A few observations in Hyboria

It’s day four in Age of Conan which means that today was the first official day of release.  Graev and I spent the day questing, questing, and yeah more questing.  We logged in this morning at level 26/27 and decided to finish off all of our quests in The Wilds.  We achieved our goal and obtained level 32/33 tonight which is not bad by our standards.  The levels are coming in very quickly and until now we have felt that there are tons of quests and things to do.  We’ve made a couple observations however and I want to share those with you all.

First of all the questing slows down at about 34.  Levels 20-34 were overflowing with quests and things to do but now it feels like we have reached a void or fallen into a rut because the next questing areas do not really begin until closer to 40.  We’ve asked around and done a bit of searching ourselves and everywhere we turn we reach to same answer: Go do the other 20-34 areas (we did Aquilonias, so we would have to go do Stygia’s or Cimmeria’s).  Ouch.  Gray/green quests to progress?  There has to be a better way.  Any advice anyone?

Our second observation today was that the questing is actually getting very boring.  It’s been fun until now and nothing has really changed, but we’ve come to that always scary realization that this is it.  The quests are starting to become monotonous and repetitive.   That ‘lackluster’ feeling is starting to set in.  We actually logged off this evening because we both turned to eachother  at the same time (literally, I’m not saying this for dramatic effect) and said “You want to log off?  I’m bored.”

We’ve both decided that we’re still, overall, having a decent time in the game.  We’re going to continue on and hope that either the questing picks up, regains that momentum and sense of fun, or that we find some other change of pace.  That’s really what it boils down to for us.  The game’s pacing is wonky right now.

  • Could it be that maybe you guys are hitting the AoC a bit too much, too fast? It’s easy to burn out when you’re constantly playing a game, you know. 🙂

  • Lol ok this is way too much, I havent even gotten the game in my eager lil hands yet and you’ve become bored with it =/ I know this is your blog and your site to say and do any and all you wish. I’ll just thank you for everything until now and concider my quest here finished /wave

  • Now I know it is not my place to tell anyone how to play, but I really think you guys are expect the impossible. I mean you stormed to 34 in what – 3 days. That means you are questing, questing and questing, and questing some more. Now you are getting bored with questing. You are basicaly power-leveling through the game.

    Thing is, there is no thing on this earth that will entertain you for several days and several hours, by doing one thing for hours. Imagine the best movie you ever watched for example – now imagine hawing to watch it for lets say 5-8 hours for 3-4 days in a row … most of the normal people would get sick of it on the third day.

    Like – having sex for 8h per day would make you sick of it in a couple of days. That is just human nature.

    And by leveling to 33/34 in 3 days really means you rushed through the whatever content there is, you didn’t do anything else like socialise, maybe just explore for the sake of it and not for quests, maybe do some little pvp.

    This is probably the 6th character I am leveling, Ive been playing a single character for 5 days, and I just got to leve 21. That is the pace most of the people are going to play. I come from work at 6, by the time I cook, do the dishes and everything else its about 8. I sit down and play till 11ish, or 12 and go to bed. That or even slower is the pace most of the people are going to play. I’m not even slightly bored.

    Like I said, I’m not here to tell you or anyone else how to play, just to give you a different perspective on things. The pace you guys are pushing on, you are going to “get it done” in a couple of weeks, you mentioned you don’t really like PvP, so that means you will only be able to do some endgame raids. Majority of people will not be even near there yet, so you most likely won’t have much choice in who to play with, then you will proclaim that the game has very little content and nothing to do.

    I swear that MMO games are really getting obsessive compulsive about leveling. It is like watching the 3h movie on fast-forward and then when it ends in 15 minutes, complain how its too short and nothing really happened.

  • I don’t think we really powered through at all. If there is one thing I can’t do it’s play MMORPGs for extended periods of time. We took breaks, and for the most part read every quest we did without rushing.

    It seems the average person that sticks with one character is around level 30. I really don’t believe we rushed to level at all. Now if we were with the people who were level 50 or so by now, then I’d understand you saying that.

    And Keen might have worded it poorly when he said we turned to each other saying “I’m bored.” It was more of a feeling that we were a little bored with quests after doing a lot of it today so we decided to take a break. I think it mainly had to do with the amount of running we had to do. There were large periods of time when we we’re just running here and there.

    I don’t think we are anywhere near done with the game yet.

  • Actually, although we are 34 it must be said that we are taking it very casually for our style. If we were really pushing it we would easily be 45+ right — I have no doubt about it.

    We’re not new to mmorpgs either. WoW was not our first mmorpg. We’ve been around this block — heck we own the block. We know how to pace ourselves and what to expect from a mmorpg. We’re not saying the game is boring, just the quests are starting to show signs of plateauing. The questing has ‘peaked’ for us and it seems to all be the same now. That’s why we logged off. We did not want to push ourselves or burn out.

    Please don’t read into this and look for something that doesn’t exist.

    *edit* Graev beat me to it by 2 minutes, heh.

  • To emphasize a little more on what Graev said in #5:

    People really are averaging level 30 right now. There are actually guilds with multiple members 40+ on Mammoths with guild cities. We’re seeing level 50+ players on the first day of retail release (4th day overall) so it’s not really all that special that we are level 32-34’ish.

    Leveling in Conan is VERY VERY VERY easy! That’s something I think a lot of people are not able to grasp. There are videos on youtube (you can look them up, i’m too lazy to find them) with people showing that you literally can get a bubble a minute (averaging a level every 20 minutes) at level 35.

  • Thx for the Post guys. Cant wait till I hit 20 so i can get the hell out of tortage!!!

  • I think they said they expected the experienced gamer to be 80 in about ten days or so and then start building guild cities, pvp etc. And the casual ones to take 1-2 months.

    What I like as someone who prefers to level alone is that there are tons and tons of one man instances with little minibosses that I can do 🙂

    Think our guild has highest player at 37 and lowest at 17 so something in the middle of that would be normal I guess.

  • What makes e really happy is the attention to details. If you have ever done the introduction quest in Khemi where they send you arround from one NPC to another to look for a guy, you end up realising that he has been sacrificed to Set – which means they fed him to the giant snake. You find the snake on the beach, gorged, fat with the human inside of her, and when you step infront of it, the snake opens its mouth and there is that guy’s hand hanging out of it 🙂 … now that little detail I would never notice if I would hand in the quest and ran off to do another one, because you dont have to check out the snake, you just need to talk with the guard in the vicinity. Conan is one of those games that rewards stopping and smelling the roses so to speak.

    I also got to know the thing behind the laughing man, which is the in Conarch’s that gave me creeps – i just knew there was something wrong about that guy.

  • Personally i been jumping back and forth between the Cinn and Aqul areas doing the quests. even a gray quest will give you a full bar slot of xp.

    deffently not like wow where gray gives you nothing

  • ok this better be added last 3 comments never showed 🙁
    anyway you guys are doing great cant wait to get the game too bad its starting to get slightly boring for you hope it picks up i dont think ill mind seeing as i went through wow lol 😛

  • Ok, first of all i’m SICK of WoW.
    Now that that’s out of the way, i gotta say even after my 5th level 70, it still manages to get me hooked for at least the time it takes for me to hit 70 again. Once i hit 70, i need to move on. WoW’s end game bores me to tears, but that’s another story.
    Now, i’ve been playing AoC since early access, and so far i’ve never had that hook-ish feeling. Not for a single second. I can perfectly log for whatever reason, cooking, shower, whatever… and i never have the URGE to go back to it. It’s like, “hmmm what time is it? oh it’s early yet, i’ll go play it some more.” of course the fact that with a Q6600 + 4 gb RAM + 8500gt rig i can only get 15-20 FPS at the lowesters settings doesn’t help one bit either.
    In one word: boring.


  • I agree with Din on all. I’m bored with wow’s end game but even after 3 years of gaming the levelling still make me rush my showers :p
    I have to say that i didn’t have the feeling with Aoc. I have almost the same config as Din but the fps is too low, it kinda break an immersion i already had hard to find.

