Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This Week in Hyboria #4

Crafting changes (in the works)
The queue system (very much like over the time system in AA) got replaced with resource system. Think of it as stamina or mana pool: you can cast only so many spells before it runs out and when it does it needs to regenerate mana before you can get back to fighting. Same will be true for crafting: you will have set amount of this resource (let's call it "crafting juice" for the sake of this post) and each item will cost some crafting juice to make. If you want to craft, for example, two swords which cost 10 crafting juice each and you have pool of 30 crafting juice then you will be able to craft 3 of those swords daily. Want more? Then you will have to wait set amount of time until your crafting juice regenerates. I think this is as good of a system as a queue which in my opinion should server one, main purpose: to prevent players from just shitting out items for hours one end. This is the main issue with current system: if I wanted to craft gems in order to level up guild renown I could have (because I had tons of uncut gems) been crafting gems for 3 hours straight. If you want to have healthy economy then you have to provide basic structure for ground level laws of economics: supply and demand. Under current system we have very little demand (whatever you can craft is horribly outdated in post ROGS reality) and abundance of supply because crafting materials cost next to nothing.


Skills system getting trashed
As you could have already noted the devs have removed some of the skills related to sprinting and self-healing.FC is planing to continue to do so in the future until the skill system is gone completely. I, for one, am welcoming that since I have always considered skills to be confusing and cumbersome.


New sprinting system
The new energy system is now live and I must say I am enjoying the hell out of it. To my surprise the feedback on forums is also overwhelmingly good just as it is inside the game itself. Seems like FC nailed it this time (sure, some tweaks will always be needed).


Assassin Useful Posts Thread
I have compiled a special thread on the official forum that contains links to all things assassin related. This thread contains stuff that you won't find on this blog since I am linking to the third party stuff. Make sure to be checking it from time to time since I will be updating it as new stuff will surface.


Podcast with Craig Morrison interviewed Craig Morrison. The interview is mostly about things we already know (one server tech, crafting etc.), but one thing caught my attention:

 „there is a one feature that I can’t talk about just yet and is coming to the item system that will make another difference there and it is another form of horizontal progression”

So new horizontal progression through items (check podcast at 28:40)? I can think of only 1 thing: leveling your WEAPONS Lord of the Rings style (check This kind of progression would have solved the issues with PvP weapons being inferior to raiding weapons: good and dedicated pvpers would have leveled their weapons enough to match those brought into the fight by well geared raiders. Of course Game Director could have had something different in mind when he was talking about "another form of horizontal progression". Only time will tell.


Lags, lags, lags...
Sadly the last patch totally messed up the servers and resulted in absurdly high pings. Seriously it was never this bad. Funcom promised to address it soon and to give subscribers free game time for their troubles. F2P crowd, you guessed it, can suck it.
As I am typing this the servers are going down for fix so I have my fingers crossed.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Energy changes: the systems revamp goes on

I gotta say it: when the Age of Conan came out in 2008 it was, system wise, in a very poor state. Whoever made those design choices was either extremely lazy or shortsighted. Most likely both.

Since 1.5 Age of Conan's team had to struggle to get the systems in checks: item stats, tokens, veteran rewards - the works. It really saddens me to think how many development cycles were dedicated to rebuilding systems rather that providing raw content. However I have to admit that focusing on systems is a necessary evil. Sure, whenever I hear about next idea for system changes there is always my initial response: "nnnnooooooooooo, its fine the way it is!". Prime example? Resurrection system in minigames: used to hate the very idea of a change, now I am wondering how 
we were ever playing without it. The stamina problem was evident since day one and it was one of my biggest annoyances in PvP. Hell, even my recently rolled "alt" Comgall (the barbarian) had huge stamina issues while cutting the vanirs to pieces in Conarch Valley. The change was needed and needed badly. Enter the energy revamp! You can read the official explanation of this system so I won't go over it again, all I want to say is that it just works.


When it comes to sprinting  assassin players (I don't know about other classes) will notice they can sprint longer. Not only the system makes you feel so, but also I could very much compare the changes during my solo questing. I know exactly in which parts of solo instance I would run out of stamina and with energy changes not only that I was able to run longer but when it was time to stop I was battle ready with full stamina for my combos. In PvP I haven't noticed any changes other than not having to worry about those annoying drains which before the patch could left me unable to sprint or even defend myself (not enough stamina to do combos). The casters still can be on the move and kite you, but if you die it will be due to GOOD KITING rather than you being out of stamina and unable to do anything. You can sprint even longer by managing rest and dash properly.
Fun fact: Dash used be called "Retreat" but it got changed due to MY suggestion on TL. That's right: BIG EPEEN!!
 Flag carring 
Obviously the energy change has it's impact on the flag carrying: quite simply it is no longer a chore. Sure, you will still be slow with the flag, but you can be very mobile (especially with accelerated) and fully engaged with the combat at the same time. Non tank flag carrier is no longer a sitting duck.

