Age of Conan Live Chat with Funcom -- April 10th, 2009.
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Hi Everybody and Welcome to the Age of Conan Chat! I bet you're excited to get your questions answer. Let's give a "round of applause" for our guests who will introduce themselves and start taking your questions!
silirrion (silirrion): Hi there, my name is Craig Morrison, I am the Game Director for Age of Conan, great to see so many people here this evening :)
Famine (famiine): Hello everyone, my name is Glen Swan. I am the US Community Manager for Age of Conan! Also great to see so many here! :)
silirrion (silirrion): Unleashed2k (unleashed2k): Question: Any new information about the Expansion pack?
I am afraid that we aren't going into the details of the expansion just yet, we are focusing our attention on the coming live updates. There is team working away on the expansion but it will be a little while yet before we reveal any details. We very much want to focus on the improvements and updates to live
silirrion (silirrion): Tribus (tribus67): The 3 minute cooldown on the Guardian GOAD's that is currently on testlive is a bit too long of a cooldown for your Main Tanks. The old 2 minute cooldown was a bit more acceptable. Any chance that will be changed before this patch goes live?
The data on test live is open for change before it goes live. This update is a large (and complex) one, the team will certainly be listening to the feedback and there will be several more itterations before the update reaches the live servers. As for that specific ability, its a little early to say, we are still looking at the data, feedback and balance of the taunts and 'agro' changes
silirrion (silirrion): Fallen Angel (me8myself): How close do you believe you to following the Conan lore?
I think we are always inspired by the original Howard works. Sometimes its very directly, as in Ymir's Pass, where we take a well known Howard tale and build the storyline and quests in a zone around it. Other times its the way he described the world and the various races and factions and we use that as inspiration for storylines and quests, as you find in Xibuluku for example, or the upcoming Tarantia commons play-field. So I think its something we are always conscious of and always working on incorporating into our stories and quests as best we can.
silirrion (silirrion): Codey (neole): What updates are you going to focus on to make Age of Conan fun for those who have been playing for a while? And what is the main thing you are focusing on right now?
We are definitely always looking to add more content, through new playfields, quests and encounters, as we move forward that naturally graduates towards higher level content.
In terms of systems we are currently looking at what we can do to expand on the guild functionality and features in the game, that will be the next thing you start to hear about and see after we are done with the 1.05 update.
silirrion (silirrion): barnard (sintwin): Many think that this game isn't much fun at level 80. Do you agree with this and will you bring any improvements to the game to increase the level cap or introduce new features for higher levels?
I think that depends on what you enjoy and how you play the game. I think the answer to that question will vary very much depending on your game-play preferences. I don't think that it's 'not fun' for sure, but of course we want to add more content and more interesting things to do for higher level players. You have seen that with recent updates like Xibuluku, and you will see more with Tarantia Commons in the 1.05 cycle. It's something we are very committed to.
We don't have any plans to raise the level cap any time soon, but we do have a few plans and systems currently in the design stages for what we can do to expand the customisation and character development options
silirrion (silirrion): xzawier (xzawier): One thing i always wondered about is how fun it is to play a MMORPG game which you have helped create. Is it less fun to play areas, quests and dungeons you helped create yourself?
Good question! Actually it usually doesn't detract as much as you would think...it's usually fun to see your creations come to life. To be honest though I much prefer watching players go through the content, that is what really gives you that nice feeling of satisfaction. To have players enjoy it, thats the main thing :)
silirrion (silirrion): kyoji001: Originally the gear in the game did not make a big enough difference in character performance. How effective do you think the 1.05 patch is in balancing a heavier emphasis on gear while still honoring the original itnention?
I think we are definitely moving in the right direction. There are still some tweaks, adjustments and changes needed from the test server builds for sure. This isn't something that is going to be pushed out quickly. We very much want to maintain the pace and 'feel' of the combat while doing this. Things will change to some degree for sure, but we do want to make sure we don't lose what players liked about the combat in the first place. We won't please everyone (alas that's not possible in making an MMO!) but I definitely think we are moving in the rigth direction.
silirrion (silirrion): Odysseuss (kieranv1): People are saying that you should remove the general feats and add new class feats in their place, do you agree?
