Monday, April 28, 2008

Healing in Age of Conan

Healing in Age of Conan has been misunderstood by many and there is a load of confusion going on about it. I therefore thought it was time someone wrote about it. First off, what healing experience do I have in the beta? I've played a ToS from 1-28 then it got wiped. Started a new ToS, got to 52 then it got wiped, and now I have a bear shaman at level 23. I have done SoBS, been healing in a group for the ymrish multiple times, and done AoE grinding.

Let's start by looking the basics. Most of the heals are HoTs, ToS for instance have two HoTs, one which is AoE moderate healing and the other one is cone-based which heals twice as much on friends than on you. There is also a few "real" heals, which is AoE based, and heals for X hp and places a debuff on the target for 1 min which causes him/her not to get healed by the spell anymore. These emergency heals have about 2-3 sec cast time I believe but with feats it can be reduced to an insta cast.

There are three healing classes; Bear Shaman (BS (no not Bull Shit)), Tempest of Set (ToS) and Priest of Mitra (PoM). What roles do they play, and which one is the primary healer you may ask? All of them is the primary healer. Their pure healing power is about just the same, but they have different other ways of contributing to the group. The ToS is a AoE nuker and healer, it has some nice buffs and abilities which increases the damage of the group as well, and some insane mana regen stuff. And also one stun and a snare. The Bear Shaman does some nice melee damage, can do knockbacks and have nice buffs. And the PoM have some good nukes as well as it's supposed to be CC master. The PoM is also supposed to improve damage through healing.

The ToS and PoM is a bit special, as the ToS gain some bonuses to healing through doing damage, and PoM gain some bonuses to their offensive spells through their healing.

Now, lets look at the first 20 levels. This is where all the confusion comes from really, as healing in these low levels feels really underpowered, and many draw conclusions. During the first levels healing feels really underpowered, you star with heals healing you 1-2 hp a sec and so on. What people don't really get is that once a second is pretty often. If you've played WoW for instance your used to once every third sec HoTs, which will give bigger numbers. And I got to admit, the low-level healing is not that powerfull anyway. It helps a bit, but not much. I think FunCom should remove heals at these levels and give the healers some dmg or hp bonuses instead, so people won't draw conclusions on this weak healing.

If we look at how healing is after level 20, preferably 30, things start to get good. Your HoTs on yourself is fairly balanced, and in groups you really can heal, and it does help a lot. I have no numbers atm. In the groups I've been in, we wouldn't stand a chance without the heals, and due to the emergency heal and some nice timing I could keep us up against the spikes as well.

So how is it to play a healer in AoC? I find it very fun! I can like to stand behind and spam healing, but in the long run it's not that fun. However, to play a nuker, where you do damage, you buff, casts stuns, have CC while you must run around position yourself for your heals and keep them up at all times, while keeping an eye out for spike damage that has to be dealt with quick is actually so much more fun! To be honest, I simply love it. If you play a BS you even have to run in in melee, then run out when the heals is about to expire and position yourself (it is important to get all the people in need of healing in one heal, else you have to cast multiple heals).

What about PvP I hear you scream! What about if you try to keep up a guy versus big spike damage? Well, if multiple people is nuking your friend and you try to keep him up, you will do much better than in the 20 PvP tests thats for sure, but after all if they keep up the nuking, he will die. But you can probably triple his life-span which is enough. Who said that healing should be able to keep a person up in PvP? And remember that you can do damage, CC and a whole lot more while the healing is working on multiple friends. It helps a lot in PvP, but in the end, if you got enough nuking-power on one target you will get him down, even though he is being healed. But that is good, right? Do you really want it to be impossible to take down someone being heal-spammed?

I know it is a big change for many people, I was sceptic myself, but after some playing at higher levels and discussions with FunCom, I've found it to be really good and much more fun. Please do not let the early levels decieve you!

In conclusion; healing can keep you up in PvE and is strong enough (unless you try something stupid) and it will help really much in PvP, but ultimatily it can be taken down if you focus some high dps over longer time. But remember that you also got nice damage while healing. And it is really much more fun than traditional heal-spamming imo.

Now I'll add some quotes from the forums, some from the officials and some from other people in the post below. You see many people have been crying about potions being more powerfull at lower levels (which was not the case... The problem was that potions healed every third second, while healing is every second, after a patch potions now heal each second instead).

The emergency heal heals myself for about 60-70% if I remember correct, so it is really powerfull, and really bumps everyones hp to 100% every minute! Just to note that.

And even though the heal-numbers are lower than the damage you recieve sometimes, it often ticks 2-3 times between eadch mob hit.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Active Blockig & Why I love The Combat mechanics: Read if you have a Low end machine

Let me start out by saying that if you have a low end machine, you absolutely need 2 gigs of ram to run this game, no if ands or buts.

I first started the PVP weekend with: 1 gig of ram, a single core 3.2 g cpu and an old x800 pro, The game was playable on the island for the intro questing, but in PVP as soon as another player approached me my fps went minus 70.

On sunday morning, while my brother was at work i decided to borrow the gig of ram he had in his computer. After putting the mismatch ram into my computer, Load screens become fast as hell, and the performance was great, i was even able to turn the settings on HIGH and keep 15-25 fps!

I am going to be using the barbarian as my main example for why i love the combat so far.

Overall the PVP did feel a bit a clunky and it definatly needs more work, but at the same time it was fun as hell and I truly love what funcom have done to melee mechanics with their MMO.

The barbarian was hands down the funnest melee class i have ever played.
The class had enough instant moves to mix with your combos to always give you an offensive option.

The barbarian relies on switching weapons during the heat of battle, Two handed swords unlock your INSTANT stun and knock back moves, while duel wielding unlocks a couple high DPS combos, and your main DPS combos are shared between your two weapon sets. With this design, as long as the player toggles his equipped weapons and stays alive it's possible to have an endless barrage of effective attacks.

This Brings me to the Combo system.

At first the combo system struck me as nothing more than button mashing, but i was wrong. There is a lot of strategy that is accessible, its just a lot more fast paced than what any of us are used to, so the masses tend to button mash.

When you start a combo, you have about 3-5 seconds before you have to push the next button in the combo chain and you can toggle your targets all the while before executing the combo.

You do NOT have to finish the combo on the same person you started with and you DO NOT have to franticly mash the buttons in perfect rhythmical timing like your doing a hadoken in the game Street Fighter 2. The combo system in this game is the complete opposite, it is The player who decides when it is the correct time to advance to the next step in the overall sequence of the combo. I was able to start my combo on one target, choose a different target, and left slash them while taking evasive maneuvers and waiting a few more seconds for an opening, if an opening arrived on even yet another target, i could switch to them and UP slash who ever i chose to complete the combo and trigger the effects of it on them.

In one situation, i was coming up a ramp taking fire from a ranger and in front of me was an enemy demonologist. I was able to instantly send the mage flying through the air with my clobber attack, and sprinted to the ranger where i started my butcher combo, after i pushed the first attack button in the sequence the ranger had already leaped backwards to evade the combo and was out of my attack range, by this time an enemy assassin with low heath was already unleashing an attack on me. Still targeted on the ranger and in the middle of my butcher combo sequence, I was able to ACTIVELY block the assassins attacks before i switched my targeting to him and pushed the last button needed to trigger high a DPS attack, severing the assassins head.

