.com: We have heard that the Fileplanet Beta client is actually an old client and won’t be the one used on release. Can you speak to that?

J. Tharaldsen: I have seen the same rumors that it’s old, but it’s not entirely true. We tried to include the best we had on a stable approach, but in our eagerness to please we wanted to get a few additional fixes out (hence we pushed the launch back a couple of hours). In order to reach the May 1st date some of those fixes led to unwanted side-effects which weren’t discovered in time. For some, it got a bit rockier than we wanted. We are running an extensive survey now, and from the first few hundred replies (which should be statistically correct), it seems that most people are actually having tons of fun AND good performance. We are humble about it though, and admit that things could have gone smoother, but the experience some people have had now has helped us to improve for launch, which is what really matters…

“Additional fixes” at the last minute with not more than a couple hours to test when the client is about to be shown to the masses for the first time? These last minute fixes BROKE your client Funcom, c’mon now. I’ve taken the survey and it’s not extensive. It asks for your ram, processor speed, and gfx card then asks if you’re having fun overall or not. It’s naive to say that the first few hundred replies to that survey out of 50,000+ participants represent any significant statistical accuracy. You know what I’M interested in? The results of that darned DEBUG CODE running in the background all the time! what a picture that would pain, eh?

As for this client debacle itself, I think I was happier thinking they gave an old crappy client to FilePlanet. I could at least chuckle and think to myself “Ohh Funcom, silly you”. Now all I can do is /facepalm. Over the past 3-4 years mmo players have come to expect more from their games and the companies who develop them. Funcom either hasn’t been paying attention or they missed it completely because I would hate to think that they ignored it.

Funcom is now 10 days from the “head start” launch which means in 10 days the people who have paid money to pre-order the game will begin playing. Just one little problem — the NDA is still up. I’m getting nervous looking around for answers to questions that I have. Questions that will determine whether or not I drop money and time on this game. Perhaps that’s the reason why the NDA is still up. Does Funcom want our money before they drop the NDA for fear that people will exit en masse? If you don’t want wild speculations like that Funcom then you know what needs to be done.

I want to share a few quotes from those in the blogosphere whose opinions I have come to trust and respect:

Brent from Virginworlds says, “I have a suspicion that we’re going to have another Vanguard on our hands here… and if it doesn’t launch that badly, then it’ll be a non-event (relative to the hype”

Bildo says, “This is all reason why Open Betas should no longer be held. Instead free-trials a few weeks after launch should be given out. At least then, if it’s a client issue there’s no denying that it’s a live game and then it can be fairly judged. Pre-release clients leaving a bad taste in the players mouths is sad and unfair… but wholly the developer’s fault.”

Having mixed feelings like this sucks. AoC has some really, REALLY, great things going for it. I love the lush and beautiful world of Hyboria, the sounds, the potential for epic guild city sieges, and the intriguing class designs. Drop the NDA Funcom!

  • Once again, this is incredibly misleading. Some people seem to think they can run an MMO company better than anyone else and make comments based on disappointment, ratrher than hard facts.

    I also really object to you using quotes for your own words and passing them off as if they were from Funcom. You non-official source says that the last mjinute fixes, which were added had some unexpected impact. Whether this is true or not this does NOT equate to “screwed up”, because we are in a beta phase and the developers are entitled to try whatever they like to see what happens. They took a calculated risk to do this for the best possible reasons, but it didn’t work on some systems (including mine btw). So what!

    Bitching just because you get poor performance on your PC is no one’s concern but your own. I suggest you wait until FUncom tell you their client is “trouble free” before you tell them they “screwed up”.

  • I have worked in the gaming business and will remind that although the “head start” is near, there are not as many days as you think before the initial phase is over. The boxing, inserts, and CDs have to be processed and shipped several days before release. They just don’t magically appear. That process in itself is massive.
    Sadly what you will have to endure is updating and patching after the initial install, some of which will be planned updating that just couldn’t make the processing deadline, but also included may be (will be) small untested material that Funcom will monitor, although I think they will have their hands full as it is. Buckle your seat belt, it may be a rocky ride into Hyboria.

  • I’ve been playing Open Beta for the past week and only crashed once, which was probably my own fault considering how many programs I had going in the background. Client performance should never be confused with your PC’s ability.

    Age of Conan is beautifully rendered game, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it requires decent hardware. This isn’t to say that Funcom can do things to optimize how the visuals load, which can increase performance, but to say that the client has problems because of that isn’t necessarily accurate.

    Generally, I think most open beta participants are impressed by Age of Conan, both its content and technical stability.

  • first off first time posting have only been following the blog for a few weeks now after seeing some of the PvP beta Vids on youtube but so far I love it, great blog keen and greav.

    The quotes were taken from an offical interview with mmorpg.com linked on the conan community site. There is no denying thier validity.

    As for open beta i have had my share of problems running on what used to be a cutting edge system a year ago. However, I still think i might give it a try. The community aspects remind me of SWG pre sony screwing that game over. The idea of building your own town and running and player created content is just too much to pass up after being pigeon-holed into instances in WoW.

