Age of Conan is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (“MMORPG”, or simply “MMO”) that allows players to roam the world of Hyboria and engage in an endless online adventure. The Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is based on Robert E. Howard’s “Conan” and gives its players the opportunity to do all sorts of wondrous and fantastical things such as meeting new friends, engaging enemies in combat and exploring all that Hyboria has to offer.
Howard actually wrote Age of Conan (“AoC”) in 1930 and this has ultimately allowed the character to grow both in popularity and mythology, directly contributing to the highly revered interpretation of the current King Conan of AoC. When your main character has been delighting and entertaining the masses for going on nearly a century now, you know you have a badass of epic proportions. Regardless of whether you’re a veteran fan of the works already or looking to become a huge fan through playing the Age of Conan MMO, get ready, because you’re in for a treat.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves — let’s start things out, as we always do, with a breakdown of the basics:
Number of players: Moderate
Type of MMO: MMORPG
EXP Rate: Moderate
PvP: Open world based
Filesize: 25,000+ MB (Installed)
Worth Your Time: Most Likely
Pros: Amazing, often breathtaking graphics; skillful, soulful voice acting; emotional, engaging and rewarding main storyline; refreshing, unique combat system; ample amounts of blood, gore and boobies (yes, that’s right — boobies!).
Cons: Overwhelmingly diverse amount of character abilities (and thus, as a direct extension, key binding); pretty significant learning curve; disappointing, skimpy quest rewards; incredibly large download and install size; requires a higher-end gaming PC.
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The real innovation that Age of Conan brings to the MMO world is its Real Combat system. Unlike other MMOs, users don’t just go on auto-attack and occasionally use a special attack. The Real Combat system allows players to approach a target and start swinging a weapon in multiple directions, simulating a real fight. This requires active participation by the player, who has to strategize, aim, and be well-coordinated.
A benefit to this approach to fighting is that the player can swing his weapon around his opponent’s guard, inflicting much higher damage, and he can swing once and hit multiple opponents, as might happen in a real fight. This real feel isn’t limited to melee fighters either. Ranged fighters have to be very hands-on in that they must actively aim and fire. This increased difficulty is rewarded by an increase in potential damage inflicted. Other important aspects of the AoC combat system is that players can define how to respond to different attacks, players can engage in combat while mounted, and of course, the fact that combat is very, very bloody.
Another unique aspect to AoC combat is the idea of spell weaving. This allows a player to link spells together before casting them, which means more damage can be inflicted at one time. Spells can also be woven by a group of players, enabling a group of spell-casters to create a unique attack that a single fighter could not, due to class/spell restrictions.
As with most MMO’s Age of Conan has Player Versus Environment (“PvE”) and Player versus Player (“PvP”) modes. In PvE mode, a player wanders through Hyboria engaging in quests and battles Non-Player-Characters (“NPCs”), which are computer-controlled enemies. In PvP mode, players can engage in combat in King Conan’s Border Kingdom, in bar brawls, and in many other places around Hyboria.
One of the best parts of PvP in AoC is defending a Battlekeep with your guild. A battlekeep is a building that you and your guildmates can either build or steal from other guilds in the Border Kingdom. Battlekeeps can be very well guarded by players, but a battle can break out at any time for control of one… so it is typically best to at least set up computer-controlled guards to stand watch while the guild is away.
Again, as do most other MMO’s, AoC allows players to choose a race and a class. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Aquilonian, Cimmerian, and Stygian are the available races. The classes are broken down by archetype. The Priests archetype includes: Priest of Mitra, Bear Shaman, and Tempest of Set. Rogues include Assassin, Ranger, and Barbarian. Soldiers include Guardian, Conqueror, and Dark Templar. And finally, Mages include Demonologist, Necromancer, and Herald of Xotli.
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Do me a favor and go look at the download/install size of this game up above. Then, combine this knowledge with the fact that you essentially need a gaming rig so powerful that it could technically man an entire nuclear reactor. Yeah, there you go — that should tell you all that you need to know about just how beautiful and gorgeous this game truly is.
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>> THE BOTTOM LINE
Whether you’re a true and loyal fan of the Conan series, are looking to become one or maybe just simply interested in straight massacring dastardly evildoers with absolutely enormous weapons in a gory, visceral dance. If so, then Age of Conan is your game and massacring dastardly evildoers your game. So what are you waiting for?
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FINAL SCORE: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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