I think the general tree has a good place for the characters, and those archetype level feats do offer a choice for your character, in particular after 1.05. I don't think we would consider removing them at the moment.
silirrion (silirrion): stevenam (stevenam): Will Age of Conan have more Battle keeps than they have now in , fury etc?
There aren't any plans to add new Battle Keep locations no, the competitive element for the siege PVP is important, if we have too many spots the incentive to siege decreases. So I don't think you will see new siege spots added in the near future.
Famine (famiine): PushkiN (pushkin17): Will we be able to see players from other servers on an epic PvP zones like Army vs. Army, from different guilds and servers? Also, will we see COMPLETELY new mingame genres, like *King of the hill* or *capture and hold for 2 minutes*?
That's a very good question too. Currently there is nothing in the pipeline with such a system but the idea is something that is pretty epic in itself. As for new minigames, that's always something the guys are looking into for the future of our game. There has been many crazy game ideas tossed here and there but nothing in the pipeline as of yet. :)
silirrion (silirrion): sha4ky (sha4ky): Question : What You can offer to players who never played MMORPG games , and want to start playing ? In case of others MMORPG games ?
silirrion (silirrion): whoops..answer incoming :P hit enter too soon
silirrion (silirrion): I think Age of Conan does offer something a little different from other MMO titles, we have a much more interactive combat system, one with a different pace to other titles. On top of that we have the license itself, a dark and brutal world that makes for a very mature setting, that allows us to explore areas that you just don't see in other games...I also thing the artists did an amazing job at making the game-world come to life. I really think we have the best looking MMO out there at the moment
silirrion (silirrion): Uniqu3 (dsdale):
I have had negative reviews given to me about AoC, what opinions do you have for/against these?
I think there were many things that players liked, and of course didn't like when the game launched, and yes, its fair to say that after the first few weeks the feedback was negative, and people got a bad impression of the game through poor word of mouth. I think we have focused very hard on resolving the issues brought up by that feedback and have already made great progress...but I would say that you shouldn't actually listen to me! You should listen to the players actually playing the game today, and ask them if they think it's fun. I can say as much as I liek about x,y, or z that we have fixed or improved, but nothing beats you hearing it from an actual player...so don't listen to me, listen to them!
Famine (famiine): Uniqu3 (dsdale): I have had negative reviews given to me about AoC, what opinions do you have for/against these?
Generally, we try to take everything in when it comes to the positive and negative reviews of our game. From there, we try to use it as much as we can to improve our focus, content and overall game. More personally I think it's good to have both sides of the fence when tossing feedback at the developers heads. We can't keep on the right track without either.
silirrion (silirrion): Tribus (tribus67): What happened to the "War System" why was it removed from PvE servers? That was VERY fun and I hated to see the care-bears win that battle. PvE guilds should not have built Battle Keeps if they didn't want to PvP. They are the ones that had a problem with the system, not the guys that liked PvP.
The system hasn't gone anywhere, it is still there it was just adjusted and tweaked as system tend to be once they get exposed to the masses! I thik this was an area that split opinion down the middle pretty much, so we were in a situation where we weren't going to please some people regardless of what we did! I think the issue of consent was a valid one and we went with the suggestions of maintaing that. You will though see continued development of the war and sieging systems. It's a vital area of the game and you will continue to see new features added there.
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<Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian) has unsilenced this room>
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Oop! (sorry!)
silirrion (silirrion): Geostrike (geostrike): Is the game hard or easy in your oppinion?
I think that depends on your skill to be honest! Some of things I struggle with I watch players breeze through with ease, but maybe thats more about my lack of skills :p Overall I think the game does have some challenges, but it was made to be accessible and allow for relatively fast progression and I think it does. I think though that elements like the raids, and espcially the PVP definitely require a good degree of skill and require you to learn the skillsets and abilities of your chosen class.
silirrion (silirrion): sinistersam (sinistersam): during beta there was a Tier Higher then epic but was removed is there a plans to bring that gear back into the game?
There aren't any plans right now, but I wouldn't rule it out in the future.
silirrion (silirrion): sirrak (sirrak): When an account gets a reward item such as the snow mamoth can all of your charaters claim it or just one? Are there plans to offer other ingame items as rewards or incentives to join and stay active in the game?
Yes, you can do /claim on all your charcters. You will definitely see more reward items and such for those that maintain active subscriptions. It's something we definitely want to do, and have started on, we just wanted to focus our systems guys on the items and statistics update first.
