Friday, April 25, 2008

AoC Game Overview and Dark Templar 1-80

I have been a part of the beta Community since April 07, I was in the tech tests and got into the first batch of General Beta Testers.
Suffice to say I was pretty happy to be part of the AoC team and I still am.

We have all had our ups and downs, and so has the game

I will leave out my experiences from the first build since I already posted them at that time. But in case you are interested in reading up on it, follow this link : So I hit 32...
This will start from Build 2.

Levels 1-40

Originally I wanted to play a Barbarian, I made one but the class (rogues) were way too bugged to play. I played a Guardian in Build 1, and I wanted another experience, so I made my Dark Templar, known as Blocks.

The first days of beta, the experience was moving soooo damn slow, there were alot of grinding involved in tortage to be able to recieve the next quests due to not being high enough lvl. That changed later on, and was welcome for sure.
I got to lvl 20 and recieved my first DT skills, my two stances and it was pretty awesome. However my excitement and joyfullness soon evaporated, I got cursed (known as Blocks Curse). One patch later I got hit in a crash bug, didnt matter what I did, I just kept on crashing and crashing and crashing, I made a new character, which actually helped, but whenever I tried playing Blocks, I just kept on crashing.
At one point I managed to get stuck and was unable to log in at all, it just kept hanging at the loading screen, so I was unable to play Blocks for around 1 ½ - 2 weeks due to this.

With all the crashing I had managed to bug my character, Blocks was lvl 30 when I was able to play him again, so I had managed to get a few lvls while still crashing etc.

With the new aquired fix on the crashes, my character was now invincible, I had managed to get Shield of the Risen bugged to be permanent.
So I did the next 10 lvls, without being able to die, I managed to get through the Sanctum in Wild Lands (which was an awesome experience btw)
And I finally managed to get myself drowned at lvl 40, after that the buff was gone and I havent been able to recreate it since I never knew how I got it to be permanent !

Quests 1-40
So now I was lvl 40, I have always loved good quests, where you have a great story, you get involved, quests where you interact with objects or people, and so on.
The levels 1 - 40 was a perfectly good example on this, I enjoyed questing very much, especially in Old Tarantia I found a quest which reminded me so much about RPG's, that mixed with an Online world and the really great graphics, it was bliss!
Of course there were bugged quests, which also got reported!

Dungeons 1-40
While there might be other instances classified as dungeons, I have only been in one, Sanctum of the Burning Souls.
This dungeon is group based and located in the Wild Lands.
Now this was my first trip through a dungeon in AoC, and I was really in awe, the immense size of the dungeon, the details and just the quests you had involved with the dungeon, it was a grand experience, I must admit that if this is what AoC dungeons is like, I will be sure to do as many dungeon crawls as I can.

Zones 1-40
Alot of choices basicly, 1-20 it was Tortage, white sands, archeronian ruins etc, 20-40, you had Conalls Valley, Wild Lands, Khopshef, the zones seemed plenty considering my level and how fast you actually go through the lvls, not only did you have the three major zones, but also zones within those zones, for example in Wild Lands, you had the border ranges and such.
Pretty nice start after leaving tortage.

Levels 40-60
Ok so we continue.
I have since this post played another character through FotD and have made a new feedback thread regarding this see : Field of the Dead Revisitted

I was now lvl 40 and I went to field of the dead.
I loved the atmosphere in the zone, except that it seemed like I always played there when it was night, dark and gritty, but what do you expect in a zone full of werewolves.

At this point I had been overwhelmed with quests, which is why FotD didnt seem as overwhelming as my previous 40 lvls. The amount of quests vs bugged quests was something you have to keep in mind here. In my opinion there werent enough quests, but I did hit some of the bugged quests aswell so it seemed less, I was doomed to grind alot of my lvls here, since the quests I could do usually took me from anywhere from 20-50% through a lvl, and then I was grinding the rest.
I kept running to Eiglophean Mountains in hope I could find some quests there, but they didnt start so early, so it was back to FotD. At around 48-50 I went to EM and started questing there, this area had more bugged quests than FotD and I was back to grinding, however there were some really good potential in the quests I did manage to do in EM, and I cant wait to see more from this place. Old Tarantia seemed to offer some pretty decent quests too, especially some more RPG related quests and more interactivity/story line quests. I finally hit lvl 60, and it was time to move on.

Quests 40-60
At 40, I didnt see much of the interactivity quests, it seemed more like Kill Quests, kill 15 of these, 15 of those, collect this and that, which is fine, since you basicly have to kill these things anyways for xp.
I did manage to do some quests which gave me back the feeling of an RPG here aswell, one particular quest involving a guy who was turning into a werewolf, however I had hoped for another outcome !
There seemed to be more bugged quests on these levels, compared to 1-40, but as I said earlier, the quest ratio isnt comparable on these lvls to 20-40, which I will come to in a minute under zones.

