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January 21, 2008 is a date that may forever lay in infamy as far as the history of 'Age of Conan' is concerned; if you're wondering why then I suggest you look up from the ground from time to time to see what's in front of you.

Only a matter of weeks ago, Funcom officially announced a new release date (May 20, 2008) for their highly anticipated MMORPG, 'Age of Conan', and while some of speculators out there guessed correctly, that another delay was imminent, the rest of us were left thinking beforehand, "Surely there couldn't be any more delays; things are looking good. I believe I will be playing on March 25, 2008!" It would seem, however, that there was justifiable reason to doubt. But despite this delay, and quite surprisingly, the reaction from the 'Age of Conan' community has been, in the majority, quite positive. I think what remains within the 'Age of Conan' community at the moment more prominently are the fans that have been keen observers of this development stage of a couple of years are so now, and will be the ones that will wait for 'Age of Conan' like nervous fathers-to-be pacing the halls adjacent to the maternity ward (speaking of which, that's me in just under 10 weeks!).

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There is (or at least appears to be), within the 'Age of Conan' community, a universal acceptance that Funcom are treating the development and eventual release of the game like the landing of a jumbo-jet on airport tarmac. I'm no expert on aviation, but anyone that's been a passenger on an aeroplane at any time in their life will know that there are a few ways that a plane can land: wobbly with aeroplane tires screeching as they stutter on the runway; a crash-landing (not an outcome anyone wishes for); or a nice, smooth landing that is controlled and calculated, and quite often results with the passengers in economy class applauding the efforts of the very skilled pilot (first class and business class tend not to clap... I guess for the price they pay they expect/demand a good landing). So for those of us that have stuck things out, even through the three delay announcements within the space of a year, what are we really trying to say to Funcom? In some sort of haggard decorum, what we're saying to Funcom is this, "Just do what you need to do to get this game finished; we'll be here waiting to play it".

As most of you know, I was in the Funcom studios, myself, only a few weeks ago, as part of the 'Age of Conan' community event held in Oslo on January 18 (well, the formalities were on this day anyway). What I saw in the hovels of these developers, programmers, and artists, was not only a great game being made, but a staff that was genuinely enthusiastic and passionate about what they were doing. Each "strike team" was responsible for a different aspect, area, or feature of the game, so given to them was this sense of ownership for what it was they were working on. Sure, there were a few tired faces and so forth, but who can say quite honestly that they have never felt tired at work or after a long day of it? The developers I spoke to were friendly and very keen to show off what they had been working on, and of course more than happy to answer any questions that I wanted to ask them. Actually, at times I felt somewhat guilty because I was distracting them from their work.

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