Monday, 12 December 2011

Age of Conan - The Honeymoon Is Over - For The Time Being

As much as I have enjoyed playing Age of Conan, there are just too many problems with the game at the moment for me to continue which is a bit sad because I really do like it a lot.   After several months the novelty has finally worn off, mainly because of the game's current problems.   It surprised me really that I stayed with it so long which does, I suppose, say how good a game it is, IMHO.

The gloss wears off pretty quickly for me with most games unless they have something really special or can be modded.   Repetitive play isn't usually my thing, but AOC does have a lot of variety so it was fairly easy to stay involved.  Trouble is it has too many problems at the present.

The latest patch which was a huge update to the game engine among other things, was really the last straw.  I was thinking of subscribing and kept putting it off, but now I've finally decided I won't be going ahead.   Bit sad really because I would like to have seen and played with the Premium content, but it's just too annoyingly unstable and I have other games that don't cause me so much aggravation....and they don't cost a monthly fee plus more if I wanted to buy other exclusive content.   I can only guess how paying customers are feeling.   Actually, going by the forums I don't really have to guess.

That's another thing.  If you're looking for info on the game or solutions to problems, don't bother with the Funcom official forums.  The majority of important info is way out of date and is mostly from 2008 despite that there have been many changes to classes, game play and other areas in the interim.   It's a very unfriendly and in my opinion, rude and spiteful place that would  make any new player feel immediately unwelcome, except for a very few members who actually do try to help.

The game is supposed to be very well supported by a huge player base so they would have people believe, yet the forums are almost empty.  Questions either don't get an answer or some smart ass with an inferiority complex feels the need to shoot the person down to make themselves feel better, or the topic just veers off into bitching and off topic crap.  There are a lot of whiners who keep saying they will never play again, withdraw or not renew their subs and generally seem to enjoy making life hard for others, yet if they hate the game as much as they say, why do they hang around?......makes one wonder what their RL life is, not really, it must be a very sad and dreary one.  Just more cases of internet anonymity and fake personas.    I'm glad I'm not a member and don't plan to be.  Forums and I don't get along terribly well and that one definitely ruffles my feathers the wrong way.

From what I see and read there's a lot of resentment from paying players towards free to play people, but without the f2p players the game would be almost empty.   As it is I play at night which is prime time in the US or so I gather, (I'm in Australia) and I find it difficult to find other players to team with.   Entire zones are often empty or have just a few people playing and that's very often over a span of  8 hours because that's how long some of my play sessions are.  I'm talking about weekends when more people would most likely be playing, not so much during the week when it's expected to be quieter.

Funcom recently gave free players permanent access passes to some premium dungeons.  The only reason I can see for that is so other players can get a team together to do them because I've seen it mentioned and complained about, for good reason, by premium players on the forums.  The Sanctum of Burning Souls is one such popular dungeon.  While as a free player I appreciate the sentiment, it's still not easy to find others to team with to raid the group dungeons.

Between server restarts every night during prime time (which have settled down to 12 hourly) to CTD's, freezes, memory leaks, audio loop crashes, lost inventory space and items, lost friends lists, messed up trader transactions and missing items in the mail system, severe lag and rubber banding, crashes on certain bosses and at death, to list some of the problems, it gets really frustrating.

Thunder River especially around the Prison Colony pre patch was a stuttering slide show, but I did read it's not so bad now and it certainly couldn't have been much worse.  Being rubber banded into the river from a bridge or off a cliff to my death due to whatever the problem is...lag or bad optimization, is BAD.   It's always in the same places like the bottom of the palisades and on bridges over the water, which I think is half the problem, so it really needs looking into even more.  There's a huge thread devoted to it, but nothing seems to change.

I was highly annoyed to find my level 71 Barbarian had lost  more than half a page of resource inventory space and therefore a lot of rare materials for alchemy and armour crafting.    She also lost some normal inventory space even after having previously purchased a larger bag at an in game merchant, and therefore items I had in my bag are gone or unusable.   Another player suggested I petition it but what would be the point as I wouldn't get the items back and I've since found it's not just me but others as well, including Premium players.

My other character, a Guardian who is now at level 58 is doing gem cutting and weapon crafting so both characters have complementary crafts and can send things to each other via the Trader.  However, now with so much resource space gone it seems pointless to continue as gems, metals and other resources need a lot of room.  Free players only get a basic inventory and very little other storage anyway so losing what I already have on top of the other problems is not inspiring me to subscribe.

And then there's the 2 gold limit for f2p, but that's another story and not a glitch from the patch.

My friends list is now empty which is a pain because I thought at first I'd been dropped from their lists and felt a bit let down for a, wondering what I'd done..  Then I find this is also affecting others including premium players, as are the other problems.  Trouble is I haven't bothered to write the names down and some have unusual spelling so I can't really search for them and just have to hope I come across them sometime which seems unlikely now.

Anyway,  I'll probably not be playing until I read that the game has been fixed and is back to it's mostly stable Pre 1.3.3 patch condition.   At least Skyrim's problems are being sorted albeit it in a roundabout backward fashion and I can lose myself in the snowy wilderness fighting dragons.   That's also another story of woe and much gnashing of collective

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