From Massively this morning: The Anvil of Crom: Family Unfriendly
Age of Conan is ultimately a very European game, and as an American I couldn’t be happier about that fact. I mean this literally, as it was developed by those crazy vikings at Funcom, but also in terms of attitude. Across the pond, there’s very little uproar when a woman bares her breasts, whereas in the States, woe be to the purveyor of nipplage who doesn’t first think of the children. Thankfully, Funcom didn’t give a dead rat’s tail about censor-related clucking, and delivered a game that unabashedly celebrates the neck-bearded internet nerd upon whose hairy back the MMORPG genre was founded.
Very, very funny. And quite true, as well (speaking as an American who quites appreciates living in a country where everything isn’t as sanitised and censored).
Yesterday I had what is in retrospect quite an amusing conversation with P. I was saying that it felt strange for an entire summer (and part of the fall, if Cataclysm isn’t going to be out until November) to stretch out with absolutely no new MMOs to play. I said that if I had a game even somewhat close to release, I would release it now and take advantage of a summer with virtually no competition for gamers hungry for new lands to explore.
And this morning, as I have my coffee and go through the news, I see this on Massively: Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer has been Dated. I start to read the article with little excitement, expecting a 2011 release, and I see that the release date is a couple of weeks away, May 11th in fact.
This was a shock. Not that I’ve been following AoC news especially, but I am a fan on Facebook, I do read a lot of the MMO blogs, and I’ve seen nothing. I looked on the main site – nothing. (Admittedly, this was the EU site, and GOA will always carry the brunt of my undying hatred for being incompetent jerks – maybe the US one was updated). Nothing on Facebook. Nothing that I could find on Twitter.
It is amazing that a company like this could so badly screw up 1) a launch of an expansion, and 2) social media and branding. Seriously…social media has been around for a long time, it’s not a new thing at this point. Why am I seeing no mention of this in official social media channels?
Part of my job involves building social media marketing strategies for our clients, as well as handling branding and content in the various channels that they are using. It’s interesting and challenging to handle well, but the basic stuff isn’t brain surgery. How can you just not bother to do it at all?
And why is this important? Because of customers like me. Although I thought the original game had some serious flaws and gaps, which were why I eventually let my subscription lapse, I’d been really excited about the previews and screenshots of the expansion that I’d seen on various MMO blogs. I added myself as a fan on Facebook specifically for news and updates. I WANT to buy the expansion…why wouldn’t you try to whip me into a fever of excitement much sooner than this? (Ok, “fever of excitement” may be a bit over-dramatic considering that AoC was actually a bit meh. But you know what I mean.)
Bad Funcom, very bad. Go sit in the corner and think about what you have done.
Hmmn….this is tempting. If I re-sub to Age of Conan, there is a promotion running that offers:
- 3-month sub: Beta access to The Secret World
- 6-month sub: Beta access + in-game helmet that boosts experience gain by 10%
- 12-month sub: Beta access + helmet + a free copy of Conan expansion Rise of the Godslayer
I would really, really like to be able to play in the beta of The Secret World. But I’ve been thinking about resubbing to EVE, as well. What is a (poor) girl to do? I’d play Dragon Age if I could wrest the game from P’s hands, but I would probably have to kill him and stick him underneath the floorboards in order to be able to have a turn.
Decisions, decisions…murder, going back to my Tempest of Set, or venturing back into New Eden. Hmmmnnn….
Oh, my – look what I just found in my spam folder:
Your level 41 , Dravven, awaits your return to Age of Conan!
Now you can play Age of Conan again for 14 days completely FREE of charge! This offer does not require any purchase as long as you act before November 27th, 2009. There are also some amazing rewards available to you if you purchase game time now!
I frickin’ love two-weeks-of-free-play offers.
Last night I took Dravven to an instance called Treasury of the Ancients. You access it through doors set into the desert floor near the Pyramid of the Ancients in Khopshef. This brings you into a very dark and atmospheric hallway lined with black granite columns and rows of statues in oxidised copper or blue stone. This was one of the best and most atmospheric small encounters that I’ve ever experienced in an MMORPG.
