Keen and Graev’s AoC Podcast Episode #1

We’re psyched to have our first Age of Conan Podcast up! We’ve been spending a lot of time the past few days playing the early head start and if not for the servers being down today for five hours we probably would have come up with an excuse to delay the podcast even longer. (Too subtle?) In other words, We like the game!

We tackle several topics in our first episode:

  • Tortage (We close the door on this topic finally!)
  • What classes did we choose?
  • Aquilonia’s Main City: Old Tarantia
  • The Wilds and Tesso: Aquilonia’s first questing region
  • The Maze Dungeon of The Wilds
  • Quests in general and our thoughts on them.
  • Listener Mail – We take your questions and comments and dive in head first here on our show.

We hope you enjoy! As we said in the podcast if you have any comments, questions, or want to submit Listener Mail feel free to email us or leave a comment here.

As always the podcast is available for your listening pleasure right here on our website at the top of our main menu. (and hopefully iTunes has it up… *shakes fist*)

Here are some screenshots from The Wilds, The Maze, and Tesso. They’re not “high res” or anything but they give you a good idea of what the game looks like at 1680×1050 on just below medium settings. When we get our comps upgraded in about a week we’ll post some much better shots.

  • Great job guys!! going to have a listen now, looking forward to your views, keep up the good work!

  • im done listening, and so for I am really happy with this…I haven’t heard anything to make me not want to play…only make me want to! and most things u guys didnt like…u said wasnt a big deal (ie: rader issues, some weird quests, a few quests u had to travel back and forth for). I am happy you guys love the city in the game! that sounds awesome! Overall, this game sounds great! I can’t wait to install it on the 20th…I have it sitting next to me.

    just want to add some comments:

    [2] @ Keen about not liking the intro quest thing and about how you rather just stay in your zone and than head off to mainland, without visiting the other zones in the starting area. You and Graev did seem to eventually conclude the questing was quite good. I for one like

    BTW: i think some of the things u don’t like about combat – that u call “hard” or “having an issue getting used to” – I and some would actually like….the harder somethings are (which u have to practice for) make the game more challenging and better for me. Its different…and takes getting used to…thats fine with me.

  • hope they fix that timer issue..that is the only thing out of the whole blog that i really feels need to be fixed asap.

  • One thing that wasn’t mentioned (or I didn’t hear it) is that the single player quest is seperated by class. (Slight Spoilerage) In the priest example you’ll be getting the cure for a poisoned child, the rogue one you’ll be spying on people, and the warrior one you’ll be attacking what the rogue was spying on. If you play each of the three general classes you get a better view of all the things that went into the storyline all together. It’s a nice touch, and adds some replayability rather then just going “oh geez, the tutorial zone again” that most games cough up.

    Noticed that Age of Conan wasn’t always Age of Conan, prior to 2002 it was actually “World of Midgard” and the idea was a story/world about Vikings and the Norse, and to live in those times. While I don’t mind the change, I think Vikings would have been more novel. Still it’s a hope for the first expansion pack to be the northern kingdoms.

  • wow keen near the ending of the blog…about the spider quest…i swear it sounded like u really loved the game…lol =)

    this is good news for me. i spent $700 on upgrades on my pc…for this game…(my pc is 4 years old) …so i needed it also. i feel it wasnt a waste now.

  • Where are those high quality screenshots (especially of that spider maze)?!

    Nice podcast. πŸ™‚ In your travels so far, have you found some neat little hidden areas (or rather, I guess unexpected areas in a zone)? How is the detailing of the game world?

    Also, how immersive is the game world – I mean do you really feel like you’re embarking on some epic quest or is it more along the lines of WoW (my personal bias, but most of the quests there don’t make you feel quite as involved)?

  • Did anyone read the new post on the Aoc official site about “Collectors Edition sold out”? where it “regrets to inform the gamers” that all the Cd’s being shipped are NOT with DirectX10 but with DirextX9? Two days before launch the “regret to inform gamers”? Wasnt this a big selling point of this game? and when they do release it sometime in August or later are they going to expect everyone to go out and buy a second copy or what? I smell a rat.