    So, i don’t want to say that it’s a bad game because my pc can’t make it run to my likings, but besides i really can’t find the feeling i was looking for, to be part of a living universe. It’s a nice videogame but not immersive enough to keep me more than let say 4-5 weeks.

    So long waiting, i would have expected more of what the hype was promising.

  • Perhaps there is an inevitability about your boredom Keane. Our tolerance for the same old repetitive stuff in MMOs is getting less and less and each new MMO has a shorter life cycle. I originally forecast the end of MMOs in lighthearted jest but the more I talk to myself about it the more I convince myself 🙂 that MMOs are just a passing fad whose peak has already come and gone.

  • I dont think its a passing fad, however developers will have to go back to the roots of MMOs and work on world building. MMOs stem from the idea that we can create a virutal envirometn, create a representation of ourselves inside that enviroment, and do all the fun stuff, without all the cumbersome stuff of RL. We let AI replace the mundane tasks (all the boring jobs) and take a role of the select few who stand out from the general population in the thing we do. Somewhere along the lines, MMO shifted focus from the world building, to specific task building, being quests to finish, levels to gain, equipment to gain etc. And while the worlds get more and more constricted and bland, we are seeing more and more tasks introduced, while the depth ofthe world generally stays shallow.

    People don’t really want task-based gameplay, because that is already done by single player games, and lacking the hardware and net restrictions of MMOs, single player games offer it with considerably more depth and variation, while MMOs offer a pletora of mundane tasks. Difference is that in single player games you are having fun both while you are doing the task and when you get the reward, while in MMOs, you generally force yourself through the tasks to get the reward – the process of doing the task itself is neither fun nor rewarding.

    Also, millions of other players interact with the exactly same tasks that you do, so it has to be the same for everyone, thus – you finishing the task doesn’t really change anything, so you are actually getting the feeling of moving bricks from one pile to another just for the sake of doing it, without some particular reason.

    So in conclusion, current system of MMOs will steadily decline. Companies will realise eventually that whatever they do, they are able to hold to but a small fragment of their players, while the rest of them skip from game to game as soon as they burn through the so called content. Eventually the percentage of those people will increase and the companies will realise that they are either going to offer something better to hold to the customer, or they are going to lose money. That is the point where we will start getting the first so called “next gen” mmo’s – word that every developer today uses to describe his game in production.

    P.S. sorry for going offtopic 😛

  • Sounds like you’re in need of a nice instance to grind out a few levels. I have been taking my time, making a bunch of toons and haven’t gotten past lvl 17 yet, so I don’t know what’s available. I just know in past MMOs when you hit a dry spell quest-wise, an afternoon or two running a good instance and getting loot will bridge the gap nicely 🙂

  • Well … to start over again with the topic … no wonder u are getting bored keen … i would try to mix it up a little, I mean, quest a little, do some creeping, just hack and slash everything in your way, do a little PVP, whatever .. if u are going to play straight through every quest on the screen it surely gets boring after a while … i would be bored even after 5 hours of questing … =) ‘nough said

    Anyway I feel i have to mention Keen & Graevs great work, the blog is superb, and apart from our different play-styles, keen is taking the words right out of my mouth most of the time! Keep up the good work guys!

  • Can someone give a feedback from a PvP server ?I rly wanna know if things r rolling smoothly there!!!

  • I think we did too many quests in wow and leveling up too many characters, these past three years.

    And now aoc seems bored and quests look bored too, because is most of the same.

    I think we should see aoc like a breath of fresh air, and not something revolutionary.

  • yep what marcus said for me anyway lets face it the quests are not much diff from WoW and War will not be either its part of the mmorpg thing

    i think its more the fact we are getting burt on mmorpg more then anything else but i am enjoying AoC more then any game i have in the last 4 years i know that and looking forward to the end game

  • I think you guys might have a different definition of average than I do – none of my gaming group who had early access is near 30 yet. Of course, we weren’t in open beta, so almost everything is new to us.