Dungeons 40-60
I didnt really find any Big Dungeons on these lvls, it was more caves and such, and of course without the Invincibility buff I wouldnt have been able to solo any group based dungeons I would have found, so I cant say too much about this.

Zones 40-60
Basicly after 40 it starts feeling very confined, with only one zone from 40-50 (FotD] and another one from 50-60 (EM) perhaps because I was grinding too much, and basicly just got fed up with the places in the end hehe, there were of course Frost Swamp, the housing zone and Ymirs Pass (Which I was told wont be staying) Frost Swamp is a minor zone, I managed to get a quest for the place from the housing zone, but it was too bugged to do much there. The Housing zone itself, Lacherish Plains sp? was indeed very buggy. Also we had the Noble District in Old Tarantia, however this zone was very bugged, missing alot of textures and so on.
The reason of confinement on these lvls were perhaps because of the said bugged zones, hopefully the next time I run through them, it will work alittle better and I will be able to try out more than just two zones.

Levels 60-80
So I was lvl 60, and I went to Atzels Approach, there were a bunch of quests, but some were buggy, some didnt reward exp, and the ones I did manage to do gave decent exp, still I got back into the need more lvls to get more quest thing, and therefor I had no other choice to get back to grinding, I grinded a bunch of lvls, did quests in between and reported the bugs I could find.
Atzels was a fairly decent place to level, alot of mobs, some nice sights to see and a few dungeons too, quests here were more of the kill quests and collectable quests too, of course there were some quests which were pretty nice, but still bugged.
At lvl 70 I jumped straight to Kheshatta to quest there, to my suprise, none of the quests rewarded any xp, which was quite a downer for me, since that meant I had to grind my way up to lvl 80, my main concern here was to make sure quests werent bugged, other than the missing xp and coin.

Quests 60-80
Now on these levels it was very confined aswell, two zones which you could quest in, Atzels from 60-70 and Kheshatta from 70+, while there are Os Harku aswell its not possible to get there atm.
Quests seemed plentifull however, except there were too many bugged ones, and no xp for the others. I do have to admit though, that Kheshatta seems like a really good place to quest, there were one in particular (which I dont want to spoil) which really made me think of movies/books etc, it was really great.

Dungeons 60-80
I have found several dungeons for these lvls, real dungeons mind you, but also some sewer dungeons etc, like we had in Tarantia for example, I sneaked through one of these dungeons, but it wasnt as immense as the Sanctum, however I am looking forward to trying these things out once we have people for it.

Zones 60-80
Like I stated before, it felt very confined, due to not being able to travel to Os Harku for example, but also 3 zones on lvl 60-80, even lvl 80 would seem like nothing, and would get very boring quite fast.
While I do like Atzels it was a pretty nice zone.
Kheshatta was a blinding experience lol, all the purple grass/flowers was blinding my eyes, I really loved the layout, even though the zone seems quite small.

Tortage 1-20
I feel Tortage is perfect the way it is, mob difficulty vs a soldier isnt too much to handle, and this goes for the rogue too, on my priest it seemed alittle harder due to my heals simply healing for crap hehe.
Tortage was fun the first few times or ten, after that it has become a pain, and I look forward to a "Skip Tortage" key. There isnt much to say here, except that I feel the difficulty is good the way it is, I will return to this once the XP change hits the server.

Progression 20-40
So basicly, we have a few choices here, I started in Conarch, went to Conalls and got the Vista + Conalls crash bug, which I was stuck in for awhile.
I have to admit things started to get harder, especially when fighting beasts, and me being a freshly baked Dark templar, I didnt feel much like a tank, especially not vs beasts / ranged npcs, they were slicing through me like a knife through butter.
I did like the overall feel of the damage my DT did however, vs solo mobs he did pretty good.

I got some levels, and got more combos, most of them were bugged, lifetaps, drains etc, so I cant really judge the difficulty since they didnt work as intended, but I had a hard time levelling, suffice to say on lvl 30 when I was hit with the invulnerability bug, it made things a whole lot easier, which is why I will skip most of the 30-40 content here.

All I can say is, I soloed Sanctum of the Burning Souls, and the difficulty in there for me solo was, mobs had insane amounts of Hit Points, I would really love to try this place out with a group however.

One thing that striked me, when I was lvl 30 I went to Wild Lands of Zelata, there were tons of quests, however they were alittle messy, so once I came back to deliver, I got a new quest the next lvl which took me to a place near where I already was hehe, of course I got into some bugged quests, but I dont complain, I had fun.

