Age of Conan: Unchained
Age of Conan Overview
Age of Conan: Unchained boasts a combat system that gives the game a very unique feel. Players feel very much connected to their character in combat, as well as throughout the game. This combined with a strong storyline, complete character customization, and breathtaking graphics make Age of Conan a wonderfully entertaining and addictive title. Players are allowed to choose from three races: Aquilonian, Cimmerian, or Stygian. Each race offers three of the four class archetypes: (Each class archetype contains multiple playable classes)
Rogue: The rogue archetype is collection of high damage, low defense classes. Adept at sneaking around and dealing large amounts of damage, rogues are fragile and rely on avoiding be hit as much as possible.
(Playable classes: Assassin, Ranger, Barbarian)
Soldier: Soldiers are the up close and personal melee category of Age of Conan characters. They are capable of being proficient in both offensive and defensive situations, allowing soldiers to be the tanks of the Age of Conan.
(Playable classes: Guardian, Dark Templar, Conqueror)
Mage: The offensive casters of the game. Mages in Age of Conan use their magical abilities to devastate enemies. Like rogues, their damage comes at the cost of their survivability.
(Playable classes: Necromancer, Herald of Xotli, Demonoglist)
Priest: Priests are the supporting casters of Age of Conan. Healing, buffing, group utility, and even some offensive abilities appear in the priest’s arsenal, allowing them to play a very important role in end game content.
(Playable classes: Priest of Mitra, Bear Shaman, Tempest of Set)
With Twelve playable classes, and one of the most detailed character creation processes in the MMORPG market give each player the chance to create something unique and add their own personal flavor to the game play. The Age of Conan free trial allows 7 days of gameplay, more than enough for an average gamer to complete the well designed tutorial missions and complete most, if not all, of the starting content (levels 1-20).
Age of Conan Screenshots
Age of Conan Featured Video
Age of Conan Review
By, Kenneth Bodzak
Based off the novels and essays of Robert E. Howard, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is a game with a lush storyline and great character diversity. This fantasy MMORPG takes place in the ancient Hyborian landscape, and lets players choose from twelve different playable classes. Each character can be personalized to an unbelievable and unfortunately sometimes unnoticeable extent. With the choice of three different races, tattoos, body features, and many more appearance altering options, players can make their character as unique as they feel necessary.
The twelve classes in Age of Conan are divided up into four larger categories, or archetypes: Rogues, Soldiers, Priests, and Mages. Each archetype has three subclasses that inherit all of the archetypes’ features but become more proficient in specific areas. The rogue archetype breaks down into rangers, assassins, and barbarians. The different classes excel in different fields, i.e. rangers are very proficient at ranged combat while assassins are proficient in hand to hand combat, however they all share the same sneaky and fragile damage dealer archetype of the “Rogue”.
Soldiers are the up close and personal category, designed to both give and receive heavy damage; they are the tanks of the game. The mage archetype and its subclasses all excel at using magical spells and abilities to attack their enemies. They are similar to the rogue classes in being a “glass cannon”. Priests are the support casters of Age of Conan, and the healers. Along with their beneficial abilities priests also have offensive spells, however they are primarily known for their healing and supporting magic.
A Stunning New Spin on an Old Style
Age of Conan lets players explore and conquer ancient Hyboria in a brand new way. The game features a unique combat system that allows players to choose a directional attack to use on their enemies, while also choosing where to place their directional defenses. By aiming their strikes to the opponent’s least defended side, players can maximize their damage… and vice versa. This “Real-Time” combat system offers players a way to depart from the widely employed “Auto Attack” systems seen in popular MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Runes of Magic.
Whether or not the “Real Combat” system Funcom has designed is better, is tough to say and may come down to personal preference. This feature gives combat in Age of Conan a completely different feel from other MMORPGs, and really draws the player into the game. The real time system makes engaging in battle much more intense and “hands on” than simply toggling auto attack and letting some number generator do the dirty work. Directional attacks and directional defenses give Age of Conan players huge potential to show off their individual skills in combat, more specifically against other players.
Another aspect of Age of Conan that allows it to make a departure from Run-of-the-mill MMORPGs is the game’s stunning visuals. Age of Conan now has a “test” mode that allows support for direct x 10 which likes absolutely gorgeous. Left alone on default computer-friendly settings the game is quite an eye-opener and brings a great deal of realism to the fantasy storyline. Once the game is kicked into overdrive and players start moving the graphic sliders as far as the PC will allow, Age of Conan reaches a level that is unknown to many MMORPGs today.
Kill or be Killed
One of the most appealing features of Age of Conan is its PvP Combat. The unique combat system makes fighting players a blast, and allows a fight’s outcome to weigh in heavily on player skill rather than equipment alone. PvP exists in all scales in Age of Conan, assuming that the player decided to create his character on a PvP enabled realm. PvP is available as soon characters leave the starting tutorial area and comes hand in hand with the constant danger of being attacked; of course guards and friends may help in certain situations, but the threat of being attacked is almost always present.
Age of Conan keeps track of a player’s PvP history using two different systems. The first allows a player to earn PvP experience and level up in return for their performance. This system is very dynamic and causes the player to either earn or lose experience for kills and deaths, respectively. As players reach the higher ranks of the PvP system they can earn titles and purchase PvP itemized gear through vendors. This mechanic is gratifying, however very common to other PvP systems in other MMOs, such as World of Warcraft.
