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I have to admit that I was quite humbled when I opened my email one morning to discover a message in there from Funcom inviting me to attend their 'Age of Conan' community event in mid-January. I was well and truly gob-smacked at the thought of being physically present in the Funcom offices, and even now, not even a week after being there, I'm still finding it quite difficult to sedate the little geek inside of me (okay, I lie; the geek all over me) after seeing what I saw in the Funcom offices on Friday, January 19.

Meeting the developers and management staff was an excellent experience, as those of us invited to the community event were able to meet people like Gaute Godager, Jørgen Tharaldsen, Erling Ellingsen, and the other famous faces familiar to us 'Age of Conan' fans. Not only did we meet with these people in a professional setting, but a social one too as Funcom treated us to dinner at a "Stygian" restaurant and took us on what we Australians call a "pub crawl" then after. Good times, good times. But let me just make it clear now that what ever happened after leaving the Funcom offices stays in Oslo ("the first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club!"), but I will assure the Australian readers out there that I represented our country well (*grin*).

Anyway, I'll bet that you, the Mitra's Method faithful, are dying to read on and find out what I have learned about 'Age of Conan' and its progress through the beta stage. You have no doubt already read bits and pieces on other reputable MMO gaming and 'Age of Conan' fansites, so I will try not to repeat too much of what they have put on there, but I can promise you that you will get an idea of things as I saw them. It's why you guys (and gals) have kept on coming back here after all; 21 times over the last 10 months you've seen things as I have seen them (and on occasion have disagreed with me) and tolerated my occasional long-windedness. What's my point here? Without you, the Mitra's Method faithful, I probably would never have made it to Oslo in the first place. It was your enthusiasm for the work I put out that was my ticket to Norway, so how do I thank you for getting me there? Well, I'll save thankyous and acceptance speeches for much later on, but for now it's what you came here to see in the first place. Enjoy!

imageThe day began with us press and fansite representatives being taken by minivan just outside the Funcom office building where we were first greeted by Erling Ellingsen and lead up towards the building via a short walk. It was here where we got our first taste of things to come for the day: a man dressed in Nordic/Viking garb wielding a sword on horseback. "Welcome to Funcom!" he uttered as we were then escorted to the parking lot just outside the front door of the office building, only to be beset upon by another man on horseback wielding a sword obviously trying to prevent us from entering the premises. After a topsy-turvy battle between the two, it was our escort's female Ranger companion that saved the day and helped us gain entry into the building. If you ask me, it wasn't exactly the Ranger's archery skills that stopped the would-be attacker in his tracks; I've never seen so many camera flashes go off just for one young woman doing a bit live-action role-playing.

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