Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lore Whore: Olgerd Vladislav

They say once a raider, always a raider (what? I raided Toth once, didn't care for it :P). I am talking of course about Olgierd Vladislav, a mysterious man that you can meet on your journey to the Khitai (far far to the east!). As you know there are two ways of going to Khitai and that is paying hefty price for the passage or hiring yourself as a caravan guard. If you have chosen the latter you will have to beat the random encounters. There are many types of those side quests and they were implemented into the game to portrait that you are in fact taking long and dangerous voyage in order to reach the land of Khitai. On one of those encounters the caravan will be attacked by a band of Zuagirs. After defeating the few waves of those ferocious warriors their leader will appear... Olgerd Vladislav himself!!

Who is this Olgerd I am speaking of?

"Conan lifted his bloody head.

"If I could come down from this beam I'd make a dying dog out of you,
you Zaporoskan thief!" he rasped through blackened lips.

"Mitra, the knave knows me!" exclaimed the other. "How, knave, do you
know me?"

"There's only one of your breed in these parts," muttered Conan. "You
are Olgerd Vladislav, the outlaw chief."

"Aye! and once a hetman of the kozaki of the Zaporoskan River, as you
have guessed. Would you like to live?"

"Only a fool would ask that question," panted Conan.

later on Conan joined Olgerd's band as a second in command and fianlly banished him from the camp:
"They took your orders, but they fought for me. There is
not room for two chiefs of the Zuagirs. They know I am the stronger
man. I understand them better than you, and they, me; because I am a
barbarian too."

"And what will they say when you ask them to fight for Khauran?" asked
Olgerd sardonically.

"They'll follow me. I'll promise them a camel-train of gold from the
palace. Khauran will be willing to pay that as a guerdon for getting
rid of Constantius. After that, I'll lead them against the Turanians
as you have planned. They want loot, and they'd as soon fight
Constantius for it as anybody."

In Olgerd's eyes grew a recognition of defeat. In his red dreams of
empire he had missed what was going on about him. Happenings and
events that had seemed meaningless before now flashed into his mind,
with their true significance, bringing a realization that Conan spoke
no idle boast. The giant black-mailed figure before him was the real
chief of the Zuagirs.

"Not if you die!" muttered Olgerd, and his hand flickered toward his
hilt. But quick as the stroke of a great cat, Conan's arm shot across
the table and his fingers locked on Olgerd's forearm. There was a snap
of breaking bones, and for a tense instant the scene held: the men
facing each other as motionless as images, perspiration starting out
on Olgerd's forehead. Conan laughed, never easing his grip on the
broken arm.

"Are you fit to live, Olgerd?"

His smile did not alter as the corded muscles rippled in knotting
ridges along his forearm and his fingers ground into the kozak's
quivering flesh. There was the sound of broken bones grating together
and Olgerd's face turned the color of ashes; blood oozed from his lip
where his teeth sank, but he uttered no sound.

With a laugh Conan released him and drew back, and the kozak swayed,
caught the table edge with his good hand to steady himself.

"I give you life, Olgerd, as you gave it to me," said Conan
tranquilly, "though it was for your own ends that you took me down
from the cross. It was a bitter test you gave me then; you couldn't
have endured it; neither could anyone, but a Western barbarian.

"Take your horse and go. It's tied behind the tent, and food and water
are in the saddlebags. None will see your going, but go quickly.
There's no room for a fallen chief on the desert. If the warriors see
you, maimed and deposed, they'll never let you leave the camp alive."

Olgerd did not reply. Slowly, without a word, he turned and stalked
across the tent, through the flapped opening. Unspeaking he climbed
into the saddle of the great white stallion that stood tethered there
in the shade of a spreading palm tree; and unspeaking, with his broken
arm thrust in the bosom of his khalat, he reined the steed about and
rode eastward into the open desert, out of the life of the people of
the Zuagir"

Title: A Witch Shall Be Born
Author: Robert E. Howard

Poor Olgerd Vladislav wasn't really good at this raiding and pillaging game since you can take him down personally in this encounter. Furthermore you can loot his mask and wear it proudly. Is Olgerd Vladislav truly dead? Well, did you check? He might return, he has a nasty habit for doing so...

