Assassins are able to "sneak attack", and that's simply a matter of hitting one of the directional keys when close enough to a target to trigger the sneak attack. I wasn't able to use combos while hidden and in attack-mode, but I do believe there will be some special sneak attack combos Assassins will be able to use later on in the game, but don't quote me on that just yet. Anyway, I felt a bit like Altair from 'Assassin's Creed' doing those sneak attacks, and that made the little geek inside of me squeal a bit, I have to admit, as a sneak attack has a very cool-looking animation that comes along with it, and when triggered on a character class with relatively very little damage resistance, you're able to wipe off up to 30 to 40 per cent of their hitpoints. So the trick is with the Assassin: kill quick, kill fast. I was able to kill a few opponents this way using a couple of follow-up combos to finish them off, but of course executing a sneak attack will take you out of hide and leave you very vulnerable especially if members of the other team are baiting you to attack the weakest link in their team (bastards!).
The attack and combo animations are fluid and give you that sense that you are this "dancing machine of death" that our friend, Gaute Godager, keeps on talking about. Wielding a dagger in each hand is very cool as well, so dual-wielding is functional and works superbly. Daggers are fast yet do lower overall damage, but the Assassin's quicker attacks and faster attack animations ensure that their DPS is up there even with the two-handed edged weapon-wielding Barbarian or Conqueror. So if you're a player keen on playing the Assassin as your preferred PvP class, I can promise you that you will not be disappointed.
The CTF map itself and certainly has a Hyborian flavour to it, and the map we played on has enough terrain features on it to use to your full advantage depending on the class that you are playing: high places for ranged attackers and casters, bottle-necks for melee attackers to corner hapless squishies, and wide-open areas for casters to unleash their pets and slow down a fleeing opponent for pet demons or undead to wail on.
I look forward to seeing the more open-ended forms of PvP that Funcom will be featuring in 'Age of Conan', because while I still like CTF, open PvP is more my own style. Having said that, however, if you like CTF, then CTF in 'Age of Conan' will not leave you disappointed or wishing for more.
In closing, while the game still needs a bit of polishing, things at this stage are looking great and running very smoothly, but the game's recent delay announcement will certainly guarantee that we'll be getting a game that kicks ass no matter what you're into.
You'll be hearing from me again tomorrow, but this time it won't be words you'll be seeing on a screen, but video! Yep, if the in-house video hosting is working for me here at WarCry tomorrow, you'll be seeing all that I recorded on my digital camera whilst over there in the Funcom offices on Friday last week; approximately 45 minutes' worth of footage. Stay tuned!
Until tomorrow (again), this is Stephen "weezer" Spiteri,
Want to contact me? Then email me here.
© Stephen Spiteri, January 2008