Previews// Age of Conan - Hyborian Adventures

Posted 28 Apr 2008 17:52 by
From New York City

I hate MMORPGs. They all sound like fantastically boring affairs and the one that I have actually played, the almighty World of Warcraft, bored me enough that I didn't even play beyond day two of my 10 day free trial. I love the idea of MMOs, but it's the RPG that seems to be lost on me. Turn-based, stat-based combat was a necessity in the 'good old days' and even back in the beginning of pen and paper RPGs, but now that we have computers capable of accurately simulating real-time combat, I simply can't see the fun in watching a 3D model act out dice rolls. The whole thing feels like LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) for people who can't sew.

If only someone would make an MMO where skill was rewarded instead of time. Where you actually have to think on your feet and react quickly and do more in a battle than click your right mouse button.

What if you where rewarded for your skill by being able to obliterate your enemies in fun and bloody ways? Well, someone has made that game, and frankly I'm scared. I've been able to resist the siren call of the MMO for a long time, mocking my friends as they wasted their lives grinding away, but after seeing an hour-long demo of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures I don't think Iíll be so able to pass up another free trial.

Character Customization
From the minute the demo started I knew the guys at Eidos were out to get me and my kind. One thing that I was very put off by early on in WoW was the lack of variety in the characters. How can people be expected to feel at all attached to their characters if every tenth avatar you pass looks almost exactly like yours.

The customization in Conan is not just a matter of choosing one of three painfully similar faces for your chosen race, but a full character editing utility that rivals Mass Effect and Oblivion. The best part of this is that because of the rather impressive graphics engine Eidos has, you can actually see people clearly enough to recognize them. Being able to see a friend walking down the street and knowing who they are without having to read a flying word bubble over their head is a welcome change in my book.

Conan history and background
One of the key features of Conan that the developers were keen to point out was that the Conan world (1932) is older than Lord of the Rings (1954) (The Hobbit 1937) and has even more source material to pull from.

While this is great for those who are true Conan fans (beyond just the Arnie movies) it probably wonít mean much for the rest of us. For me, Conan requires an Austrian accent. At least the book, comic, movie and real life versions are all womanizers, so there's some constancy. Still, it must be nice for those who know it to see particular locales rendered in real time. For me this game will have to stand on itís own in spite of itís license, rather than on it.
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