More changes
Funcom removed some skills from the skill tab (like endurance and bandaging) and plans to remove this "skill" system completely in the near future. Honestly I have always found it very confusing: no one knows exactly how some of the skills work and it feels very dated overall. I will be happy to see it gone completely.

The new rest ability is now what it should have been since day 1: super fast, super responsive and the healing/energy regeneration is rapid. Yes, the rest ability can return to your bar. But wait, there is more!! Developers decided to reduce the amount of time people are flagged as "in combat". In other words: you will go out of combat muuuuuuuuuch faster than before and it doesn't matter that your team is still actively fighting. What does that mean? Well, I got two words for you: rest and hide.

The new rest ability will come very handy in minigames without healer since it does it's job very well. I remember hating running away from the fights with like 700 HP left when the team did not have a healer because it would have taken forever to restore myself to full HP again. Those days are gone. As for hide then I don't think I need to explain much: use it and use it often! Remember that assassins have a special ability when attacking out of stealth which is 1 x face stab damage. Not only that face stab benefits from all of the upgrades (like +damage or +crit) but also doesn't make face stab ability go on cool down. Here is how you attack out of stealth:

1 x face stab
1 x face stab
remove shield
remove heal
....................and all that in mere 2 seconds.

That is massive damage and you can further increase it by using Lotus Overdose/Avatar/Liberation because none of those will break stealth upon usage. Today I have actually got out-of-stealth fatality in PvP which is just wicked cool (assassin cuts throat from behind with both daggers at same time).

To sum it up: great changes and the game will benefit from it for the years to come.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Update Notes 3.8 [Assassin]

  • Impede Essence will now allow the Impede Life combo to prevent an enemy from regenerating Energy
  • Bewilder will now allow the Blindside combo to prevent an enemy from regenerating Energy
all update notes are here.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guilds in Age of Conan

Recently I have changed the guild. The reasons for that are in this post, but it made me think of a guilds as a part of a game and how important they are to the overall experience. I have also thought about my previous experiences the guilds in Age of Conan.Turns out I am not a guild hopper and whichever guild I have chosen in the past ...I have stuck with it to the bitter end. Once again I am stepping into the muddy waters of AOC's guilds and this time around sweet end will be prefered. Lets go over my past guilds:

rise Leopards of Potain!!!

Leopards of Potain was a very small, niche guild of hardcore RPers. The guild was founded in may of 2008 and lasted couple of months. It was unique social experience since we were trying to stay in character also in guild chat (it worked ok but not great). This blend of new game feeling and all the wonders of Hyboria have created a mixture that was blowing our minds. There was only one time in AOC's history for such guilds to exists and I am very happy that I had my part in that. I remember our meetings in Old Tarantia and all the bad RP we were trying to pull. Definitely I will always go back to that period with a nostalgia in my heart. To this day I still think of my character as born and raised in Potain "the land of warmth and plenty, of beautiful men and ferocious warriors" (that "beautiful men" part makes me uncomfortable but still Potain is my home). The guild disbanded when some stopped playing and some started looking for more end game experiences. Simply put we have grown out of this niche thing. It was good while it lasted.

my old LOP forum signature. Soooooooooooo cheesy! But it is a good, old cheese....

The Imperium!
Imperium was the first serious guild that I have been a part of. It was very well organized and quickly gained dominance over the Aquilonia server. I really cannot recall whole lot about them other that it was good. This guild also had the most misterious ending: one day the leader announced that they are moving to...USA PVE SERVER?? And they were gone like that *snap*. Since I have been left alone it was time to move on to...

Sanguis Attexo
Another big and powerful guild of Aquilonia server. Matter of fact I am pretty sure that the power was it's undoing. The guild progressed so fast in it's raiding and dominated Keshatta so much (yes, back the Keshatta WAS the PVP content) that everyone wanted to be a part of it. As a result the guild became so large that it literally imploded on it's own mass and it's members became detached from the guild. I remember logging on and not knowing ANYONE even thou being member for several months at that time. Hungry for more PVP experience I have became....


