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Age of Conan Director Leaves

GamesIndusty.biz reports that Gaute Godager has left Funcom, saying the producer and game director on Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is acting on his dissatisfaction with some elements in the recently launched MMORPG. A follow-up post quotes Funcom's European product manager, Erling Ellingsen, who says Godager "wanted to take the consequence" of these aspects of AoC by leaving the company he co-founded 16 years ago. While Ellingsen declines to specifically identify these elements, he does offer insights into areas of dissatisfaction in his outlook on what this will mean to players of the MMORPG: "The first things will be that we are updating the PVP, we're adding new PVP features and that's something players have been requesting for months now, they've been screaming at us. Next new content will introduce new areas into the game, new quests, hours of more exploration and so on. That's two of the things we're working very hard on right now." The Age Of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Website has a full announcement that Godager's successor is Craig Morrison (once of IGN), who previously served as producer and game director for Anarchy Online. They quote Morrison on his mission: "I have a clear conviction I can lead the further development in a good way, evolving Age of Conan into something even better. My main priority now is therefore to listen to, and act on, player concerns, while ensuring we add additional great content to the game."
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25. Sorry I misspoke, Tumbler Sep 18, 2008, 13:01 Paranoid Jack
 
I should have said days not hours. Not sure what I was thinking. I'll blame it on this damned head-cold. Either way I apologize. It's more like two or three days to level out of Tortage depending on several things. Like character type, server type, your knowledge of objectives, and your willingness to click through dialog (bad thing IMO). Again, this is not the preferred method of playing AoC since it has a lot to offer story wise. But if you are tired of Tortage skip the content and go straight for the quest objectives.

Also the only way you're going to be able to run through Tortage is to be on a PvE server... maybe by grouping on PvP through out the Day missions. On PvP you're slowed by the other players. Not that I minded. I loved it.

One thing that occurred to me and maybe Fion (or another current player) can tell us. Since most of my time playing AoC was in beta... have they changed the leveling and/or questing XP since going retail? Not sure I noticed it but then I wasn't rushing to get out of Tortage and I was focusing on two characters not a new one every week. In beta I know I regular ran through Tortage in a couple days. They were wiping characters once a week it seemed like.

I can't go into any greater detail than this... focus on missions. Grinding is the slowest way to level in AoC. Do a few low level day missions in and around the city but more so use the Night missions until you run into a level requirement. At that point jump back into the Day missions and group if possible. Avoid combat if possible (depends on your character). Once you get to fifteen I think one of the requirements was switch back to Night.

I think the key to it is knowing the area, the objectives, and the content well enough that it allows you to skip the voice acting. Not sure why you would want to since that is one of the best things about Tortage. It has the single-player cRPG feel in a MMO. Anyway, I was just trying to recover ground lost during the character wipe.

You probably already know this. The last mission on the harbor before you leave Tortage is a bit tricky but try to avoid the groups running crazy and go toward the dock as soon as an opening appears. I think it's the Captain you kill to trigger the next part. So many people would try to kill everyone in the harbor. You can't. They constantly respawn.

Hope this helps... if you've made it out at level 18 you're doing well on those last missions. I think I was 19 minimum when exiting Tortage.

 
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24. Retrospective Sep 17, 2008, 23:22 scratz
 
AOC had a lot of problems that were apparent but ignored from the get-go, some of which were inherent in the design, unfortunately.

They catered too much to the "hardcore" PVP crowd, and alienated the average users.

They spit polished the first 30 levels, and left the last half sorely lacking. For example, a rich quest based PVE game literally vanishes at 50, and you are left to grind mindlessly for the next dozen levels before it resumes. Then, in one of the more baffling design decisions I've seen, the game bottlenecks its 80s in the smallest zone in the game. Sounds like that problem has only received the slightest attention, even with this new patch.

A seemingly creative idea to provide multiple instances for a single zone on each server failed to pan out well. Where on the one hand it prevented spot camping, on the other it made even the most full servers feel empty, and often confused those new to the game. "Wait, I'm standing right there and I don't see you?!?! Huh? I have to go to the graveyard and do what?"

Launching with no PVP ruleset built into the mechanics = stupid. It is no accident that its final arrival now is being celebrated. Funcom failed to recognize that the vocal minority that demanded no ruleset at launch were just griefers out to ruin the game in the name of their own shallow entertainment.