    My personal feeling is that the (non-destiny) quests in AoC have had a bit more thought given to dialogue and narrative than WoW quests. The actual gameplay mechanics are very familiar – go take this to that guy, go kill 10 of these – but I find myself generally more interested in why I’m doing these things.

    So far I like AoC’s leveling better than WoW’s, in part due to the destiny quest, but I haven’t gotten as far as you have. The burnout you mention has hit me in every single level-based MMO, so I don’t think of it as AoC specific criticism.

  • I have played with Keen through a big chunk of LotRO and if there is one thing that I learned, its that he doesn’t rush things…he’s just a very thrifty and efficent leveler. I doubt that he is crashing through it. I would be willing to bet that he is just taking it in with purpose and dedication. We did that in LotRO and while not rushing through it, quickly outleveled our guildmates.

    If Keen says its getting dull, with his body of experience and our shared opinion on games, I believe him.

  • I’m kinda curious about the PvP minigames/group instances (don’t have the game yet). Are there full goup instance dungeon crawls at lower levels? Are you playing/enjoying the PvP? Seems like there’s more to do than just level, but I, of course, don’t know.

  • There is a dungeon that Graev and I are going to try to do today called Sanctum of Burning Souls (something like that) that’s level 37-39’ish. There are also a few off of Khapshwhatever(sp?) province that look promising.

    Dungeons/grinding are definitely faster than questing right now. It’s also much more enjoyable to just slaughter mobs than it is to run around back and forth for 3 hours and complete maybe 10 quests because of all the running. Yeah, those 10 quests were worth over a level of exp but we could have tripled that exp had we sat still and killed.

    I like the reasoning that a lot of you have been giving. It’s very possible that, at least for me (I won’t speak for Graev here), I’ve done questing for the past 4 years and I’m simply tired of this particular form of “tasking to level”.

    We’re going to break up the monotony and try to mix in some dungeons now that we’re high enough. We’ll report on that today hopefully.

  • i agree theres way to much running around to hand quests in just hoping that gets better at 40 with mounts

  • In my opinion, this is the entire problem with level-based MMO’s. In UO I never ran out of things to do, and was never bored.

  • By the way, Keen, an idea just came to me of yet another thing one could do besides questing and leveling and PvP minigames.

    I’ve moved to the RP-PvP server, and it isn’t all that bad considering if there are a bunch of gankers in one instance all you do is port to another.

    Anyhow, one of the tasks my character will take upon herself when she is higher level is to randomly patrol the lowbie zones. Good roleplay, good for the server.

    Oh, by the way… you two wouldn’t be half as bored if you roleplayed once in awhile. 😉

  • First of all, Wiccana is the unofficial RP-PVE server, i didn’t know you guys were RP dorks! (says the guy on Cimmeria).

    Ganking isn’t unheard of, but it’s definately not like Mordred (Daoc) where you couldn’t see another player without someone ending up dead. People group spontaneously a lot.

    On Cimmeria, monday afternoon there was already someone level 50! i… simply don’t know how they did that, because the servers were down most of monday and lot of sunday.

    The main problem with AoC i’ve had is (besides being stuck in Lacheish plains for TEN GODDAMN HOURS before CSR helped me unstuck) is that it looks so gray and dull.

    Well yippee for “realism”, but damn it’s gray and damn it’s dull.

  • We’re not Rp’ers at all and it appears that no one else on the server, that we’ve encountered, is either. 😛 It’s just a normal server (which is why it’s unofficial!)

  • you got bored already ?, try not playing 10 hours straight 3 days in a row 🙂

    how much have you guys been playing ? your 1/2 way through the leveling process in 4 days ?

  • I just did my first pvp match today at lvl 30 and I have to say I had a lot of fun. I look forward to the bigger battles and sieging, but this was enough to give me the taste of blood. If you haven’t done a quick pvp match in a while, I recommend qeueing up again to try your classes out in a non PVE environment.

  • Actually i am curious, is there a /played in the game ? it would be good to know how many hours it takes to get around 30 ish.

