Mitra's Method: Stephen "weezer" Spiteri's Age of Conan ColumnThrough the Eyes of Mitra: Age of Conan Beta Journal Entry #2Mitra's Method: Stephen "weezer" Spiteri's Age of Conan Column - RSS 2.0
The combos I had at the time didn't really have any secondary effect, so what I was gunning for was a critical hit on the Guardian to finish him off; a regular combo hit would not have been enough to take him down due to his still-impressive hitpoints and damage resistance. So I swang, he swang, and got our hits off on each other, and yes, that critical hit landed! A flash of "Critical" floated above his head with the damage numbers as he slowly slumped to the ground in a heap leaving me the victor with about two or three per cent hitpoints to spare. It was the Guardian, however, that would have the last laugh as I was hit with a "bleed" type combo, and a damage-over-time effect was in place. So a bit like Bill after being hit with the "five step heart explosion", dramatically I fell to the ground in a heap, but this time the PvPer inside of me uttered a loud primordial "KAAAAHHHHNNN!!!!"
So what did learn from this PvP encounter? Well, firstly, Guardians, even in 'Age of Conan', stay true to the "tank" feel, but the difference with them in this game is that they are quite capable of dealing some good damage, and that makes the scary, as opponents anyway. Secondly, the Rangers work best when at range, but can also hold their own damage-wise when in melee combat. At no point during the fight did I feel comfortable as I knew because of my combos, wanting to gain ground between myself and the Guardian, and conserving my stamina, I had to be on my toes, like a I mentioned before. The combat system, I feel, will encourage players to actually think about what they're doing: positioning, which combo to use (and when?), and when to flip your plans on their head and try something different. I think if anything is going to kill a player in PvP, it's going to be the predictability factor. Like I said earlier, old-hat tactics could be viable and might work for you, but be prepared to try something new with 'Age of Conan' and not to rely on what worked for you in "other" games.
My corpse lying on the sandy grounds of the area of Bushbur in the Khopshef Province provided for me a small opportunity to take in the sights of this Stygian zone. I'm a big fan of the movie Gladiator, and everything about this zone, the Khopshef Province, reminds me of the scenes filmed in Tunisia (where you first meet Proximo, played by Oliver Reed): the white sands, the red clay-bricked huts and buildings, hand-woven patterned shade-cloths, vendors in their stalls wearing turbans and other exotic head-pieces on their heads, caravan masters, livestock, and who could ever forget about camels? The Khopshef Province has a dry and unforgiving feel about it, and it's the sort of zone where you best be on your guard, because you never know when a brigand or rioting miner slave is going to pounce on you and attempt to sever the coil attaching you to the bounds of mortality.
Sadly, I don't think I could do the Khopshef Province justice in my descriptions and thoughts about it in the space I have allotted myself and remaining in this journal entry, but it is something I will definitely carry on with in a subsequent journal entry, but I will say this before I sign off: never before have I felt so enthralled with a computer-generated environment as I have with the zones in 'Age of Conan'. Major kudos needs to go to the game's art director, Didrik Tollefsen, assistant art director, Mark Regan, the rest of the art team and environment team for creating such breath-taking vistas, be they the glorious structures that consist of the city of Old Tarantia, or the looming sand dunes and dark pyramids of the Khopshef Province.
No vultures are coming to eat at my corpse; I'm offended!
Okay, I'm off to cut some birthday cake (yes, I've notched up another year, 27), so until next week (yes, you're just going to have to wait and see what next week brings), this is Stephen "weezer" Spiteri...
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© Stephen Spiteri, May 2008