The second system keeps track of the player’s “Fugitive Points”. The fugitive system sets all players to one of three statuses: innocent (default), criminal, or murderer. Performing hostile acts against innocent players causes the attacker to edge towards murderer. The effect the fugitive system is determined by the level difference and reputation difference of the attacker and victim. In essence Funcom wants to reward players for picking on people their own size and penalize them for attacking the weak. Criminals and Murderers are attacked by guards on sight which makes them unable to access most of the game’s vendors and shops; this causes them to spend more time trying to wait out their reputation or earn it back through honorable combat.
Taking the Plunge
Creating a character in Age of Conan is quite the experience. A unique character creation screen is available, taking place on a boat (tying in with the lore) allowing players to choose their race, class, and customize their character to their liking. Character customization reaches new levels that far surpass other more mainstream MMOs like Eve Online and Atlantica Online. Players may choose to alter almost all details of their character’s body type and external appearance. Unfortunately this system can allow for character creation to be quite lengthy for those few meticulous and obsessive-compulsive players out there, but the randomize feature can work wonders. The game’s character customization features are on par with games like Perfect World and City of Heroes.
Once players create their character, they are tossed off the boat and wash up on the shores of the starting area. Greeted by a friendly NPC who helps explain what just happened, players learn that the beginning of the game is spent trying to “remember” skills the character has already mastered in their past (of being a great [insert class]). This idea awards Age of Conan both originality and cheese points, not quite a positive or negative. Much of the starting area is spent learning the basics of the game, just as most tutorial areas are in other MMOs.
The starting quest line is deliciously cheesy, as it starts with players on a mission to the city of Tortage to save a “damsel in distress.”. I spent much of the first hour of the game mastering the game’s real time combat system. Luckily, the game’s help menu is literally field manual for everything that players could possibly need to know. This single feature vastly eases the learning curve and allows the player to reinforce anything they may have misunderstood earlier on.
After arriving in the city of Tortage players are introduced to a whole new world and can finally understand how large the game’s world truly is. This particular area is ripe with quest lines, all of which are voice acted. Players, guards, vendors, and pirates roam the city streets giving players a sense of being a small fish in a great sea. At this point Each class splits up and follows their own unique quest lines providing them with entry level gear and experience. The whole Tortage area will last players until level 20 or so, at which point players will need to venture into other areas in the game.
From Riches to Rags
The introduction to Age of Conan: Unchained is rich with quests and voice acted NPCs which makes the early aspects of the game incredibly enjoyable. Unfortunately though, the entire game is not laid out quite as lavishly. The voice acting ceases to continue once players leave Tortage at level 20, and the rest of the game is spent grinding monsters to gain experience. It is also true that once players leave Tortage the threat of other players and PvP engagements vastly increase giving the gameplay a slightly unique feel, as anyone can be attacked by other players without warning.
At later levels players are able to learn new attacks and skills, and are introduced to new directional based attacks. These new directional attacks add more variety to the already unique combat system. Gear is still pretty important but gear upgrades are few and far between as most of the gear acquired early on is still on par with the gear accessible mid game. This causes combat to be less item dependant, but also makes the game’s quest and monster loot to be lackluster.
Age of Conan does have end game content with raids and huge PvP battles with an affiliated guilds and/or friends, but the game has had a rough history. It was originally released as a haven for those who were tired of World of Warcraft and was even rumored to be a ‘WoW’ killer, but the title fell far short of its mark. With quests leading to pure nothingness, graphical errors, and a devastating lack of end game content Age of Conan lost most of its initial player base due to a premature release. Funcom has since then reconciled its developing staff and is constantly revamping to the game to what it should be.
New Content Since Release
Age of Conan: Unchained has implemented several new updates that include new content, features, characters, skill advancement systems, and much much more.
Playfields and Instances
Ymir’s Pass (Level 55 – 63 Playfield)
Tarantia Commons (Level 75+ Playfield)
The Regions of Khitai (Five Level 20 – 80 Playfields)
Coast of Ardashir (Level 50 – 55 Playfield)
Slaughterhouse Cellar (Level 80 Solo Dungeon)
The Breach (Level 40 – 80 Solo Dungeon)
The Forgotten City (Level 40 – 80 Solo Dungeon)
The Refuge of the Apostate (Level 80 Solo Dungeon)
Dead Man’s Hand (Level 50 – 80 Solo Encounter)
Isle of Iron Statues (Level 80 Solo Encounter)
Alternate Advancement System
Factions of Khitai
Guild Events and Horse Racing
The Mounts of Khitai
Regional Fast Travel System
Offline Character Progression
Vanity Item Slots
More detailed information on new content in the link tab
Final Verdict: Great
Age of Conan: Unchained provides a wonderful gameplay experience to its players. Taking account that most of the high quality content is available in the beginning of the game, this trial is quite the experience and serves as a great way to enjoy the some of the best content in Age of Conan for free.
Age of Conan Videos
Age of Conan Cinematic Trailer
Age of Conan Character Creation
Age of Conan Beach Quest
Age of Conan Links
Age of Conan Wiki [Great Resource!]
Age of Conan System Requirements
OS: Windows XP / Vista
CPU: Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 3200+ or Better
RAM: 1024 MB Free
HDD: 27 GB Free
Graphics Card: 128 MB DirectX 9.0c compliant card (Nvidia 6600 GT +)
OS: Windows XP / Vista
CPU: Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon x2 4800+ or Better
RAM: 2048 MB or more
HDD: 27 GB Free
Graphics Card: Any 256 MB DirectX 9.0c complaint card (Nvidia 7800 GT +)