Images taken from Conan: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Savage Barbarian . I highly recomend getting this book!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lore Whore: swooning women

There are some aspects of Conan that I roll my eyes at. You see Conan is not only about epic adventures. There are some, shall we say, recurring aspects of Conan and his saga that I simply can't take seriously (as much as I am serious about the rest of low fantasy fiction writings).

Conan always gets the girl but... 
Very few Conan stories doesn't have any womanizing in them (Phonenix on the Sword and Beyond the Black River are good examples). In most cases Conan wtfpwns everyone/big ape and runs away with a swooning gall in his arms. Few examples? Sure!

"Blood thickly clotted his black mane,
and one ear had been half torn from his head. His arms, legs, breast
and shoulders were bitten and clawed as if by panthers. But he grinned
as he braced his powerful legs, and swung on the wheel in sheer
exuberance of muscular might.

"What now?" faltered the girl.

"The plunder of the seas!" he laughed. "A paltry crew, and that chewed
and clawed to pieces, but they can work the ship, and crews can always
be found. Come here, girl, and give me a kiss."

"A kiss?" she cried hysterically. "You think of kisses at a time like

His laughter boomed above the snap and thunder of the sails, as he
caught her up off her feet in the crook of one mighty arm, and smacked
her red lips with resounding relish."
Title: The Pool Of The Black One
Author: Robert E. Howard

"He turned and lifted Olivia to her feet, from where she had crouched
shielded by the gunwales.

"And what of me, sir?" she asked.

"What would you?" he countered, watching her narrowly.

"To go with you, wherever your path may lie!" she cried, throwing her
white arms about his bronzed neck.

The pirates, clambering over the rail, gasped in amazement.

"To sail a road of blood and slaughter?" he questioned. "This keel
will stain the blue waves crimson wherever it plows."

"Aye, to sail with you on blue seas or red," she answered
passionately. "You are a barbarian, and I am an outcast, denied by my
people. We are both pariahs, wanderers of earth. Oh, take me with

With a gusty laugh he lifted her to his fierce lips.

"I'll make you Queen of the Blue Sea! Cast off there, dogs! We'll
scorch King Yildiz's pantaloons yet, by Crom!"

Title: Conan - Shadows In The Moonlight
Author: Robert E. Howard

"Well," said Conan, setting the girl on her feet within the sheltering
screen of branches, "we can take our time now. I don't think those
brutes will follow us outside the valley. Anyway, I've got a horse
tied at a water-hole close by, if the lions haven't eaten him. Crom's
devils! What are you crying about now?"

She covered her tear-stained face with her hands, and her slim
shoulders shook with sobs.

"I lost the jewels for you," she wailed miserably. "It was my fault.
If I'd obeyed you and stayed out on the ledge, that brute would never
have seen me. You should have caught the gems and let me drown!"

"Yes, I suppose I should," he agreed. "But forget it. Never worry
about what's past. And stop crying, will you? That's better. Come on."

"You mean you're going to keep me? Take me with you?" she asked

"What else do you suppose I'd do with you?" He ran an approving glance
over her figure and grinned at the torn skirt which revealed a
generous expanse of tempting ivory-tinted curves.  "
Title:Jewels of Gwahlur
Author: Robert E. Howard

I could go on and on about quotes like these. What is my point? Well, what do you think happened to those girls later on? Where are they? How did they part with Conan? It is one thing to get a girl that is 100% into Conan, depended on him and has no were else to go and other thing is dumping such girl. Did they die during one of the adventures? Perhaps Conan simply ran away from them? I cannot help but wonder. I think Funcom writers did awesome job of addressing this by putting Sansha on the Tortage. Sansha is the girl that Conan "won" (yeah, by killing the captain of the pirate ship). In Age of Conan she is the mistress of the bearded clam ...the finest whorehouse on Tortage. Of course we know nothing about how Sansha got on Tortage and started her business, but she speaks warm of Conan so I guess the parting must have been warm.

