Mitra's Method: Stephen "weezer" Spiteri's Age of Conan ColumnAge of Conan Editorial: How to Land a Jumbo-JetMitra's Method: Stephen "weezer" Spiteri's Age of Conan Column - RSS 2.0
Did I mention the team's dedication? No, I don't think I did. Just to give you an idea of the level of commitment the Funcom staff are putting into this project, the man, Erling Ellingsen, apparently was going on no sleep what-so-ever by the time me and the other very keen press and community members had arrived just outside of the Funcom building. I was later on told that Mr. Ellingsen had managed one hour of sleep at the most within the 24 hours leading up to the community event, but you would never had guessed it! Although the eyes were a bit puffy, Mr. Ellingsen very enthusiastically guided on a two-hour tour of the Funcom offices, and he did this twice! We were, as it was mentioned in my community event report, divided into two groups and while one group got to play through the Sanctum of Burning Souls (a level 37 to 40 raid instance), the other was taken through the offices by Mr. Ellingsen, and after lunch, we switched. The work was actually made easier for us as Mr. Ellingsen did most of the question-asking for us and prompted the programmers and developers we spoke to, and they basically told everything we (and of course you, the Mitra's Method faithful) wanted to know. Then of course, he with the very pinchable cheeks, played host as we were taken to that "Stygian" restaurant to be wined and dined by the Funcom staff and be given an opportunity to mingle with the devs! Full commitment, full dedication, and nothing but sheer enthusiasm and passion for what he does. If you ever get the chance, I suggest you give Mr. Ellingsen a pat on the back for the excellent work he's done for the community as an 'Age of Conan' product manager.
There is also an individual (whom I will not name publicly), another member of the Funcom staff, that sent me an email the day after it was announced that the game's release was being shifted to May 20, 2008. The decision to delay the game's launch another eight weeks apparently only came a day after myself and the other press and 'Age of Conan' community members had been in the Funcom offices checking things out. So it's quite true when people say that in business, and especially within the gaming industry, anything can happen and at any time. As you can imagine such an announcement knocked me for six (I was made aware of it at the same time the rest of the world found out about it), that is, I was a bit surprised by it especially after having seen how great everything looked on the monitors sitting on the desks of the developers, but I, myself, quickly came to that epiphany, if you will, where we as a community are telling Funcom, "Just do what you need to do to get this game finished; we'll be here waiting to play it".
Anyway, this individual that sent me the email apologised to me. Yes, you read it right: apologised. To sum it up, this individual felt that it was necessary to apologise to me because of the game's delay. Overcome by such a humble gesture, I did think to myself, however, "Why am I being apologised to?" and "Why should these people find it necessary to apologise to anyone to begin with?" They owe us nothing, to be quite frank; they're making a game that one day thousands and thousands of people are going to enjoy, and they're making important decisions for the betterment of it. But still, I was overcome by this individual's sheer humility in making such a gesture. This consolidated my confidence in Funcom even further (if it's even possible to consolidate on consolidation); I've been a big fan of the way Funcom have handled themselves throughout each delay announcement and so on, but this spoke to me volumes about their true desire to make this a game that is going to be loved by those thousands and thousands of player; they quite truly have the fans' best interests at heart and as Gaute Godager has said himself from time to time, "This game is going to kick ass!"