  • Let me say this about the experience I’ve had on Cimmeria (RP-PVP) Server. I dont disagree with what you’ve said often but the people trying to migrate off PvP servers is slightly far fetched where im sure some people left but some also joined. Ganking is more rapid in White Sands than any other place i’ve been In the Wild Lands if you see a mob of people running around… go invis and avoid them. I doubt too many people are running for the hills on Cimmeria because its truly not that bad. Also I thought you guys were on the PvE server (Which yes will have a farb etter amount of PvP than most) but if your going off a few whines, review the whines about how horrible AoC is and how theres no possible way for it to be ready…

    Other than that, you stated a lot of truths but thats what patches are for and expansions. We’ll probably recieve a few free content updates in the first 6 months or so. Thats becoming the trend for new MMO’s

  • @Kelji

    I hope DX10 isn’t the largest selling point. Because Gameplay > Graphics but I personally bought the game because I wanted the game and the graphics are amazing DX9 anyways. Although i’m sure a thousand or so of the 800,000 people flood the forums with whining about such a miniscule thing.

    “I want my face to look more glossy than it does now!!!” – Just a translation.

  • What’s wrong with you guys? You spent 57 seconds of every minute of the podcast talking about the things that you hate and/or don’t like and the conclusions during the last 3 seconds are: “I liked it” and/or “it’s pretty good” and/or “it’s cool”.

    Even though I enjoyed the podcast, the conclusions don’t make much sense to me.

  • Sorry if it was not to your standards DomPerignon. However, we had plenty good things to say about the game. The opinions are honest and we felt it was fairly self explanatory that obviously the negatives were not enough for us to say “Oh this game sucks”.

    The questing is lackluster and Tortage sucks. That still means we can like the game, think it’s pretty good, and consider many parts of the game to be cool.

  • I’m still very much on the fence with this. I am interested to hear if the game will be 80 levels of “kill x of these” type quests, which is mainly what I experienced during the last day of open beta. It sounds like there are a lot based on what you said. After leveling several characters in WoW already, I kind of feel burned out on those type of quests.

    Funcom is having to deal with a horde of angry customers right now. The EA population limit has caused a huge uproar on their boards between the haves and havenots battling one another like they are in the schoolyard (and yes, the mentality of most of the posters there reminds me of high school, or junior high school). Personally, I feel like some people procrastinated registering too long, but on the other hand the fact that it was limited was not clearly advertised (ok, perhaps in small print in the legal jargon). I got into the early access, but chose not to endure the long download again, so I have been sitting it out and reading.

    Aside from the EA population limit, we also now have a servers down during peak hours issue. Now quite a few of the EA players are complaining about the very inconvenient primetime (EST) downtimes, which by the way always appear to be extended beyond their initial estimate. Again, many people are making way too big an issue of this (it is just a few hours afterall), but the caliber of player responses leaves a lot to be desired. Immaturity in this “mature” game appears to be rampant if the forums are any indication of the in-game population.

    Add in the 48 vs 48 siege limit and the lack of Direct X 10 (I’m on XP still anyway, so no loss for me here), and it seems like a lot of features are being changed at the last minute. I am in no way in a position to review the game, as I have only played the open beta, which apparently was running a terrible and old client, but all in all my enthusiasm for the game has dropped quite a bit. I also hear their are in-game exploits allowing people to reach level 80 already, and several 40s and possibly 50s who claim to not have used any exploits. I hope the endgame is good, because it sounds like the leveling may be shortlived.

    Keep us posted. I appreciate that you are giving us the good and the bad, and not completely bashing or going fanboy on us.

  • @Pellious How you get all this “whining” is beyond me, I’m simply pointing out facts? and though it wasnt the only reason for my shelling out $100+ for the CE version of AoC I was made to believe it was being shipped as they originally advertised, yes dx10 version. So with all your wizdom in weeding out the whining umm may Croms staff be firmly extracted from your dirt hole. have a nice day πŸ™‚

  • @DomPerignon – what are u talking about….i would say 70% of what they said was good things…or things that they themselves didn’t like but others would.

  • @Kelji

    Are you serious, I was in Closed Beta, Open Beta and now EA and man can people whine, flip out and lose their cool over any and everything. The whining is about all the people who will cry over something that will be fixed. I never pointed that comment towards you persay, learn to read. Secondly join Cimmeria and take a shot.

  • what city state are you guys. i noticed your the same timezone as me. also i was wondering if there is any questions youd like to have answered based on a pvp server since most of your info is pve only. if so send me a message, id love to help.