  • I can’t comment on beta performance, but I think it’s ridiculous to have an NDA up until launch. I remember a quote from one of the big developers of WAR saying that “any good game will have dropped their NDA eight weeks before launch” or something to that effect. I seriously want to know why they feel it so necessary to keep the veil of secrecy, especially if it might actually give them better press.

  • Yeah, I think it was Mark Jacobs who said that. He said something similar on the WAR Vault the other day: “I’ve been pretty clear where I stand in regards to the lifting of an NDA for WAR or any other game. I want to lift it as soon as possible and as I’ve said before if you see us waiting till launch to lift the NDA be afraid, be very afraid…”

  • The other thing i dont get is why the artifical level 13 cap in OB? It makes me wonder if we dont have another EQ2 launch on our hand where thier opening zone is prety fun, but then when you get to “meat” of the game there isnt much there.

  • That’s why I sound like a broken record when I say “I can’t decide if I want to get the game or not”. With the NDA up and such a restrictive OB how are we supposed to know if Tortage is what the rest of the game is like or if the game changes once you leave this “starting island”?

  • I guess we’ll have to wait until the 10th when they bump all the lvl 13 characters to 20. Hopefully then we’ll be able to experience the world for what it really is:

    On the 10th of May we are transforming the entire Open Beta into PvP MAYHEM, while at the same time giving you access to all which Hyboria has to offer! That is right, as we take down our servers for a short period we are at the same time changing the entire server rule-set to Free For All PvP carnage! Your servers will ALL become PvP! Participate if you dare, or make a new character and stay in the safety of Tortage!

    # All servers become PvP servers. You can kill each other – no level restrictions on killing or getting killed, but you cannot PvP in the major cities.
    # All level 13 characters becomes level 20. Their inventory is wiped, but they have “tons” of money and really nice equipment suitable for level 20’s. Shopping bonanza!
    # You have access to ALL zones and ALL levels after level 20!
    # You will be zoned to your Race’s Hub. (Cimmerians – Conarch Village, Aquillonians – Old Tarantia and Stygians – Khemi!

    This means bye bye Tortage! Welcome Hyboria at large.

    That should shed some light on much of the game for me.

  • one thing that people must not forget to consider when speaking of system specs is the resolution at which you run the game.

    Its a MAJOR factor in performance. I would get acceptable framerate in vanguard running 1024×768 resolution in vanguard medium to high settings and i could even run it on highest settings if i wasnt in a city. Thats with a 7600GT, 2 gigs of ram and a athlon x2 3800+. I havent played the game yet but i expect to get playable performances on low settings and low resolution and im confident it will run better than vanguard.

    What i wanna point out with resolution tho, is that, if i continue with my vanguard example, if i turn up the resolution to 1280×1024 or 1600×1200, the came becomes completely unplayable and i cant even move. Another example would be guildwars, where i get 40-82 FPS on highest settings and 1600×1200 and i get between 140 and 220 on 1024×768, i havent even started to tweak graphics settings.

    The reason why im saying this is how i was listening to a part of the podcast where graev was saying he was getting shitty fps on his notebook that has a geforce 7900 in it but was running at 1550×900 resolution or something ridiculous like that.

  • @Pako: Graev is having issues even at 1024×768 (Which makes the game look like Pacman… I don’t understand how anyone can play on that low a res). He gets 15 frames with every possible setting out there turned to the lowest. Yet get this.. in vanguard he was having zero issues running at 1680×1050 with settings practically maxed. *shrug*

    I play on 1440×900 with my 7950gt and the game itself doesn’t have many issues. Once I disabled dual core processors and turned shaders down to 2.0 I stopped crashing as often and the game is playable with only minor stalling/hitching. These were all tips and issues from Funcom themselves.

  • @Keen

    The graphic card Graev got doesn’t meet the recommended requirements at all.. Didn’t he got a 7950GS Go? That’s a piece of shit, the performance is like a 7600GT desktop card.
    Also the CPU of his system doesn’t meet the recommended requirements, his mobile processor isn’t that good performing either, so he can’t really expect anything else..

    Actually your card doesn’t meet the recommended requirements either, the recommended is 7950GX2+, and GX2 is a bit better than 7950GT.

    Also dual core is disabled in the Open BETA client, that wont be the case at release. And with the debugger the client reach almost 2GB memory usage, without the debugger we can expect it to be reduced with about 10-20%!

  • Graev more than meets the minimum reqs though and the game isn’t playable. He’s not expecting it to run high settings or smooth. But when it can’t even run on the lowest possible settings that are supposed to scale the game down to WoW’s level… there’s something wrong.

    I run the game fine… when it runs. My stability issues are on Funcom’s end and they have confirmed that with their list of known issues. Enough of the talk about it being on our end. 😉

  • I guess where I stand is, I think I’m ok with some of these issues now. Because really what is the alternative? Them spending more time polishing the game? So let’s say in order to really polish the game takes 2 more months. Is that really worth it? I think I would rather have the game now knowing that I will run into issues. By them releasing the bugged client they knew they would collect faster data then waiting another few days/weeks. So some of us have suffered (me: BSOD) and others have not (my brother: runs perfect). But being a gamer, I want to play it now, even if there are some issues.

