This month’s letter marks the anniversary of the game’s launch and it’s been quite a year by any estimation with more than its fair share of highs and lows. It’s kind of hard to reconcile that it has actually been a year already!
Before we get into the all important ‘come on, tell us something about the new stuff that is coming’ I thought I’d take a slight trip down memory lane on a few of the moments that have defined the Age of Conan experience for me personally.
I first heard of the project over five years ago, in the summer of 2004 when, as a freelance editor for IGN, I got to meet some of the folks from Funcom on a press tour in London. They let me in on what their next, then unannounced, project was. That project was Age of Conan, we sat in the hotel bar and talked for hours, (and incidentally was also the first time I saw a prototype demo for what would later become The Secret World!) headed out into Covent Garden and talked some more, and it was that meeting that started the conversations that would eventually lead to me being hired by Funcom later that year. There was a passion for what they did, and for the games they created evident even from those early chats, if the company hadn’t had that aspect and personality to it I doubt I’d be here writing this letter!
When the game was revealed to the public the following summer I got to do the annual trip around the various conventions and trade shows in my role as community manager. It was really during these shows that I got to see just how much people cared about the license and were passionate about seeing a virtual world based on Conan become a reality. It is still the same buzz I get whenever I get to meet gamers and the players of our games, it is your enthusiasm for what we do that really drives us to do what we do with these games. It is also what keeps us going when the pressure is on, and when we need to remind ourselves why we want something to be enjoyable. The greatest thanks as always goes to you, the players and community around our games, without you there really wouldn’t be much point for me to what we do.
Lastly being given the responsibility of leading the team responsible for Age of Conan has been the greatest honour. The team here are dedicated and passionate about the game, and while perhaps people get a little tired of me mentioning that again and again when they ask me what its like to work on a project of this scale and profile, I say it because it really is true. So my thanks also go to the team I get to work with each and every day. It is their creativity, effort, imagination and hard work that make the game what it is today.
Ok, anniversary induced musings on how cool it is to get work on these kind of games done with, what about the updates itself?
Update 1.05 incoming
The update has now been developing nicely on the test servers and we are getting close to when we will start to make the decision as to when it’s ready for the live dimensions. The feedback from the public testing has been invaluable and things are shaping up nicely. Lots has been changed, tweaked, added and improved over the last few weeks as the update has been put through its paces.
There are still a few more builds to go on the test servers at least, but we are now in the home stretch and we are aiming to try and have things ready within the next few weeks. There is still of course time for something to crop up, but right now we are working through the remaining tasks full steam. This update has involved a lot of work for the entire team and we are really looking forward to seeing it make its debut on the live servers.
Sometimes it’s the little things…
Large new outdoor playfield…check!
Dozens of new quests in said playfield with a cool, engaging new storyline…check!
New RPG System…check!
Ability, spell and feat updates for all classes…check!
Quite some headlines in this update! But with the focus of what we talk about in letters like these and the promotional material usually centering on those big headline features it is easy to forget that there is also always a lot of small updates, tweaks and changes that also serve to improve the game in numerous ways.
The coming update is no different, so I thought I would take this opportunity to go over some of the smaller changes that are coming soon that often slip in under the radar. Personally I think it’s just as important that we ensure these small changes also get into the update, as while they might not make for marketing friendly headlines they do add to the game, and address ideas and suggestions from player feedback…so what falls into this category this time round?
New Provisioners – These new vendors can be found in several places selling crates of certain potions and food so you don’t need to buy them one by one anymore. (The stack sizes of potions and food have been increased as well!)
City Life – Players will find their guild cities get a little more populated with NPC visitors, guests and residents. The guild cities should be a little livelier now!
'Path of Comrades' – A new recall ability (that shares it refresh timer with the path of Asura) obtained from your guild city allows you to return to your guild city.
More travel options – New NPCs in the guild cities will offer passage to several locations.
New Social Pets – Check out new vendors in the guild city for some new faithful companions!
Improved Guards – The guards across Hyboria should behave better around PVP and react against the correct targets. When you are tagged as the ‘aggressor’ in a fight will also now be visible in your GUI.
So as you can see, the 1.05 update isn’t just about the RPG and class system changes. You will also note that quite a few of the above are linked to adding more uses and functionality to the guild cities. As I have mentioned before this is an area you will see even more development on over the coming updates. This is just the start!
More on improved character options
Last time out I hinted that there was more to come in terms of the new options for characters that will go live in 1.05. Today I can confirm that we will also be awarding a free extra character spot to all accounts with six months or more subscription history. This means that from here on in, all subscribers will get a ninth character slot automatically once they have subscribed for six months.
This means that veteran six month plus subscribers will be able to take advantage of the new level 50 character even if their existing slots are full. This isn’t just a limited time offer either; the extra slot will become available to subscribers who pass the six month mark in future as well.
We are also planning on offering additional character slots for sale once the update goes live. There will be two additional slots available for purchase. These slots will be available to all regardless of subscription length. So a six month subscriber would have access to up to eleven slots in total (eight by default, one veteran slot, and the two paid slots) and new subscribers will have access to up to ten (eight by default, and the two paid slots).
It’s definitely been an interesting year, full of challenges and adventure, and we are really looking forward to the coming year as well. So the toast at the King’s Table is to the year that has passed and in anticipation of the year that is to come!
See you in Hyboria!
Craig 'Silirrion' Morrison
please. for the sake of the game dont RUSH the update to live... it will kill some things ingame.
i cannot speak for other class issues since i dont play them but the conq nerf was way over the top and something needs to be done BEFORE it hits live servers... otherwise conq will become the new (old) dt.
and the raidgear issue is still left on the field too. the difference between onyx t0 gear and t2 gear is not even 10% thats just way to small...its even less then NOW on live. please take your time with this update for atleast another month or so. if you rush it you could kill the game even more....
but thanks for the news its always good to see your letters on the forums.