Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures – review
The game which like many others was supposed to tear off millions of players from World of Warcraft. Great universe, wonderful ideas, original execution and some bad decisions. This is the way to describe the MMORPG in the world of King Conan. Norwegian studio Funcom is known primarily from the two parts of The Longest Journey series – adventure games with some arcade elements. They started their journey with MMORPGs along with Anarchy Online, which turned out to be a big enough success. After a few years they announced that they were working on the next game, which was to be placed in the world created by Robert E. Howard.
Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures was released in 2008. For three years the game based on monthly fees and was slowly losing many players in favor of other well-known MMORPGs or some Free to Play equivalents. On July 1st, 2011, it finally become one of these F2P titles which used to be connected with monthly fees. Inexchange there were quite strict limitations imposed on players. First of all, gold limit was so low that it was difficult to freely trade more valuable or epic items. Secondly, on one account, you could have only two playable characters. It was also unfair that the Rise of the Godslayer ad-don was blocked, despite the fact that some players bought it in the store before. However, the worst of all was demanding payment to access sieges, which is by far the most enjoyable part of this game. The only way to repeal these restrictions is to pay subscription fee that is now called Premium. In addition to all features of the main game it rewards players with one experience level (free to distribute to any character) for every four days of Premium membership. Cool option for players who doesn’t have much time to level up. It was also not a crime to F2P players because it was not that hard or time-consuming to achieve the maximum level.
However, something must hold the players who, despite the bad Funcom policy continue to happily play in that game. A unique combat system, which combines non-target with standard clicking on opponents. By using the keys Q, 1, 2, 3, and E you can decide from which side will you attack, where will an arrow or spell fly. The same buttons are also used by the skill system, which consists of pressing the corresponding sequence of keys. It works really nice – also on the PvP arenas. And, it was fighting between players that was a magnet attracting players to this game. An extensive system of guild wars was connected with fortress building and sieging. On PvP servers outside the cities you could kill other players in cold blood.
Adventurers who love raids and instances also have many opportunities, and I am thinking not only about quantity, but also quality. Just to mention the first 20 levels that each player spends on the island of Tortage. The gameplay in this place is divided into daily and nightly. During the day you can perform tasks with other players, fight or trade, while at night, the player doesn’t see other people and has to complete the beginning of an epic plot that is really interesting and no decent cRPG would be ashamed of it. Quests on later levels may be a little worse, but they still keep high level of quality.
And all of this functions in the world created by Robert E. Howard. Everything is huge, bloody, and the only word that fits the Age of Conan is “epic”. Funcom managed to achieve stunning, realistic graphics that already in 2008 used the features of DirectX 10. Death in this game looks really great, even more after performing one of bloody finishing moves. It allows, for example, to decapitate or to deprive the opponent’s limbs (including other players). Music is also awesome and can stay in memory for a long time. Most of the locations in the game has its own original soundtrack, which further enhances the peculiar climate of the world of Conan.
Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is an 8 out of 10. Funcom has created a truly magical production, which in terms of the potential was fairly well used. However, a few bad decisions dictated by financial problems have failed. The game is free not only to try, but also to play for a long time. To have a good time, you do not have to pay a dime and even if the game doesn’t appeal to your taste it is worth a play for an amazing climate, vast world and King Conan of course.