Monday, 22 August 2011

Age of Conan - Unchained (MMORPG) Free to Play

 Well, I never thought I'd say this because for several reasons I've never had any interest in online games.
One of those reasons was lousy internet speeds and miserly monthly download limits which are now a thing of the past...if you're willing to pay a fortune, or like me get a decent discount for a landline, mobile phone (that I hardly ever use) and internet bundle that is.  Still not quite like Europe and the States, but at least better than it used to be. 

My friend in Greece (ThePriest909) has tried talking me into it a couple of times so I thought "Well, why not." Now I've got decent internet speed and don't have to worry about being capped to dial up speed as much as I used to when my monthly bandwidth allowance was exceeded. In fact I'm finding it hard to get anywhere close to the limit now so I'm happy I won't be capped.  Ironically, I'm on the US server and John is on the Euro server, something neither of us thought about beforehand so we haven't met up in game yet, but that will soon be remedied, I hope. Players can change servers relatively easily (I believe) so it's not a big problem.

A little warning....this game is huge. At first I downloaded 12GB which is the first part of the world up to level 20, then I believe it goes to 34GB or thereabouts by the time one reaches level 80. Currently I'm at 20GB of data.  It also downloads in the background if necessary and even then I haven't had any lag issues.

I could have downloaded it all at once, but I wanted to see if I liked it first. Which is a big "Thumbs Up."  
The game used to be subscription only but is now free to play and the whole world is open for Free players. There are limits on classes and the number of characters one can make as well as a few other things, otherwise it's almost the same as the paid version.  Somewhere down the track I may just subscribe as there are some things I would really like to have that the free version doesn' tiger mounts...they look awesome. 

To say this game is beautiful is an understatement and I was surprised to find I can run it on high graphics an idiot because I thought I was running on high graphics, but was actually on the default low settings because I didn't check something I won't go into and make myself look even more stupid.  I did then try it on high which looks absolutely amazing, however I can't's a slideshow unfortunately.  But, I did change to medium and it looks great and I have no lag or other problems with it.

The voice acting and music is superior and the sheer variety of character customization is staggering. No-one need look like anyone else. There are numerous choices of face and body tattoos and scars (or none if preferred), eye colour, hair styles, facial hair for the males, you can change height and weight and much, much more.

A note on voice I'm out in the big, bad world and except for the main quest givers there's little to no voice acting.  However, this is quite understandable and I imagine it would add many GB's of data to an already huge world and it's already a massive size.  For people who enjoy reading the story and atmosphere is very immersive.   I know some people don't read because when I'm at a quest giver reading the text, others just come and go to get the quest in their journal without listening or reading, which is a bit sad.  The whole game is based around a lore and story so they would miss a lot.  Each to their own though, I guess.

I've only made one character so far and she's fairly generic because I didn't see the customize face button until I clicked finish and started the actual game. You can't go back which is OK as she's more of a practice run. She looks suitably barbaric for my needs and I chose that hairstyle for that reason.

Launch video from earlier this year.  Bloody awesome and this is actually what the game looks like, not just a marketing ploy.

 Simea - Stygian Race - Mage - Demonologist
She can use some melee weapons, bows and of course spells.  And she can summon a demon from hell (Succubus) to help.  This screen shot was taken at the start of a cut scene and before I found out how to reemove the HUD.

This is a game of high adventure with a massive number of quests, many of which are tailored to your class or race. You can roleplay to a great extent and even take up a profession like tailoring or other crafting jobs, join guilds and other things I haven't discovered yet. There's so much to absorb, but at least I have single player rpg experience to help me along so it's not all new territory. There's also a large single player component where you're on your own to do with the main quest.

There are quests that have to be done to get off the initial starting island and into the main HUGE world. I'm still working on that, but getting close. Combat can be very hard and one needs to use strategy a bit especially according to your class, but is very rewarding. I've died a LOT, but usually because I'm trying something beyond my level or even at the same level, depending on how many enemies there are at once.  Not to mention falling off a bridge into lava and slipping off a bridge over a high mountain pass,which I've done.

I've found the controls a little cumbersome, but I'm getting used to it. At least it's real time combat and not turn based, which is another plus.  Besides the controls the only thing that annoys me is the rapid respawn rate of enemies which is sometimes even before you kill all in a group of four.  It doesn't seem to happen all the time so I wonder if it's dependent on the number of players doing the same quests, or I might be talking out of my hat.  It's not always possible to pull a single or even two enemies from a group and then they all rush you.....resulting quite often in a grisly death.  Running away is often not an option as they chase you and more often than not you can't get away.....because....another thing I also find extremely odd is that a pirate for example, can hit me with an unenchanted sword when I'm running way down a path so far out of range it would be physically impossible.   My character has been decapitated by a sword from a distance of many times it's length.  That's just stupid and all melee enemies do it.  Other than that, I've played so far for several hours per day, over four days (I think) and had no crashes, no lags, no problems at all.   Big tick for a game world so complex.

Once I get a bit further with this character and learn the ins and outs of everything I'll make a new one and make some changes to how I play. I play on PvE servers (Player Vs Environment) which is just like any role playing game except there are tons of other people doing the same thing you are, but don't want to kill you...and can't anyway. You can work together to an objective or solo, whatever you choose. Plus, there are night time only quests where you're solo anyway, and these are to do with your Destiny and the actual main quest.

Climbing the heights

This is also an adult game insofar as there's a lot of violence, according to the brutal and dangerous world of Conan created in the books by Robert E. Howard, nudity if players choose although I've only seen one topless female barbarian so far and it fits with the world, and harsh language but not crude swearing which I think would ruin the atmosphere.

Read about it here:

With the demon and ready to fight - searching for scorpion and snake venom for a potion.

Moments after casting a buff spell.   Stygians worship the Serpent God - Set,  so I thought that was quite appropriate.

More pics to come....  Hard core fans, (and I know there are a lot of them), excuse the lack of lore knowledge at the moment.  I've just  However, I do know and love the Conan world model and some of the books, although it's been years since I read one.

No comments:

Post a Comment