Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (2008)

Funcom has finally released Age of Conan, and according to Gamasutra it's been number one for the past two weeks. I had a chance to get into the Beta at the beginning of May, and I've seen it really grow. One of the greatest features built into the game are quest locations coming up on the mini map. Gone is the need to search across the Internet looking up
quests, you won't have trouble finding anybody; they're marked on your map. This, along with gray quests giving full experience, has created a game that's pretty easy to level in.

A downside to the game is restrictive zones. The actual play area feels small even though the zones themselves are large, and you can stand around waiting for mobs to spawn. All the zones are instanced to avoid lag issues, something I'm not very fond of, but switch- ing between instanced zones is easy with a simple pull down menu. They also seem to have plenty of fed-ex quests, but I think the reason behind this is to teach the player how to get through each zone. It's not a game of flight paths, it's low fantasy, and you end up running around a lot until you hit level 40 and get your mount. So I think Funcom is using the fed-ex quest to burn in the repetition of where the transports are, even though they're marked on the map.

The game has shipped with guild villages that players can build up, along with the ability to siege other player built cities. It has a crafting system in which everybody can gather any resource, and instanced dungeons that players can raid for epic gear. It even comes with an advanced combat system that has tons of special combos, and the graphical effects make it very bloody. The game is rated Mature 17+ for a reason.

But this is just so much fun to play, much like World of Warcraft was when I was first leveling; and even though I've been reading that some of the content at higher levels is thin, relying on grinding to get through it, they seem to be planning on taking care of that by the end of June, patching the client.

Funcom has made a great game here, one that stays true to the low fantasy of Robert E. Howard, one that captures the exotic world he created. They've pushed GPUs, creating an amazing visual experience, and they've broken new ground, making it easy to play. If you're a fan of Conan, or looking for a new MMO, check this one out.