Thats right, not only can you move around and toggle targets at any point in a combo, but you can actively block at any point and it wont break the combo either. And there is noticeable difference in your defense when you actively block. 1v1 fights with other melee felt closer to a real sword fight and was more action and fast paced than any other MMO game i have played.

^ above is a prime example of people complaining about other players just simply "running away" from their combos and wasting them....well its your fault for not attacking one is forcing anyone to trigger the combos, yes there is a time limit to the sequences but the time limit keeps you in the rhythm of the battle all you gotta do is use your head and don't panic! Also instant moves don't get used if your target goes out of range, so if the move doesn't actually get used like it was intended then it doesn't get spent and is till there for you to use when the time is right, (not counting a resist of course)

Edit: More clarification on the whole "combo" thing, The combo is not the move you are doing, the combo is the sequence of buttons it takes to unlock that move, and the second you unlock that move by hitting the last button of the sequence,(players choice) the effect is instant, they are animated, but they are animated to flow with the heat of battle. No one is standing around doing "Combo's" to the thin air, shadow boxing... unless they are retarded. (or trapped inside the PVP lobby all weekend)

Spell casting on the other hand seemed weak, i don't know if just because the casting is standard fair and the melee is so strong that it makes the magic seem worse than it is, but something just didnt feel right about casting and it needs some major polish from mechanics to animation IMO.

Ranged combat was very well done so far too i thought, I played the ranger after the nerf, so far the feeling of taking and holding higher ground for your survival is fun, and it all felt all felt pretty realistic.

Over all not its perfect by any means, PVP is clunky and needs lots of ironing but its by far the funnest i have played in an MMO.

I dont understand why people are calling this a skilless buton mashing system,sometimes there is no way around button mashing in any game well i guess if you are a skilless button mashing player, then its only natural you get out of it what you put into it.

I really hope Funcom keeps the pace up with the quality in this game, its going to get better and better and i cant wait,

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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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AoC Beta Client Download

Hello,In this thread information will be provided on how to acquire Age Of Conan general beta client. Some of you might not be familiar with "torrents", so step by step instructions will be provided. So pay attention.

Step 1
Download and install Bit Torrent client software. uTorrent is among the best, so we suggest you get that.

Step 2
You will need application to extract zip archive (tho most operating systems already support this by default). You can get trial version of WinZip here.

Step 3
Download the zip file which will contain torrent file. Here are few mirror sites from where you can download the zip file.
Mirror 1
Mirror 2
Mirror 3
Mirror 4 - AoC Client of 01.04.2008

Step 4
Extract torrent file from the zip archive ( which you downloaded from the link above. Open the torrent file (generalbeta-02-26.torrent) and uTorrent (or other client) will automatically recognize the file and initiate itself.

Happy downloading.

P.S. You will need at least 12GB of empty HD space just to download the client, and at least 20GB free before you start installing it.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

AoC Tempest Of Set Feedback 1 - 78

Levels 1-20:
Things are not easy here. Still getting the hang of things and with only one spell for nuking properly and having to melee a lot i had relatively tough time till i managed to get some points in Paralysis that gave me breathing room.Still i was managing mobs 1 by 1 but once another mob appeared i had to leg it fast while casting heals.

At these levels i was getting interrupted a lot on lightning strike till i started pumping up Casting Concentration. Things got a lot better then and i was able to hold good fights by placing 2 Heals Over Time (HoT) on me and pulling aggro.

I thoroughly enjoyed the quests in Tortage and the Destiny quests were very nice as well.I am not a Lore person more a hardcore gamer but i have to say that Destiny Quests of ToS captivated me and wanted to see more of the story.

I have to point out that during these levels i didnt face many spell casting mobs but 90% of the mobs i recall were melee or ranged (arrows)

I would like to see some variety maybe regarding mobs at these levels and some secondary effects dropped on the player as debuffs and maybe a spell early on countering stuns or roots.

Favourite Spells 1-20: Lightning Strike

Levels 20-40:

Now this is where things start get juicy.I got frustrated around level 26 and dropped for a period till ToS was a bit fixed. The features start expanding and started facing myself with dilemmas regarding my build.

Since i didnt know anyone in beta and soloed most of the time i decided to go for a solo build.So i started placing point in Lightning Tree increasing my damage,critical strikes, as well as mana return during fights.

This made soloing manageable and the best move was making sure to keep casting concentration maxed out always as well as trying to use gear that gave + concentration + mana +hit points +mana regen thus reduciung my downtime and survival.

As a weapon i used a polearm due to higher DPS always as well as 1HE and a shield as secondary weapons mainly for the stats that i mentioned above.

At some point i managed to get a team with a couple of people and i realised that my build was pants for teaming at that point. I asked the team to allow me a few minutes to respec which i did.

Placed around points in Radius,heal increases through damage and some hate modifiers and voila! Whole different gameplay with my priest nuking from the back in order to stack +heal effect.Was good fun and i was satisfied how good this nuker/healer hybrid performed.

I loved Connal's Valley and enjoyed Kopshef province quests although Kopshef at the time was a bit laggy to play.

Favourite spells 20-40: Still Lightning Strike which points out how much this class is depended on that spell.

Levels 40-60:

Here the real fun begins. More spells added,more buffs,different types of heals and more feature points really open up the game for ToS.

These levels i enjoyed Storm Field. i specced to a more AoE build with point in widening the lightning strike arc,Storm field,elemental fury and critical strikes.

Despite using the AoE mostly while ToS had the awsome HP bug and herded whole mountains of mobs pulling 17-20 chain killsi could already see this build being used in teams of 2-3 people.

ToS can place heals on Guardian who pulls mobs or even 2 Guardians pulling mobs and a maxed out storm field wiping out the mobs while the ToS is keeping alive the 2 guardians. This can be a great leveling build in teams where there is a damage absorber.

I still kept maxed out casting concentration and spent points in Mana Attractor.

Still kept using the highest possible DPS polearm for my level.

FoTD was the best place i visited this level.Engolphian was good too but FoTD i liked it a lot.The layout of mobs and the reasoning behind the zone and how it had shaped up was quite nice made me enjoy it a lot while playing there.

Favourite Spells 40-60: Storm field,elemental Fury

Levels 60-80:

Had a blast! You start gaining high ranks in spells like lightning strike and storm field and you have HUGE versatility with the feat trees.

These levels i went all out on solo build.

Maxed out electrical damage and cone of lightning strike added return of mana from melee attacks from the priest tree,maxed out points in making prayers less likely to interrupt,melee defense and immunity to stuns.

Casting concentration of course always maxed out this is a must in my opinion.

I went all out this level. I pretty much ran around killing things and chain pulling 2-3 mobs at a time depending on level difference usually handled 2 mobs at a time of up to +2 maybe +3 if i had precasted call of lightning and right after that sotrmfield.

Call of lightning = THE SEX of ToS in my opinion from the spells working at the moment.

