The character creation screen is more in depth than many MMOs. However, if you're brave enough to admit you've played The Sims, then you've certainly seen better. In the end does it really matter in games where you're likely to be covered head to toe in armor? I think not so much but I sense that people do enjoy the versatility. What I would personally have preferred more than being able to tweak the length of my nose or the size of my boobs, was not to look like a ragamuffin. If you thought your character's gear looked thrown together in LOTRO you ain't seen nothin' yet. To date, Age of Conan and LOTRO are the only games that I've played where I looked like mixed-match mess.
I appreciate the circumstance of a recently escaped/freed slave. I understand they don't plan on making the game as gear dependant as others. However, do I really have to look that bad? Or am I that vain??? I found myself looking through the multiple tops, pants and shoes in my bag trying to find something that at least seemed like it went together. The stats were all the same but the styles, colors and textures didn't jive. I looked a hot mess. It was slightly similar to AC2 in that, there was a lot of variety in the same piece of armor so you can be in a red robe that has +1 Defense and I can be in a black one if I prefer and that's without dying your items. However, Age of Conan hacks made the stuff even at the lower levels look decent and you could easily match your items. Hopefully, I'll get to look better at some point.
AOC has a nice variety of classes within the four archetypes of Soldier, Priest, Mage and Assassin. Only certain classes can be played by certain races, which is a common implementation. However, in AOC whole archetypes are exclusive to certain races. For example, if you want to be a Mage of any kind, then you must be Stygian. On the PVE and PVP servers so what, but I wonder how this plays out on the Culture PVP servers where a race is completely locked out of an archetype?
Even though AOC has the usual suspects for classes, not all of them are the typical fare. Priests and Mages are battle versions of those classes. Everyone gets to have decent offensive skills and from what I've read so far, it appears that HOT and AOE healing spells are more prevalent than the "heal one" scenario. I think this might make playing a healer more pleasurable. If you can heal many more often with a single action, you'll have more opportunity to actual watch the battle – see the instances and bosses.
One of the Mage's has melee as its primary DPS, as does at least one of the Priests. It's little twists like these that add a bit of freshness into the game. I'll discuss the classes in more detail after I've finished testing my would-be mains.
Lastly, the combat system which is VERY different from any MMO I've ever played. At least in terms of PVE, it's not giving me nearly the trouble I expected. I never did well on the console games and don't consider myself adept at FPS style combat but so far, so good. The inclusion of combos which deal more damage when successfully executed is interesting. I do wish that I could move where they displayed. For some reason focusing left side of the screen doesn't work as well for me, as it would if I could place it right side or better yet, closer to my character and my Age of Conan cheats. I want to watch the combat but with the combos slightly off to the left, my eye is focused there. Oh well, definitely not a huge deal. It would just be nice to be able to move it to match my preferred field of view.
That's where I'm at for now. It's pretty, different, combat feels fresh, UI could be better but no deal breaker. I'm on a PVE server at the moment. I'm going to do a Bear Shaman on a PVP or Cultural PVP server at some point. The only pitfall I can foresee at the moment is if I MUST quest. Forced questing for leveling is why I'm not playing LOTRO or EQ2. Grinding XP is a play-style and as much as some people hate it, others enjoy and actually prefer it. I don't mind questing in moderation but when I'm not in the mood, I really do need the freedom to just go whack stuff and still level at a decent rate. This philosophy is one of the major reasons I'm excited about Warhammer Online.
May 29, 2008 in Age of Conan | Permalink