It felt quite good to get back into the swing of things with last fortnight's edition of Mitra's Method, with it being my first serious editorial for the year. It was also particularly satisfying to see that so many readers had followed the link to the article and receive so many emails containing readers' thoughts, opinions, conjectures, and general feedback about it, so thank you to all those that emailed me; your feedback and comments are always appreciated.


The last couple weeks have been quite eventful, even after the information bombardment that was the Funcom Community Event, which even still remains a solid highlight for the year thus far. The Friday update last week delved into what's been going on with beta recently, and the community learned that "de women" had finally arrived in Hyboria, and they were bringin' sexy back with a fair dose of that femme fatale flair that we had been promised from way, way back.

Beta testers apparently have also managed to keep their modems warms as they have downloaded a series of patches for their beta clients, with a recent patch weighing in at 2.5 gigabytes.

"Just to give you an idea, we've patched on the 24th, 29th, and 31st of January, as well as the 7th and 13th of February. Wednesday's update alone clocked in at well over 2.5 gigs!"

There, in last week's Friday update, was also mention of a PvP realm/server being opened in the very near future:

"...we're excited to tell you that we are not far away opening the very first Age of Conan PvP dimension for the General Beta testers, all to make sure the PvP experience in Age of Conan is the experience you've been eagerly anticipating."

So one gets the feeling that with these major and very important events taking place in the beta, that things are progressing very well and that that May 20 release date may actually hold, although the skepticism of an absolute minority regarding the release date is somewhat understood. I'm quite happy to say that I even put my copy of the 'Age of Conan' Collector's Edition on pre-order today at my local retailer, so confidence is growing in the player-base, you might say.

Monday, February 12, however, saw Funcom publish a much anticipated "state of the game" report (you can find that here), written by Game Director, Gaute Godager. While it's understood a minority would have dismissed this report as sheer PR spin, but even those people cannot deny the importance of these sorts of reports despite the timing and the way things have been worded. If, for example (and I put a huge amount of emphasis on the "if"), a game in its development has hit a slump or the game seemingly seems doomed for failure, a game director or manager would not easily or eagerly come out and say openly, "We're in trouble". I happen to think that this "trouble" concept is purely opinionative since it's only those of us not working on the game that are analysing (or perhaps over-analysing) the bits that we do find out about the game (the bits that make it public, barring NDA) and compare these to similar instances experienced as a fan waiting on another game in development. Sure, you might hear game developers say the same type of things time and time over, but does it necessarily mean the same thing for each individual game?

Without mentioning any game in particular or mentioning the "think-tank" behind it, there have been those developers or managers that have lacked the transparency in the developer to public relationship. Again, not naming a particular game or a certain manager specifically, I'm sure we can all remember a time when one thing has been said when in actual truth the facts have said something quite different, a bit like when your wife or significant other asks you, "Does my bum look big in this?" and you reply, without hesitation, "No dear, you look fine" knowing full well that your wife or significant other is about as bantam as your average beached whale. The one thing I think most of us can come to appreciate is how transparent Funcom have been with us.

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