Famine (famiine): ThornRage (thornrage): Any plans for a PvP tournament?
We have done some unofficial ones within the US communities but nothing as official just yet. We are currently working on some things that may or may not *cough* include developers and players in the future *cough*.
Famine (famiine): arcsensor: Funcom says!? Ninjas or Pirates!?
Quicky: Pirates all the way...
silirrion (silirrion): TOBE (tobethepope): What aspect of AOC is the team most proud of at the moment?
I think that would depend on who in the team you asked! The devs are a very dedicated and passionate bunch, they are all players like you and put a lot of effort into making their content. Personally I think I am most proud of that effort that the team have put in since I took over. It's not easy to see people saying negative things about a game you have sunk a few years of your life into developing, so I am most proud of their reaction to that, and that we have continued to work hard and focus on improving the game
silirrion (silirrion): barnard (sintwin): Do you or your colleagues play other MMORPGS, such as WOW?
I think between us we have probably played almost all of them! I know I have, I try and play all the MMOs that are released, which gets harder these days, espcially with all the free to play titles as well as the Korean and eastern titles that I also check out...but yes, we play a lot of games, MMO or otherwise. I think I generally have at least three MMO subscriptions on the go alongside playing single player games...currently crunching through Dawn of War II and Puzzle Quest: Galactrix
Famine (famiine): barnard (sintwin): Do you or your colleagues play other MMORPGS, such as WOW?
Yes, we all try to play as many online and offline games as possible. I can only speak for myself here but I've been playing MMO's for around 10 years now and MUDS much longer. So when it comes to pulling the rawness out of a online game, I try (as many of us do) to play as many as possible because afterall we are MMO developers too.
silirrion (silirrion): TheWeeIrish (theweeirish): In 1.05 do you think that Dark Templars will beable to stand a chance in PvP?
Yes I do. I think the team are doing the right thinsg with the PVP balance adjustments in 1.05, there is work still to do for sure, but I am liking the feel so far from the testing and we are getting good feedback by and large
silirrion (silirrion): Dman (dman1150): Is there any plan to bring back the culture ruleset at anytime and have it improved upon.
No, there are no plans to ressurect the cultural ruleset at the moment.
Famine (famiine): Komah (dami): How often do you guys play your own game? What's your highest level char?
We all have play sessions daily (internally), both developers and customer support. This is something that is key for all of us to do because we must live and know the game in which we develop.
silirrion (silirrion): Mourg0S (mourgos): Many people talk about unbalanced characters. Do you really feel that it is true, or that the "special" combat system needs more practice from the players' side?
I think it's never quite as bad as forums would have you believe for sure ;) It also very much depends on how you look at PVP, we don't specifically balance PVP for 1v1 encounters, its more about shaping a valid and useful role for all classes in PVP whereas I think some players invaribly always want to compare 1v1, and I don't think any game has ever fully balanced 1v1 across all of its class combinations. It's always a fun challenge though and I think that it's a constant evolution in MMOs, and again I think we are moving in eth right direction with the upcoming changes
silirrion (silirrion): Guruthos <-> DaSchorn (daschorn): In an older newsletter the "power points" were introduced to reward long time players. Is this still under development?
Yes and no, you will see this in some form (i.e. rewards for subcribers based on how long they have subscribed etc) but it won't be exactly in the way originally mentioned. That was one of the designs that we took 'back to the drawing board' last fall. You will see it in some form though! (and any and all suggestions for a better name than 'powerpoints' is most welcome!)
Famine (famiine): Mourg0S (mourgos): Many people talk about unbalanced characters. Do you really feel that it is true, or that the "special" combat system needs more practice from the players' side?
Just to add here, I read the feedback daily when dealing with the community and our different systems. It's for sure always a hot topic on the forums but it's also something that we try to keep up-to-date on daily. The main thing to mention here though is that we have put together our Advocate program (volunteers who represent each class) to improve some of those concerns with class balance. That way we both can factor in the rawness of the forums while factoring in specific class representatives like the Advocates.
silirrion (silirrion): кendrα: Sorry for asking you this on here, but this is pretty important for my colour blind brother to know who plays Age of Conan quite a bit. When will a colour blind mode be introduced?