  • Yeah, there is actually. It took me 20 hours, and mind you I wasn’t hardcore grinding at all. I like to explore, look around, jump into waterfalls all the time 😛

  • 20 hours is crazy small for being 1/3 or 1/2 of the way through the game. They initially said 220-240 hours to level up to 80.

    good reporting either way guys.

  • If you’re 34, and it’s only the second day in then you need to take a bit of a break. Play another game maybe.

    I love chocolate. Love it, love it, love it. But I get that sick feeling after the first bunny….know what I mean?

  • @darrenl

    Do you pay a fair bit up front for your chocolate, followed by monthly installments?

  • @ Darrenl

    5 Days in with the early release. And I do think lvling will get slower especially with some of the doldrum lvls where there aren’t many quests.

    One of the reasons you level faster in Age of Conan is having a rest ability. I don’t know how many times I had to wait in games like LOTRO and World of Warcraft for my player to regain HP/Mana while I could of been fighting. Personally, I like spending my time pro actively in a mmo since I only have 2 hours to play sometimes.

  • I installed last night and only played for about an hour I was already to Lvl 6. I even felt that it was too quick. There was great concern when they said you you could reach the lvl cap in 220 hours. The more I hear, it might be half that. This game is just not going to have the longevity of WoW.

    Additionally, the “training” area isn’t training me well. I still don’t quite understand the game play. That said, I understand it better than I did LotRO or CoH when I first played them, so it is a step in the right direction.

  • Well level 6 isn’t that high when there are 80 levels. Remember when WoW came out and we all made lvl 15 in the first couple of hours? There was only 60 levels in WoW. There are 80 in AoC. Trust me it starts to slow down once you hit mid 20’s.

    You will also learn to play your class as you group up and face harder situations. If you don’t know already, once you get inside the town of Tortage, go into the Inn and start doing the Night quests. It’s single player which will allow you to escape all of the hectic of real players around you. It’s a very good way to get into your character because the quests aren’t too hard and you get involved in a larger story.

    Also, there are two tutorial videos when you load up your patcher that can explain some more of the technical things that tool tips can’t. I recommend taking a look at them to get more information. What class are you Michael?

  • can you guys logg in right now?? I cant connect to authentication server…. 11am PST

  • Thnx for the quick reply. I had thought they were coming down tonight when I read the GMT link. I guess I shouldn’t skip my down syndrome meds in the morning….

  • Well thats promising. I guess I might actually go to work then today…
    Since I’m bored and waiting, I can adress Marduars question about PvP (assuming that anyone reads this comment section now that its Weds). I’m on the Rp PvP server and it seems pretty solid so far. You get the usual tards that camp the spawn points and the random griefer. Hasn’t been much of an issue for me since I am playing a kickass ranger. I hide right away when I enter a new zone just incase and that does it for me. I also notice that the 4th graders camping the spawn points usually get wiped after a short period of time. Most people on the server dislike that garbage and will kill the people camping the spawn points if they are higher level. The RP PvP server isn’t (in my opinion) just a bunch of random PvP. I rarely get ganked when Im turning in a quest or selling items. Right now I’m at level 29 so I’ve put some good time into the game and I can say that Im happy on the RP PvP server. Also, I’m not bored at this point either. We’ll see if my entertainment level flatlines at 30, but my guess is “no”.
    Now I will say a qwik prayer to the MMO gods, hoping that I can logg back in and that Keen is wrong about Funcom’s ETA.

  • I’ll say a bit of both, since I’m doing it too. Even being sick with a nasty cold / flu thing and spending most of the past few days in bed, I’ve managed to level to 19 and that’s after re-rolling to change servers (previous character was level 14).

    Also, given that you guys were in the various Betas, the character creation probably goes much faster, while I spent hours on that.

    That said . . .

    I do think your focus is aimed 90% toward Endgame, and it seems to me questing is a means to that end for you. You could say you’ve seen it all before, but I think lots of us have and some of us enjoy killing 10 rats just fine.