And really? Is there *still* no DirectX 10? Say what you want, a huge part of this community were the eye candy junkies, and we were surprised, to say the least, when this feature was removed at launch and turned into a mule's carrot.

There are probably people right here on Blues that will argue each of these points. Before you bother, I'd advise you look at the real statistics, where you may notice that upwards of 75% of games sold are not in active use (that is not a made up number, by last count there are less than 400k active accounts on a game that bragged about 1.5 million presold). And then check on the official forums where people are already asking for server merge or character transfer because their servers are empty.

All that said, I do still see promise in AOC. If it can survive this period of "live beta" it could indeed shine. I know I'll probably jump back in the water next summer and see how its come along. Maybe these changes will facilitate that after all.

 
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23. Re: History repeats itself... Sep 17, 2008, 23:04 Tumbler
 
After you know the locations it takes about two or three hours to level most characters. And although I never got bored of it my friend only made it out of Tortage once and then canceled because he didn't want to level another character out of the city. He's the click through a quest without reading it type though... and that says it all.

Can you go into more detail? This was a huge reason I quite as well. It took me approx 2 weeks to get out or tortage, maybe a week and a half, and it was a ton of work.

I wanted to try other characters but I have no interest in doing tortage again. I think Funcom should have given players the choice of bypassing tortage and starting a lvl 20 toon just past.

I still can't wrap my head around how you can get through tortage in 3 to 6 hours. The final quest requires you to be level 18+ or something, how do you lvl to 18 plus in 3 hours? Or 6 hours?

 
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22. Re: No subject Sep 17, 2008, 21:00 Fion
 
IMHO Gaute doesn't deserve half the crap he gets blamed for. He's the head behind some of the most innovative features in the genre.

I cant wait to see where Craig leads the game though. IMHO AoC didn't get better after he took over, it got less and less focused on it's original design ideals. But it did improve technically and content wise, significantly.

 
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21. Re: No subject Sep 17, 2008, 20:44 Fibrocyte
 
Guate Milk?

LOL!!

Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ!

 
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20. Re: History repeats itself... Sep 17, 2008, 20:44 A51Abductee
 
Just FYI the long-awaited "PvP" patch for AoC finally came out today and is now live on the servers. The patch notes are extensive, and go well beyond PvP. My favorite: no more lame cotton drops, woo.

 
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19. Re: History repeats itself... Sep 17, 2008, 20:29 AnarKane
 
And there goes Funcom... too bad Craig's the only person there that's worth a damn. And don't get me started on their board mods and GMs (especially that cocksucker Sojourn).  



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18. Re: History repeats itself... Sep 17, 2008, 19:33 Paranoid Jack
 
True, I believe they did what so many other developers have done... push out a MMO in the hopes that they can finish the content after release. The content that they didn't have enough time to get to. The features they didn't finish implementing.

It doesn't really matter who made the call (developer or financier) to go retail too soon... before polishing or finishing all the content. But you can understand their train of thought. They get it onto store shelves they get paying customers who help finance the continued work of the title. It's become one of the corner-stones of MMO design.

edit: I was just thinking... some developers/financiers believe that business model is the foundation (not the corner-stone) to any MMO design. I've test several games that should never have gone retail at their beta state. And a few others that never made it to retail. Somebody got smart and pulled the plug before wasting anymore of the investor's money.

That said I think AoC will be around for a long time. And will mature nicely over the next year. Bad news is there are a dozen other companies trying to hit the mother load. They all want to be the next WoW and get their license to print money. Also we as PC Gamers are far less forgiving than the console crowd.


This comment was edited on Sep 17, 13:48.
 
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17. Re: History repreats itself... Sep 17, 2008, 19:25 The Half Elf
 
Jack, as a ADD Gamer, as much as I like AoC, I personally could not find any compelling reason to subscribe to the game in it's current state.

You have everything to 'wtf did this happen in the first place?' to 'ok wtf is going on with Funcom and why aren't we getting more direct communication from them' situations.

I will agree the combat system was great, only to be kicked in the groin by casters, and some major balance issues.

Storytelling wise... I thought it was WONDERFUL until I left Tortage and all the NPC's quit talking.
They really nailed the voice acting with the 'mood' of what was going on, and they voice acting was excellent and really prooved that a 'talking MMO' could actually work well beyond Everquest 2. Once the NPC's quit talking I left like I was back in every other MMO, where it's down to skimming the quest text, find the important parts and head off and kill stuff.