  • @Keen

    I do agree that the Maze area was the most fun for myself as well, I will say that as someone who solo’d most of the first twenty levels it was nice, as usual, to be a stealther. As has been noted the quests that involve just running around and “getting NPC’s glasses of water” are rather obnoxious, but I have to say the eye candy of my surroundings sort of took the edge off of my annoyance. What can I say, I’m easy to please. The only other thing I am sort of in disagreement with, is that I enjoy the no auto-attack. Oh, and please feel free to refute this, but I believe if they only have one shield marker over an area it you do more damage with a combo, than if they have no shield marker and it is a basic attack swing. Not sure if that is totally true, but that’s how it felt.
    Word up.

  • (hope you get my post 2 up) and yes we do kill each other for the quest items and i love it. gives a sense of danger and accomplishment

  • Argh! Another delay until 10pm PST. That’s 8 hours downtime today. 😐

    @Cronos: We’re in California near L.A. in a city called Corona.

  • Just trying to clear up a terminology point, I don’t mean to nitpick on this, it would just communicate your experience better:

    When you guys say “memory leak”, most of the time I get the impression you’re actually talking about a map error which is more correctly referred to as a “visibility leak” because it happens when the surface occluding visibility hits a hole which will cause a large drop in framerate– generally because the calculated view will then go to infinity behind those surfaces, more/less though that’s a simplified explanation.

    Those errors do cause memory leaks, but it’s like, all apples are fruit, but not all fruit are apples. I’m no guru on the topic mind you, just taking from experience with level maps and my marginal coding abilities.

    Is that what you’re describing? I could be wrong, you could also be talking about race condition loops or a bunch of other things.

    Also, the crash on exit, is probably due to a memory leak, or clean up code, whether caused by vis leaks or otherwise. It’s a worrying sign, but obviously it doesn’t affect most people’s experience directly.

  • omg just finished downloading the patches, and now it shows trying to authenticate to servers i think servers might be coming up

  • @Rog: No, when I say memory leak I mean memory leak. πŸ˜› When the application causes my system’s available memory to slowly be sucked away into the magical lala land of pagefiles or whatever… it’s a nasty thing. Memory leaks come in different packages. Some cause slowdown and some cause crashing. The ones in AoC that I’ve seen in release just cause slowdown (thank god!)

  • I am so confused on this instanced/zoned situation so I wont be able to play with my friends when they are online unless they are in my party?

  • @Thriti: It’s pretty simple. Tortage is redundantly instanced based on the number of players there. So there is Tortage 1,2,3,4,5, etc. If you’re in Tortage 1 you could be standing in the same spot as your friend and he won’t see you if he’s in Tortage 2. But if he goes to Tortage 1 (simply by clicking a button) then he will see you. Grouping keeps you together.

    I have not seen the Tortage style of redundant instancing anywhere else yet.

    As for the instancing we talked about in the podcast, it’s just standard mmo instancing (or zoning, as some call it) with a slight twist. Many times instead of crossing a zone line you talk to a npc who takes you to the land you want to go to. For example from Old Tarantia to The Wilds you talk to a boat captain who sails you there instantly.

    The terminology has somewhat changed a bit over the years so it can confuse people when oldschool players say “instances” when it’s more appropriate to say “zones”. But I’m probably just confusing you more now. πŸ˜‰

    @Cronos: Ahh, quite a bit north then!

  • @yea lol. i couldnt bring myself to play on a pve server in this game. i like having the option of killing anyone at almost anytime and the thrill of getting killed at any time. keeps me on my toes. feel free to send me any pvp server questions you may want to include in a post ect.

  • I understand now kind of like taking a boat in wow and zoning into a new zone. thanks for the clear up

  • Damn I am still debating if I am going to do a pvp or pve server. I love owning kids in outdoors but at the same time i dont want the leveling process to be hell.

  • @ thriti its not that bad if you change instance once in a while to a less populated one, and if you play a rogue class its really no problem at all since i can stealth before i get rez spawn killed or anything.

  • Regarding your server wiccana, it says on the forums that it is an unofficial rp-pve. I hate rp is there alot or rpers on there?

  • @ thriti but after another 3-4 months, starting on a pvp server will be hell because of the high level gankers. unless your in a guild of good standing.

  • @ Cronos yea I figured, well also I am guessing you were in the early access, lets just say it is about to get alot worse come actual launch in 15 mins

  • @and when you leave the started area you cant come back. (or i havnt seen any possible way to get back)

  • Damn, I also need to make sure the server is both a good medium between cst and est, I have like over 30 friends that will be playing from mostly Texas and florida

  • @Cronos what server do you play on, I am thinking of Tyranny pvp or wiccana for pve if people on there arent rp fags

  • @ my last post for tonight. tyranny has a good balance and you and your 30 friends are all free to join our guild which is already made up of a balance of all of us times. guild is named Damnation, my name is Cronos. if you join tyranny feel free to hit me up.

