Coming In Under The Radar – Part 3
Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures
©2008 Jim (James) McIntyre
3. Age Of Conan: Hyborian Adventures
Published by: Eidos Interactive
Developed by: Funcom
Genre: Online Action Rpg
Release Date: Q2 2008
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games have never had much success on consoles. Funcom is looking to change that this year with Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. The reason this one has made it to the list is simple, nobody seems to realize its coming out on the Xbox360 as well as the PC. That and it looks really good.
Firstly you will create a character from a fairly detailed character creation menu. You do not get to pick your class straight away, but instead you pick your race from one of three races Aquilonian, Cimmerian or Stygian. At level five you choose your class. This means that you get to figure out what you are doing before being forced to make such an important decision. The classes are priest, rogue, soldier, and mage.
From level one to twenty you can choose to play by yourself or online, but once you reach level twenty the game becomes a completely online game. Also at level twenty you get to choose your class specialization. For some classes the specialization options differ depending on the race you have chosen.
Leveling looks like it will play out the same as most MMO’s with the player completing quests and generally killing things to gain experience to level up. The developer has said that there will not be as many grinding quests as in most online games and that many of the quests will involve puzzles that require solving.
All that is pretty much standard fare for MMO’s, with players leveling, forming guilds, and fighting each other. Although unlike most MMO’s this game is dark, violent, and mature, but where AoC:HA really sets itself apart is both the combat and the cities.
For more screens and 3 videos . . .
When a guild has enough resources they may purchase a piece of land and construct a player city. Constructing the cities takes a large amount of resources and players can choose which buildings to construct in their city such as blacksmiths, taverns, and markets. Other players cannot attack Player cities, but NPC’s will slowly build up a city and attack yours. To ensure every guild has the opportunity to have a player city the cities are instanced, meaning that multiple cities can be on the same plot of land.
As well as player cities guilds can build battlekeeps, but unlike the player cities there can only be nine battle keeps per server as there are only nine plots of land that can house them. These ones can be attacked by other guilds and by using siege weapons and fighting the defenders they can be taken over.
The combat uses what Funcom is calling the “Real Combat” system. With this system players can choose to swing at different areas of target enemies. The same system is used with spells, ranged combat, and mounted combat. Apparently the idea of the system is to make the fighting use more player skill.
There are a few concerns that will hopefully be alleviated as more information is announced. The biggest of these concerns for me would have to be how they do the chat system on the 360. It seems that any way they did it the communication would be frustrating if there was some form of general chat or even a guild chat. At the same time these chat channels seem like they would be necessary if the game was to compete with other MMO’s on the market. I apologize for the lateness of this post, but I had been hoping to hear back from Funcom before posting this so that we could clear up some concerns. If we do hear back, look out for a follow up article.
©2008 Jim (James) McIntyre
Tech Demo and Story Video:
Filed under: Console gaming, Microsoft Games, Xbox 360 3rd Party Games Tagged: | "age of conan hyborian advantures", "Age of conan", "hyborian adventures", "online action RPG", age of conan hyborian adventures, conan, Eidos Interactive, Funcom, hyborian, massive multiplayer, MMORPG