The boom effect when its proc occurs is just awsome leaving mobs with very little hp, if it doesnt proc still has a very good buff on electric attacks making Lightning Strike and Storm Field hit for a lot and finishing mobs fast and the recast time is quite good.

I loved that spell and wouldnt change it with anything.

These levels i used mostly 1HE + shield for the added defense rating and some good stats i found and a polearm as secondary which i rarely used.

I have maxed out the Lightning Tree although Cyclones not work and some of the more "fun" in paper spells and feats dont work so will give feedback once they are changed.

Casting concentration managed to get hold of an awsome +360 Casting Concentration piece of gear which rocks and is just what i need making it even for +2 +3 mobs hard to interrupt me.

Atzel's approach was the best place i visited and with nice quests awsome design is by far my favourite zone atm in game. Khesatta was good too but its really hardcore zone.Any place you want to visit besides the main road is full of mobs being pulled all over the place making it hard for newly entering players to go around.Also plenty quests were bugged but managed with some help work things out.This zone of course i can see it being most busy high level zone with people gathering there for raids and team dungeons and maybe selling crafted gear etc.

Favourite Spells 60-80: Call of Lighting,Storm Field,Overcharge,Elemental Fury

This is not complete i will update this as soon as things get added in game which should be quite a few since there are no combos at the moment on ToS and quite a few spells and feats dont work in order to provide feedback.

I have to say my overall experience from ToS so far was really good.I had good fun on my own,i felt really useful in teams,loved the animations of spells which was a big plus factor for me and i love the versatility through features.

I have to say i am pleased that the devs announced that thunderstrike tree will be changed and there is more coming since i found Thunderstrike to lack the damage of Lightning Tree.

Very pleased about Mark of Set which is a really good buff given early on to players and with an awsome animation as well as the Paralysis spell being changed into a basic spell given through advancement which is what the ToS really need to get some breathing room for casting until the levels that Casting Concentration starts going up.

Regarding gear i would like to see some +elec damage which i already saw but only 1 piece of gear so i am guessing more to come and maybe some ToS specific gear with lightning strike procs would be nice as a class specific weapon.

One more thing i would like to add. The GM's were wonderful.I am more than happy with the way i was assisted and helped. I encountered the following GM's

Dencore,Maow,Raakam,Krysail,Fishbrain,Smashkilleat they all helped in the best way possible each time very polite and enduring all my questions and issues in best possible way so thumbs up to them as well and a huge thanks.

More feedback to come as i get to 80 and more stuff gets added to ToS,please excuse my not so good English since i am Greek and i am bound to make some mistakes

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Detailed AoC hardware and performance analysis.

Hello all. There are quite a few questions here about performance and hardware. Hopefully this thread will help answer them.

After finding out that I got into the PvP beta, I quickly called my friends to tell them to check their e-mails. After finding out that we ALL got into the beta, we hightailed it to a remote cabin for some fishing, drinking and AoC.
Here are the rigs used in these tests.

Rig I – Me
Q6600 @ 3.6 GHz.
GeForce 9800 GX2 @ stock. (Later OC’d to 675 to compare to the Dual Core, then taken back down to 600 because I don’t want to use my computer as a heater.)
Vista 64 bit.

Rig 2 – Mike
E8400 @ 4.0 GHz
GeForce 9800 GX2 @ 675 MHz
Vista 64 bit.

Rig 3 – Stev-o
Pentium 4 @ 3.6 GHz
GeForce 6600 XT @350 MHz

Rig 4 – Meng
Phenom 9850 @ 3.0 GHz
Radeon HD 3870 @ 900 MHz
Vista 64 bit

Rig 5 (Laptop) Stev-o
T9300 @ 2.8GHz
GeForce 8600M @ stock.

First. There IS no DX 10 support at the moment. None whatsoever! You are looking at DX 9 results!

Let’s start with the install.
The Q6600 finished first, followed closely by the E8400, the 9850 a bit later, followed by the T9300 and finally the mighty Pentium 4!
All in all, the install went smoothly on all machines.

Settings (in the beginning tutorial jungle area.)
Mike and I ran the game at 1600 by 1200 with EVERYTHING maxed. (Filtering, Shadows, Bloom). The game ran flawlessly and never dropped below 60 FPS! If we would up the resolution a bit but keep the settings as they were we would both experience some stiffness (character movement was a bit off, seemed like commands took a second to respond, and FPS drops). Toning down Bloom and Shadows we were able to max the resolution and still have FPS in the 60+ area. The game looks and plays beautifully. Since we wanted to play at above 60 FPS, with everything cranked up that is the resolution we stayed at.

Meng had some really weird problems with Shadows. Whenever he would have them on, he would get weird stretch marks across the screen and some weird shapes would pop up all over the screen in yellowish and or green colors. The fix was to turn the Shadows completely. After he did that, the game ran great. He was also running it at 1600 by 1200, although on average at around 52 ish FPS. Never dropped below 50, never went above 55.
We spoke to a few Phenom and 3870 users that said they were having the same problems with shadows. So heads up. If you have a Phenom and a 3870, you might be in for a nasty surprise. When we swapped his 3870 for my GX2, the problem went away. When we plopped his 3870 into my rig, I did not have the problem either. Seems it is a combination of the Phenom and the 3870 that causes this. Hopefully Funcom fixes this soon… Of course it could also be a driver issue…

Steve’s laptop did a great job running the game as well. He ran it at 1680 by 1050 with everything maxed but the shadows! His FPS hovered around the same mark as Meng’s.

Now here is where we all got a nice surprise! Steve’s P4 machine managed to handle the game incredibly well! At 1024 by 768 without Bloom and with low-medium settings he never went below 40 FPS! However Bloom and higher quality shadows really killed the system, making the game virtually unplayable.
But we decided to turn that stuff off and see what we can do (Shadows at low, Bloom off completely. AA at first setting). We managed to get it playable at 1280 by 800 and at 40+ FPS (without any of that “eye candy” very cool considering the system is ancient.) With further tweaking and turning things off we saw pretty awesome potential in this engine. You could probably get it to play at even higher settings if you want to go into the 30 or so FPS range… We didn’t feel like it, since this machine was here just so we can see how it plays on old hardware.
But if you disable shadows completely you will have a HUGE FPS gain, especially on older machines. Turn off Bloom and you can up the resolution to some crazy number… Filtering should remain on as the game has some jaggies without it, although they are much less noticeable at higher resolutions.

Settings (in PvP).
Currently there is no large scale PvP… Disappointing, I know. There is no AV type map where you have hundreds of people clashing into each other with a ton of spells going off at the same time. As it is, the FPS in PvP seems to be close to the PvE portion of the game. However like I sad, at the moment PvP is limited to just a few groups so I don’t know how this will hold up in sieges. Surprisingly even with multiple people throwing spells at us; our FPS stayed the same as it did during the “single player” portion. Very good job Funcom.
So as you can see the engine is very scalable. Able to play on low and high end systems.

Dual Core VS. Quad core.

