This past week, “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” made a huge announcement – they’re changing their name to “Age of Conan: Unrated” and going to a Freemium F2P model and dropping the required subscription fees. When I first heard the name “Age of Conan: Unrated” I have to admit, my first thought was “Whut? They’re making it even more adult?” So I checked my account on the official website from when I was playing the 14 day trial last fall, and guess what – It’s active & playable again! I hopped on there, and I’d forgotten that last time I played was back before I had the gaming rig I have now, and it barely ran on the old system. I’d also forgotten about the nudity of my female character *evil grin*. So I started up a new toon, a male, and spent most of the other day playing through the tutorial areas and a little of the first city, Tortuga.
The gameplay is… different. The combat is, honestly, a little convoluted. your 1, 2, and 3 keys are 3 different melee attacks; swing left, swing right, and overhead chop. There are little transparent shield icons on your opponent for each area you can attack – left, right, and above. The idea is to hit the side with the fewest shields, and I’ve found the shields will shift randomly during battle. The randomness of it was annoying, and combining the attacks with WASD movement is just plain a hassle and irritated me often. The effects in combat were actually kind of lackluster, and even the blood effect just seemed overly fake and out of place, almost forced.
The quests were actually fairly simple yet had effective stories, and the voice overs were excellent. I had little trouble with the first few bosses, too – they were rather easy to defeat… almost too easy. I had some lag issues once inside of Tortuga, so even on my gaming desktop rig, I had to lower some of the graphics settings. This was odd, because I can run Starcraft 2 at higher settings than AoC. The shaders weren’t even the greatest; I can only surmise that the ones AoC uses are just more of a system hog due to being older and less efficient.
There was pretty much no nudity thusfar (unless I removed all the clothes off my female character, then her boobs were naked) which was, actually, something I appreciated. I have no problems with nudity in games IF they are in proper context. There was actually a spot where it would have made sense (the first decent quest has you rescuing a woman who escaped the red district of Tortuga & was captured by brigands; her dress being torn & revealing would have fit the context of the mission).
There was an issue I had with one of the missions. It kept telling me to use my hide ability to sneak past some guards, but the ability kept telling me I wasn’t trained in it. I searched for about 45 minutes for a trainer and never found one; I eventually found out that there IS no trainer, I just go to a panel that was not mentioned in the tutorial pop-up messages, go to a tab I didn’t know was there, and just click the plus sign. This is one of my pet peeves about a lot of MMO games – they don’t clearly and simply tell you how to use all of the interface.
All in all, an interesting game, but wasn’t enough for me to be worth $15 a month, even with guild-built cities & city sieges (a topic I’ll be posting about in the coming weeks). For free, though, it might be worth rummaging through once in a while.