imageA gamer asking for "a good gaming experience" or "just to have fun in a game" these days is just like asking for world peace at Christmas time. It's nice and noble and by no means asked in vain, but what do you really want? What do you want? Here's the chance you get: you see Santa Gaute at a local shopping centre accompanied by a few of his happy, little elves, and while I'm not suggesting you actually sit on his knee, you are still allowed the opportunity to tell him exactly what it is you want to see in Age of Conan. For me, mounted combat is a huge drawing card and something that I look forward to doing in-game, and while we haven't seen much of mounted combat in action this year, we're hopeful that the elves in their workshop are going hammer and tong at it just to make it, well, awesome for us. But what do I want from it? My Christmas wish for mounted combat that we be given the opportunity to use our mount (be it a horse, camel, or rhino and mammoth for sieges) not just as a machine for death and destruction, but a status symbol; something that says, "Hey, this guy has a horse, the horse looks menacing, this guy isn't to be meddled with!" It's a bit like guy we all seem to know who gets around on a scooter who pulls up next to another we guy we all seem to know who drives a Honda/Acura NSX (or something like that). So what am I trying to say? Basically, I want to pimp my mount! I want to give it a look that's very "me", but at the same time I wouldn't exactly want players to dress their horse or camel like Paris Hilton dresses her Chihuahuas. A line needs to be drawn, obviously, but the opportunity should at least be given.

The second thing I would ask of Santa Gaute while looking at his beard contemplating whether to try and pull it off or not, would be that of player-made PvE cities. I wouldn't exactly want my city to turn out like a town without sheriff where chaos is law and anything goes. No, I would like to think that anybody could come and visit my city freely and buy my wares and so forth, but what if they run amok? Surely I couldn't expect myself or my guildmates to be on watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make sure things don't go awry (although that would make for some interesting PvP situations), could I? Perhaps I could enlist the help of NPC guards to keep watch over my city while I, its mayor, take leave in the real world. If a stranger drifts in and starts stirring trouble in my town, then my hope would be that my "hired muscle" would be adequate enough to detain this thug until I decide what fate should be set upon him. And what of my wares: my crafted gear and concocted goods? Again, I couldn't expect myself or my guildmates to keep the shops running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so my wish would be that I could "hire" NPC vendors to basically sell my goods for me - completely automated but most importantly funneling the profits where they belong: in my own pocket or the guild bank. Essentially, player-made cities in Age of Conan should have the same bustling feel that any other main city in the game has. A player-made city should be populated by NPCs going about their businesses, and shouldn't have that feeling that they're only "alive" when the player characters are occupying the area.

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