    I’m not a fan boy, as a matter of fact I have failed to get the OB to run, hell it only BSOD. And now my PC loops BSOD on boot up. But that’s part of it (and actually maybe partly my fault, I didn’t have all drivers updated before install). I’ll wipe out my drive and try it again. Was I upset? Sure. But I currently write applications for 3 browsers much less 5 bazzilion hardware/driver combinations. The longer I spend on code the more rock solid it will be, and I think that’s the same here. Again I’m not a fan boy, just realistic. I’m willing to sacrifice some problems to have it sooner.

    By the way, really enjoy ya’lls site. Excellent job.

  • Something not mentioned yet is the servers. Do you guys think those will hold up the first weeks ?

    I remember starting playing burning crusade as it came out and first week or two was hell on earth with the server going up and down like 100 times 🙁

  • Server issues might be inevitable. Most mmo launches see some server issues in one form or another whether it be patching, chat, loot, or other servers having issues. I doubt we’ll see any major downtime or massive latency though. The game is moving too far into the “niche” category with plenty of healthy competition for it to be too bad.

  • @ keen
    If this game may start out in a niche catagory, but as people upgrade comps i could easily see if pick up steam as time goes by and the recomended specs arent so expensive. (That is if the gameplay pans out). Could end up like a more newbie friendly EVE.

  • Im still up in the air about WAR. Partly the “fantasy” graphics. (i think 3 years of WoW may have killed that for me) Also I am a big fan of open ended content or content that the users create ie: player cities, guild fueds/wars, etc. . Seems to me in that AoC has more of that than WAR, but as everyone is saying AoC is basicaly a crapshoot as this point. So im keeping my fingers crossed.

  • I did read somewhere that AoC will launch with the most preordered games ever for a mmo. Even more than wow had.

  • As it should. This is the first “next gen” mmorpg to be released in a market that has grown astronomically since WoW.

  • I really hope it does well. I think Blizzard could do well with some real competition. They seem to think they can do whatever they want since they got such a large market share at the moment.

    I hope AoC and War will really shake things up for them 😉

  • @howdy Doody

    Yep, that’s what I’ve been saying since the OB started. AoC will be a success to start for the wrong reasons. Not because it had a good launch or because its a great game. But at this point it will be out of circumstance of being the only MMO worth playing since WoW.

    I can’t believe this crap, so basically the lack of dual-core support, dx10 and overall proper video card support is all going to release? The one thing I was hoping for was a faster client that actually worked when I turned on the graphics. So much for it being a “beautiful” game when I have to crank down all the settings just so it won’t asplode in my face.

  • @Verus: I believe WoW will lose the majority of their PvP crowd to both games. The PvE crowd will stick with WoW because that’s what WoW does best. Many have been put off by Blizzard’s focus on e-sports and “The Goblin in the Tuxedo” approach to the future of their pvp.

    Between AoC and WAR i think WAR will take the most from WoW and even some from AoC itself because it appeals to a wider audience.

    @kmxs: Those issues are what I have been complaining about all along. 😉

    @Dranis: Link? I can’t find any indication of the NDA being dropped.

  • The NDA is still in on the ClosedBeta servers. New patch tonight for those btw.

    No dual core support, dx10 etc will be in release client. Not heard anything else about that.

  • I sincerely doubt the release client has dual-core support in light of this interview. We are playing on what is going to be the release client. Minus any patches that hit before now and the 17th. I think the interview made that fairly obvious.

  • Sorry for being blunt about it, Keen, I just hadn’t gathered my other thoughts yet, and mispellings from a writer of your caliber irks me.

    I think if I had to choose between AoC and WAR, I would choose AoC. Strictly because Mark Jacobs used to be a lawyer and I don’t believe a word he says. Also I’ve heard some pretty slimy things about him.

    Yeah, I know that has nothing to do with game play, but it’s still important to me on some level. So far I am very much enjoying AoC and can’t wait for more!

    I think I must be growing out of MMO’s, though, after thirteen years of playing them. They all seem pretty much the same after awhile, so if AoC can keep it interesting, and I think it will because of the intricacies of combat, that’s where I’ll be. Although DAoC RvR was still interesting when I left, and WAR is pretty much DAoC2, so… oh, here we go again… *sigh*

  • Why wouldn’t the release client have dual core support?
    The Closed BETA has had dual core support for several months now, why dual core doesn’t seem to work with the Open BETA I don’t know, but the release client would most likely work with dual core, as I’ve got dual core working with all the latest closed BETA clients.

    The game is even going to support quad core sometime after release, isn’t it?

    When it comes to DirectX10 and spellweaving, Funcom actually said that those things would be excluded from the Open BETA so all the Open BETA players would have something new in the finale client, DirectX10 has been ready since Age of Conan did go Gold, so there is not much doubt about that going to be in at release, as well with spellweaving and siege warfare.

    The Open client does not support SLi / Crossfire either, but that will also be in the release client.