I will also say that AoC did a GREAT job on using the environment in it's quests. From climbing to sneaking, it was well thought out and well implemented.

But sadly it's not enough to overlook the other issues with the game. Maybe in 3 or 4 months I'll see what's improved, but as it stands, I have no desire to go back.

 
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16. Re: History repreats itself... Sep 17, 2008, 19:15 Fion
 
I agree with everything you said Jack.

I would include however that I think Tortage was were Funcom stumbled. They spent so much time making Tortage an amazing experience that the rest of the game was lacking, especially after lvl 50 or so. Anyone who was in beta knows that 80% of the patch notes from early beta to just before release, pertained to Tortage and that almost all the content past that and at the high end of the game didn't even come in for testing until the last few months of beta. Cities, raids, crafting, etc. Some things, like end game sieging, wasn't in beta at all.

But that said I do totally agree that what is there in AoC, is fantastic and extremely well done and extremely enjoyable. The graphics are amazing, the combat is exceptional (though I had hoped for so much more out of Spellcasting and believe that we will see the developers come around to improving it and making Spellweaving much more useful, but even then the spells in the game are crazy cool for many classes.) The raid system, the way healing works, the art direction that is simply and utterly the best in the genre.. everything about AoC is fantastic.

If only they had taken another 6 months to get the later game/end game content done and polished and the PvP system done. But if they did they'd have had WAR and WotLK as direct competition.

But IMHO, if Funcom can fix these issues sooner rather than later, they'll see a lot of folks come back to the game. I know a great many folks who no longer have an account with the game, myself included. And every one of them is eagerly awaiting things like end game PvE content, the PvP system, polish and content in end game PvP Sieging. When this stuff comes in a lot of folks are going to go back to AoC. But if they take to long.. they will have already moved on.

This comment was edited on Sep 17, 13:17.
 
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15. History repeats itself... Sep 17, 2008, 19:02 Paranoid Jack
 
... and that is not always a bad thing!

Can you honestly say Gaute was/is a horrid designer/product manager? He made a huge amount of great design decision's. There is a lot of great content in AoC. It's just sad most people have ADD and won't take the minute it requires to actually read the fucking quest before clicking Accept or Decline. I bet most only glance at the reward/loot and click, click, click away. Which is fine as long as you're not one of the people crying the game is boring or lacks content. Not that it doesn't need more content in the top half.

AoC has by far the best combat of any MMO. I think most people will agree with that. It has the best quest story-telling... even above LotR in my opinion. But then most MMO stick to the short blurb of info to give you a quest to keep you and your short attention span moving right along. And I'm guilty of it at times myself but I won't be crying about a game being boring when I'm not taking the time to actually read the content provided.

The only reason I canceled my account was to play the WAR beta. Other wise I'd still be playing it now. It's an over-all good game. Just the high end content and PvP/RvR needs to be fleshed out or filled in.

I will definitely return to it. WoW and LotR? Probably not since WAR is the new MMO crack. Of those two LotR is more likely to get me back with their add-on. Anyway, I loved AoC and played numerous characters (too many to remember) out of Tortage and several up into the low forties during beta and retail. I'll return to the game sometime in the next six months depending on the updates.

Either way I've no regrets buying it. It's a good game and well worth your time for at a minimum two months of play. Oh, and by the way (think I mentioned this before) Tortage only takes three to six hours unless you spend a shit-load of time exploring and/or dying.

Whatever you do don't click through the quests. Each character has a different angle on the situation unfolding within the city.

After you know the locations it takes about two or three hours to level most characters. And although I never got bored of it my friend only made it out of Tortage once and then canceled because he didn't want to level another character out of the city. He's the click through a quest without reading it type though... and that says it all.

edit: Just noticed his typo in the title... repreats... too funny.
This comment was edited on Sep 17, 13:34.
 
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14. empathy Sep 17, 2008, 18:52 Kxmode
 
If you've ever been in a position of overseeing design direction on a project and noted how barely anyone gives a rat's ass about adhering to your directions, this goes beyond frustrating. It's basically all the motivation you need for leaving.

From my experience I know exactly how Gaute feels and donít blame him for leaving.

