Age of Conan, or Warhammer?

First of all, I’m still on mmorpg break. This post is purely speculative, and it’s not like I’m going to plunk down $5 to pre-order Age of Conan and get all fired up about something new and shiny, only to realize I’m still burned out.

Ahem. Now that I’ve finished lying to myself, I’ve been debating the relative merits of Age of Conan (of which I have no first-hand information) against Warhammer (which I’ve played in the beta off and on for the past couple months). Mallika’s “helpful” link to a compilation of Age of Conan information, plus Bildo’s input, and watching Keen’s PvP weekend videos, suddenly put AoC on my radar.

If you search around my blog, you’ll find plenty of references to Dark Age of Camelot. It’s undoubtedly my favorite mmorpg experience, and I’ve been hoping that Mythic manages to capture lightning in a bottle twice with WAR. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed, even though the beta hasn’t clicked with me yet. I stumbled across the Online Gamer’s Anthology podcast from the Virgin Worlds Collective earlier this week, and episode #13 was reminiscing about DAoC from the perspective of Sean, a member of Hibernia on the Percival server. That was my realm, and my server, and listening to Sean’s recollections made me very nostalgic. Percival Hibbies were the best group of people I’ve ever gamed with. It was a roleplay server, which always has the potential for severe, over the top, cosplay-level dorkiness, but the Percival folks weren’t like that. I think I was lucky enough to find roleplayers who valued maturity and community more than carping about the proper way to speak, and the first couple years there were an amazing gaming experience.;

I think I’ll blog more about that later, since I’m trying to compare my feelings about AoC and WAR in this post. For now, I’ll just say that despite my initial lack of enthusiasm for WAR during beta, I’ll definitely be playing it when it’s released to see if the game as a whole manages to capture the magic of my DAoC days in Hib/Perc.

In fact, WAR was one major reason I hadn’t given Conan that much attention (the other major reason being blood and nudity). If WAR hadn’t slipped the release date again, I’m pretty sure I would have skipped Conan to devote all my game time to WAR.

Now that I’ve got at least a couple months of free game time, and now that I’ve seen what’s going on in Conan, I’m not sure I can pass it up. In fact, I don’t want to pass it up (Note to self: Just pre-order, would ya?). I’ve always been a big fan of Funcom’s adventure games, and I think they had some interesting ideas (but flawed execution) in Anarchy Online. The gameplay videos look like a lot of fun. There’s open world Rv…err, excuse me, PvP, with keep warfare, which was part of the RvR fun in DAoC. I’ve heard people saying that the game feels right, and that’s hugely important to me. As much as I respect what Turbine’s done with Lord of the Rings Online, the characters feel somewhat unnatural running through the environment.

It would almost be irresponsible of me to skip Age of Conan, wouldn’t it? I mean, how can I maintain any sense of credibility here if I don’t at least check it out (like I have any credibility anyway, but that’s not helping me convince myself)? If Mythic’s making me wait, I have to find some way to pass the time.

Shut up. I know it’s spring, and I should probably be outside and stuff. That’s not helping either!

Funcom mentioning a RPPvP server got my attention as well. Like I said, I’m not interested in talking like a stuffy medieval twit or boring my groupmates with how my character is like a druid or a vegan and doesn’t kill or eat animals, bla bla bla. I do appreciate that RP servers tend to weed out the Bonedude and Platedude types, though. Maybe I’m hoping for too much in wanting to recapture the sense of community I had playing Hibernia on Percival, but I’ll probably at least check out what Funcom’s shooting for with RPPvP.

Hmm, that last sentence is suspicious. It almost sounds like I’ve made up my mind to actually pre-order and play. I mean, if I’m going to play, I might as well pre-order, so I can get in a few days early and get a cool mount. Right? It’s only logical. It doesn’t mean I have a problem. I can stop any time.

I wonder if I have enough vacation time left this fiscal year to get a few days off at release. Hmm…

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14 Responses

  1. Hehe Rick. I knew that compilation link would come in handy. πŸ˜‰ I found some more really nice videos from the PvP weekend — one that includes character creation + commentary, as well as commentary on the UI elements — from a guy named Terras Erronis: http://www.youtube.com/user/TerrasErronis

    Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I think you’d enjoy AoC. Whether you’d enjoy it more than WAR remains to be seen, of course, but I think it wouldn’t hurt to preorder — at the very least, if you hit level 40, you could have a rhino or mammoth to show off to your daughter. πŸ™‚

    After browsing the Guild Hall in the AoC forums last week, I applied and got accepted into a really nice EU guild named Exalted (http://www.exalted-guild.org/ ). They call themselves a collection of aged weirdos (heh), and we’ll be playing on an RP-PvP server. Being part of a community has really made the whole AoC thing feel even better for me, because I’m part of a great group of people who are looking forward to doing such group-related activities as building a guild city, trying for a PvP battlekeep, high-end crafting, and the like. This is the first time I’ve ever joined a guild pre-game, and I must admit it’s really cool knowing that you’re going to be part of the guild from the start.