The Phenom is disqualified from this because it performed sub par to my Q6600, even when we swapped videocards... My Q6600 spanked it silly (10+ fps at the same settings, using the same videocard. The performance gain of my Q6600 increased as we upped the resolution, filtering and quality. In the end the Q6600 took the lead by 17 FPS in the starter area at max settings and high resolution.)
So let’s begin!

In the left corner is the mighty Q6600 overclocked to 3.6 GHz, in the right corner is the E8400 clocked at a beefy 4.0GHz.

At resolutions prior to and including 1600 by 1200 there is no difference whatsoever. We had the same fps. Taking it to higher resolutions, I was hovering closer to 54 ish FPS where as Mike was really close to 60. So I OC’d my video card to match his and voila! The FPS was once again the same! This is where we said “To hell with it. Time to crank up the resolution to the max setting possible and go wade into the jungle! 1920 by 1200 here we come!” and so we did.
Finally his E8400 showed its strength. On average at this resolution he would constantly beat me by a good 5-8 FPS. We were both still above 30 but you could notice the difference in playing at 60+ and then dropping down to 40ish. However if we had not seen the game at 60 FPS, than 40, and even 30 FPS would have been more then enough to satisfy us.

It looks like MHz mean more to the game than multiple cores (if you have at least 2). My guess is that it is NOT in fact optimized for Quad Core machines. My 3’rd and 4’th cores were NEVER used above 20%. Honestly this is a big disappointment. The game IS made for multi core computing, but it seems to be optimized for Dual Cores at this point and time.

64 BIT OS VS. 32 BIT OS.

Since the Phenom and the T9300 performed so close to each other, we decided to do some torture tests. We lowered the Phenom to a lower clock speed than the T9300 (because Phenom is a Quad, we clocked it 300 MHz lower then the T9300 to do a good comparison) and dug up an old GeForce 8600 GT. (Although this had more RAM and a slightly higher clock speed then the M version. So we messed with the bios of the GT to make it identical to the M version and then flashed it. Tada!)

Now we took the game to a neutral resolution of 1024 by 768 and then upped it as we saw fit. Surprisingly the extra RAM and the 64 bit version of Windows did not do anything. Once we reached the higher resolutions, the FPS started to steadily drop on both machines, at pretty much equal increments! (1-2 FPS differences at most).
So all in all, the game does NOT take advantage of more then 4GB of RAM and 64bit computing.

So there you have it. 2 Funcom myths debunked. The game does NOT run faster on 64 bit machines, and the game does NOT run faster on Quad Cores then on Dual Cores.
On the plus side surprisingly the game does an excellent job of running on low end hardware and still looks great.

If you have any requests on resolutions and rigs you want us to try, post here and I will try to oblige. We all do have work tomorrow so we will be calling it quits in a few hours.

For now we are going back for more PvP. I will be writing up a review of the game some time this week as well. So far it looks great. Yes I am disappointed in a few things (no soul corruption or spell weaving, no bounty hunting and you can’t move while comboing… Making you a sitting duck for ranged classes… Etc, etc.) But the game is still just plain fun. Hopefully a few patches will make it even better. I mean hell they fixed class balance in pretty much 1 day! So I’m sure they can pull this off. Expect a full review some time this week.

Beta Testers, please list your rig and the settings you used and I will also update this post to match your findings. This way we have a 1 stop shop for hardware info.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

HoX Review from beta tester

Hi all, here is my Hox's feeback, main character on the pvp server.
The first 20 lvl were a bit hard, thought i've never used pots for questing/grinding. But i could easely stand against two mobs without dying since Hox got really powerfull combos like molten slash.

Getting the contract of protection was really helpfull, as like as blood boil (great skill for pulling, and helping killing).

After lvl 20, things were really better, and HoX started to be a REAL killing machine, lvl 24 i was doing quests/grinding in pashtun's isle, and got no real problems. I was playing solo most of the time, one of my friend doing his owns quests in conall's valley.

aoc test 01 from badrasta on Vimeo.

We meet again after lvl 30 and played together (he plays a conqueror) and most the time was pur farm. HoX had a lot of big aoe damage and mobs dies very fast.

We played together until the last quest of FOTD (honored dead of cimmeria) and things was really easy. I've manage to do this last quest (the honored dead) all alone and got no problem again. Can stand against 3 mobs 1-2 lvl above mine without difficulty, just have to use pots.

Eiglophains moutains quests were done alone too, pretty fast (maybe 5-6 hours played) and things were a bit hard in Aztel approach. Got problems with the firsts quests. Thought i was alone, i've just changed somes little things on my feats tree and all was better ^^.

For now i'm in keshatta, lvl 77, with all no bugged quests dones (talking about the solo ones). I've started pvp with somes random guys who were here and have killed somes lvl 80.

HoX is REALLY monstruous in pve, farming mobs is quite easy, and the aoe help a lot. questing alone was not a big deal and i don't think i'm a great player, just common guy ^^.

Playing pvp is a bit different. Even with great combo damages, their animations are quite slow so it's not easy to use, got low hp (around 2600) and wearing cloth armor are not helpfull against others class, since we had to do toe to toe...

Since we don't have much cc skills (one great aoe stun with feats tree) pvp is most of the time hit&run (for ur life or for killing ^^).

I not used so much desecrating essense, since the cast is long and the duration not that great (even with the bonus damages) but used a lot hellfire breath who is great with 3-4 points in the feat.

About the feats tree, somes seems broken, like the first one in the avatar tree (don't get any proc, but the second one work in team).

Btw i had put somes points in the general mage tree, boosting my resist for slashing crushing etc damages, and boosting my absorption shield (and giving it somes reflections ability). The rest seems not according with the class.

I'll do somes better explanations for feats later, since i can't really remember wich ones seems broken or not.

I had somes suggestions:
- Got a little boost damage from the hellfire breath feat, because the damage are really random (often 250 damage at lvl 77 on lvl 77 mobs but can go up to 600 ^^') even with the feat who increase fire damage.
- Advantaging the desecrating essence, like placing the feats sooner in the feats tree (i've tryed playing with it and a 32 secondes polymorph with a shorter cooldown is great). But we had too spent a lot of feats points to get it really efficient.
- Little faster combos animations for pvping.
- Boost the dot duration for burn to death (really too short imo) Molten Slash (by the feats tree).
- More hp.
- Resist boost in demon form.
- All debuffs need a slighty boost i think.

