Mitra's Method: Stephen "weezer" Spiteri's Age of Conan ColumnAge of Conan Editorial: She's All ThatMitra's Method: Stephen "weezer" Spiteri's Age of Conan Column - RSS 2.0
It's been an interesting fortnight. I've been on holidays for the last couple of weeks, but I'm very sorry to admit that it hasn't been the total slack-off period that I was planning it to be. My dear wife left me a list of things to get done around the house over the two-week break; garden stuff mainly, but it was a welcomed change to what I had become accustomed to during the last school term: dirty whiteboards, essay marking, whinges and dramas by the hands of overly emotional mid-pubescent teenagers, and the bitching sessions that ensue in the teachers' lounge during recesses and lunchtimes. Let's just say I'm looking forward to the end of the school year.
After I patted myself on the back for being a good spouse and fulfilling my husbandly duties, I did manage to get around to a bit of gaming over my break and indulge myself in the odd all-nighter during that time. Over the weekend I reactivated my 'City of Heroes/Villains' account and got myself straight in to the new features that I had missed out on since hanging up my cape back in early January this year. Needless to say, the game has come a long, long way since it went live back in late April 2004. Come to think of it, if you were to compare 'City of Heroes' now to what it was back in it's first year, you could argue that it's an entirely different game. But I was even more pleased with myself reactivating my account as it was roughly the same week as the announcement for Issue #11. The upcoming issue will deliver to players what they have long been begging for since the game was released just over three years ago. I won't go into detail as to what these features are exactly, but in my own personal opinion, these are features that should have been in the game from day one.
Yes, I'm fully aware, 'City of Heroes' wasn't a big game back in 2004, and nor were Cryptic Studios a big games development company back then either. But what, I believe, has worked for 'City of Heroes', NCSoft and Cryptic, is that they have released new game features, sometimes one by one, at a pace fast enough to keep players interested and coming back for more as time goes on. Just when, for some, things are getting a bit repetitive there's an new feature just on the horizon to entice you and keep you in Paragon City for just a bit longer, in fact, most MMOs tend to work like this anyway.
Before you start wondering whether this is a 'City of Heroes' editorial or an 'Age of Conan' editorial, I'll set your minds at ease now and tell you where I'm going with this. 'Age of Conan', for many, will be the game we've all been waiting for, our "dream" MMO, and so on. When people ask, "What's 'Age of Conan' like?" players will proudly say, "She's all that!" Why? Because right off the bat, the features that have been missing and begged for in other MMOs will be found in 'Age of Conan', plus a few familiar ones with a sexy and lush new look. But while most of us are salivating at the mouth and eagerly anticipating our own chance to have a go at these features ourselves, my recent encounter with 'City of Heroes' and looking at its increasing success over the last three years made me think: With all of these features, as a game, is it possible that 'Age of Conan' could peak too soon?