Thursday, May 22, 2008

Age of Conan

I started Age of Conan with the guild from Fear the Boot on Tuesday night. Here are my first impressions:
Wow that is a lot of install/update time
OK, that's over with let's play the... not so fast! It never put an icon on my desktop. Ok there are a bunch to choose from here let's choose Age of Conan. A console comes up and nothing happens. OK, let's try patcher. I get an error message in which some of the characters are Chinese and none of them are Phoenician letters. No idea what that means. OK lets try the other patcher icon. It works!
Woops! spoke to soon. I can't see anything there is just sound. Ctrl-Alt-Del time, end process. Error message in Chinese again. And now I have only local network access not internet. This takes an hour and a half to resolve with Microsoft.
Looking at the AoC tech help forums I see that the game doesn't exactly work with ATI x series video cards. Pssssh! Who uses those anyway? Turns out you have to edit an .ini file to get the game to work. Sloppy, really sloppy guys. The x800 256 meg is a perfectly common card, how did you not know you would run into this? It's ATI for Christ's sake! What exactly did you do during Beta?
OK, it is up and running but it looks like crap. I spend a little while adjusting the settings and finally get it looking pretty good other than the shadows which look like Legos.
I make a character and immediatly exit back out to character creation to make an alt to reserve my names. Wait I didn't go back to character creation, I went all the way out of the game! I still haven't figured out how to get back to character select, if this is even possible.
Let's load up again. And I get the Chinese error. More time on the tech forums, turns out I have to delete some .ini files EVERY TIME I WANT TO START THE GAME! Who is running this show, Brad McQuaid?
So I get it back up and running again and finally start playing. First things first, the UI is crap. I prefer EQ1s UI to this. How do I add people to my friends list? Second I have to zone to enter a building. Let's talk about the games where I don't have to do this: EQ1, EQ2, WoW, EQOA, FFXI, UO... there is no excuse for this. There is no excuse when Turbine pulls it and none when you do either Funcom. It's lame. There isn't even anything inside the building and I have to zone.
The combat system is a bit of a let down. Yes, it is fun but once you adjust to the three attack buttons it is the same fun you have been having since you downloaded a fancy MUD client with buttons. It is hardly the promised revolution. Maybe it is better in PvP.
The enemy AI is, as expected, totally useless. We are talking DAoC Catacombs level stupid here. Guys just standing around with PULL ME signs. Oh well I guess PvP is supposed to be the focus, but still.
The world is a lot of fun, the character models are impressive and the quests are certainly more inspired than anyone else's other than LotRO and FFXI. The combat system is at least slightly more active than average. It is hard to tell how dynamic it is until I get into PvP since the mob AI is on the level of The Girls Next Door.
The game has a lot of potential and once I got playing it I had fun with the missions. The problem is, this was a shit launch guys. I know that it is way better than your last MMO launch but that was a long time ago. You are in a post LotRO launch world now. I wasn't too fond of LotRO but it worked when I put it in. I paid $49.99 for a box with the client in it, you need to support the video cards that you know you are going to run into on launch day. You need to not have to edit .ini files and delete files to get it to run. This is not acceptabe for something that came in a box. I had more trouble getting this to run than I did Vanguard...in Beta. Now, once I got it running it runs better than VG did but that is hardly something to be proud of. This is sloppy, careless work that quite frankly you should be ashamed of. It FUBAR'd my network settings, not acceptable.
The game is fun, there is a lot of potential and some good content here. I give it a 5/10 due to technical incompetence.

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