    I think, with any MMORPG, Endgame is ~always~ going to be a disappointment until at least 6 months after the game is released. Truth is, I don’t think it’s possible for them to tweak their Endgame properly until they’ve been established and have a good idea what their particular playerbase wants / expects.

    I’m not expecting a lot for Endgame as you can tell from above, although it seems to me there’s at least some attempts from Funcom to create one (cities, battlekeeps, etc.).

  • my god…. another 2 hours downtime. I think some heads need to roll over at Funcom Inc.

  • We enjoy the journey just as much as the destination. We always have in mmorpgs. We just do not appreciate progression being limited to mostly “kill ten rats” task based quests.

  • Ya know what I think it is for me. Not necessarily the same old same old quests, but the combat model. I believe if I really liked the combat model I wouldnt mind killing 10 of these a kagillion times.

    If a MMO could make a simple combat model like Savage 2s, which isnt complicated (just a rock, paper, scissor melee model) I believe that combat would mean more.

    It sucked in WoW, and as much as I appreciate the difference in AoC, it’s still the same old down at its core. AoC is close, but I don’t feel its overall that different. But maybe it’s just me. Maybe Im just burnt out also.

  • I completely don’t understand why you are forced to go through 80 levels of kill 10 rats in order to get to the end game. I accepted it in EQ because I was used to pen and paper, but there is no end game to pen and paper. I liked SWG because I didn’t feel like being forced to kill then rats. PvE is not the same as PvP. Leveling is not the same as raiding. It doesn’t teach me anything.

    disclaimer: SWG had an awesome skill based character system and a crafting system equally cool. It would have been the best mmo ever had every single other part of the game not sucked so bad.

  • @pelkor

    they drop 3/4 at a time and you didn’t necesarily have to do it.

  • Overall in my opinion since the launch on the 20th, AoC has gone pretty smoothly so far. Yes we have had a few servers down times and a really bugged zone that trapped people there…but from what I have seen not bad overall.

    It’s not the smoothest launch in history, DoAC has that title, but compared to many others IE: Vanguard, I’m happy so far.

  • Keen and Graev, would yous guys say leveling is too easy in AoC? or just right, and if it is just right is that because pvp is so much fun or whats the deal with that? (Just want your take on this)

  • I would say that level speed is just right. It’s “just right” because in Age of Conan there are 80 levels and the game really does not take off until 40+. Thats why most people say 1-40 is fast, 40-60 slows down, and 60-80 takes the longest.

    If I’m going to be forced to PvE the entire time to level just to have fun in PvP and do more sophisticated encounters then it has to be fast like this.

  • I am level 21 at 19 hours…so for me…the levels seems to be going at about almost 1 per hour…and I am sure that will slow down..
    Having grinded writs over and over in EQ2, killed ten million boars in LOTRO…at least in AoC it looks pretty, and the conversations are great…
    I always got to the point of clicking ok all the way through the walls of text in these games…while in AoC…the written cutscene quest givers just really makes it more fun..
    As to the levels…yea…for some reason I think you are going too fast as well.
    I have been in since EA…but, I am splitting my time between AoC and EQ2…guess it is paying off…
    Good luck guys

  • I think you know the stone old LevelQuest-Formula by now.

    EQ, EQ2, WoW, LOTRO… AoC is just another variation at the core. I wonder how they want to do the epic siege battles and other things they promised, I have not yet seen DAOC style RvR stuff.

    We need to go back to the Ultima Online formula. It is still alive, and before Jeff Kaplan and others tried to improve it to something worse, it was groundbreaking. No classes, skill system. No questing – just a huge, immersive world with lots of things to do.

    THIS system and the idea of most content being “high level”, and not 90% wasted once you levelled through them is key for futures MMOs. The stone old pen&paper level formula is going to tire veteran players, we need something new. AoC does not deliver it for sure, it might not be bad, but it is not special either. It does not live up to the hype at all.

  • I already played Guild Wars and still do occasionally. ANet is working hard on making the game worse, so much about that. If WoW and GW are the best the MMO world has to offer, I will just read some more fantasy literature till someone delivers something better.