Progression 40-60
So I hit level 40, and I wasnt invincible anymore, now I was classified as a paper tank, if I got more than one mob I would usually die, considering I was a "Tank" I didnt do well at all, I feel like mobs are insanely hard compared to their "Con" Normal mobs and Minions, Bosses and Mini Bosses.

I was in Field of the Dead, and again I had a huge problem with wolves and other beasts, they were hitting extremely hard, which made it hard for me to kill stuff.
While I know you guys have a written note about how many mobs a person should be able to take on at a time, I really think you should reconsider this.
As a tank I should be able to take a beating, but my dps shouldnt be as high as other classes.

While the second is true, the first is not, I had a low dps compared to other classes, but I died just as easily as a mage !
Humanoids is a bit easier to handle here, Vaniirs and Werewolves were "semi ok"
After I got my amulet of Lycantrophy, which adds a cure for the disease you catch from FotD (reminds me, normal wolves cast this disease as well, not just werewolves) then it got alittle more manageable.

At level 48-50 I continued to Eiglophean Mountains, I really miss some sort of (Quest Direction pointer) some quest that tells me to go to this place next and start questing there.

Eiglophean Mountains, great place, loved the snowy landscape, but it was the same here, I had a really hard time with my DT.
I can continue like this until I reach lvl 80 in my post.
DT is underpowered in terms of tanking anything, and mobs are pretty unbalanced in terms of damage, dodge / blocks.

I felt like I had to grind more than I could quest at these levels, and the interactivity was sorta lacking, there were still some really good quests, but we need more of the story / interactive quests after 40.

Progression 60-80
At this point I was incredibly tired of my DT, I kept on going however to provide som valid feedback on my class, the quests I encountered and anything else I might have found.

Quests werent plenty at this point, I had to grind alot too.
I was in Atzels Approach, there were alot of quests, some which had missing markers, others had no xp reward etc.

I did the quests I could, bugged the rest, and just grinded.
Here I had problems with mobs aswell, especially the Ymir's, basicly what you need to understand, my Dark Templar had broken feats, including potion use feat, so it was crap pots and food/drink I was using, combine that with no lifetaps, and you got something really painfull.

Usually if I got more than 1 mob I would most likely die, unless I managed to get away.
Alot of the mobs here (Ymirs) were rooting however, which made it impossible to get away, so I just fought until my last breath.

I reached level 68, and I was thrilled, I could do some quests in Kheshatta now, so I was sure it was done with the grinding and back to questing, I went to Kheshatta and found out that quests didnt reward any xp, bummer...
Back to grinding, I got to 70, took all the quests I could get in Kheshatta, and made some of them, however admittingly I got annoyed at one point and didnt do anymore quests, instead I took a small break, and when I finally got on I would grind a few mobs, get even more annoyed and log again.
in Kheshatta it was the same deal however, Hyena's were a really painfull experience, those Scorpion archers another painfull experience, the grind was horrible hehe.

Then talking to people who didnt have as much trouble grinding made me more frustrated and annoyed, so I took it slow and easy, and just did whatever when I logged in.

I did several tests with a dev regarding my class, we tried a bunch of different things, to find out what was wrong with my class, and there were definately something lurking in the shadows.

I started doing some more quests in Kheshatta, I asked a GM to compensate some of the xp which I didnt recieve from the quests so I could continue getting the next quests which required one or two more lvls, I went back to grinding and basicly just had enough at one point and took another break.
I have been on and off since then, I got lvl 78 2 days ago, and tonight I hit lvl 80, I grinded the last xp I needed.

As it stands right now, the Dark Templar needs alot of work, both in tanking aspects, lifetap aspects and spell aspects, I felt alot of the spells I had were useless.

At all times I kept 3 spells running, I did notice a significant boost in fighting mobs (I got my spells when I was lvl 68)
But still not enough to keep me alive for long.
While I wont be playing a Dark Templar in live as a main, I was hoping for alittle more survivability with this class, considering his lifetaps, stuns and buffs.

Overall Impressions

This game has great potential, once most bugs are sorted out, PvP is in, mounts, more armor models, more options, DX10 etc etc, it will be a pleasure to play it, especially once we get some more balancing.

I have played alot of different characters, not just in Age of Conan, but also other games, including tanks, shadowknights and so on.
And for me the Dark Templar is under the wrong category as it stands.
He doesnt feel like a tank, but he doesnt feel like a damage dealer either, we're at the Hybrid pathway, but a very weak hybrid.

Feats wise, the most game breaking thing about him, no Potion Use feat for higher pots, no feat to use 1HE weapons, and lifetaps not working.

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