Friendly Spells:
Arcane Abatement Rank 1 Level 17 (Sold in Tortage (?) and in Khemi (Matata))
Arcane Abatement Rank 2 Level 30 (Sold in Khemi (Akil))
Arcane Abatement Rank 3 Level 45 (Sold in Old Tarantia, North West of Noble District (Nekbheti))
Burning Skull Rank 1 Level 50 (Sold in Old Tarantia, North West of Noble District (Nekbheti)) (dmg shield)
Contract of Protection Rank 1 Level 10 (Sold in Tortage (?) and in Khemi (Matata))
Contract of Protection Rank 2 Level 25 (Sold in Khemi (Akil))
Contract of Protection Rank 3 Level 40 (Sold in Old Tarantia, North West of Noble District (Nekbheti))
Contract of Protection Rank 4 Level 55 (Sold in Old Tarantia, North West of Noble District (Nekbheti))
Desecrating Essence Rank 1 Level 4 (You gain this automatically at level 4)
Desecrating Essence Rank 2 Level 20 (Sold in Khemi (Akil))
Desecrating Essence Rank 3 Level 40 (Sold in Old Tarantia, North West of Noble District (Nekbheti))
Exultation of Xotli Rank 1 Level 45 (Sold in Old Tarantia, North West of Noble District (Nekbheti)) (short dmg buff, with a dmg debuff after)
Sign of Xotli Rank 1 Level 10 (Sold in Tortage (?) and in Khemi (Matata))
Sign of Xotli Rank 2 Level 30 (Sold in Khemi (Akil))

Friendly Spells from Feats:
Demonic Fortitude from Tier 3 at Level 20 (not sure if this is correct)

Hostile Spells:
Hellfire Breath Rank 1 Level 1 (You gain this at start automatically)
Hellfire Breath Rank 2 Level 25 (Sold in Khemi (Akil))
Hellfire Breath Rank 3 Level 40 (Sold in Old Tarantia, North West of Noble District (Nekbheti))
Hellfire Breath Rank 4 Level 55 (Sold in Old Tarantia, North West of Noble District (Nekbheti))
Inferno Curse Rank 1 Level 40 (debuff only usable when transformed) (Boss loot/Auction House)
Inferno Curse Rank 2 Level 55 (Sold in Old Tarantia, North West of Noble District (Nekbheti))
Word of Command Rank 1 Level 15 (Sold in Tortage (?) and in Khemi (Matata))
Word of Command Rank 2 Level 30 (Boss loot/Auction House)
Word of Command Rank 3 Level 45 (Sold in Old Tarantia, North West of Noble District (Nekbheti))

Level 05 Hell Strikes I
Level 07 Molten Steel Slash I
Level 15 Burn to Death I
Level 17 Pillar of Infernal Flame
Level 20 Hell Strikes II
Level 20 Molten Steel Slash II
Level 24 Burn to Death II
Level 28 I Eat Your Heart
Level 32 Pillar of Infernal Flame II
Level 44 Burn to Death III
Level 48 Body and Spirit Wrack I (hp/mana dmg)
Level 52 Hell Strikes IV

Combos from Feats:
At level 30 --> Level 70 Fire Lance (from Avatar tree) Can be used at Level 40

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AoC Beta Questions: General Issues

How fast is leveling?
This has always been a hard question for me, so many answers so many variables. I'll say though that at least in beta lvling is faster than in WOW, but that will likely change, so think WoW pace, perhaps tiny bit slower. My opinion.

Will this game fail?
No, I think AoC will not fail. It will not be what some are expecting, but it will not fail. If game reaches 400K or 500K subscribers it will go way above my expectations, but it will not fail.

Will Funcom make their planned release date of May 20th?
It's gonna come out, finished or not, I don't think Funcom could afford another delay. That said, it will be fairly done game by May 20th.

AoC will be semi-ready for May 20th, and in my opinion even if it wasn't ready at all, AoC would have to launch on May 20. no more delays

Will the game be worth playing at launch?
Most probably yes. Depends how well sieging and pvp is implemented in the end.

Is there a master/apprentice system?
Not a word about this from Funcom, and it's not in the game of course.
And we have no clue about their so called Master/Student system or whatever, we haven't heard anything about that in ages, so I'm gonna say that it wont be in the game at launch. Playing with friends up to 5 lvl difference will be ok, but anymore than that will take it's toll on the fun.

Is there a size limit for guilds?
Nope, not at the moment

Is there /follow or /assist commands?
I know for sure that there is assist, but not sure about auto follow, I never used it or noticed it, it should be there though.

Is anything known about soul corruption?
Not a word from FC on soul corruption.

Can you rate AoC compared to other games on the market?
About rating the games, I guess you are looking for my personal opinion, as that's all that I can give.

-WoW - 7/10 (I hate wow by the way, but it's a good game)
-EVE - 9/10
-CoH/V - 8.5/10
-GW 3/10
-Tabula Rasa 8/10
-DDO 5/10
-LineageII 4/10
-Ragnarok Online 6/10 (because this was my first mmo, it has special place lol)
-Ryzom 7/10
-Everquest2 5/10
-Swords Of New World 4/10
-Silk Road 3/10
-Voyage Century 6/10
-Myth War Online 2/10 (My 3-year old plays this one, it's turn based lol)
-Dungeon Runners 3/10
-Anarchy Online 1/10 (I tried it 2 years ago and I simply hated it, it's not very "newbie" friendly)
-Rappelz 3/10
-9Dragons 3/10
-Dark and Light 1/10 lol
-RYL2 6/10

Now, for AoC, there are 2 ratings for AoC.

1. If border kingdoms, sieging, player towns and pvp in general are well implemented, I would have to say about 9/10.

2. If the above sucked, I would have to say 5/10.

Keybinding: is it in?
In short, you can customize everything and anything when it comes to keybinding, and that includes action bar as well. I think there might be some hard coded bindings which are bugs, by launch it should all work as it is supposed to.

Can you create additional chat channels, like in WoW?
No I don't think so, than again I never messed around with it. Dunno much about it, never took interest in it.

What server will you be playing on?
I'll be on RP-PVP server once game goes live. Hopefully I'll get lucky and get into server community that will not glorify senseless can dream eh.

How are bag and inventory space handled (size, number of bags, etc).?Right now there is single bag, dunno..about 50 item slots. All items take 1 slot. There are also resources bag, which is a lot bigger, and there is "quests" bag, which is infinite as far as I know.

Is spell weaving implemented yet?
Nope, not yet.

How is drunken brawling?
I'm not aware of the drunken brawling being in the game.

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AoC Beta Questions: Zones, Traveling and Mounts

How is long distance traveling handled (ex. WoW’s gryphon/wyverns) ?
No horses or anything. Well you can talk to stagecoach or ship captain, and instantly you find yourself in loading screen, nothing like WoW's travel via the ship.

I have seen no information about the destinations after you leave Tortage. Are there starting zones for each race?
Just to expend on this subject, after Tortage (everybody starts in Tortage right now - tho if I recall correctly Gaute said that they will eventually have other starting zones). Anyway, after Tortage, each race goes to their starting town, Cimmerians to Conarch Village, Stygians to Khemi and Aquilonians to Old Tarantia. That said, you can talk to a stagecoach/ship captain and join your friends in matter of minutes.

How is world/zone size and design?
I can't get into this too deeply w/out upsetting myself. I still hate AoC's choice of zone design. As you mentioned a lot of times it is very linear. When you think about it, the world is decently big, but the way it was designed it feels like you are playing single player game.

Is there a lot to explore?
As for exploration...I'll have to say no. There used to be, thanks to bugs lol, you could scale up and down the mountain cliffs and get into places where you were never supposed to be, it was fun, but now that this is fixed, I think a lot of explorers will be let down. Sure there are some neat places here and there, and sometimes you come up on something that takes your breath away, but overall exploration is AoC weak point

Will funcom do something about the "restriction" to wander off the paths, giving you the freedom to run all over the map?
For the current zones, nope, we're stuck with it. Now, let's just hope that their future zones are more open.

