Age of Conan: Beta start delayed

So Funcom’s going to push one more patch to beta users before they open the servers. I probably won’t get to play until much later this evening, which I kind of expected. It’s pretty rare to jump right in on the first day of a beta launch and get to play immediately.

While I was logging in, fixing a small video problem, and trying to customize my interface, I was reminded why mmorpg’s are complicated compared to a lot of console games. First, just making sure your computer has the latest software requires some knowledge about downloading and installing programs. Second, knowing how to research possible problems takes experience. I didn’t have any trouble finding the resolution for my video problem on the forums, but there are lots of posts from users having the exact same problem, and apparently they don’t know the basics of troubleshooting.

First, search the forums. If you’re experiencing a problem first day, it’s likely that other people are experiencing it, and they’re already talking about it. Like my problem, the solution was already available. Don’t post about your problem before you search. Second, relax. If you’re not comfortable or experienced with troubleshooting PC games, you’ll get plenty of good advice by searching forums. Troubleshooting games is pretty much what got me started in the tech industry. I could fix a lot of things just because I was comfortable mucking around in autoexec.bat and system.ini files trying to get games running back in the day.

Finding and fixing problems is usually pretty straightforward if you search forums for help. It’s evident, from the frantic posts about problems that have already been answered elsewhere in the forum, that some people haven’t figured this out yet. Instead of doing a little research, they panic.

Another barrier to entry for mmorpg’s (or PC games in general) is getting comfortable with the options for a game. You have to know what your computer can handle graphically and choose the appropriate settings. A basic understanding of re-mapping your inputs is a huge help. Even knowing that it’s possible to remap keys, or having a strategy for effective remapping, requires a decent amount of gaming experience.

I love PC gaming and all the freedom and customizability that comes with it, but when I’m excited to just jump into a game and start playing, I’m reminded exactly how much work goes into getting your machine set up just right. I was tempted to bypass all the customization and just log in, but I knew I couldn’t work with the default WASD setup. I still use a modified Quake keyboard map that I’ve refined over 12 years of FPS and mmorpg playing. So, I have to be patient, and re-configure everything before I launch the game.

And speaking of that, I couldn’t change my key bindings. Either it’s because the servers weren’t available yet, or there’s another issue I have to track down. Pardon me while I go and search the forums 🙂


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