The Virtual Journey, Stop 1: Conan

So yeah, I did Conan for awhile.  I even went beyond my trial month, if you can believe such a thing.

I think there is something about going into a game that you know is broken or not quite complete that makes you much more forgiving of that game.  When I got into Vanguard last year, I was able to get beyond alot of the things that had given so many other people so much grief, because I “knew” what I was getting in to.  Same with AOC.

Sure there was the occasional CTD or freeze up.  And the quest lines even in the starter areas (which are usually the best groomed) were wonked beyond belief (like the three level gap between 8 and 11 that requires some awkward and at times dangerous grinding).  And the leveling process was not what I would call “fast” by any means.   WoW, DAoC, WAR, EQ2, and others I have played all leveled faster than Conan did.  Unless that “fast” moniker was meant only to apply to the higher levels, which as usual I didn’t reach.

But I had fun.  It was nice playing in an “adult” world for a change – which made the game feel somehow more…real.   And I admit it, I did get a twisted thrill from how freaked out my brother got when I was switching around my female character’s armor and ended up topless for a bit.

But mostly I admired the combat model.  It seemed much more interactive than others, and the fatalities were a nice touch.  I wonder if this is not a pathway for future mmo’s to explore a little more.  I’d love to see a more “rock, paper, scissors” approach to mmo combat as opposed to the more widespread “whack a mole” model.  In the end I settled on a Ranger instead of a Demonologist or Necromancer because it seemed a shame to play the game without getting in on the combo system.  And the HoX was a great class model that needs to be explored more.  EVE has passive shield tanking, active shield tanking, and armor tanking, while most fantasy MMO’s just offer armor tanking.  The HoX was the first fantasy forey (sp?) that I know of into the other two realms that EVE has offered for years.  Too bad they keep the Lich flavor to the class, or I would have been sorely tempted to stay longer. 

And the story driven nighttime missions were great as well.  Getting to be the hero of your own little story is always a nice touch and one of the things I appreciated about LotRO.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with such long reaching solo or group quest arcs.  I’d love to see someone weave those things together.  You know, like a storyline for a group about helping out a king, but the court wizard is also giving side objectives  to the mages, while the high priest wants a certain baddy double agent resurrected after the fact without the kings knowledge because of spies, while the approved spy wants the papers in the ringleader’s desk drawer – without the rest of the group knowing you took them, or what their worth was.  But I digress.

In the end I dropped Conan.  Having to grind levels to get my stealth skill high enough to continue a story mission, and similar headaches made me nostalgic for other games.  I decided to quit for a month and come back with one of the games I was itching to go back to.  But which one?  LotRO?  EQ2?  Vanguard? Pirates?  Could  I rustle up enough money in a bum economy for another month or two of a Station Pass?

And then my brother, awol from games as well gave me a call wanting to play again.  And my brother, he’s a story driven guy.  So guess where I landed next?