Invisible walls: are they in?
Yes they are still in the game, but they have made huge improvements towards this.
Zone size has not changed at all. There are however big improvements on invisible walls. There are roughly 15 regular pve world zones, and 3 more resource/gathering zones. Instant travel is still in just as it was before.

You said zone are small; what did you mean?: Small rectangle, maze, etc?
I didn't say they are small, they just feel small. Some of the zones are actually huge in terms of geographical coverage, but because you find yourself forced down one or two paths and can't explore most of it, it feels like a tiny zone. So yeah, zones themselves are big enough, it's just that they feel like maze sometimes. (there are some pretty "open" zones though).

You say that exploration will be aoc's weak point? how many zones have you been to, and can you explain to me how exactly this is linear? is it like GW or even more linear?

Nor really sure how GW is but I'll try to explain about AoC.
Well, I've been in every zone in AoC, which amounts to about 17 zones now.

It's linear in a way that you are forced to take certain path(s) to get to certain location(s). Conall's Valley is one of the worst zones in this regard. You start on top of the hill/mountain, and from there you move on down to a valley. Your passage from top to the valley is like one big tube. Once you get to the valley, than you are in a big canyon kind of design. On both sides there are mountains, there are many camps within the mountains themselves, and there is usually one single path leading to each camp. Imagine a sitemap where you was no interlinking.

Zones can be accessed by everybody, but when a particular instance of the zone gets full (let's say 200 players), new instance is created. You can chose to which instance to go to. If you ever played CoH/V, it's just like it in that regard.

How fast can you team up with your friends?
Yes, as soon as you get out of the jungle, at lvl 5, you will be able to team up constantly. And we have no clue

Can you climb anywhere?
Nope, only at pre-defined climb spots, like fallen tree or latter. Climbing is a totally wasted feature in AoC. There are only 3 places outside of the Tortage where you can actually climb...3 places in 15 zones....., as far as I know anyway...and I know a lot lol.


Have you ridden any mounts other then horse and if so how are they?
No, only horses are in at the moment.

How do mounts works? Do you have to be a certain level or can you just find them?
Lvl 40 to buy them right now, it's subject to change before launch. You don't find them, you can only buy them from mount vendors.

Are mounts an inventory item that you can click on (or put in hotbar)?
Yup, mounts are inventory items and you click on them to summon them, and yes you can put them on the hotbar.

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AoC Beta Questions: Classes and Races

I have heard healers are useless, how useful are they?
I couldn't disagree more about healers in the group. Team up bear shaman and barbarian and you got one mean machine. On top of that, taking group mobs (equivalent to WoW's elite mobs - actually tougher than elites) is practically impossible w/out healers. A healer and a canqueror can take on group mob, while 3 conquerors would probably die trying. Besides, healers do pretty good dmg.

Truth be told, I couldn't disagree more about healers being useless/uncompetative in PVP. Even 1vs1 battles.

What class would you recommend for the solo player?
Solo, it doesn't get much better than Guardian (sword + shield at least) and Bear Shaman, I love both of these classes and they do super well solo and are excellent additions to team. If I have to pick one, I would say Bear Shaman was overly more fun to play solo, but Guardian is still my #1 choice as I find it more durable and reliable. Another class that does very well in pve solo is ranger, HoX is not bad as well from what I hear.

What are the run speeds are there any way of modifying them?
All classes/races move equally fast. There are different modes which determine how fast you move: Walk, Jog, Sprint, in-combat, on mount. As far as I know nobody has any movement adventages over anybody else.

Wich is the best ranged class for pvp? Why?
I read that rangers are the best ranged dmg dealers, prob the best ranged pvp class.

What is the most common class?
As for right now, General Beta.
Assassins and Rangers are the most common, i would say.

Are there any differences between races regarding stats?
No difference at all, stats vary by the class/archetype not race.

Which class has the highest run speed?
All classes run equally fast (rogues sneak faster however)


I want to play a Bear Shaman is it a good choice?
Yup, I love Bear Shamans, very fun to play...unlike *cough* Barbarians.

Since you like Bear Shaman so much, what appeals to you the most out of it? PVP, PVE solo, PVE grp, etc?
Survivability. I simply love Bear Shamans, and this comes from a person that never plays healers and always play tanks. I guess because I play tanks mostly, that's why I like Bear Shamans, they can take the beating too, thanks to their heals of course. But there is so much more to BS. They do pretty good dmg too, not to mention wear med armor. They play real well on teams. I can't even put my finger on what exactly it is, but I've had a blast playing Bear Shaman. It's easy to solo with the class and everybody welcomes you to groups, tho don't expect that you can tank for a group.


From what you have seen/played/read on the forums, how is the Ranger in both PVP/PVE?
Overpowered in PVP at the moment, and I think they will always be an issue when it comes to PVP because of the world design. They will either nerf them too much to the point of useless or they will be overpowered. I would honestly be surprised if they get Rangers balanced enough for PVP few months into launch. In PVE they do just fine it seems and they work really well with a tank. Tank stands slightly in front of the ranger and waits for the mob to come at ranger so the tanker can finish him off (if the mob makes it that far lol).

3.3 HoX

From what you have seen/played/read on the forums, how is the HoX in both PVP/PVE?
Not too informed about this class, but I haven't noticed/heard/read anything unusual about them.

How do HoX play?
I can tell you that HoX is pretty popular and they should be pretty worth it. Demon form lasts for about 20 secs now, and I think recharge timer is 2 minutes. Can't tell you much more, expect that they are pretty damn fun to play, at least at lower lvls.

How well does HoX compare to melee classes?
I don't know how to compare this, but I'll say HOX is capable class.


How well do Dark Templars perform pvp / pve wise?
They need some work in PVE, some of their buffs and debuffs are pretty lame and useless, from what I read on the forums. Can't really comment on about when it comes to DT specifically.


Is the guardian a good class choice?
Guardian is my bread and butter class. I LOVE IT. My favorite. It's so good that......errr, I'll stop. But yeah, really guardian is really well rounded class, and probably the most complete class in the game at the moment. Keep in mind that I tend to favor tank-type of classes, I've always played one, and Guardian absolutely delivers.

Are guardians viable in pvp?
Yeah I think we will be very viable in PVP, especially against high DPS melee classes, and especially the ones that hit fast (because of our counterstrike combo that deal dmg to enemy that hits you).


How does the Barbarian play?
In all honesty, I hate the class, it's by far the most annoying class that I've played. Once I got so frustrated with the class that I uninstalled the game for a while. Now, don't get me wrong, there might nothing be wrong with the class, it simply didn't fit my gameplay style. It's the worst solo class that I've played, and I'll go as far as saying that it's probably in top 3 "worst solo class list" in the game. Generally, if you are trying to progress like a normal person, doing your lvl quests and your lvl mobs, you'll probably spend more than 50% of your time doing the following:
1 - running from rez shrine back to the camp/quest area
2 - running from the mobs so you don't have to run from the rez shrine
3 - waiting around to get lucky so you can pull/kite-away single mob
4 - resting after each fight

THIS is NOT bullshit, trust me. Barb simply can't handle multiple mobs, 2 vs 1 is 50/50 chance, 3 vs 1 is guaranteed tombstone for Barbarian. Now, with that in mind, most of the camps are set up in a way that AT LEAST 2 mobs are standing together, usually more, not to mention patrols, so you get my point, Barb is not very solo friendly class.