There is also another aspect of Conan's love life that I find ... intruding. It is Zenobia, the queen of Aquilonia. Conan in "the Hour of the Dragon" intended to make her his queen.

"You have not yet named my ransom."

Conan laughed and slapped his sword home in its scabbard. He flexed his mighty arms, and ran his bloodstained fingers through his thick black locks, as if feeling there his rewon crown.

"There is a girl in your seraglio named Zenobia."

"Why, yes, so there is."

"Very well." The king smiled as at an exceedingly pleasant memory. "She shall be your ransom, and naught else. I will come to Belverus for her as I promised. She was a slave in Nemedia, but I will make her queen of Aquilonia!"

Title: The Hour of the Dragon
Author: Robert E. Howard

But Conan keep a rather large ...shall we say "pleasure palace"?

"He had taken possession of the pleasure-palace, however, and Conan's girls were dragged to his quarters. The people muttered at the sight of the royal beauties writhing in the brutal hands of the iron-clad retainers--dark-eyed damsels of Poitain, slim black-haired wenches from Zamora, Zingara and Hyrkania, Brythunian girls with tousled yellow heads, all weeping with fright and shame, unused to brutality."

"And so, farewell, barbarian," mocked the sorcerer. "I must ride to Shamar, and the siege. In ten days I will be in your palace in Tamar, with my warriors. What word from you shall I say to your women, before I flay their dainty skins for scrolls whereon to chronicle the triumphs of Tsotha-lanti?"

Title: The Scarlet Citadel
Author: Robert E. Howard

What happened to Conan's "royal beauties" when Zenobia arrived to Tarantia? Conan simply disbanded his army of "dark-eyed damsels of Poitain, slim black-haired wenches from Zamora, Zingara and Hyrkania and Brythunian girls" ? I think not.

Zenobia is only mentioned in Age of Conan as she is pregnant with Conan and supposedly hidden. The fact that she is pregnant for four years now brings a quote to my mind: "Okay, first of all, Bonnie, you've been pregnant for like six years, all right. Either have the baby or don't (Petter Griffin, Family Guy). I very much think that after all those years Funcom OWES us the Zenobia. Shall we ever see her in Age of Conan? Time will tell.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

This week in Hyboria #2

New Minigame 
Game Director confirms that new minigame will come out at the same time as adventure pack. Seems like Funcom decided not to bundle the minigame with the add-on  and simply release them at the same time. I think it is wasted opportunity to test whether PvPers will pay for good PVP content. Hell, I would.

 source: twitter

New artwork 

As part of monthly teasers Funcom has released another artwork. I think the fresco portraits Bit-Yakin and his inhuman servants. Therefor the next add-on is based on Jewels of Gwahlur and the location is Keshan.

more on Bit-Yakin:

Longer post from Game Director
It's been a while since I have seen one of those longer forum posts from Silirrion. This time Game Director goes over some rewards in PvP and upcoming 1-server tech that is currently deployed in The Secret World

source: forums

One server technology
Speaking of 1-server tech you can check out details about that system in TSW blog post. I have already seen praises about this system on I, for one, can't wait to see it in Age of Conan. I don't think anyone is opposed to this system.

source: blog post

Know o Price...