  • ageofdamnation.all-up.com feel free to stop on by
    ok that was my last post for tonight so i can try to log on. maybe ill c you on tyranny if you join it πŸ™‚

  • looks like i wont be on tonight. they pushed it back 1 more hour ><. o well lol hope to c you on tomorrow.

  • Yeh it sucks, im enjoying my ranger, but it’s kind of linear it feels like, same routine of shots over and over, hoping the speed picks up around 30, just hit 20 yesterday.Can’t wait till seige battles, and if I can’t shoot from high up like a wall im gonna be pissed, thats why I picked the class, I like ranged and I wanted to melt faces sitting on a wall, but by far the most funny thing. 2 people fighting in white sands, I come outta stealth and kill them both, they group up and try to kill me and I kill em again and zone to do other quests.

  • Woo-hoo, screenshots! The level of detail was a lot better than I was expecting (is this still on your old rig?). The armor and lighting I think looks especially fantastic.

  • Just wanted to say how much i enjoyed the podcast guys, for an aussie waiting till the 23rd before i can even install the game its soothing to just hear your daily comments.

    keep it up

  • Ahh, the issue forgiveness that comes with releasing a game in an uncompetitive environment. If WotLK, WAR, and AOC were to launch on the same day and any of them had the kind of issues people are reporting with AoC, people’s standards probably wouldn’t be so compromised.

    Congratulations to AoC though. Any MMORPG that can do well in the current WoW-dominated environment, especially with the recent releases of several popular console titles, deserves recognition.

  • Great podcast guys, another Aussie waiting for install. Your review of the game is very informative and entertaining. The screenshots look impressive. Keep it up!

    Just have one question if you were running solo what character would give you the best chance to progress in the PvE environment? Bear Shaman, Necro, other? I tend to lean towards casters and the HTH combat sounds like way too much button mashing (no auto attack). I really liked DAOC RvR but spent a lot of time in PvE getting to the higher levels and amost of that time was solo PvE, hence the question.

  • Demonologists are great offensive casters that have a pretty easy time leveling. Tempests of Set feel like EQ2 Furys so they level easy as well (but are considered healers). Necros do great too, heh. Basically you can’t go wrong with any of them. πŸ™‚ Keep in mind though that the Bear Shaman and Herald of Xotli are healer and mage respectively but do have to melee more often.

  • PS. Nice podcast. Just finished listening and I can’t help but feel a slight bit of gamer’s itch… Must resist! πŸ˜›

  • @ keen
    Actualy there CAN be redudant instances in every zone. It appears funcom has set a population cap in everyzone and once the Popcap is reached is starts a new version of the instance and throws new arivals to the zone in there. Last night in Cornall Valley, and in the Wild Lands of Zelata there were 2 instances running (i switched out of the one i was in to the new one as things were prety crowded and finding quests mobs was getting to be a pain).

    Once you figure the system out its not too bad. Though, I admit it would be frustrating for someone who doesnt know about it and/or has no clue about it.

  • Nice podcast guys! Its good to hear you guys are enjoying it so far. I never got into any beta but I got into the EA and im on the Tyranny(pvp) server. I have to say Im really enjoying the game so far as well. I got to 20 by Saturday night and then spent about 2 hours hitting 21 and checking out the cities on sunday. More RAM and twin Nvidia 9600s are on the way to the house so Im looking forward to seeing the game on settings other than low.

    If I can just say one thing. For those that have rolled on pvp servers in the past on other games dont be afraid of AoC’s pvp servers. From what I have seen so far its no worse than what you are used to seeing on other games. Despite rolling on a pvp server I still have random grouped with strangers to knock out quests and had strangers save me from a bad pull, its not all ganks and griefing.

  • Hey Keen & Graev. I enjoyed your podcast. Interesting for people who haven’t had a chance to play the game yet. How come Graev doesn’t post here, or makes youtube videos or anything, though? For a two-man show it seems awfully one-man driven is all I’m saying πŸ™‚

    Also, did you ever find the official pronounciation of “Tortage”?

    Keep it up, guys!

  • Hey Keen, a few questions to ask…

    1. How do you like the Tempest of Set? Was it how you thought it was going to be or a bit different? considering class play comes in at level 20.

