As surely as the day turns into night, MMOCrunch was there, albiet somewhat haphazardly, for the open beta of what can only be considered one of the most anticipated MMORPGs ever to be released. With over 500,000 beta sign-ups, it is conservative to say that the MMO is on many gamers’ minds as it fastly approaches it’s release date on May 20th. In order to help you with that decision I decided to take an indepth look at the beginning levels through the eyes of the ever-infamous Necromancer class. Sit back and enjoy the read…
As many MMO gamers already know, Age of Conan is boasting a new combat system unlike any other MMORPG out there. It is fast paced, action-oriented, and near-useless to the mage classes of the game. So where does that leave all the struggling magic-seekers during the beginnings of the game? Probably not as far from World of Warcraft as you’d have hoped, but that doesn’t mean the game hasn’t developed some well-crafted mage classes anyways.
Washing up on the shore of an unknown beach, you quickly find yourself in hostile territory. As an escaped slave there are few friends and even fewer options available to your character. After speaking with a distressed woman you have but one option, find your former slaver (who also survived the ship wreck) and kill him. Then and only then will you be free to do whatever it is that you wish.
Of course, as you soon will find out while stampeding through the wilderness, this feat is easier said than done. Not five minutes into the game you’ll have to begin fending off ruthless scavengers and would-be pirates attempting to look whatever they can find of the shipwreck. This is, of course, where the newly designed combat system takes place. As a Necromancer you shouldn’t get too connected with this style of fighting, but because it’s the beginning of the game you will get to use it for at least a little while, after all, the low level spells aren’t that great.
The melee combat system works in the manner of three buttons, which can be applied to the number keys or not, your choice. These buttons signify three arrows: up, left, and right. Upon clicking the buttons your character will perform an overhead swing, a right swing, or a left swing. From what I could tell, depending on what the enemy was doing would also depend on whether they were hit by your swing, or if the blocked/parried it. While the system may seem a bit basic, it’s actually quite fun. You will not be sitting there waiting for stuff to happen like you would in WoW. Of course, that is about as complex as the system gets for mages on the lower level (the higher end may get something more).
As a mage in a game which is so focused on the new melee aspect, you may feel like you are getting left out in the cold, rightly so, too. The mage abilities, from what I have scene, are fairly typical of an MMORPG. You get spells as you level up, and you assign those spells to a numbered slot. If you want to cast a spell you simply click on the number and watch as it gets cast. Nothing too spectacular, however, that doesn’t mean the classes are flawed in any way. On the contrary, the Necromancer class was quite fun to play, even if it was a bit more traditional. Upon level two I got my first damage spells and at level five I was able to summon my first undead creature. From there I was causing havoc and torment to all enemies that crossed me. Again, this was nothing out of the ordinary but it was still a fun time.
Overall, Age of Conan is shaping up to be a very good game, despite some installing headaches. The level of detail in the cities and forests were very intricate and the detail in the combat system definitely helps to liven things up. Tie all this together with a unique world and a unique way of talking to NPCs (think KoTOR) brings together one extraordinary MMO experience. If FunCom can get some of the more major loading and black screen bugs out of the way it will be very hard not to recommend this game to any MMO fans out there… even die hard WoW fanatics.
Stay tuned as we bring you more updates from Age of Conan throughout the week.