First and foremost, I have played and still play quite a few mmo's. I find each one has something different to offer in the way of entertainment. I am not a fan boy of any particular game, though I do have a select few that I have stuck with throughout the years. There will be a few others I'll get to when I find the time. For MMO game play experience, I have played EQ, EQ2, NWN, Guild Wars, SWG (pre NGE), WoW and of course AoC. I am still an avid WoW player and am looking forward to a few future titles as well. This blog will be primarily about my current experiences in AoC as well as the odd story here and there.
Second, I'll do my best to refrain from rants. Understand, I played Age of Conan back in 08, then in '10 for about 6 months a piece. I have seen how it has evolved over time for better or worse. If I bring up anything negative, it will always include possible system solutions. This has been tried several times on forums, though I find most forums very poor in mental aptitude. I also think those who bitch too much tend to be the least loyal to any game per se. Yes, that's my opinion, don't care if it isn't respected.
The current state of AoC is a F2P hybrid. I know there are a lot of misgivings, but honestly I think it's good business. As a free player you have a lot less options for classes, only 4 to choose from. Your carry space is severely curtailed and there are a lot of instances you can't get into without buying passes for them. Premium, which is the constant subbing, gets all the basic game stuff such as all classes, all instances, etc. The hybrid comes in for the ebility to buy the expansion for the Savage Coast of Turan and various items from an in game store interface. You must buy those things with real cash. These items include mounts, pets, companions, armor, weapons and vanity equipment. There are other things which can be bought as well. You buy them by buying Funcom points from your Funcom Account. These come in increments based upon how much you want to spend. It can get pretty pricey by the way. But, if you want to see Turan, you'll be dropping 20 bucks anyhow. $20 will get to 2100 points I believe which is enough to get the Turan expac and have a few left over for fun purchases.
One could buy weapons or armor, but really thats a waste of time if you are leveling to get to the end game. If you are maintaining pvp brackets...it may be worth it, but I'm skeptical of that to. This brings up the ugly pay to win model. Well, perhaps. BUT...the gear bought is just barely on par with the pve gear dropped in dungeons. I really doubt it's a game changer, especially not for skilled players. Asides, the hardcore pvper's get their pvp lv 10 stuff and wreck everyone else, so I doubt they have much to bitch about. In open world, a skilled player with rare world drops can still dominate the grounds and do it pretty cheaply with in game silver. I've checked the economies on the AH and to be honest, it wouldnt take much at all to keep a toon decently geared for open world pvp.
What I really got interested in was the vanity armor. This was cool because while they provide no stat enhancement they look friggen wicked! What good is no stats? Well my friends, you have 2 equipment windows, one for power the other for vanity. The power window you equip the necessary items to maximise your class and skills. On the vanity window you drop whatever you like to get a certain look for your character. This will be the "skin" your toon appears to you and everyone else. So if you wanted that bare chested loin clothed barbarian look, but needed gear to be competetive, you can! Need a certain cultural look but the gear you have isn't doing it? No problem! You equip your power slots with whatever you need. Then find the cool culture gear you like and in the vanity slots equip and check boxes. This does nothing against your power stats. I LOVE this! Yeah I do like to be a bit immersive when I can. WoW is doing the same thing with it's transmogriphication, but to be honest, AoC made it a shit load easier to do.
Ok, it's late and I got to work in the morning. I will discuss game play tommorow and the hardware issues at hand.
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