Touchii of EU Age of Conan forums made a great post explaining the lead-in sentence from “The Phoenix on the Sword”. Very nice analysis of classic REH writings.

source: EU forums

More on add-on

Game Director confirms that the add-on will be about the size of Turan. That is pretty enigmatic considering that Turan wasn't really big zone-wise, but rather packed with few separate additions (2 solo instances, T3.5 raid and dungeon). I seriously doubt that Age of Conan needs any more raiding content at the moment, but time will tell.

source: twitter

More on crafting
Silirrion did not say "NO" to the idea of PVP crafting. The conversation started with lack of goals in PvP after hitting lvl10. My idea is allowing players to craft armors with same stats as lvl10s, but with different looks. Finally the whole crafting system is a foundation for additions down the line of development. From what I understand the crafting revamp is a lot more comprehensive than one might expect. There are many aspects of the game that are linked to the current, broken system (like Taratia Commons riots or T3 crafting) and all that has to be changed. I am super excited for this content.

source: twitter

More delays
As the community update for the 13 th states the next patch with TOS and stamina revamp might hit live... around the end of August/beginning of September. That is freaking long wait for some mere system changes. Let's hope that soon after this is done we will get the crafting revamp on TL.

source: EU forums

Tempest of Set revamp
For those without TL forum access - here are the complete patch notes:
Update Notes for Sprint/ToS Changes
**These notes do not necessarily reflect the final version that will be deployed on Live**

* The Sprint revamp has been re-enabled in this version *
Additional sprint changes will come in future testlive updates.

Class - Tempest of Set

    Reduced cast time and tweaked damage of Lightning Strike. The cast time is now 2 seconds, the DPS of this spell will be the same.
    Charged Blast now innately does splash damage on up to 2 additional targets.
    Storm Nimbus has been redesigned to increases the armor and spell penetration of all team members.
    Cobra Stare and Constriction now innately have the health break percentage as the former Empowered Cobra Stare feat upgrade granted.
    Degradation of Set no longer affects Storm Field.
    Changed the gain level of some spells to improve the gameplay experience of low level priests.
    Clarified several feat and spell descriptions.

Thunder Tree

    Redesigned the Storm Crown feat line. The second and third rank of Storm Crown now also increase the amount of targets hit. Storm Throne was reduced to two point feat, increasing the damage and targets of Storm Crown in addition to adding Elemental Torments on targets (50/100 %). Storm Regalia was reduced to a single feat point, increasing the electrical damage done by all team members and granting their weapon attacks a chance of restoring the team's mana.
    New feat in the Thunder tree: ‘Serpent’s Twist’. Increases the tempest’s chance to resist most Snare effects.
    ‘Improved Cobra Stare’ has been replaced with the new 3-point feat 'Set's Entrapment'. Increases the duration of the tempest’s Cobra Stare (+Constriction) and Quicksand spells.
    New feat in the Thunder tree: Piercing Storm Crown. Increases the critical chance and critical damage of Storm Crown.
    'Static Blood' has been replaced with the new 5-point feat 'Energized Soul'. Grants all allies affected by Vitalizing Jolt a retributive damage buff.
    Tweaked the duration and reuse of time of Idol of Set to make it more mobile.
    ‘Set's Life Spark’ is now a permanent buff that persists until used.
    Improved Call Lightning was moved to level 40 in the Thunder tree.
    The Storm Blood Feat was moved to level 40 in the Thunder tree.
    Triumphant Life of Set was move the Aura of Nebthu line (level 50) and changed to a spell which allows the tempest to chose whether or not Life of Set inflicts AoE damage.
    The base health gain of Vital Shock was increased by 50%.
    Staggering Voice has been redesigned from a root to a 6 second snare.
    New feat in the Thunder tree: Vitality of Set: Increases the critical chance of Vital Shock and the healing power of Vitalizing Jolt.
    New feat in the Thunder tree: ‘Improved Thunderhead’: increases the base spell damage bonus granted through the Thunder buff.
    Reduced the cast time of Summon Aura of Nebthu to 1,5 seconds (down from 2,5 seconds)
    Divide and Conquer, Shock and Awe and Prison of Souls have been removed and replaced with other new feats.