    A reason for why Funcom excluded a couple of these things was to make the downloadable client smaller, as 15GB download is more than enough, it would be even worse if they was supposed to add all the 64bit bins, DirectX10 stuff etc.. That would make the client 20GB+

    But all that (64bit bins, DirectX10 etc) will be in the release client (not the downloadable early access client, but the client you get in your standard / collectors edition box)

  • Ya know a lot of this reminds me of SoCom (Supreme Commander). I didn’t get in the beta, but even with the games release there were a TON of issues keeping players from playing, especially surrounding the players near the bottom of recommended specs.

    Then quietly over time the more people read about how much one extra gig of ram or even more important, the dual core processor increased the game people slowly upgraded.

    That may happen here as well. I have no problem with companies pushing the bleeding edge a bit as long as they do fix it. Maybe that’s just the “SLI owner” in me. I’m just used to having to wait some time for SLI to be supported.

    Thanks Andre on the note about the OB not supporting SLI. If you have a link to that I would really appreicate it. That may be part of my problem…again! ahahahah.

  • Also… to the guys above that have said about the WoW burnout…. I may have some of that in me as well. The thought of grinding ANYTHING honestly gives me the chills!

  • @Thomas Why would they remove dual-core support from OB? I’ve tested this myself and having 1 or 2 cores active makes no difference in game.

    This is on the same level of questioning as “why would they release an old client to test on” When in the end the truth is that they didn’t release an old client.

    What you see is what you get here, and its been the same arguments for years of MMO’s, and it always turns out the same.

    I’ll defend the game mechanics and what not, and the practical realistic things about the game that are worthy of it, and I have, ask Keen. But as far as a performance thing the client is a buggy piece of shit.

    intel e8400 core 2 duo 3.0ghz with 1333 fsb.
    bfg 8800gt
    4 gigs of fast mushkin memory
    XP w/SP3 and latest DX Drivers
    All of my hardware drivers are up to date.
    Windows install is 2 weeks old.

    What about my system is so obscure that it shouldn’t work like a wet dream. But it doesn’t. I crash on game load, crash on zoning, BSOD in gameplay for no reason. My bump-mapping turns off on low, medium and high settings as well as texture quality just dropping off for no real reason. I’ve turned the graphics on low and disabled bloom. I’ve changed the affinity and priority of my processor.

    If its just a miniority having these issues. Why out of 17 of my friends who are coming over from my WoW guild having the same issues. 2 of them are not having the crash issues but 15 are.

    I love the gameplay, its been a lot of fun when it works. The performance and stability crap in the game is a complete wash though. I’ve been playing MMO’s for 11 years, held a job as a computer technican and web programer. I’ve been in multiple closed and open betas over the years specifically in the genre of MMORPG. If there is a type of guy out there that knows how to research and solve issues dealing with performance and stability then I imagine I fit very well into that category.

    Anyway, aside from all of that. When I posted how Lionex had posted it was an old client and then the MMORPG interview said it wasn’t. The moderators locked my topic. I then remade a post with the only content being a quote of the MMORPG interview that Keen put up, that immediately became locked as well. They said stuff like, oh Lionex is a moderator he doesn’t work for funcom. Well pardon me for thinking a moderator on the official ageofconan forums speaks for the company.

    What a fuckin gongshow.

  • Kmxs, you’re starting to sound like me! Welcome to the dark side my brother. 😈 Now about that button mashing… I kid, I kid.

  • haha, I’ve actually been complaining about the performance stuff non-stop on the aoc forums. Just you keep me so busy with the game mechanics arguments here =) Our debates are much more interesting though, as its not ending with “oh snap we can’t play the game”.

    The sad part is I re-looked into War to try and give myself some hope and the latest video-of-the-month was kind of disappointing. The graphics looked barely better then WoW and the gameplay looks kind of slow paced.

    I didn’t think much of WoW before it was released and really liked it in the OB though so who knows. On a game mechanic front I am still not convinced that PVP centric game can deliver an endgame that doesn’t get boring an repetitive. That was the only problem with DaoC I had and it seems like the direct correlation of that issue isn’t being answered clearly by Mythic on what will make things different in War.

  • WAR’s 6 man content, city sieges, RvR progression, taking/holding/sieging keeps, Public quests, and Tome of Knowledge alone are enough to give me hope that the game hsa tons of end-game content and longevity.

    Check out the most recent screenshots of WAR and most specifically this one. To me the graphics are worlds apart. They share the “stylized fantasy” graphics but they’re pretty different. Also keep in mind the art direction is similar because Blizzard took the concepts from Games Workshop. 😉

  • yeah ill be playing AoC becuase its not WoW myself.

    i hope its a great game cuase the environment looks awesome, but im definatly not going to get my hopes up after the client confusion and NDA issue.

    ill atleast play until WAR releases no matter what though.

  • Yah but Keen there are a lot of SC’s in that batch that look flat out awful =) I do like that one tho.

    Why is my last post awaiting moderation?

  • Those graphics look just like Catacombs. Not bad, but not great, either. Gameplay will have to make up for it. I am also not too thrilled with the lack of avatar customization. Catacombs gave us, what, 3 hairstyles per race? It also smacks too much of “at level X I need to be wearing Tier X” stuff, with choice of clothing for roleplay reasons going out the window. DAoC and WoW’s bastard child. Color me still largely unimpressed.

