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
Player-housing is a feature that won't be in-game at release, and with other MMOs is a popular feature among players. Is it essential? Probably not, I'm sure most of us could live with the fact that a character of ours could potentially be sleeping outside while we're logged off and enjoying real life, but it's a "nice to have" feature - not game-breaking by any means. For those keen on player housing, one could spend hours building and furnishing their in-game abode, so I guess for the sake of game "freshness" and longevity, player housing is a feature that I'm sure would be warmly welcomed by those following 'Age of Conan'.
If you're familiar with the Conan stories, then you'll know that pirates, sea-faring, booty and plunder, mutiny, and the high-seas are romanticised in Howard's work. You start off in the game on a slave-galley (as a slave), so we know there are going to be boats and ships in the game, but what about player-made, player-owned, and player-commandeered boats and ships? Again, this is a feature that will not be in 'Age of Conan' at release, but something else that, in general, the 'Age of Conan' community would like to one day see implemented to further their Conan experience and feel more one with the Hyborian age.
To set the record straight, this is not a criticism of Funcom, that is, I'm not attempting to point out where Funcom may be failing in their negligence to include content and features that are in high demand and very popular with their potential customers. No, 'Age of Conan' will have lots to keep up busy right off the bat. But apart from all this, and this is where my initial query is relevant, Funcom would need to ask themselves: What's the right balance? Are we giving too much too soon - will there be anything left to explore for players only a few months down the track? How much can we give at launch without leaving players feeling like there's "not enough" and without any repetition value. Can we cater to the non-casual gamers - for them, will content updates and expansions feel too few and far in between. Are we providing enough to maintain general interest? And what of those coming into Hyboria late (new customers) - if our launch content and features weren't "good enough" for them, what can we offer that will win them over?
Back to 'City of Heroes' for a moment; only now, and this is my own personal opinion, this game is starting feel like the game it should have been at release, and if not then, maybe six months to a year later down the track. Then again, maybe my expectations are too high, but at the same time (and again, this is my own opinion), the benchmark that was set by 'City of Heroes' at the very start was rather modest. But don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed the game and have enjoyed coming back to it.
The point I'm trying to make with 'Age of Conan' now is that, like already said, this game will be the one we've been waiting on for a long time because it promises so much at the very start. Quite clearly, Funcom are attempting to set the benchmark very high for MMO gaming in terms of what you will experience and be able to do in an online environment. Okay, they're ambitious, and that's very commendable, but will they be able to consolidate on that? Three years down the track will we ourselves be saying, "This is what the game should have been like at release"? Of course, time will tell.