Of course, you team Barb up with the priest and off you go, you are playing entirely different game. Once me, as a Barb lvl 26, and Bear Shaman, lvl 32, took upon lvl 30 "group" mobs. Now, group mobs are REALLY REALLY tough, think WOW elites x3 or x4 (it is probably impossible for ANY ONE class to take out group mob of their level on their own).

Barbarians good solo?
Yes I've played a Barb to 30+, and I've posted about this few times before in detail. In short, Barbarians suck at soloing, they are one of the worst solo classes in the game.


How do assassins play?
Sorry I don't know, I never reached "Assassin" stage (20+), I played assassin but under level 20, where all rogues are pretty much the same, and from the looks of it, it seemed even more fragile than barb when it comes to multiple mobs, given the class was very very unfinished when I played it. That said, in 1vs1 encounters, assassins will be kings.

Can Assassins solo well?
The answer is BIG NO, Assassins can't solo well, at least in PVE. As the matter of fact they suck at soloing in PVE. Perhaps they can do well in PVP because of their stealth, picking on clothed classes and killing them fast 1on1.


How is the conqueror class?
An OK all around class, I don't like their abilities though, there is nothing special about them. It's something between Barb and Guardian in many aspects.

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AoC Beta Questions: PvP/PvE Combat

How does the PVP xp work?
You get special PVP exp when you kill other players, and you have special PVP levels (20 is max I believe).

Is there any exp penalty in PvE combat after u die ((exp loss, armor durability, debuffs...etc))?
Nope, no exp penalty. You only get temp debuffs, like lower attack rating and lower defense rating. Debuff can stack up to 3 times (if you die before first/2nd debuff runs out). However, if you go back to a place where you died, there you'll find your tombstone, you can click on your tombstone to remove it, thus removing the debuff associated with that death.

Does gear matter?
It matters, but definitely not as much as other games. I made it to 80 with the most basic vendor sold gear, sometimes even using items from Tortage (headgear mostly) because of the looks. I'll copy paste what I posted in my first state of the game report. In my honest opinion, this is how PVE combat is weighted in AoC.
~30% Combos/Spells
~25% Gear
~20% Feats
~5 - 10% Potions
~5 - 10% Player Skill
~5 - 10% Luck and rest of the things that are out of your control

Can you give a quick description of the FFA server and how it works?
Every zone, aside from cities/hubs is a PVP zone of FFA server. Border Kingdoms, exclusive pvp area, is still not in the game so I don't know how that area looks like.

And yeah, you can just jump and kill both guys that are already fighting. Free For All.

How do enemies differ visually from friendlies?
No I must say there isn't much to identify enemy lol. It's funny that you should ask tho. I always got laughs when I wear Pict costume (pict feathered skull headgear, bone wrist guards, bone leg guards and bone robe), and you walk up to somebody engaged in combat with picts and they suddenly turn around and try to kill you, it takes them a little while to realize you are a player haha. PVP is no different really, tho in mini games you wear different colored capes hehe. No right now you can't die your gear, and this has not even been mentioned ever, so this feature probably wont make it into game anytime soon, if ever. I think in AoC guilds will be able to identify by cape, but I really don't know, right now there isn't anything as far as I know.

Is stealth a problem?
Stealth is somewhat broken in PVP, or at least perception is. Guardian can hide just as well as Assassin can, because the perception is not working right. There are also multiple reports of people staying hidden after they attack their target, so you get killed and not even see you killer until you die. This is of course a bug, but it's a problem at the moment nonetheless.

Do stealth classes dominate?

Stealth: is it easy to detect?
Not easy at all right now coz perception is broken. There is Perception skill (which is available to everyone), which will determine how easy or hard it is for you to detect hidden foe

Can you fire both from 3rd and 1st person from horseback?
Yeah you can use first or 3rd person on horseback.

Are archery skills disabled when on horseback forcing you to use standard attack?
As far as I know (Never actually played a ranger on the mount), all your combos are disabled when mounted. I could be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure that's how it is.

Do you need to buy many arrows for ranger and do you think it will be very expensive like in past MMOs?
Rangers don't have to buy arrows, their quivers have infinite ammo. However, each type of quiver can add different effects, stats, etc.

What is this arrows in the UI? I guess the half-circle arrows is what direction you want to swing your sword? But what about the red arrows, what are those suppose to do?
Exactly the same thing lol. You could click on the combat rose or that little arrow to perform an attack or combo. Combat rose (circle) has been disabled by default now. Before it was there as it was used when executing combos, so you know which button to press. Now there is no more need for the combat rose, as those "arrows" that you call will highlight as well, so FC disabled combat rose by default.

Do pole arms give a realistic reach advantage?
Polearms do give good and realistic reach advantage. You can easily hit two mobs, one behind the other, whereas with 1-h sword this is usually not possible. That said, cone angle is something that sucks in AoC. You have the same cone with dagger as you do with polearm.

Can you stand behind another melee class and still hit people with pole arms?
That's technically possible, but not very practical because of a lot of movement during combat. It's far more practical to reach two mobs, one behind the other.

Full Plate: is it still in the game?
Yes, full plate is still in the game and exclusive to guardian

Do you prefer sword and shield or spear?
And i'm 100% sword and board type of guy. I have tried polearm build in early 20s, but I couldn't part with the counterstrike combo (board+sword combo only).

Do all classes have a chance to perform a fatality move in melee combat?
All classes that have melee combos can perform fatality moves (if lucky) in malee combat. I also think that all classes have some sort of melee combos (not too sure about all the mage classes however).

Are there fatalities for spells and ranged attacks too? how are they looking?
Yes and yes. I saw only one that HoX did with a spell, it looked pretty bad ass, as do all fatalities.

Can you give your opinion on instanced dungeons?
Don't know, I never did any of them and I don't hold much interest in probably has something to do with it (I did try Sanctrum of Buring Souls few times, solo when I was much higher lvl). I progressed just fine w/out them. Group size is max 6 people, raid size is max 24 people, that is 4 full groups. I'm not sure if perhaps 5 groups with 4 people in each group could be in raid.

Have you done much of the pve content, and if so how would you compare the dungeon design, boss encounter design, group dynamics/class balance in PvE?
Yes all raids are instanced. And I've spent far more time doing PVE in AoC than PVP, as the matter of fact I try to stay away from PVP at this stage because it's very unbalanced. Now, as far as PVE dungeons, I haven't done any, I hate raids. I've entered few instances though. Some of them are "outside", completely closed off from the rest of the world, but they are kind of outside. There are some very inspirational designs, though I have to say that I hate their approach on cave-type of instances, they are too tunneled and they don't look like what you would imagine a cave to look like 10000 years ago. As for PVE balance, I think they are on the right track. PVE seems to be balanced around groups, and very class brings something to the group. I never got the sense that any one class is "unwanted" or "useless" in a group, no matter the group composition.