I don't think that's something we have considered yet. I must admit I don't know what would be required there so it's very hard to say if it's something you would see us do.
silirrion (silirrion): Red Power Ranger (kungfupenguin2): Will the dev team becoming out with anything now such as titles, new pets for demonoligsts, or newer spell detail or maybe even necromancer pet skins later down the line in the 1.05 patch?
You won't see anything dramatic added to the class abilities that isn't already on the test server at this stage, so while the numbers, balance and values will almost certainly be adjusted what you see there currently is the type of changes you will see in 1.05, so any further completely new additions will be out beyond that most likely.
Famine (famiine): sirrak (sirrak): Have you noticed a problem with people trying to sell gold in AoC as they do in other MMOs?
I don't think there is a MMO out there that doesn't notice the same problem. I work closely to customer support myself and they are always on top of this issue daily. Not only that, they are always coming up with newer and better ways to handle it because it IS a problem and something we should ALWAYS address. :)
silirrion (silirrion): Yes, that's an ongoing battle, and yes, it's something we have to deal with. We have various systems and measures that we use to try and minimise their impact on people's game-play but it is an ongoing battle, so as Glen says its something that we don't stop doing!
Famine (famiine): [X.Legion] Danek (xldanek): AoC will turn one year next month. Will there be some events in the game?
Yes, we are currently working on some things. One of which I mentioned earlier with the PvP events that may or may not happen *still planning*. Keep your eyes and ears open. :)
silirrion (silirrion): Wizardling (wizardling): When will Direct X 10 be expected to make a full release?
I think that depends on the testing and the data we get. We have just started to compile all the feebdack and data we have been getting over the last couple of weeks since we started the live testing so I think you will see a few more itterations yet before we start to consider it a full release.
silirrion (silirrion): Fallen Angel (me8myself): How do you feel this chat is going?
I think my fingers are starting to get a bit tired from typing, but its fun :) I always enjoy this type of thing!
silirrion (silirrion): [N.M.K.] Reaper (eaglemansn): AoC is a strain on the users who do not have high end computers will AoC turn more low end graphics friendly?
MMOs are a long term investment and we expect the game to be around for years to come. That also means we grow into hardware over time and that of course sits alongside the ongoing development and optimisations of the engine. We have a dedicated team internally who focus on that, I think you have already seen great improvements there since launch, and will continue to do so. I don't think though you will see it go below the current minimum requirements.
silirrion (silirrion): кendrα: will there be a "log back to the character screen" button so that you don't have to reopen the game to rechoose a character?
I've actually always wanted that! I'm told it's not as starightforward as it might be to accomplish technically, but I would certainly like to see it added at some stage.
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Alright everyone! This is the end! I think you've abused these poor guys enough today!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Let's thank them for coming in!
silirrion (silirrion): Ciobyllionaire (ciobyllionaire): any chance of removing the maps "boarder limitation" and put all content on a single big world map ??
No, we won't be doing that. A very conscious decision was made early on to focus on the graphical quality of the play-fields and that requires us to use a zoning system. In addition I think it suits the world better. Howard was writing about a version of our world, thats a huge amount of real estate and something you couldn't reproduce seemlessly in an MMO currently, so using the system we do allows us to pick and choose the key locations and use more vaired locations!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): And it's time to give out the prizes!
silirrion (silirrion): sneaked one more in there :p
Famine (famiine): Shamanbear (olleolle123): Will you make AoC sexier than it already is?
Quicky: Yes, we will never stop! omg noo!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): 5 Winners will win a copy of the game and a one year subscription!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Choosing randomly!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): The winners are:
silirrion (silirrion): Thank you all for coming and good luck!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): PM ME IF YOU WON!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Oblivious
Famine (famiine): Yeah, you guys rock
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Rocker 22
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): th3flyboy
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Jadedreddragon
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): and
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Famine
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Thanks Everybody!
Famine (famiine): !!!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): That's it!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): oops. did I say famine? That was a typo. I meant Fallen Angel. LOL
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): !
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): That's what happens when you try to look at one thing and type.
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Anyway. *ahem* PM me if you won!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Thanks everyone else for coming.
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): Keep playing to win more prizes!
Conan The Xfirian (conanthexfirian): The transcript will be posted online in a few days! Keep watch for it.!