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Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Preview

publisher: Funcom
developer: Funcom
genre: RPG

PIV 2400, 2GB RAM, 30GB HDD, 512MB video card
ESRB rating: M

release date: May 20, 08
» All About Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures on ActionTrip

Funcom has been working on Age of Conan for quite some time now. Having gone through the both the public and in-house beta, the development is nearing its final stages.

Jørgen Tharaldsen, Product Director at Funcom, gives us a rundown on how the game is going, broaching such topics as weapons, crafting, PvP, the use of violence and gore, and more.

ActionTrip: At present, what aspect of the game is Funcom working on?

Jørgen Tharaldsen: Right now we are tying all the loose ends together, and making sure we have as much of the content as we can in for the more open stages of Beta. We have been working (really) hard on the game for over three years now, and these days it's just so cool to see how things are coming together. I would probably say this anyway (since I work at Funcom ;)) but the game is a lot of fun to play these days.

ActionTrip: Aside from Conan himself, are there any other characters that are crucial to the AoC story?

Jørgen Tharaldsen: Yes, definitively, we are trying to be true to the original lore of Robert E. Howard, the American author who first created the stories of Conan the barbarian. This means a brutal and savage online world, and you can expect to meet many of Conan's friends and foes on your journey through Hyboria. You will also face some of the meanest and smartest monsters around, hell bent on destroying you, and many of them will be known from Conan lore.

ActionTrip: How important are tactics and collaboration between players in Age of Conan?

Jørgen Tharaldsen: Since Age of Conan is an MMO collaboration between players will be an essential part of mastering the game, and a fun part at that. I mean, just think of a massive siege PvP battle, where all classes work together to bring down the enemy (I will be riding the war mammoth!). Even though there is solo content in the game you will find that some of the most epic moments will happen when you are in a group or a guild. If you plan to raid a mighty demon, for instance, you need to hone those tactics;)

ActionTrip: We understand there's still plenty of optimizing to be done. Are you satisfied with what your team has accomplished so far in terms of DX10 features?

Jørgen Tharaldsen: Yes, extremely happy to be honest, we were the first gaming company in the world to get something visual on DX10 up in full resolution. Seeing what a challenge this was I am nothing short of impressed of what the coders managed to pull of. As a result of their work, I think everyone is impressed by the graphic tech (and art direction) in Age of Conan, but we still have ways to go. Just wait until we launch and it will look even better.

ActionTrip: Tell us a little bit about various items and the different types of weapons that will be available throughout the game.

Jørgen Tharaldsen: It has been essential for us to create items and weapons which really reflect the Hyborian age; meaning that you will wield some pretty devastating tools of death. While some might consider a sword, halberd or morning star primitive weapons, I assure it's wonderful seeing them in action on the battlefield ;) In addition to a vast range of weapons for both ranged and meelee combat, you also have numerous other items in the game, ranging from social items to magical items, potions and a whole lot more. This is a virtual world after all.

As a part of the item system you can also craft your own items. This gives a whole new level of flexibility on what you can get out of the items, compared to what you can get as drops from monsters. Crafted items might not be more powerful than regular loot, but since we use a socket system (up to four sockets where you can place gems) you can modify the items according to your liking.

This system can also be used to create special PvP gear, which is a new thing to the genre. You will have "pre-made" PvP gear as well, but with the socket system players can customize their PvP gear to a greater degree. This means that those who want to spend most of their time on PvP can still get uber armor, dedicated to PvP, without having to raid.

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