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Trip Report: Age of Conan (Part 2)

It’s been two weeks since my first report on the world of Hyboria. In that time, I’ve traversed a wide variety of sprawling frontiers, met a colorful cast of characters, gone to-to-toe in enjoyable combat against all sorts of disreputable scoundrels, and enjoyed what is likely the most impressive game soundtrack I’ve heard this year. One sentiment has endured throughout my entire time in this world; Age of Conan is surprisingly full-featured for a game previously described as lacking. Being the sort of fellow that usually rushes for the level cap in these sorts of games, it’s been refreshing to play one that seems determined to provide reward in nearly every avenue. Feedback is frequently provided to the player via the game’s various systems of interaction. Some of it is more immediately obvious, like plentiful and useful quest rewards. And some of it is an accumulated impression, like the smooth combat or the persistent establishing of mood in the environments.

But as much as I’ve been pleasantly surprised, I’ve also been disappointed with a number of issues not frequently mentioned in community assessments. While Age of Conan has obviously done away with many of its more notorious faults, there’s still some rough edges yet to be smoothed out. Read on to find out what you should and should not expect in your own quest to hang with Conan.

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Trip Report: Age of Conan (Part 1)

Launched in mid-2008, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures was eagerly anticipated by many, only to quickly garner a reputation as the MMO poster child for false promises and missed opportunities. Many players lamented the lack of content after Tortage, which is the game’s starting area for players in the level 1-20 range and features fully voice acted quest chains with conversation trees like you might see in single player PC RPGs. Those that made it through the emptier post-Tortage content had issue with the lack of endgame. This, combined with reports of a buggy client with hefty system requirements turned Age of Conan from a game that promised to offer something new into a game that didn’t offer anything at all. It was common to see community members associate the game’s developer – Funcom – with broken promises and mismanagement.

Now, two years later, following a number of content updates and a new expansion released last month, has Age of Conan yet evolved into an enjoyable game? How much does perception play into a game’s future success, and can perception be changed?

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