You walk down this long hallway, between the rows of statues, looking around yourself for mobs. The entire place is silent as the grave, aside from a large female figure dancing slowly at the far end of the hallway. Failing anything else to do, you walk towards her. As you pass the statues, you seem to see flickers of movement out of the corner of your eye. Did that one move back there, or was it your imagination? Very creepy and tense.
As you get close to the dancing goddess at the far end, the earth shakes and your way back is blocked by two stone figures. As you go back down the hallway, you hear a grating of stone, and in ones and twos the statues come to life and slowly approach you. The first time it happened I actually squeaked, it surprised me so much.
Extremely well done, terrific atmosphere…I loved it.
Edit: here’s a video that doesn’t really capture the creepiness of it, but gives you an idea of how it looks.
I’ve been working from home this week (no point in driving in if we’re not actually getting paid), but next week I need to actually go in. No working from home dressed in sweats with a vodka and pepsi at my elbow rather than my standard water. No popping on to play AoC. :) I need to start signing up for raids again, as well. I think I’d had about all the stress I could handle, and was bound to snap someone’s head off if I raided.
Dravven is 30, and I’m still having fun with her.
i r electric
And my new ranger, who is for some reason the very first male character that I have ever felt happy about playing in a game. Although you can’t make anything other than a musclebound male, he still doesn’t bother me.
Last night we went shopping for sirloin to BBQ (raid cancelled, yaay!) and also picked up some improbably coloured fruit with an irresistable name: Dragon Fruit. They were midly sweet, without a lot of taste, but worth trying just for the way they looked.
Following the “trying new things” theme, I’ve been thinking about doing a lot less raiding in WoW, and a lot more dinking around in AoC. I’m actually having fun now, and raiding is seeming more and more like a chore.
Dravven is out of Tortage, and I am so happy. I still had quests to turn in, but I finished the questline that ended with killing Strom (that was fun!) and she is presently sitting in Kemi. The beginngin section in Tortage was too long, I felt. A starting area that lasts twenty levels is much too long; it didn’t feel much like an MMO, and I understand that once you get out of Tortage it feels more like a real world.
That said, I’m having a lot of fun with her – she’s quite lethal, and the heals that I can throw on her before starting a boss fight ensure that she’ll probably get through it with too many deaths. I still get terribly lost, which is probably my biggest frustration with the game.
I’m looking forward to grouping with other players, to see how well she can dps and heal. I joined a guild, and although everyone else is quite high level in comparison, they all seem quite nice.
Which puts me in a bit of a quandary…I’m burned out with WoW and raiding right now, but that might be a temporary thing and I would hate to lose my place in the guild that I’m currently in. I can raid a bit less, and spend the rest of the time in AoC, which is probably what I’ll do. Give it some time, and see how things turn out.
I’ve been sort of playing Age of Conan. By “sort of”, I mean that I made characters of all the classes that I was interested in trying, got my desired names, and got their looks right. (I’ve confessed before that I have to like the way a character looks – that’s why I’ve never liked Ravven, and why I never really got into LOTRO, and also why I like Guild Wars, which is rather like a really interactive paper doll dressup game – I’m a sucker for pretty.)
I’ve dinked around with all of them, and I think my highest character is level 12 16. I hate Tortage, and get lost constantly. My method of playing tends to involve running around trying to find the quest area, getting lost, and just killing things until by sheer luck I stumble across the mobs I need. I play until I get killed too many times, and then I get frustrated and turn the game off. Part of the problem is that I missed levelling with Miz and Raz, and am doing most things solo, due to the account problems that prevented me from playing in the beginning. It’s just no fun by yourself, whereas in WoW I usually prefer to grind and quest alone if possible.
Although I had planned to make my Dark Templar my main, I think it will actually be Dravven, my Tempest of Set. I quite like the idea of playing a healer, especially one that heals via HoTs, and dsp’s in between. She’s squishy to solo, but a lot of fun. And I love the way she looks. :)