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As promised last week, in this edition I will be answering the questions you submitted to me throughout the last week and a bit. Before I start, however, I would like to begin by apologising to those people whose questions I did not get around to answering. As you can imagine, I was absolutely inundated with emails, private messages, and posts on the WarCry Age of Conan forums, and while most questions have been filtered down because they more or less ask the same thing, there were quite a few I could not answer. This was simply because there were a lot of questions asked that I personally could not answer; the questions were either technical in nature, or concerned matter beyond my own personal experience with the game. Having said that, however, I'm sure you will be pleased with the amount of questions I have answered here, and I hope, well and truly, that those that have their questions answered are satisfied with my response(s).
So, without further-ado, here are your questions and answers:
1. Is the game going to be end-game unique/fresh?
There is lots to do for the end-game player/guild! If you're into raiding, PvP, crafting, or intrigued by Age of Conan's unique Sieging system, then you're not going to be trudging the plains of Hyboria looking for a fix.
Concerning Sieging, for example, a new guild, a new city to plunder, and a new keep location presents a new opportunity and something fresh and new. You never know how a particular guild/opponent is going to respond, so this makes developing new and unused tactics a major part of that particular facet of the game.
The end-game raids (eight level 80 raids at launch) are designed to challenge even the most organised of guilds and individual players, plus they increase in difficulty. In order to attempt a particular higher-end raid instance, it will be required to complete a preceding raid instance to attain more powerful items to ensure you're properly matched against the tougher opponents. Funcom have gone out of their way to make sure that while you won't be sitting at your computer for 12 or so hours completing these raid instances, you will well and truly be challenged and have that incentive to complete and replay.
2. Is there an auction house and, if positive, how does it work?
There is not an "auction house" per se, but there are trading posts. In major cities (hubs) of Hyboria (Old Tarantia, Khemi, and Conarch Village) you can access trading posts. In these locations, you have access to your own personal item vault, an item search facility (to browse for items and other equipment currently tagged for sale), the in-game mailing system (where you can message other players as well as post and receive any sort of item), and your guild bank where any player belonging to a guild can deposit gold, silver, copper, and or tin into the guild savings.
Purchasing an item tagged for sale is as simple as searching for the item (much like you would in other MMOs), only you don't place bids on the item; you must buy them outright.
3. So, Funcom has always talked about how they want the game to be very skilled based, not "two spreadsheets fighting." But, the thing is, they've added "Dodge" "Parries" and "Misses" all of which are made by Random Number Generators, which means that it's all luck. Which means more skilled players will occasionally lose to lesser skilled players completely based off luck. Of course, the more skilled player will more often than not still come on top, but due to Random Number Generators, it'll occasionally be pure luck.
So, my question is, why include Dodge, Parries and Misses, witch take away from the "skill base" when they simply could not have?
Age of Conan still has strong role-playing elements, because ultimately, this is still an MMORPG we're talking about. The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that with the combat system Spellweaving, etc., you are in control of those "numbers" that affect damage, dodge percentages, heals-over-time, etc.
By firing-off combos, depending on the sort of combo it is, you can reduce an opponent's chance to dodge, reduce their damage resistance, give yourself more powerful heals-over-time, give yourself a buff to your defence rating, etc. Where does the skill come in? Well, first of all, it's comes with being able to first being able to successfully fire-off your combos, and secondly by having the savvy in actively making strategic decisions in what combo to use and when. A player might be able to mash a few buttons and pull a bunny out their hat, so to speak, but the player that thinks will always beat the player that doesn't. Player skill lies in knowing your class, knowing your feats, and anticipating your opponent's next step(s).
4. What level do spell-casters get Spellweaving and how difficult is it to control it?
As far as I know, spell-casters are able to Spellweave from the very early levels, but you'd have a very limited array of spells at your disposal at that stage. Spellweaving is not difficult to control, but as a player you'd need to be careful not to push things too far, as a Spellweave that goes wrong can bear negative consequences on your character. These penalties vary. I would recommend experimenting first, just to see how far you can push your spell-caster and to get a feel for the various bonuses and penalties that can arise as a result of a successful or failed Spellweaving attempt.
5. Whilst levelling past level 20 were there any instances you encounter, such as six man encounters?
Yes, there are several. A personal favourite of mine is the Sanctum of Burning Souls, a level 35 to 40 instance encounter, located in the Wildlands of Zelata in Tarantia. The Sanctum of the Burning Souls takes you deep into the dark pits and chambers of an ancient Acheronian temple. You can have a read of this for a better insight into that particular instance encounter.
6. Will there be any seasonal events like there is Christmas and various other things in World of Warcraft?
I'm a fan of these sort of events, but personally, as much as I love Christmas, I don't think a Christmas "event" has a place in Hyboria, let alone in the Conan universe. Perhaps some Hyborian "flavoured" events could be played out within the game from time to time. I'm sure the Age of Conan quest designers have been reading the Conan stories and comics for inspiration for events like these, though.
7. What do we have to do to reset our feats/talents?
In order to reset feats/talents, I believe we will be able to visit an NPC, and for a price we can "untrain" our feats/talents to respecify (a "respec") our build(s). It is simply a matter of re-applying feat/talent points after that in the way that you desire to build your character.
8. What does it take to create a guild in Age of Conan?
Creating a guild is quite simple: once your character gets to level 20, you press on the "Guild" icon located in the top left-hand corner of the screen/GUI, and from there you can establish, name, set the government type, set the guild tax rate, etc. of your guild.