That was the weirdest period in my AOC history. SCUM was an unique guild. I think I have joined the SCUM at the time when things were much more civil that they used to, but still it was very different from whatever Aquilonia could have offered at the time. The point of the guild was simple: if its red the kill it dead. It meant  killing everyone on your path, every time. I remember passing some guy questing in Tarantia Commons, minding my own business when it occurred to me "..oh wait, I forgot to KILL YOU!" So I ran back and butchered him in one of the nameless allies that Commons are full of. I have never killed someone that was fighting mobs or taking a quest, but apart from that it was pretty straightforward. But SCUM was a niche project and this time the small numbers proved to be it's undoing. Hardly anyone wanted to be part of server's biggest assholes and the SCUM quickly lost their raiding capabilities along with any chances to siege. The one day simply one of the old leaders showed up and told us that he was displeased with what SCUM has become and he booted like 3/4 of the guild. For few days we, formerly known as SCUM, tried to unite under new banner and we have failed to even come up with a decent guild name.

we are Exalted!

I have been with Exalted for over two years which I the longest I have ever been with one guild. They had it all: very nice community, city, raids, sieges. Definitely before the merge with Fury the Exalted were unmatched on Aquilonia. The merge threw us into the hell hole known as Fury and for many of our members it was quite the shock. The Aquilonia was a pvp server but it had style and the Fury was something more raw, tasteless and unappealing. Many of us have left the game and that point but the rest were slowly adapting. My biggest mistake in Exalted was never truly taking advantage of what guild had to offer. When there were still groups sign ups for minigames I were playing these with people from the guild, but when the premades were removed I have become isolated from the guild. I wasn't raiding, I wasn't doing much PVE so there was very little chance for me to socialize with people. In my mind I thought that I had time for all other activities, that was I was seeing in terms of Exalted's success with raiding and other things would last forever. All I had to do was "ding" pvp lvl 10 and I was free to enjoy the game with the rest of the guild. Of course all that it did not last forever. Over last few months the core of the guild have moved to other mmos and Exalted have became multi gaming community. Once again have was left in an empty husk rather than a guild. The history have repeated itself. Seeing how the core member have invested themselves in SWTOR, SW and how they are looking forward to Guild Wars 2 I have no doubts that the Exalted is Age of Conan.

Once again I have moved to another major guild with a nice community. The years have stepped me in wisdom and this time I will try to be more in touch with my guild Clan of The Free City.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

This Week in Hyboria #3

PvP items and level cap
We have confirmation that all signs point that yes, there will be craftable pvp items in the new crafting revamp update. However the level cap of 10 won't be rised any time soon (Funcom is pretty firm on that). I can only speculate that crafting materials for pvp items will drop from players in *gasp* PVP! We know that Funcom has a way of making drop happen only in certain area as body parts drop only in Border Kingdom and special social armor drops in HoC. There is a good chance that new pvp items will be equivalent to T3 Bori armor in terms of stats but with new look. It would make sense since there is no vanity option in PvP when it comes to minigames and Kingdoms pvp.


New info on upcoming add-on
Last month's Dev letter hints that the expansion reveal will take place in next couple of days. I fully expect same threatment as Savage Coast of Turan received: video walk through and series of interviews and Q&A sessions. The most important information is that the add-on will be aimed at high level players. I think it was a grand mistake for Funcom to make Turan add-on mainly for lvl50s (I do understand why they did it but that doesn't change the fact that it was a mistake). The current post lvl80 content has been ran to death by players and everyone is starved for long lasting end game experience.

source: is for sale
Everyone is still upset about closing down. It was the very last almost-up-to-date feat planner and as such it is greatly missed by the community. Although in-game build sharing is currently in the works Funcom has no short-term plans for offering any kind of off-line feat planner. But there is hope still: the contents of are already sold to a third party. Hopefully someone will take all that data and create new service for everyone to use.


Server mergers
The one-server-tech is already in the works and it's being implemented one step at a time. The next milestone is bringing the remaining servers together. Next week we can expect the following  changes:


* PvE CROM <- Mitra
* PvP FURY <- Asgard



In other words: ze germans are coming! I, for one, welcome that.

What we be getting is single server for both EU and US playerbases. ...unless Funcom deletes everything and starts fresh which, obiously, ain't gonna happen.


Pra-Eun and the Scarlet Circle
As your daily dose of lore/RP I do recomend "Pra-Eun and the Scarlet Circle" fan-fiction by ArcaneScientius. It is very well written and yet short and punchy. Just they way I like my fan fiction!


Facebook lol
The official Age of Conan facebook page had this update: "User Thomas Tran shares his view of the outskirts of Old Tarantia. Thanks for sharing!". What our brave men down at Funcom don't know is that in order to take this picture Mr.Tran had to "abuse" the geometry and world design in order to get to that place in which he shouldn't be. I am an explorer myself so I am not condemning Thomas, but I do find it super ironic that Funcom re-posts this picture after spending last 4 years patching up different places in Hyboria in order to PREVENT players from exploring them.


As always here are few links that you might find useful:

Third Time Lucky is a niche wiki for Age of Conan

Want to advertise (spam the global) about your guild? Here is a still working code generator that will make it a breeze