  • @Cedia: I haven’t heard much about the sets or tier armor. It seems that info on that changes with whatever way the wind blows. I know there are specific sets of armor for RvR and city sieges and such. Personally that never bothers me. As long as there are plenty of choices and not just ONE set, I’m good.

    @kmxs: I’ll check. You probably included more than 1 link so it flagged it as possible spam.

  • NDA until launch tells me they are worried about people telling the “truth” about the game and quite possibly costing them some pre-order money. I can’t think of any other reason too keep it.

    @scytale2 Wow! Troll much? Why not keep the fanboy comments on the AOC forums? The fact that the game isn’t running well on his PC is NOT just his problem. Lots of people can’t buy a new high-end system every three months. Do I need to explain why Funcom would want the game to run on as many PCs as possible?

    These past few months have just left me a bit skeptical about AoC on the whole. I’ve yet to read anything from anybody that has made me even want to try the beta, much less buy the game.

  • well all the chaos is slightly entertaining but my plan is set. Vacation begins the 20th, CE is flying in next day air on the 21st, I’ve contacted the local grocer to make sure they will have 10cases of Monster/Nut Up & 13 Large boxes of fruit loops waiting for me on the 20th,they better not screw that up. If Comcast doesnt fail me Vacation will be a happy time indeed 🙂

    hmm may have to get a direct phone line to Domino’s for the two weeks, but I havent commited to anything just yet =P

  • I have the same problems with the NDA
    But as i understood, the NDA for the press has fallen?
    Does anyone know a good preview for AOC on an Online Magazin?

  • Well Mark Jacobs has said a lot of things, some of them contradictory. I don’t want to pick on the man, I don’t think he’s a bad person and he’s got the pedigree (Kesmai alumni, hello). It’s probably just because he’s enthusiastic about his craft, but he’s trash talked his competitors before. This is pretty mild compared to what he threw out at Richard Garriott.

    The NDA is the NDA, it’s just a tool to keep a lid on things so publishers can capitalize on release. Not much different than the level cap, it’s main purpose is to not spoil all of the content ahead of time. Some companies like the marbles all out of the bag prior to launch day, some like to keep it tight.

    Conspiracy theories aren’t needed, it’s just how the games industry works. I see little correlation between an NDA and success (or lack of). MMOs are under a bigger microscope right now, so it might not be the greatest PR plan, but wild accusations are just silly.

    WAR will delay and delay until they get it right, then they’ll hold a big PR-heavy advert open beta. That strategy makes sense for them, they are gunning for WoW and they’ve got the best chance of doing it.

    AoC on the other hand, regardless of the recent PR, has been aiming for niche. It just turns out that they’ve got some features that are gaining more mass-market than anyone expected, so why shouldn’t they aim a bit higher? But for the position that they’re in, they’re better off to release sooner, any more delays will hurt far them more than bugs or lack-of-polish. They’ve got the perfect window to step up and show how their game differs and is unique.

    As a gamer, either one requires patience. I’m going to speak with my dollars and support innovation either way, we DO need more MMOs that aren’t chicken to butt heads with WoW, period.

  • Dont know about you guyz but i strongly believe that funcom made that “shot on the toe”.Instead of ppl talking about gameplay and content of the game ppl arguing about what client is the OB, if dual core is disabled if dx 10 is working etc.I really wanna be open minded here (i canceled my preorder 3 days ago) and give this game a chance but day after day i lose hope 🙁

  • BTW, before anyone accuses me of having an axe to grind with Mark Jacobs, nothing could be further from the truth.

    My first online (as in, massive, not just BBS) gaming experience was with the Kesmai games, I spent many hours (and money, you paid by the hour!) with Air Warrior and the MUDs on GEnie. I worshipped those guys, but then I also worshipped Peter Molyneux and I recognize when he puts his foot in his mouth too.

  • Funcom is known for never drop the NDA of a BETA, not even when the release has come.

    Anyway, I have to admit that the entire Open BETA thing was a stupid move by Funcom, and I have never understood why they even held one?

    There has never been so many players trying to get into a Closed BETA in the history for any game at all, so there is no reason for Funcom to not just have a closed beta, and no open beta.

    The Closed BETA has been progressing very good the past year, and I don’t understand the meaning of the Open BETA?

    It’s not there because Funcom need content to be tested, as the first 13 levels have been properly tested in the Closed BETA as it is. If there is some content needing to be tested, then it is Siege Warfare, Spellweaving and a bit of end-game stuff, at least not the starting area which is the best tested area of them all.

    I think the entire Open BETA is a huge and long stress test, the only reason for Funcom to held it is because of some deal with IGN and to see how their instancing and servers need to be at release. I guess all they gather from the Open BETA is statistics on how the servers are running and reacting to the overload of players. It has nothing to do with the gameplay, content or anything, it’s all about stressing the servers, gathering information to be best prepared for the release. So the will not have the huge release failure as many other mmo’s, such as World of Warcraft where nothing was playable at all, huge queues which made you wait for hours to get onto the servers etc..

