Welcome to Hyrkanian Insight, the new column where different aspects of life on Age of Conan (AOC) will be treated weekly. I do consider myself a roleplayer, but my blood also boils whenever I get my hands on epic gear or surviving some of the encounters throughout the different instances the game has to offer. And though I am not a fan of open PvP, I do enjoy now and then the thrills of fighting other players… well, I should say getting ganked for, admittedly, I’m not a good PvPer, hehe. And today, I’d like to tell you about the “adventure” of returning to an “old” game.
Haven’t you ever wondered how much a game changed after you have quit? Did you never feel the urge to log back in and rediscover things and maybe even meet people you left behind? There are many reasons to stop playing a game, but when the chance to return presents itself, not everyone chooses the same title, and simply goes to explore other lands and universes. Each game has a number of players that keep “taking breaks” and coming back regularly, and AOC is not an exception to this phenomenon. If you wonder how it would be to come back, or if you never tried this one out, let me tell you about the European version of Age of Conan: Hyborian adventures.
One thing you probably have heard, or know yourself, is that the game experience in an MMO depends greatly on the server you choose to play in; sometimes the choice is determined because you’ll already have friends with characters on a certain server and, of course, you want to be with your friends. But sometimes, one just wonders which server would be appropriate for them and then, the question to be considered is: Which gaming style do you really prefer?
Most of the games nowadays offer PvP, PvE and roleplalying (RP) servers; Age of Conan also specifies PvE-RP and PvP-RP servers, along with different preferred languages. And I say this, because even if you’re a returning customer, and already have characters created on a server (like myself) you’ll find that the community and player base have changed, in some cases greatly, due to the merges that have taken place. Other thing that have changed the population on the different servers is the release of the expansion: The Rise of the Godslayer, and the new PvP farming system that Funcom introduced with it. My advice would be if you’re unsure or not too convinced, to try different servers so you get to know the community in each and see which one makes you feel more “at home”. Other options would be to read some threads on the server forums, but not all players are keen on spending time on those, so the impression off them (forums) will be more limited than actually talking to people directly in a server.
The thing that caught my attention the most was the conflict between two factions on the server I play. After some weeks of gaming, reading the forums and paying attention every so often to what was going on in the global chat, I came to learn that a number of players from a PvP server decided to move to a less aggressive server, on the thought they’d find less competence and opposition to farm the PvP content of the expansion but without expecting the fierce confrontation with the previous inhabitants of the less-aggressive server, who didn’t feel happy with the situation: that is, the “newcomers” monopolizing, or almost, the coveted PvP resources and experience. I can but find this highly surprising in many ways though, all in all, it didn’t affect much my game experience apart from the occasional ruckus on the mentioned global chat.
Leaving the “social” aspects of the game aside, it felt surprisingly good playing AOC again; rediscovering the classes and skills and enjoying every single time I got a fatality. I wanted to experience everything from the start so I created a new character to level and quest and explore. It was rewarding, refreshing and entertaining. My chosen class, the assassin, is a deadly killing machine. Some may feel disgusted or cheated by the nerf suffered by this class (I only heard and read about it) especially if you’ve played it before; but for me, not having experienced it at all, it allowed me to enjoy every aspect of the class. Don’t take me wrong, I don’t doubt it to be true, it’s just that every change (unless something is plainly broken and doesn’t work at all) means a challenge, even if a small one, because I will have to rethink the way I play that class, and find new ways to improve the efficiency. Later I created other classes: Priest of Mitra, Bear Shaman, Necromancer or Guardian to name a few. And with each of them I found things that I like and things that simply aren’t for me: like the Herald of Xotli; I’ve seen players with HoX doing amazing things, yet I can’t bring myself to level one, despite having tried.
Of course, every game has issues, and the so dreaded bugs, and griefing and conflicts (or drama as some define it) but that is just the noisiest side of a larger community that has much more to offer if you are able to see through. So here I am, after various months of my return, having still so much to do, with new friends and yet all the expansion content untouched; it feels like a long road ahead that surely will be walked happily and enjoying each step. I am sure that -you- could enjoy it as well if you give it a try.
So why come back to AOC? Because it offers adventure, challenges and fun in all the aspects, PvE, PvP and RP, with active communities and a constant (if slow) improvement of the game. But don’t think this is the last of it. Next week I’ll come back with more Hyrkanian Insight.