On the 21st of May, I had the opportunity to once again visit Funcom HQ and meet up with their Product Manager, Jorgen Tharaldsen. As I showed up at their office building, I was met by an eager Jorgen who asked me to follow him into the conference room. His words were: "here, let me show you something cool!". After sitting down, Jorgen brought up the big screen in the conference room and told me that they had just recently created a new trailer for Age of Conan - one with some darker undertones in the sense of battle, blood, metal and all the goodness that goes into the Conan world. With a huge grin on my face I nodded to Jorgen as he said that this trailer is to be released to the public in the upcoming weeks - I am certain you guys will like it!
As per usual, the workday over at Funcom is a busy and diligent process of adding the final touch to what we as gamers can expect to be the biggest MMO release of 2007. Next up was a brief video interview/demonstration of current iteration of combat in Age of Conan with Jason Stone - one of the lead developers of AoC's game play and combat system. While quickly taking us through the game interface and the "equipping" of abilities and potions on your interface as well as explaining some of the mechanics involved, the character which Jason used to demonstrate the game to us was level 50, and Jason went on to explain that due to his level he had 6 available "combo" slots to put combo attacks into.
For those of you who haven't seen combat in Age of Conan, it is a great improvement on current "industry standard" sword/magic combat systems. Besides having ability combos both as single player and in group, attacks have different positions on the opponent's body where they can hit. For example, you can swing your sword high, medium and low on your target.
Secondly, attacks are more like a frontal / side / rear cone style with a "real range" and swing radius in Age of Conan. What this essentially means is that if you have a huge two handed sword and you swing it in front of you, your attack will hit anything within its swing radius. To equate it to familiar "WoW" terms, think of a swing working with the dynamics of a Cone of Cold for example. There is one important point to note though, the damage of his attack gets split by the amount of targets it hits - meaning it will do full damage to 1 target and 1/3rd to each if you hit 3 targets.
The most amusing aspect of his demonstration, however, was when he mentioned that parts of their team had recently been to see the movie "300". The call had therefore been made: "we want 300 blood in AoC!". I need to clariy that while they are having fun with some excessive amounts of blood and gore in the current iteration of the game, this is not necessarily something that will go live. In other words, the developers are enjoying creating their game - and rightfully so.
That being said, we will have a video interview with Jason Stone up and available for your viewing pleasure within a week’s time showing off all the goodness that we got to see - including 300's contribution to the game!
In other news, our visit at Funcom was very informative - not just about Age of Conan but also regarding The Secret World. While Jorgen was very reluctant to tell us too much about TSW, he did state the following: the game is going to run on the same game engine and technology as Age of Conan is, meaning that they do not need to do much game development in that sense for the game. Currently, their focus is world design and all the goodness that comes with this. He also informed us that one of their developers has a knack for creating a unique language/alphabet for each of their games, and that TSW would be no different. This means, of course, that hardcore lore and game RP'ers will be able to enjoy some extra tidbits of goodness around the game!
All in all, expect to see good stuff from Funcom here at Curse in the future!