    But honestly Funcom should have been more informative about what the Open BETA is all about, they should have told players that the point of Open BETA was to collect server information and statistics and not for the players to have a great time for free.

    That’s the only logical explanation I can come up with, they made a new Open BETA for server testing to not intervene with the Closed BETA testers who are busy testing out new content and clients.

    The entire Open BEAT should have been called “The Massive Age of Conan Stress Test” and they should have made you accept an EULA telling you something like “This is a technical stress test of our servers, you can’t really expect any decent performance, nor expecting a playable game as we are overloading our servers and the starting areas with 5x times the amount of players that the servers are supposed to handle at once”

    But of course, then again there are lots of people forgetting the fact that this is a BETA. The Open BETA is for sure a stress test, and lots of people seems to forget that. You can never expect or demand anything from a BETA, you can’t really use it as a preview of the final game either. It’s a massive stress test, the servers are overloaded with people in the starting zones, you can’t really expect much.

    It’s like the release of World of Warcraft, do any of you actually remember that? I remember myself sit and waiting for about 1.5hours to just get into the game, as there was a queue with over 1k people on my server. And when I’ve got in, the game was laggy as hell. The servers were completely crushed, I’ve got a system which should run the game maxed out with ease, still it was barley playable the first weeks, and with these insane queues with over 1k people.

    Did that hurt World of Warcraft in anyway? I can’t really say that it did. Even a few months after that horrible US release, they haven’t learned anything and the European release had to go through the same as the US release.

    For me the Open BETA is quite okay, not many gameplay bugs, the gameplay itself feels awesome, wonderful graphics etc.. The only issue I see is the memory leak problem, which should be fixed. The bad performance is something I expected as the starting areas are completely overloaded with people. I didn’t abandon WoW because of their shitty performance at release, and I’m of course not leaving Age of Conan because an overloaded BETA got shitty performance, that would just be plain stupid.

    I remember when I first got into the Lord of the Rings Online stress test, it took me about 11hours to be able to login! 11 freaking hours! And what happened after getting in? 5mins and BOOM! Client crash!

    This is how the stress test normally works, Lord of the Rings Online which got very good reviews and claims to be one of the most stable MMO-releases to date wasn’t perfect either. I remember the first weeks with Lord of the Rings Online, my kingship (guild) was having a contest, we were supposed to run from weathertop to old maggot’s farm, where we had teams and a item which we used as a exchange stick.

    Lots of fun, no doubt about that. But I remember that every one of us that tried to run through the City of Bree got a client crash because of the memory leak with the Lotro client. That leak was even in after release, but no one seem to have complained much about that?

    No one seem to complain about the horrible performance and the longs queues WoW had at release? But everyone seem to complain about a game in a Open Stress test, where is the logic in that?

  • My perspective on the Open Beta is that Funcom got stuck with their promise to have one, which probably led to the IGN deal, etc..

    They have consistently tried to treat it as a stress test. I’d bet that’s entirely what they consider it internally.

    I’d also bet they are hella determined not avoid the same launch troubles with servers as they notoriously did with Anarchy Online. They’re busy with their noses to the grindstone and they aren’t dealing much in niceties to explain or excuse the problems. Like above, I think any attempts to diffuse the situation will just backfire.

    And if they did admit deeply to mistakes, then it comes across as failure before the launch even comes, regardless of the actual game.

    Meanwhile the public is treating it like a promotional beta, as if it were an advertisement for the completed game.

    It’s a PR mess, for sure in this day and age of blog-driven news where sparks like these can catch fire. I think Funcom would do it differently if they could, but the only thing they can do right now is pull it out of the fire.

  • A small note on the system requirements.
    They sound like this:


    OS: Windows Vista/XP
    Processor: 3GHz Pentium IV
    RAM: 1GB RAM
    Video Card: Shader Model 2.0 and 128MB RAM: NVIDIA GeForce 5800 or ATI 9800


    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz (E6600) or better
    Vdeo Card: NVIDIA GeForce 7950GX2 or better
    RAM: 2GB or more

    Enhanced for: DirectX 10, 64-bit processors, multi-core
    Supports Parental Controls on Windows Vista

    People do seem to think that meeting the minimum requirements is the same as being able to somewhat play the game on the lowest settings.

    Well, then your wrong. The minimum system requirements of a game reflects what you need to actually be able to fire up the client at all. It doesn’t mean you will have any playable performance, on even the lowest possible settings.

    I can’t really remember any game, where I have been able to have a playable frame rate, even on the lowest settings if I’m not somewhat meeting the recommended requirements.

    I remember the release of Battle for Middle Earth 2, and I bought it for my old computer, which was slightly behind the recommended requirements. And my performance was just something around 30fps on lower settings.

    So if you meet the minimum requirements doesn’t mean you are able to get any decent performance even on the lowest settings. It’s like running Windows XP on 128MB RAM, it’s supposed to work, but it really doesn’t. With SP2 Microsoft even claims XP to run on 233MHz CPU and 64mb RAM, good luck with that! If I’m not mistaken the recommended requirements of XP SP2 is 256MB+, but even with 256MB RAM XP isn’t performing far from what I would call decent. You need at least 512MB RAM for XP to perform decent, even though the recommended requirements claims that 256MB will do the trick, same with Vista.. 1GiB RAM is simply not enough to have decent performance, here Vista is using 1.4GB RAM, so how could possibly 1GiB be recommended?