Lightning Tree

    ‘Arcing Charged Blast’ now increases the splash damage and crit chance of Charged Blast.
    Grounding Charge has been replaced with the new feat 'Set's Empowerment': Increases the tempest's Constitution and Hit Rating.
    Rousing Shock was turned back into a spell that in addition to removing all Stun effects from the group provide a short period of Stun immunity.
    Lightning Sparks was moved to the Lightning tree. Lightning Sparks will now increase in damage as it is channeled. Additional feats in Lightning Sparks will now also increase the damage of the spell, and the Spark Storm effect can now in addition be applied by the Charged Blast spell.
    Added Call Lightning to spells affecting Faithful of Set.
    ‘Brutal Lightning’ and ‘Fury of the Storm’ in the Lightning Tree now also upgrade the crit chance and critical damage bonus of Lightning Sparks.
    Reduced the feat points for ‘Ether Absorption’ to 3 (down from 5) to balance mana income.
    New feat in the Lightning Tree: Spell - Force of Lightning: Grants a spell that enables the tempest to energize a friendly target, improving the Armor and Spell penetration of the target's next attacks. Allies near the target also receive a lesser penetration bonus. This feat replaces 'The Building Storm'.
    The cast time on Column Lightning has been reduced to 2.5 seconds.
    Lightning Arc feats now also grant a 33/66/100% chance of gaining the Spark Storm effect when casting Charged Blast on a target that has Arc Lightning running. This can however only be applied every 8 seconds.
    Titanic Storm will now only increase the amount of targets hit (as the description already stated).
    New Lightning tree feat: ‘Jurisdiction of Set’ Augments the Charged Blast and Lightning Strike spells by increasing the range and the damage they inflict.
    New Lightning tree feat: ‘Lightning Storm Nimbus’. Improves the Storm Nimbus spell by increasing the magnitude of the team's critical hits (critical damage rating), in addition to increasing the armor and spell penetration effect.
    The ‘Brain Spasms’ spell has been improved, it will now grant a sprint reduction in addition to a spell damage increase for 15 seconds when recovering from a stun, silence or fear effect. The cooldown was also reduced by 30 seconds (now 2 min 30 sec).
    New Lightning tree feat: ‘Spell - Shroud of Serpent Scales’. The tempest summons a shroud of armored serpent scales. This grants the priest a strong defense against physical attacks for a short period of time.
    Cyclone of Set is now a standalone 1-point end feat in the Lightning tree. Grants a spell that enables the tempest to summon an elemental cyclone that continually inflicts electrical damage to nearby enemies in addition to slowing down their movement.

Alternate Advancement

    The Idol of Dark Rejuvenation totem now has a unique color.
    Clarified the description of Leviathan's Call. Each melee attack against affected enemies has a chance to refresh the duration of all active Elemental, Physical and Spiritual ruins.
    Forked Lightning now also grants a decrease in the casting time of Lightning Strike.

Class - Priest of Mitra

    Reduced the mana cost of the Rebuke spell.

Priests - General Tree

    Replaced the Ether Flow feat with the new feat 'Rejuvenating Spirit'. Increases the power of the priest's Emanation of Life, Renewal and Healing Lotus spells.
    The General tree feat 'Healing Spirit' has been made into a 5-pointer and redesigned to now increase the power of the priest's self-heal component of the Wave of Life, Blood Flow and Life of Set spells.
    The General tree feat ‘All-Encompassing Spirit’ has been de-linked from the feat ‘Guiding Spirit’. Also clarified the feat descriptions for these.
    ‘Shroud of the Gods’ was moved on step up in the tree.
    New General tree endfeat: ‘Spirit of Vitality’. Augments the Divine Vigor, Mark of Set and Spirit of the Bear spells by increasing the amount of life the priest’s team gain.

The General tree feats 'Focus' and ‘Soothe the Soul’ have been removed.
Age of Conan: Hamlets of Aquilonia
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