Age of Conan remains one of the most visually stunning games available to MMO players. (See screenshot of tiger mount below!!!) At PAX 2009 we were able to get an up close look at the new expansion that will expose AoC players to a new world unlike anything they've experienced! In the new expansion the immortals of Hyboria will embark on an adventure to the land of Khitai. The new expansion will be dubbed: Rise of the Godslayer.
This new wave of content will take players to the mysterious country of Khitai, an Eastern-inspired land full of mystery and wonder. The world of Khitai was never fully explored by Conan author Robert E. Howard before his death; however, Funcom is striving for authenticity with this expansion. Khitai and its people are based on descriptions Howard included in his letters with friends and family. Rise of the Godslayer is shaping up to be the real deal.
The game itself has been vastly improved over the already-impressive Age of Conan. Different zones are now easier to traverse between: instead of teleporting via an NPC, players can simply explore the massive plains of Khitai and cross the border between areas themselves. Khitai is designed to feel like an even more believable world than the Hyboria that was explored in Age of Conan. There are twelve different factions dotted throughout Khitai, and each of them have their own distinct culture. Visually, each faction is striking, and the groundbreaking Age of Conan graphics engine really shines within these new areas. Towns are filled with intricate buildings and lively characters, as well as dazzling sunlight, and Funcom says it are striving to make these places feel alive by opening up as many doors as possible. Players can wander through wonderfully lit shops, inns, temples, and other establishments, without having to pass through a loading screen. The exploration appears to be some of the smoothest in any MMO.
While no new classes or races will be playable in Rise of the Godslayer, the amount of new content is still huge. Each of the twelve factions will have their own quest lines, with exciting rewards for players who make it to the top. Special new armor will be available, including a fourth tier of equipment for high-level players to seek out. New special skills will also be trained, although the exact details of these are still up in the air – suffice to say that they will be exciting and powerful.
The various warring factions of the game will tie into the player's relationship with the world. Beating up thugs from one group won't make you too popular with their superiors, leading to possible future scuffles with NPC enemies looking for revenge. Interestingly, it's possible to betray the people you call your own, and ally yourself with a rival faction – just another line of quests to add to the massive array of new content! However, making your way to the very top of a faction's quest line without betrayal definitely has its perks. For example, one group trains tigers. Stellar players will be given the opportunity to have their very own tiger as a mount or a pet. In true Conan spirit, they must venture naked into the jungle and fight the beast with their bare hands!
The original Age of Conan struck a chord with gamers looking for a darker MMO. It was intense, brutal, and steeped in Robert E. Howard's Conan lore – a major plus for fans of the classic works. Rise of the Godslayer seems to be on the right path to continue that spirit of exciting action, whisking players away to a gorgeous open world full of risks and adventure. The massive realm of Khitai and its promise of new quests, new gear, new friends, and new foes looks to be a worthy successor to the throne of Conan.