    People are really overrating the system requirements. The minimum requirements reflects what you NEED to have to be able to fire up the game in the first place, it doesn’t mean you get a playable frame rate on any settings.

    The recommended requirements normally reflects what you need to have to get decent performance on medium settings. And for Age of Conan that’s about the case, if ignore the memory leak most players with meets the recommended requirements actually got a decent performance on medium settings. Keen also seem to got it, even when he doesn’t even entirely meets the recommended settings, so what are you complaining about?

    Graev on the other hand got some issues, but he couldn’t really be expect anything else. He is far from meeting the recommended requirements. His processor isn’t really up for the job, mobile CPU performs much worse than the desktop once, and Grave’s CPU isn’t really really a good mobile CPU either. And his graphic card is a 7950GS Go? Doesn’t that perform like a 7600GT desktop card? Did you really expect that to do the job? With such hardware, you are far from meeting the recommended requirements, then all you can hope for is a playable frame rate on the lower settings, you can’t really expect anything else than that.

    Also the BETA got the debug client running, which use up like 10-20% more RAM and some CPU resources and the final client will do. It’s also claimed that the dual-core support is disabled in the Open BETA client (which of course will not be the case at release) and the SLi support isn’t in the Open BETA either.

    It’s because of things like when Keen and Graev complain about Graev not getting a decent performance on the podcast Funcom isn’t dropping the NDA. It’s just stupid when people think the know so much, and are complaining about Keen having so much better performance when you apparently don’t know a thing about computer hardware, as Greav’s system is far from being as powerful as Keen’s system.

  • I think people have beat that one to death Thomas. Okay, Graev’s system isn’t as powerful as mine. -BUT- It can’t even run the game. That’s not acceptable. He literally can’t even move his character on the lowest settings possible (1024×768, everything on off or low). That’s not “right”. That’s not “overrating” anything. His system is well beyond the minimum reqs yet he literally can’t get past level 6 because his comp blows up when he gets near Tortage. That’s a problem. Don’t you agree?

    The answer to Graev’s problem is quite easy to diagnose. Age of Conan is not optimized for all hardware yet. 9 days from release and the game can’t run on a system that can run CoD4 max settings, Vanguard max settings, and nearly every other game out there without a single issue save for Crysis and others of it’s ilk. They lose a future customer because of it and I wonder how many more will be lost because of their decision to indirectly push out an enormous potential playerbase. It’s sad really. No matter how good your gameplay is if your game can’t run on average/above average systems it’s in trouble.

  • “Update notes for May 7th (46927)

    The version we have just patched out is mostly focused on improving performance and stability of the game. There should be a very noticeable reduction in client stalls, crashes, and memory leaks! You may also notice the improved light model and texture quality! Underwater Fog is now in so all of your underwater adventures will be even more realistic! Last, but not least, we have spent a great deal of effort on polishing the shader cache system. This, along with all the other fixes, should provide you with the smoothest AoC experience yet!”

    Just tried the latest patch and getting 10+ more fps and it does not slow down when I turn anymore (I´m sure those in open beta had this happen as you tried to move camera around). It is looking good 🙂

    So no more doom and gloom ending with “/can´t wait for war”

  • memory usage is also down about 200-300Mb for me and debugger is still running so should be even better on release.

    might even run on that old pos laptop you guys have 🙂

  • Gotta love when something you bought a year ago is considered “old”. *rolls eyes* I’ll try the game this morning on my pc and see if I can finally turn shaders back to 3.0 and enable dual cores.

    Oh, and I can’t believe they patched CB but not OB…

  • Heh Keen, well that’s just timing, the sweet spot for buying PCs, especially laptops, only comes around every couple of years or so.

    Take the old milestone GPUs for instance, I could name all of the significant ones from the first 3dfx Voodoo (or even if you wanted to count the Matrox Millenium) all the way up to today’s sweet spot with the 8800 GT/S (G92). It’d actually be a pretty short list, there are more lemons than gems along the way.

    ‘Course that’s all unnecessary to point out, because I agree, I think your laptop should be more than fine, albeit I’d never use any laptop as my primary gaming machine. They don’t exactly tend to be optimized machines for performance, it’s a huge gap.

    I’m curious, have you played Assassin’s Creed on your machine? It’s both a CPU & GPU pushing game and IMO will put your PC through harsher paces than Crysis (which pushes the GPU more but the CPU not so much), it’d be a nice frame of reference. I get a solid 60fps in Assassin’s Creed on my e8400 + 8800 GT desktop running 1280×1024 at max settings.

    When/if Funcom properly enables dual cores and remove all the debugging from both the client and server, then we’ll see how it performs.

  • Graev is on the laptop (which was built for gaming), I’m on the desktop (also built for gaming). Both built little over a year ago and can run everything perfectly fine (aside from Crysis, duh) with no problems and great performance.