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13. Re: History repreats itself Sep 17, 2008, 18:35 Fion
 
AoC is really a ground breaking MMO on so many levels. I really hope that this leads to a more positive outlook for the game.

I agree, but the game has so many pit falls and unfinished content and stuff that should have been in for release, same with AO, that it is practically bottoming out.

AO however went on to be the most innovative and unique and fun MMOG of it's time. But it was released during a time where folks weren't as harsh about unfinished MMOGs because they were all unfinished. AoC having come out after WoW and LotRO, it's failures are a direct result of intolerance in the community anymore.

And to clear up some questions, Guate never 'left' Funcom. He left the Anarchy Online team after the first expansion to go start work on Age of Conan.


But I agree AoC is really a great game at it's heart. If Funcom and this new Lead Dev can fix things up and improve areas that were lacking quickly, then I'll be back and enjoying it.

I do hope that Ragnar Tornquist has a better time of making The Secret World, as that looks to be yet another innovative MMOG in the making. (FYI thats the same guy that lead The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, two games hailed as the best in their genre when they hit, though not without their issues.)

Last I want to say that I don't think Gaute destroyed AO. I think AO recovered because of his work and went on to become an absolutely fantastic game. Though it clearly did improve under Craig and so that gives me high hopes for AOC's future.
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12. Re: History repreats itself Sep 17, 2008, 16:58 Techie714 ©
 
@InBlack

I'm sorry man, but I think your way off base with that post. I enjoy AoC, it has a lot of great things about it just like Schnoz stated in his post. I'm neither a hater or a fanboy of this IP. I just enjoy the game, & want it to do well. With that said the game has a bunch of weak points just like any other MMO. But since many people on Blues seem to point out a plethora of bad stuff with AoC it's not fair to not point out some of it's good as well.

Now when it comes to Fallout & fanboy, guilty as charged.


R.I.P George Carlin 1937-2008
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11. No subject Sep 17, 2008, 16:53 Tumbler
 
Free Trial for users.

Conan needs to have a free trial for a weekend or a week for existing users.

It's not possible to see how the game has or has not changed on those buddy trial accounts because you probably won't get getting out of tortage in 7 days.

I'd like to see what these changes are and frankly keeping this game installed on my machine is a big favor to funcom. It would be nice to compare it to War, but so far I guess I'll just have to play war.

 
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10. No subject Sep 17, 2008, 16:32 carnom
 
Guate Milk?

LOL!!

 
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9. Re: History repreats itself Sep 17, 2008, 15:46 InBlack
 
Bullet why does every single one of your posts about AoC sound like a fucking Cornflakes Commercial?

You would do well by reading this particular blog post:

http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/Enigma/082008/2467_What-is-a-Fanboi-and-what-is-a-hater

 
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8. Re: History repreats itself Sep 17, 2008, 15:30 Theo
 
the worst thing about this is craig did a fucking AWSOME job with AO after gaute roadkilled the game, big shame for the AO community.

i hope the player base gives craig the time he needs cause he really is a GREAT game director.

I also hope gaute never gets a job in the mmo industry again. hell i wouldnt let him wash my car.


This comment was edited on Sep 17, 09:35.
 
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7. Re: Good Thing? Sep 17, 2008, 15:28 Schnoz
 
I stopped playing AoC because I ran out of money I can only handle so many MMOs at a time. I think I might start my subscription back up once more end game content comes (that is only if WAR is not good). I loved the combat system, really loved it. Had great graphics and don't really have many bad things to say about it. I only made it to level 30, so I never got the end game content that everyone says was lacking. I quit before I could get disappointed because I knew I would want to come back sooner or later when it's all finished.

 
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6. Good Thing? Sep 17, 2008, 15:24 Techie714 ©
 
AoC is really a ground breaking MMO on so many levels. I really hope that this leads to a more positive outlook for the game. I play AoC & absolutely love the rich story telling & awesome lore of the game as well as the gameplay mechanics. It's really sad that in the forums I hear how people constantly just race through the quests not even reading them. Half the people that play this game just want to kill things & have no real interest in the lore behind the game & why certain tribes/people are fighting each other or what there history is. If people knew some of the lore & read the quests the game would be A TON more enjoyable..IMO.

R.I.P George Carlin 1937-2008
 
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