MMOries of a Gamer: Age of Conan

Welcome to another chapter of MMOries of a Gamer. This week’s game is Age of Conan, a major MMO that had a rocky start, back in May 2008. By then, I was playing Lotro, but couldn’t help but try the digital version of Hyboria, as I always liked Conan’s comics and novels.

This week I’ll take a different approach than in past columns; I want to write a bit about AoC, instead of telling you a story. Come along, after the jump, and read some “mmories”.

In 2008, I was following AoC development with interest. The awesome graphics, the great combat system and the fact that you could build your own city, got me thrilled about the game.

When it launched, as aforementioned, I was playing Lotro. I remember being busy with the first steps of raiding The Rift, but was very difficult for me to meet the other players, due to my job duties. Then, AoC was released and I bought it. I always tend to buy every single AAA MMO on the market, and this was no exception at all… I can’t help it.

I avidly started to explore the possibilities of the game. Firstly, I was amazed by the gorgeous graphics and world design, Age of Conan was impressive in its visuals, absolutely. Then, I started to explore Tortage, the noob island where you learn how to play and become familiar with the basic features of the game. Tortage was totally amazing, the gaming experience was magnificent and I felt I was to leave Lotro, as AoC seemed to be perfect for my liking.

I quickly convinced my sister and her husband to try the game and play with me, they were happy with AoC and we ended all the Tortage stuff, throwing ourselves into the open world of Hyboria, eager for adventures. Then, all the problems begun.

As we advanced into what the game had to offer, we started to suffer bugs. The problem was that almost every bug was related to a quest. Around level 40, we had about 15 quest chains unfinished, due to quest bugs impossible to fix. We could not even cancel the quest to start all over, we were simply stuck. That was so disappointing so we decided to leave AoC.

One year passed and I decided to give the game another try. I was reading a lot of news on the Internet about a huge revamp of the game system and a tremendous “bug-hunt” in a serious attempt to turn AoC into a very good game, finally. I reactivated my account and gave the game a second chance.

Doing so was so good. The game had changed so much in a good way, that I could not believe my eyes. I really think AoC is the game that better improved after  launch. Then, I decided to play more seriously, joined a guild and played for several months. I did not level much, but went to dungeons, practiced crafting, etc, etc.

I really enjoyed the game a lot, surprisingly. What I wanted to tell you all this week, is that one of the good things about MMOs is the fact that they are “alive”. These games can change in a way no other type of game can. A game that you really hated, can become a wonderful game in time. Don’t think that once you try a game for a month, you’ve seen all you need to see to know if the game is for you or not.

I love MMOs, they’re so complex, so big, always changing, always offering something new. Age of Conan made a huge effort to become a good game and, now, is more than that. Age of Conan is an awesome game for adults, wanting to play a dark, cruel and violent game. This game has changed for good and now I love it.

MMO gaming is our hobby, we like it, is a way of life even. But, in the end, we’re just talking about games. Enjoy your games, be positive and, of course, have as much fun as you can. If you don’t like one, try another and don’t get mad.

Have a nice gaming week and see you all next week on MMOries of a Gamer: Guild Wars.

MMOries of a Gamer updates every Sunday.


  1. Hey Pedro, while I luckily side stepped the disaster that you described above (the release of AoC), and have never played AoC, I think you give a rock solid example of just how important the release of a game is. Imagine how differently AoC would have been met by the world if it had released bug free? Almost everyone who I knew that tried AoC said exactly the same thing that you did. The first area was polished and great, and everything went downhill after that. I also remember hearing about some extreme roller-coaster balancing after the first few months as well.

    I think we need more developers to just TAKE THEIR TIME when they design and test games. While some problems may be hard to test, and hard to foresee, something like quest bugs should be pathetically simple to catch, and the developers have no one but themselves to blame for not running adequate enough testing. Hopefully the lesson learned from AoC was big enough to prevent future games from following that path.

  2. The eternal battle between publishers and developers. It’s not easy, sometimes they have to release the game before it’s done, or risk a bankrupt.

    Thanks for your comment, Levi :)

  3. We have another example with Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. I tried that game on release, and I liked it a lot. It reminded me of the hard work required to level at first in Everquest, for a change one had to work hard and it gave a sense of real achievement (real in a sense of the word, of course) you had different factions, and to travel from one continent to the other meant you had to gain faction with the guards and peoples of the new one in order to talk to them and get answers.

    I never got too far level-wise, but I liked a lot the idea of progressing through any of the three different options: adventuring, crafting or diplomacy instead of being forced to raise the adventuring levels before you can go on with the other two. A shame there had annoying bugs as well, like the one where you started falling through the world to reappear in a completely foreign area, sometimes much higher than your character, so only option was to die to go back to the resurrection point. And dying in that game wasn’t meaningless, as is in Age of Conan. Though the latter did survive the initial mess… Vanguard didn’t.

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