    2. How does Graev like his guardian? i play a conqueror and are interested in if there is much difference between the two.

    3. How have you guys found the leveling and quests, out of Tortage that is. Slow and boring or fast and interesting?

    Thanks for the great work, keep it up.

  • Mixed feelings on my Tempest of Set. He feels like a one trick pony and the fights are starting to feel a little mundane. I’m using the same nuke that I had at level 1… it’s just scaled up. I’m plenty powerful… but it’s getting boring. I hope it gets better.

    Graev’s Guardian barely loses HP. He says he is simply ‘satisfied’. The guardian is what he thought it would be.

    Leveling is fast and very boring. The quests were PLENTIFUL from 20-30 but have really slowed down from 30-33. We’re told that we have to go back and do green/gray quests in other starting areas to progress til about 40 when we can move on to a harder area… makes me ill to think about it.

  • thanks for a great podcast guys!

    I am loving the game so far with flaws and all. You want to use all areas for leveling I think Keeb. Like stygians, cimmerian and aquilonian ones then there are enough quests to last you a lifetime πŸ˜‰

    I know some are complaining about the speed of the levels but I think it should not take too long. After all donΒ΄t we want to get to 80 and start building a city with friends, pvp in borderland or perhaps even try an odd raid or two!

  • I’m not so much worried about the speed of leveling. I love fast leveling. I just wish it were more fun. It’s getting a little repetitive running quests all day. I’m wishing I could pvp to level up or do something other than questing.

    We’re level 32 or 33 now (I forget) and we are not too excited about having to do gray or green quests the next 7 levels.

  • @ Keen
    I’d like to hear something about the loot. Are there unique drops of any kind? Armor or weapons that make mass map clearing worth the blood spilled? and also in the same vein, whats storage like? big? small? so so? I dont care how fast or slow leveling is.. I personally like having room for more Xp on my plate.. but what about the Phat Luute!

  • From what I’ve read on the forums so far, leveling gets worse at 50, involving a lot of grinding. I hope thats not true and that it does get better for you though.

  • I heard a lot of people saying that you don’t really have to do all the quests, but when you start talking like 7 levels of gray quests, i think ill do all the ones available to me. I don’t feel like going though that my self.

  • @Kelji: Loot drops are sorta disappointing. We’re in our 30’s and using stuff from Tortage because it completely blows away anything dropped or given in quests. We’ve received a few upgrades from the more prominent chains but other than that loot dropping feels awkward. TONS of stuff drops but it’s all garbage. I end up destroying 90% of the stuff I get because I run out of room within 5 minutes of grinding.

    @Kt: I’ve heard that it slows down at 60 myself and that 60-80 is like 1-60. But looking at the pace we’re currently setting… and we’re playing quite casually… 1-60 is a week of play, so 60-80 is at most another week. And yeah, it’s a lot of grinding I hear because Funcom does not have the higher levels polished like the lower.

    @Gondus: It’s possible to forgo the gray/green quests if you want to grind the remaining 5-7 levels to 40.

  • Well I’m still patiently waiting “still” I registered back in Dec for CB and didnt get accepted, purchased the CE in March “shipped Red/next day air” still no CE in hand and I’ve just found that my AoC/vN account no longer exsists… yesterday Crom welcomed me on the Aoc site, today they dont know me from Joe. I’m feeling a bit lonely right now, hope all is well in Hyboria =(

  • @Keen
    Thanks for the answer.. I understand why you didnt talk about it now, other developer that thinks giving you nothing makes it fun /sigh

  • Great podcast guys. One complaint though, you are killing the word Stygian: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stygian.

    ˈsti-j(Δ“-)Ι™n

    Most of the words of Conan are based on history and can be looked up. As far as Tortage, in my copy of the game the guy says it as Tortaj.

    Just a little help from the pronunciation police. πŸ™‚

  • Ooooo, I may be wrong. Just heard an NPC pronounce it with the hard g. Could they pronounce it wrong in the game? This is going to take some getting used to.

  • I thought so too Phil but then I heard several NPC’s say it differently. Maybe both are acceptable? *shrug* Same with Tortage. I say Tortawge and Tortage heh.

  • I play on a EU PvP server, and there’s not that much ganking at all, at least not on my server. There was some at the first area, but after lvl 20 I haven’t get ganked one single time! And I’m lvl 31 now and been solo the whole time!

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