    I haven’t felt so involved in a community-type thing in a long time, and making lots of new friends is really nice — the fact that the majority of the gamers’ ages range from mid-20s to late 40s also is great. πŸ™‚

  2. Personally, and this is only because I’m in a similar boat, I’d say that you have a better chance of enjoying AoC as compared to WAR based on the fact that you’ve been experiencing MMO burnout.

    I “think” *wink* you’ll find enough stuff different and new in AoC to really enjoy your time there, however long it lasts. Give it a go, and be sure to let me know when you do. I’d love to game with ya (and Mallika too).

  3. Oh! And Exalted is great really. They’re part of my Clan Soup feature at TTH, and they really seem to have their act together. You’ll enjoy your time there, Mallika.

    Though now that I think of it… we won’t be playing together as I’m a silly US mofo.

  4. Bildo, I would totally love the chance of playing with you guys … If only Funcom hadn’t separated the NA/EU servers by the retail box. 😦 Basically, EU boxes can only access EU servers and NA boxes can only access NA servers. I wish they’d done it like EQ2 instead of WoW, but oh well.

  5. Ha, yeah, when the guild leaders told us about Exalted being featured at TTH, we were all glowing with pride. πŸ™‚

    (Sorry for hijacking your blog Rick! Just sent both you and Bildo an email asking about MSN options. *grin* Thought it might be fun if there came a time when we were online together and decided to get into a discussion on games/whatever.)

  6. Hijack away, it gives me plenty to read when I get a minute away from work πŸ™‚

    Bildo, I definitely want to find out if you’re right about AoC being different enough. Even if I’m wrong, I’m now curious enough about the game world and their design decisions to want to experience it for a couple months. I wonder if there were other people headed for WAR who might also be detouring into AoC. Funcom might owe Mythic a beer at the next GDC!

    Malika, I haven’t kept IM clients running in quite a while, I’m not sure I even remember my old MSN accounts. I could make a new one, I’ll look into it and let ya know!

  7. Rick, I think Keen mentioned that AoC wasn’t even on his radar at all because he was really gunning up for WAR — that is, until another delay was announced for the game. That was when he started looking at AoC and liked what he saw. I’m betting that there are quite a lot of people like him; I think the WAR delay has helped AoC quite a bit in that respect.

  8. Aye, it definitely has. We at TTH’s AoC portal were quite overjoyed when we learned Mythic was delaying and that ours was headed towards Gold copy.

    Now Funcom just has to capitalize on it. Erase the memory leaks that reared their ugly head in the PvP weekend, and have those servers ready for impact and I really think quite a few people will walk away shocked at how much they enjoy the game.

  9. Hey, great article. Im new to this blogging thing, but I also was looking at WAR and AOC pretty hard. Once WAR got delayed I focused strictly on AOC.

    While WAR looks like it will further refine the genre and quite possibly have the most engaging pvp to date. I kind of get the “been there done that” feeling.

    AOC looks fresh… It looks like it may be taking the next step in the genre. but of couse only time will tell.. After all if AOC flops in a few months we will all be geared up for WAR anyways πŸ™‚

  10. Hey Northsun,

    Yeah, while I still think I’ll be playing AoC for months to come, there’s no way I’m going to pass up trying WAR even if it ends being very old-hat compared to the fast-paced action of AoC.

    As an MMOG addict, I’m always game for new toys to play with. πŸ˜›

  11. Northsun, I get the “been there done that” feeling too. I’m hoping it’s just me, and I’m a little jaded. I’m seeing such a small part of the world in the focused betas. I do think it’ll feel more like a complete world when it’s live, and I think PvP will feel like it matters more too.

    And I’m with Bildo, I like trying most titles. There’s usually something to enjoy in most of ’em, even if they’re not keepers.

  12. I had an Alb on Perc, and I was actually just playing DAoC the other day, and it brought back some good memories. I have heard a lot of talk about Warhammer and Age of Conan, and I have decided on AoC. Of course Mythic has brought me tons of fun in my earlier years, but Age of Conan seems intuitive, interesting, and groundbreaking.

    I will probably have to try out Warhammer too of course, since it is like DAoC but upgraded. I am still kind of stuck between AoC and Warhammer, but on May 20th im hitting the latest Wal-Mart for AoC. If it doesnt fly, I’ll wait for Warhammer to come out.

    *Crosses fingers* lets hope this works!!

  13. That sounds like a good plan. There are things to like about AoC, and if you’re lucky enough to have a rig that A) has the horsepower to run it well, and B) avoid any of the odd bugs some of us encountered in open beta, you might find a good game in AoC.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for WAR, too.

  14. My vote goes to AoC but I’m biased

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