Age of Conan Review
You may be thinking "oh great, another fantasy-based MMORPG" and in some ways you're right in your thinking. But maybe the fact that the game is set in Conan's Hyboria has piqued your interest enough to get you to read a review or tow on the game. Well I can tell you that Age of COnan is a beautiful MMORPG, a brutal MMORPG, and an engrossing MMORPG, but it's nonetheless an MMORPG. This means that if you've never liked the whole questing, grinding, slow-leveling experience of MMORPGs, then Age of Conan is unlikely to change your mind about the genre. However, if you're an MMORPG fan or are interested in giving one a try, then Age of Conan has a lot of excitement in store for you.
Age of Conan opens with your new character stranded on a beach after escaping from a sinking slave ship. You're dressed in rags, you've got selective amnesia, ... in short, you're now a typical level one RPG character. So far this is a typical opening for an MMORPG, but Age of Conan makes its opening play more interesting than is typically the case. Until they reach level 20, characters occupy the island of Tortage, a large island with multiple zones and a good-sized city at its center. It's the largest starting area I can remember seeing in an MMORPG and it's all reserved for characters under level 20. In Tortage, all characters are voiced and quest-givers have branching dialogs that are full-voiced as well. And while there are plenty of traditional kill this or get that quests, quests do abound and you're never without a lot to do. There is also an interesting mechanic in that the entire island can be turned into a solo instance by resting until nightfall. To return to the multiplayer world, you simply rest at an inn until morning. Once you hit level twenty you leave the island, and that's when you get to see what a big world has been created for the game. The environments are some of the best looking ones to ever appear in an online game. The game takes a "if you can see it, you can get to it" approach to world design. It may take you a while to get to some places, but this goes a long way towards bringing Conan's world to life.
Your experience with Age of Conan begins in the same way it does with all MMORPGs; the character creation screen. Age of Conan gives you a lot of control over the look of your character, allowing you to set a wide variety of facial features and body characteristics. It's nice to spend a little time crafting your character while feeling secure in the knowledge that you won't immediately run into countless doppelgangers of your character. Character classes tend to fall into traditional archetypes although in Age of Conan the classes are more versatile than they are in most games. This gives players of support classes more of an opportunity to succeed in solo play when they fell like striking out on their own.