I have been an avid MMO gamer since the beginning. I got Ultima Online at launch, and dealt with the insane lag and server instability. I got Everquest at launch, but to be honest never made it very deep in that game. I know it is the grandaddy of them all, but grinding rats for 50 hours to get a level just didn’t do it for me. I played other numerous MMOs along the way (like FFXI, City of Heroes, even Everquest Online Adventures on the ps2). Anyway, I’ve played most of them, missed some (never played Anarachy Online or Dark Ages of Camelot) but none has ever grabbed me and sucked my life dry like World of Warcraft did.
When WoW was announced I was excited, I have always been a huge warcraft fan, and an mmo fan, it was a match made in heaven. A buddy of mine was even more excited, we would sit at a local pub and get sloshed and just talk about how awesome it was gonna be. We had already formed our guild and decided on our tabard months before the game came out. We both got into the beta together and tried out every race and class and just wet ourselves over how awesome it was. Then the game came out proper and after a few hiccups (our original server went down for 5 days so we migrated to Llane, where we still are) we created the guild and tabard that was formed in that pub. Good times were had by all.
I had a strange experience with WoW overall, I was never really content. I left the guild I helped create to go play on the horde side. I left that guild and the server as a whole to try out a new server. I came back to the guild I originally made and did a fair amount of raiding (this is pre-tbc) and then the expansion came out and I basically repeated that whole process again. Eventually after going down every avenue I could with the game, from casual pvp to hardcore pvp, from casual raiding to hardcore raiding… I grew tired of it. I also emerged from my cave and got a girlfriend, something that helps noones MMO career. So, early this spring I decided it was time to quit WoW. I had to purge myself of it completely, I decided. So I took my account, which had 6 lvl 70s, and 2 more guys just shy of 70, and I sold it. Viola, done, finished. Take that WoW, I wash my hands of you. I loved you, but I used you up, and you used me up… and I just haven’t been a fan of many of the changes that came with the expansion pack.
So, there I was, free of the MMO that I literally had 400+ days played in. What was I to do? Well, play other MMOs, of course. I played Lord of the Rings Online for a while, and it really is a good game, and more importantly it has one of the best player bases you will find in an MMO. Everyone was really, really cool. But it just didn’t hook me. So I waited patiently for Age of Conan to come out (after getting turned down for the beta like 19 times) and in early May it finally dropped.
I loved AoC a lot early on. Just scroll down and you will find numerous posts on the game, all of them glowingly. But I knew there was trouble brewing, I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. The forums for Age of Conan is simply the most hideous place on the internet. And this means two things:
1. The people playing the game are assholes.
2. The game isn’t very good so everyone is complaining about it, nonstop.
I would say the core of the game is pretty good. The “no auto attack” really does work, and makes playing melee classes a bit more intricate and fun. Also, the questing itself is pretty great, in the places where they are finished. The quests are written at a very high level, always have clear goals, and are well worth your time both in terms of story and helping you level.
The problem with the game is that it just isn’t finished. Now, I understand that MMOs are never truly “finished” when they are released (or ever, really), but AoC is so far from finished that it is kinda shocking that the game was released. The rumor swirling around is that the development team basically ran out of money so they put it out to get some cash flowing, and right now its subscribers are basically paying to beta test the game.
This is something I could live with if the developers were a bit more open and honest about what is going on with their game, but I think the reason they aren’t is because they know that the things that everyone wants are a long, long ways off. There are bugs that have been around for months that have yet to be squashed, memory leaks making even the strongest PCs crash or run the game at really low frame rates and basically once you hit the late 40s there is no more content. From 50-80 all you pretty much do is grind, kinda like years and years ago in Everquest. I loved it up until that point, and then the game became a repetitive chore.
I still have high hopes that in maybe 6-12 months the game will end up being a very strong MMO. The groundwork is laid for it. But there is just soooooo much they need to add and balance and fix before this can happen, I just can’t see playing it right now. I mean if you still like it, more power to you, but with other much more complete MMOs out there, the only option I saw for myself was to cancel my account.
So I did. And then, against my better judgement, I started a new WoW account, I am back with the guild that was born In Rudy’ Bar and Grill over 3 years ago, and I have just one character… a level 40 (and growing) warlock. The thing is, though, I am having a ton of fun again. And fun is the name of the game, and it’s something that Age of Conan is currently lacking.