For those of you that don't know, my actual occupation is a high school teacher, and this week I got to talking to my students about Christmas. I teach at a Catholic private school, so of course, the true meaning and origins of Christmas is taught but we also acknowledge that Christmas has become a largely successful commercial and secular holiday. So I asked my students what they wanted for Christmas this year thinking that being well in to the "age of reason" and with a mature conscience they would ask for things that would benefit mankind in general, like: peace on earth; an end to poverty; and end to racial and ethnic vilification; that sort of thing. Sadly, this was not the response I got from my students, but then again, these were 14 year olds I was teaching at the time. A response that sticks out in mind at this particular point in time when asked what this person wanted for Christmas was, "I want a [expletive] Xbox 360 Elite!"

Okay, so we live in superficial and materialistic times, especially when the youth of western world is concerned, but my student's response made me think and on reflection I've decided that it's not entirely a bad thing that we can make such demands. We're experiencing a great deal of prosperity, and so we can afford to be a bit hedonistic from time to time. On further reflection, it made me think about Age of Conan what Funcom Game Director, Gaute Godager, said about the changes being made to the combat system most notably after the game's delay was announced on August 10 of this year. "Santa Gaute", as I am now referring him to in this edition of Mitra's Method, indicated that all the changes should be ready by Christmas. Okay, that's fine, but what do we really want in Age of Conan? What is your Age of Conan "Christmas wish"? If you've been good this year, what are you hoping Santa Gaute to deliver to you by the time the game is finished, polished, and ready?

imageThe one thing I love most about Age of Conan so far is its unique take on the MMORPG genre. Yes, there are your traditional RPG elements in the game, that's evident, but what has made it so appealing to me is its low-fantasy setting (no elves, dwarves, mages with flourishing robes and pointed rimmed hats, epic flying mounts, etc.), and its brutal hands-on combat. So suffice to say it's a gamer's Christmas wish come true, but with so much yet to be revealed to the gaming community since the announcement of the game's release, we sit in hope and maybe just a bit apprehensive because we want to know more, but obviously impeded by NDAs and so much going on behind closed doors. Yet, like just said, our hope remains because we know our faith is well-placed with the Age of Conan development team and the scores of testers putting the game through the ringer in the General and Technical Beta phases. In keeping with this edition's Christmas theme, I'm going to refer the developers and beta testers the "elves in the workshop" from here on in.

I am resoundingly confident that Funcom will provide for each of us a unique gaming experience with Age of Conan, because this is something many-a-gamer has been asking for with the various games they have tested and played in the past. So it would make sense for Funcom to come out with something that raises the benchmark and sets the standard even higher to keep fans sated and coming back for more after that. It's simply not good enough just to meet expectations in today's market; you have to go well beyond them!

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