Age of Conan, Funcom's highly anticipated MMORPG will be hitting store shelves in two weeks' time, and only a few days before then, thousands of players from around the world will be logging in to their pre-order accounts for the very exciting three-day head-start event. The scent of release is in the air, and with Funcom lifting their embargo late last week with the FilePlanet Open Beta going live, the WarCry Network has been given free-reign to spill the beans on all things 'Age of Conan'. An opportunity, in the next few days, will be given to you to leave your questions regarding 'Age of Conan', and answers will be provided in an upcoming edition of Mitra's Method.
Anyway, I will delay no more and allow you to read what you're here for in the first place: the WarCry Network's official preview of Age of Conan!
It's quite difficult to sum-up Age of Conan, especially if you're new to the game, but in an attempt to summarise what the Funcom-produced MMORPG is all about, the game is derived from the works of pulp-fiction writer, Robert E. Howard, and his Conan stories. The game's setting is placed somewhere after the events of The Hour of the Dragon, where Conan is king of Aquilonia and a storm is brewing across Hyboria; a storm that threatens the nation of Aquilonia and her allies, and puts even King Conan himself in the line of fire. You, the player, play the role of an unknown; a former galley-slave that has, by fate, washed up on the shores of Tortage, an island east of the Barachan isles, and off the Zingaran coast. With your memory lost, you are urged to enter the city of Tortage to seek out your destiny. It is within the jungle-city that you begin to learn of a plot that threatens not only the city of Tortage, but Hyboria and all who inhabit it.
Possibly Age of Conan's biggest feature and stronger draw-cards is its revolutionary "real-time" combat system. Gone are the days where players will endlessly mash at hotkeys to trigger-off automated attacks and other abilities. In Age of Conan, you are in true control of your character and its attacks and other abilities. To start off with, players have three directional attacks: up, up-left, and up-right (two more directions are unlocked at level 40: bottom-left, and bottom-right). These directional attacks are used in tangent with player combos, some which are generic to the archetype, but eventually become individual to the class you are playing. In the very early stages of the game, player combos will be very simple and not quite so intricate so as to get players used to the combat rose and fluidly firing off attack combinations. As the player character gets older, newly-learned combos will become more advanced and become more intricate. Combos have a range of effects (dependent on the class you are playing) which range from damage over time (DoT) or a "bleeding" or "burning" effect, life-taps, armour sunders, debuffs to defense, etc. If your opponent is low on health and if you activate a combo with the right timing, you may also trigger a fatality move, each with their own very gruesome and/or painful-to-watch animation. It is believed that Spellweaving (the combo system for casters, if you will) will work in a similar fashion, however the lid is on that one until release, but going by what we're told on other gaming websites, you might want to keep a box of tissues nearby as you play your caster character(s).