What are the run speeds are there any way of modifying them?
All classes/races move equally fast. There are different modes which determine how fast you move: Walk, Jog, Sprint, in-combat, on mount. As far as I know nobody has any movement adventages over anybody else.

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Barbarian Review and Guide

First I like to praise the changes in the landscapes and layouts of most areas I have been in. Level 37.5 so far. The redesign of most areas is a great improvment. SoBS so far seems to be the best. I only scouted the outside so far, which is quite extensive, but very nice. Cant wait to check inside.

My first time leveling a Barb was in Nov 2007. This is my second go around and will compare differences I have noticed.

My first time through Tortage on a Barbarian seemed quite easy. I had little trouble at any point through 20 on any daytime or night time quests. This time around I found it very difficult between level 8 and 14. I died quite often if I had more than a single mob to engage. Specificaly on the quest for the nobel woman whos salves escaped and became pirates. I could take only one at a time and survive, 2 = death. Probably died 4-5 times on that one trying to get it done. I felt as if the Barbarians got nerfed.

Later on in my teens it became easier for the simple fact of the stun attacks with 2H. And seems that like before this is still a requirement for the Barb to survive in most combat situations. DW might do slightly more damage but you cant take on more than a single enemy without the stuns. So, i got out of Tortage and began re-exploring the new world.

Levels 20 - 37
I decided to stick with 2H this time around again. At least for now, due to the lack of early level DW combos. I also decided this because it seems to me this time around the Barbarians seem to be taking more damage now than before. One plus is now the AE effects of 2H with stuns and knock downs are working much better and hit most mobs in your cone range. This made 20s much easier this time around. I considered this the trouble levels for the Barbarian last time and had a hard time getting through the lower 20s. This time around it was much easier.

However I do seem to think we take more damage now than before.

2H Stuns and Knockdowns
Barbarian is too depenedent on these attacks to win a fight. It is absolutely required, imop, if you have to take on more than a single mob. It is possible to survive a 2 on 1 with 2H if your stuns are in cooldown but it is hard and definetly requires potions. But in most cases, more than a single mob on you and you are out of stuns and knock downs usually means death. Which I see as a flaw in the character. Since at level 80 you get a single stun attack. Earlier level stuns stop working around level 72.

But being able to stund 3-4 mobs at a time is nice and if you can time it right with knock downs and damage combos you can take them all out. Run out of stuns though and you are dead.

Duel Wield
I did not spec with this for the reasons mentioned above. But I am going to switch out my butcher combos with some DW combos since Butcher always hits their shield sides and does little damage at the point.

2H Combos
I have noticed that most every mob and NPC I engage shields their left side (my right). I cant think of a single combo the Barb uses atm that attacks from any other angle. This greatly hampers the Barbarian's ability to do damage, forcing us to hit the shielded sides.

The Butcher combo seems terribly weak. And for the most part the reason because this combo and nearly all others attack mobs from the (my) right side.

So far most of the feats seem to be working. However Blood Rage does not seem to do much of anything. I see it making no difference in combat what so ever. I thought this would be a sort of a "frenzy stance" at least to some degree for the Barbarian but I do not see any increase in damage as the feat states.

Bleed Effects
The feats that add bleed effects are a bit useless right now. Lasting probably 2-3 seconds. I dont have time to click the icon to even find out what the effect is actualy doing.

Concusion and Roots
Like the bleed effects they last such a short time I cant tell if they do anything at all. Can not see any real use with them.

HP Bug or Graphic Glitch?
I have been in many fights where I would appear to have 1/3 to half my HPs and then drop dead suddenly. Checking the combat logs I would only see hits in the range of 40-70. Not nearly enough to kill you. I would assume some kind of HP bar graphic bug.

Zero Health Mobs
Seems this problem is becoming more of an issue. I would say every 2-3 fights I am in, one or more mobs gets that zero health bug. It caused me quite a few deaths. Seems you nearly have to do enough damage to them to kill them again before they die.

I would like to see Barbarians have their staminia greatly increased and their combos use less staminia.

Items and Loot
Still, the game is heavily itemized for soldiers and mages. Very little to the point of being almost nonexistant are items usable by Barbarians. Nearly every quest rewards is heavy/medium armor, daggers, polearms, cloth, or 2h blunts that can not be used with Barb combos. At 37 I am still getting drops usable to me that are level 20. Nothing in my level range drops. I did get a bow drop in conalls at 26, but I was unable to equip it till 36.

If it was like before, I can expect to get a half way decent chest item in FotD and then have to wait till im 75 to get my next chest piece from the Scorpion Caves in Kheshatta.

Conclusion for far
Going to 80 once and currently 37, there needs to be some kind of change that allows the Barb to bring something different to grouping. At high levels a Barb will fold in 1-2 hits from raid mobs. Barbs should not have to be so dependent on stunning a mob to win a fight. If not for those, I would consider the Barb an unplayable class. But hey, we can sneak pretty good.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Age of Conan: Beta Assassin Bug

Woot, here we go: -

At the moment assassins are a little broken.... mwahahaha

if you go into poison stance and keep going into it (as many times as u like) your poison stance buff stacks.....

Stack it enough and you can 1 shot anyone :P fun

Hope it doesnt make it into live though lol everyone an assassin

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Where in the wiki is Mitra?

The fine folks over at AoCWiki have noticed that the Hyborean god Mitra has gone missing, and need our help to find him. The strange bit is: he's lost somewhere in the Wiki! So, to help recover him, readers are being solicited to go through the Wiki and follow a series of clues that will reveal the location of the missing god. Do it for the Hyboreans, whose prayers to Mitra have gone unanswered! Or, simply do it for these flash prizes:

Five (5) Age of Conan Beta keys
Five (5) Age of Conan 3-month pre-paid game cards

And, of course, the respect and admiration of your peers. Unless, of course, you beat them to the win, in which case, watch for arrows in your back. The rules and full details of this contest are available on the referring page. This contest has begun, and continues until April 21st. Put on your sleuthing helmets, warriors, and help find Mitra! Personally, we think it's Crom's fault.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Hyborian Insider shows off AoC combat

The first in a new video series called The Hyborian Insider has been listed on Age of Conan's community site. The opening episode looks at the combat mechanics in the game, with a detailed breakdown of the system. Hosted by the game's product manager Erling Ellingsen, the video looks at things we've mostly seen before (like the attacking and defending mechanics), but it's still a good watch that sums everything up in just a few short minutes. I'm looking forward to seeing what The Hyborian Insider #2 will focus on, with the big combat issue out of the way.
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AOC - Competition and Review on Ten Ton Hammer

Ten Ton Hammer has great coverage and other goodies ready for you! For one there's a competition where you can win amazing prizes including autographed merchandise, collector's edition boxes and a lifetime subscription to AoC.

In addition to that they also feature the "Age of Conan: Ask the Devs - Week in Review - 03.30.2008 " where all of the questions answered by developers in the Ten Ton Hammer AoC forums are reviewed.

You find the competition here and the review here.

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