Choose My Adventure: Age of Conan engages my barbarian rage


Let me be honest with you all: This week saw me ragequit out of Age of Conan, though not quite to the point that I didn’t try to answer the poll’s request to find out if life outside of Tortage was any different. For the most part.

I typically feel like I’ve got more mental fortitude to handle bad games, and I very frequently try to keep plugging away at a title to see whether it really is not meant for me or I’m just running into a learning curve or gameplay wall. These past few hours have pretty much reaffirmed that AOC just is not my bag.

We’ll begin with the actual content that I went through. Arriving to the next region was a pretty understated affair, as was moving to what I believe was the major capital city of the area I am in now. In fact, the starting location that I moved to outside of Tortage had a quest that led me into this city, so I had presumed that I was following the correct breadcrumb trail, which only seemed to be further reinforced when I ran into a random quest that simply asked me to climb a wall and retrieve a gem stone for someone.

The quest that I was originally on seemed basic enough: deliver goods from one location to another. However, I almost immediately ran afoul of the game’s inability to tell me what level range a quest was for, as when I arrived to the map that I had to deliver the goods to, I was faced with a group of level 25 enemies. And this wasn’t really what I’d call an instant jaunt, as I had to move through about three different regions to get to this location.

Dejected and defeated, I started making the long walk back to where i started off from, but not before checking the level range of the area that I was being guided to just to confirm I wasn’t making some intensely stupid mistake. The area was flagged for levels 20 through 30; I was level 19. One would assume that I would be generally all right, but that was apparently the wrong play.

I still tried to look on the bright side of things, though. For the most part I was pleased that I was able to navigate some slightly maze-like cities and was finally feeling like I was able to read the minimap better. Small victories, to be sure, but victories all the same.

Once I came back to the very starting area, I had leaped to the conclusion that I was probably meant to take up the quests that kept me on this particular map instead of ones that moved me to distant lands, and for a little while that assumption was correct. I took up a few basic fetch quests, took down some standard kill quests, and even was moved to another region that was outside this starting region but within my level and gear range. For a little while, life seemed good.

However, I started to once again run into AOC’s awful enemy aggro mechanics. To be fair, some of this is admittedly my fault, as I apparently didn’t do a full 360 degree scan of my immediate surroundings, but when I jumped what looked like one lone enemy walking along the bridge, two more hopped out of the bushes to assault me. These enemies were even level for me, which of course means that I was outnumbered, outgunned, and defeated. Another one for the death counter.

When I hit respawn, however, I was transported back to the very starting section of the map once again. I had been walking for a good little while, and I didn’t see any other respawn points along the map while I roamed to do a “kill 10” quest, but by that time, my frustration levels were through the roof. I exited the game and immediately uninstalled, then went on with the remainder of my weekend.

Looking back on my time in AOC now, through roughly 20 levels of progress, I cannot admit to anything nearing fondness. As I mentioned before, I’m pretty emotionally removed from anything like affection or deep familiarity with the Conan franchise, but I still cannot excuse this game of being anything close to something of quality. The combat system feels awful and lacking anything like impact, the setting is dull as hell (though that’s probably following the source material’s groundwork), progression things like new skills and the skill tree all feel extremely menial, the stories I’ve experienced are boring, and the game is ugly – not dated, not old, not of its time, just straight-up, unabashed, full-throttle ugly.

And now that I’ve had a bit of time outside of Tortage, I’m pretty confident in saying that my feelings weren’t really going to be changed for better or for worse outside of the starting zone. Tortage was not what it was talked up to be, and the stuff I was able to do outside of Tortage didn’t really divert from the opening segment’s path all that much. Perhaps Tortage told a more cohesive and insular story, with an overall narrative throughline and progress steps along the way, but none of that was a good enough hook, especially because I didn’t care about the storyline there.

Worse yet, this aggravation in AOC’s direction only dredged up raw feeling about Funcom’s other games. It reminded me how mad I am at them over The Secret World’s treatment. It reminded me that Conan Exiles stands out to me as a shining example of everything wrong with survival sandboxes. It reminded me that the studio would rather try to capture sales lightning in a bottle by molesting another classic IP with a low-effort survivalbox instead of creating something unique. Worse, even though I never spent a red cent on AOC (despite its feverish attempts to get me to do so every time I logged in), the wasted money I threw Funcom’s way on other the games over the years came flooding back to my mind all over again.

Screw it. Screw this game. Get off my damn SSD.

Now that I’m good and properly rage-filled, it’s time to head into the world of Warhammer, as last week’s voting confirmed that I am going to Warhammer Online: Return of Reckoning. As you all may know, I’ve been here once before, and looking back I managed to find a lot of fun here, so I have some hopes going into next month, even if AOC left a stupendously low bar to clear. Still, I do have to decide what I should do first: fire back my old character, or start fresh.

What should I do for the start of Return of Reckoning?

  • Start over. Maybe choose a different faction and class! (78%, 86 Votes)
  • Pick up the old character. Might as well hit the ground running! (22%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 110

Loading ... Loading ...

Polling will once again wrap up at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 30th. For now, I have got to get myself relaxed and uncoiled. I hate playing angry.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
Previous articleEmbers Adrift readies its buy-to-play shift with testing of subscriber features and new zone
Next articleTower of Fantasy welcomes players to Version 3.0 and the realm of Domain 9

No posts to display

oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments