Greetings fellow adventurers, and welcome once more to this corner of FunCom’s Age of Conan world. Last week I could not update Hyrkanian Insight due to technical problems which, incidentally, are not yet really solved; only patched temporarily. Whatever, here I am, back with renewed energy.
Today, I want to bring to your attention some of the work being done by the AoC Team, what’s new inside and outside the game, through the community updates from last week and the one published yesterday. Some very interesting things can be extracted between the lines along with a lot of speculation and guess-work.
Come aboard for some rumors and facts…
An important announcement for many, including me, is that memory handling has improved vastly so people having the “out of memory” crashes hopefully won’t suffer them any longer. Also DX9 and DX10 have been tweaked to offer better performance and/or higher visual effects. I’m hoping to enjoy Khitai beautiful design now without dreading to crash every time I zone or randomly when I go there. I must admit I have been avoiding Khitai because of this.
Last week I was not the only one having technical problems apparently, as FunCom admitted and announced in their community update on Feb 4th. The issue was related to the Dreamworld engine since the anti-alising provided by graphic cards was not working with the new Deffered Shading, and the difficulty to offer a solution added up to the deadlines scheduled to bring the next patch to live servers.
This must have been a real worry to them, taking into account their own words when explaining that they are working on an integrated solution to implement
… even if it may not come in the launch version
Wow. I mean, to announce that they cannot guarantee a solution says much about the magnitude of the problem. Though, knowing that they also were thanking people for their help on the test servers and also asking everyone to go there over the last week also says clearly that they were expecting the patch delivered after such mentioned week. Don’t you agree?
[singlepic id=3265 w=320 h=240 float=left]In a way it was good that I couldn’t write last week’s article, since this point caught my attention and I was sure to mention it on the Hyrkanian Insight. But yesterday the new community update was published and Oh surprise! Not only have they “found” a solution to the anti-alising, what they will be using is the newest technology from Nvidia! Yes, you read right, Age of Conan will be using the FXAA anti-alising which is the latest development from the graphic card giant. If you are interested in the detailed explanation from the render coder, visit the official forums.
I don’t know you, but I cannot help thinking it is not mere chance that the Nvidia guys miraculously developed this new anti-alising off the top of their heads so they must have been aware of this issue with previous engines and graphic cards. Also I can see FunCom thinking they could come up with a solution of their own to save up paying more money. Of course all this is speculation on my part for I have no proof towards or against it.
Item Packs for sale
However, as every other company their goal is profit (of course) and this new option is available for every subscriber on the account page just proves it.
The Christmas offer of a 1-year subscription to get not only a discount on the overall prize of it, but also a nice white tiger as mount along with porting scrolls, potions to boost Prowess & Mastery XP, PvP XP and adventuring XP or tasty foods and drinks to keep your character ready for anything in Hyboria and beyond have raised, or so FunCom claims, much expectation amongst gamers. So much that they have decided to add this as a permanent option for everyone to have access to it.
It seems that the path towards F2P system has started. I have been told that there won’t be too long before AoC become free to play, and definitely things like these Packs for sale seem to confirm it. Though as with everything, rumors are to be believed just so far, even if we are not the only ones to bring this subject up.
I cannot know about the US servers, but the EU servers have experienced a decrease of active gamers for whatever reason. Some are expecting the new Dreamworld to bring many back into the game, but with skepticism. Again rumors grow that there will be another merge among the European servers, even getting to name different servers as the candidates to be merged together. After checking numerous threads that have been there for long months, I can’t really say if it’s a rumor or just wishful thinking from some (or many). Every thread on the official forums I’ve checked starts as a suggestion of a merge to solve the low population issues of different serves and ends up as an open battle of PvP against PvE against RP and none will accept that there are issues on all sides, that there are improvements on all sides and that there are efforts to give something to everyone. Fact is gamers have been quitting AoC, as of late all guilds in my chosen server are struggling to get raids and minis and Khitai Hard Modes… as it seems almost all the other servers have population issues and people leaving as well.
I have left this for the last because it makes me wonder beyond imagining. So, they are introducing personal interviews with gamers. Most people agree that the number of people participating on the Forums and expressing their opinions/ideas is minor. You will mostly see the same names repeated thread after thread on the general and server forums, so this new feature will reach not the majority of the subscribers. One would guess that this is an answer to all those complaining that the player base is not heard or taken into account by the developers.
Well, there you have it. My question is: What is the choosing method? How will they decide who is interviewed? Many will probably consider this a very good opportunity to get a moment of “fame”? But also is a way to try and tip the balance towards their preferred area of the game. In their words you could introduce yourself, your guild or express your likings and disliking. We can only guess, my friends, maybe they have a fixed series of questions that they’ll make to every gamer chosen, maybe it’ll be more of a relaxed conversation… we will just know when it’s released, which it will be soon, since the first persons being interviewed will be contacted within this month, February.
Next week the testing finishes (with a bit of luck) and the focus will be the plan to deploy the update to the live servers. Will it bring more whining from the noisy members on all sides? I am sure many will be pleased though and will see it as a proof of the effort the Team is making to give us what we want, which not always is what we really need.
Let us pray to the 999.999 Gods of Khitai, with any luck there’ll be at least one that listens to us. Meanwhile feel free to post your pray, facts or rumors in the comments. And as good bye this week I present you the protagonist of the tale I’ve started narrating some weeks ago and which soon will see its continuation.