E3: We chat with Eidos/Funcom about Age of Conan

As I mentioned yesterday we had the opportunity to talk with Funcom here at E3 in the Eidos room.  Erling Ellingson sat down for a chat and answered all of our questions which can be read about in an article I’ve written for the vault.

“Age of Conan’s launch was technically fantastic and server uptime was perfect”, said Erling Ellingson as we sat down to have a chat at E3 about how the game is coming along nearly two months after release. He seemed truly sincere in his claims stating again that he feels Age of Conan’s launch was one of the most successful launches ever for a mmorpg save for a few customer services issues that have since been remedied.

When asked what the development team has been focusing on lately Erling said that Funcom is hard at work in the fixing stage for Age of Conan and beginning work on the game’s first expansion – which he was extremely tight lipped about. Attention is focused on resolving the problems that have appeared since launch. Efforts to that end include improvements to City Sieges, which are showing a performance increase of over 300%, resolving other bugs, and continuing to develop the game’s features. [Read the rest of the article including an exclusive announcement at the IGN Vault Network.]

First I want to say that the interview with Erling was a pleasure.  He is a really nice guy and someone that cares about the game.  It’s an awkward feeling interviewing someone for a game that I really do not like, yet at the same time I can respect the developers who put in the time and dedication to make their game how they want it done.

You’ll read this in the writeup but I want to mention that I’m pleased to see Funcom working toward fixing many of the issues with the game.  I asked Erling about the lack of content and itemization issues specifically because they were two of the biggest reasons I stopped playing Age of Conan.  When asked the questions, Erling had the look of complete agreement and acceptance on his face that these ARE issues but ones they’re planning on fixing.  He told us about content they’re adding and their plans to rework the stats system.  Lots of changes are coming to Conan and it’s truly unfortunate that it has taken 2 months after release to begin addressing these issues.  If not for future games snagging my interest Age of Conan might have been a game that lures me back for a resubscription.  (It still might in the future)

I’ve got to get ready to go this morning so I’ll leave it at that.   I’ll be posting about other games tonight.


  • The community demands more videos !
    (same as you did on the first day)

    Great work, guys.

  • So far it seems the Funcom (post launch) has been pretty receptive and hardworking in terms of fixing bugs, patching content. Of course I’m not sure they completely have their priorities straight (working on class balance when some feats and abilities don’t even work), but so far they seem to be really dedicated to making a good. It should be interesting to see where this game goes in the next few months.

  • just to add to my post above. I’m very excited about changes to the stat system, in addition to it being very confusing, some of the stat assignments don’t entirely make sense (like adding stamina to caster gear).

    If there’s one thing that I really miss about WoW its the simple stat system. Especially post-BC, they got rid of extraneous stats and replaced them with ones you would actually use (like rogues having only Agility and Stamina, for hard stats, as opposed to also having strength) I don’t really understand why every class in AoC needs physical resistances bonuses. But who knows, I only just started raiding, maybe you need it for some of the bosses, or maybe it is to make the gear good for pvp as well.

  • By biggest concern now with Age of Conan is the direction they seem to be going in. I’ve commented before on how I think Funcom seems almost schizophrenic due to their desire to ‘listen to the fans’.

    Specifically, prior to release, their forums were filled with players like myself that wanted an anti-thesis to WoW. After the big launch however, they’re inundated with players who are simply bored of WoW but still want more of the same. =/

    Ultimately, as the game becomes more of a WoW clone, I’m becoming less interested. They’ve already hamstrung the Apprentice system to appease the players concerned with powerleveling, which is mind-boggling to me since this was meant to be a fast leveling game. They’re taking other steps to slow down leveling as well.

    They’re also significantly reducing damage on secondary targets, enforcing players to be mindful of what they have targeted and reducing the overall ability to handle groups. This is a big step backwards on the combat system IMHO, what happened to the “whatever your sword swings thru” visceral excitement? Yeah even the fabulous combo combat is feeling like it’s being changed toward WoW-style balancing.

    Anytime you start taking features out that you launched with is bad, but doing so while players are already desperate for features and content = ouch. =(

    I’m still a fan of the game, for now. I found leveling very enjoyable, even through the 50-70 range. The combat system is still fun but that’s just not enough at Endgame. My last big source of joy was teaming with my more casual buddies, but that’s been nuked now too with Apprentice crippled.

    I like this whole sound of going forward, but I haven’t actually heard it yet, I’m too stuck on the echoes of the latest backsteps. D’oh.

  • I played my 30 days AoC I go out of the box. The improvements I witnessed during that time were impressive. Nontheless I didn’t stick with AoC for various reasons. The main reason being the lack of a ‘persistent’ world. The extremly heavy instancing is not my idea of persistent, thus AoC will never deliver, what I desire, no matter how much they improve their content.

  • @Bowman – Well, the instancing in AoC was a must. Though I agree that it is over the top pre-level 20 and maybe even pre-40. However, I can tell you, as you get higher level it becomes less apparent by far (maybe switch to one every couple of hours). In fact, WAR will have the same amount of loading screens as AoC end game. Because in both of them, you only zone a couple of times a day.

    I still believe that AoC will be unbelievably good as it progresses and peoples computers get better. I men honestly, so many people were playing on crap computer that were 4-5 years old. I still can’t believe that people are worried about WAR’s requirements… If you seriously can’t play WAR because it is too much for your computer to handle, it is time to upgrade. That is just pathetic.

  • Im not sure how smart it was to make such high req game,we are talking about mmorpg where 75% of players don’ want/can’t spend 1000€ for a game.
    I also find it pretty dumb to release this kind of game 1 month before summer.

    And you really can not compare WAR’s instancing with AoC’s.

  • Instancing is one of the major things that put me off Conan, can anyone tell us the extent of the instancing in WAR, ie:
    Are the cities instanced? is each questing zone instanced?

  • The absolute only thing that’s keeping me from playing my level 48? The knowledge that the solo-able quests hit a wall soon. It’s the same reason I quite LotRO.

    I’m willing to wait until WAR hits though. Let’s hope they get some stuff in before then.

  • @ Photonic

    I beg to differ! Tier 4 of WAR is 5 zones each. There is no loading screens between zones. Tier 4 is huge and there aren’t multiple copies of the same zones outdoor.

    After breaching the walls of a capital city, the gameplay switches to a kind of ‘Alterac Valley Style’ large scale scenario. The big difference to ‘Alterac Valley’ lies within the persistant effects of the outcome of these ‘Capital City Warfare’ instances on the gameworld. The multiple stages of a ‘city siege’, beyond breaching the city walls, are ‘AoC style’. Multiple instances of the same content.

    There’s a big difference between multiple copies of ‘large scale scenario like’ city siege content and the multiple copies of almost all content found in AoC. Even the average dungeon in WAR happens in unique ‘realm instanced’ zones, in which the whole realm works together. Instancing in WAR is in no way as unnatural as in AoC.

  • @ JoBildo @ WAR question

    No multiple instances of the same content in the general game world or ‘peaceful’ capital cities. Just like WoW.

    Loading screens between tiers, since they all have ‘Capaign’ metagame going for them.

    I guess there is a loading screen entering a capital city, since they are bigger than your average zone and are jampacked with social and gameplay content.