    The only game that we truly have trouble with is AoC and it’s only the AoC fans that have said “your comp is old!”. Go figure. 😉

  • My spec:
    Win Xp Sp2
    AMD Dual Core 2.4GHz
    Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB
    4GB RAM
    and i cant even play properly at lower settings!!! i mean wtf!!

  • I don’t remember ever complaining or blaming FUNCOM for not being able to run the game. I know the specs on my computer aren’t that great,something I tried to relay to my brother many times, and while I’m disappointed that I can’t run the game I don’t think I ever tried to shove the blame on anyone/anything else.

  • I strongly believe that Funcom will do theit best and those problems will solve soon or later.The thing is that no metter what my system will never be enough to enjoy this game!So my question is:Should i spend some money to upgrade my pc or should i wait the other 2 mmos (war,aion) that i m waiting for?Should i invest money/time/hope to funcom ? :/

  • @kmxs: Yes, and it broke way more than it fixed. (it actually made me go play my OB client…)

    @Marduar: At this point I highly suggest you avoid upgrading simply to play AoC. Your comp is perfectly fine for WAR and probably AION. Upgrading for one game is silly… upgrading for one very unoptimized game is ludicrous.

  • I personally am no good at all this spec/stat/cpu/stuff. I just last month purchased a desktop souly for the purpose of entering Aoc and decapitating mine enemy… but with all this have become quite paranoid over the question “Is my pc old already”??? I just went with what the kid at the store told me he would give his arms and legs for :/

    Windows Vista
    Amd Phenom 9600 2.3GHz 2MB L3 cache
    3GB DDR2 dual Channel
    GeForce 8800gt 512obm
    500GB hard drive

    ^^^ is this going to be old and sub par for release time? I have no clue.

  • I agree with most things that were said in the Podcast and like many I will not purchase this game.This pseudo NDA is like a bad joke and like you said how can they have open beta and closed beta at the same time.Everyday i saw how my friends are so pissed with the issues they are having.May be I will look at the game in 2 months assuming that there won`t be a massive exodus by then.

  • i laughed when i first saw this on another site
    through it didn’t really phase me at all….
    i will probably still get the game lol but thanks for teh info keen and graev this blog is great specially the vids thanks

  • i hate to say it but most of the complaints come down to crashes which will be fixed or the fact that most of u arnt running a good computer. if you where a serious gamer you would of done the big upgrade as soon as vista came out month ago, how can u still run 2gig of ram and expect anything new to run. i am running a 8800 gts duel 3gig processes and 4gig of ram and i belive that my computer still isnt realy a good gaming machine but at least i can be confident that i can run crisis and i can run AoC.

  • Wait wait wait… “if you where a serious gamer you would of done the big upgrade as soon as vista came out month ago”

    Are you for real?

  • @Has a good computer

    4 gigs ram
    intel e8400
    BFG 8800gt 512

    I have just as many problems as everyone else with the game crashing and BSODing. It runs high FPS at high res with max graphics when its not blowing up in my face.

    You can take your pretension and stick in your ignorant ass.

  • use beta drivers = prosper. Any1 comparing it to Vangaurd has downs syndrome.

  • In some ways that makes me happy kmxs. Hopefully it’s just shitty code/client that will be fixed in the near future (preferably release). I have the same laptop as Graev and I really don’t want to have to upgrade my comp yet.

  • anyone else getting stuck at “downloading patch information” when they try and login to the open beta? patcher says it wont be update till 20.00 GMT, its 13.09 right now.

  • @lutra Yah as I was saying earlier that Graev’s laptop gpu can’t really be compared to Keens. At the same time there is no reason that system shouldn’t run the game at low settings at playable values. Time will tell.

  • Can’t wait for release. It will be interesting to see if funcom actually does magically implement DX10 and dual core support in the client overnight, since CB has neither of them.

    As for reasons for the NDA, rumors are that atleast some of the 30+ content is still lacking both mobs and itemization.

  • so, others are able to log on im guessing, any ideas how to fix the problem im having?

  • good im not the only one, was gonna log in to get my bear shaman to 13 so he can turn 20 tommorow, but the client is down so looks like ill be playing my tos

  • Hey Keen and Graev, love this blog, I got more info on AoC here than anywhere else. I have been digging hard on AoC for a few weeks now that I am getting excited about release. I avoided Open Beta, cause, well it as as mentioned already, a stress test, and only that. Everyone needs to relax. Yes, on release there will be some issues, mostly server issues. In a previous gig I worked for Sony for a few years on their network. for EQ and Star Wars. This is nothing more than a server stress test. The closed beta guys have done their job, it is ready. The servers and network piece on the other hand are always the last thing to get fixed. That is what they are frantically working on now for the last few weeks and well after release. Expect game delays, wait times and server crashes. But the game is ready. Open Beta client is NOT the client that is traveling in a nice card board box made in China to a store near you. Trust me, the NDA is closed not for fear of bad reviews, but for the element of suprise!

  • I can log on now, new update.

    ALL charecters level 2 and above on every account will be leveled to 20, with access all the way upto 80, and be given adequete level 20 gear (Im guessing good greens maybe blues)