Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Geek Rant

Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the earth under his sandaled feet. -- Robert E. Howard

Okay, I haven't indulged my uber-geek in a while, so here's a little video game spiel.

For about two years, I've been looking forward to Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. When I was 8 or 9, a cartoon called "Conan the Adventurer" came out about the legendary Cimmerian. Anyone remember that? Conan and his compadres never killed anything. They all had star-metal weapons, and those things turned Setians to dust just prior to touching them. As good a work-around to Saturday-morning-cartoon violence restrictions as any, I suppose.

Then when I was 10, I had a Conan game for PC and it was next to impossible to play well. By the time I was 13, I'd seen the movies "Conan the Destroyer", "Conan the Barbarian" and "Red Sonya", all starring (of course) Arnie, as my mom calls him. Last year I read all the Conan stories from 1932 to 1935 (I think), and loved them. Still need to buy the second volume.

So in late 2005 when Funcom announced that they'd secured the rights to create a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) based on the original Robert E. Howard canon, I was over-joyed... yet extremely skeptical. The market lately has become flooded with MMOs, most of them horrendous failures and/or rip-offs of existing games. The benefit of a MMO is subscription-based revenues: customers buy the boxed game, but also pay monthly fees. This makes MMOs enormous cash-cow potentials. Only a few have ever achieved that actuality: Sony's "EverQuest" and Blizzard's "World of Warcraft" (over 1 million players).

So here comes AoC, shouldering its way into the MMO scene, announced for release around the same time as "Lord of the Rings Online" and "Warhammer Online" were. "It'll be toast," thought I. "No way it will generate a good enough player base what with WoW still going, Warhammer coming out and Lord of the Rings on the way."

I'm no longer so sure of that. Since announcement, all the tentative concepts have become cemented reality (as they have to be) and the Funcom developers have really listened to their target community, changing aspects of the game to mesh with player wants. AoC will be completely different from any other MMO out there for many many reasons that are spoken of here.

A picture's worth a thousand words, and so a video at 68 pictures per second must be worth... ummm... a big number. Some incredible videos:

- Massive Battle video (all in-game footage)

Check out these area fly-throughs:
- city of Khemi
- Field of the Dead
- Conall's Valley

Excited is me.


Angie said...

I've met my competition, and her name is Conan. :p

Andy said...

GEEK! Holy crap, that'll never run on my computer. They seem to have gone from high kiddie fantasy to gritty teen fantasy (including woman in tiny thong). Doesn't look like they can ever hit the WOW numbers, but it'll be interesting to see how their subscription looks.


Wayward Mind said...

Angie: ... and she is a needy wench, m'dear. ;)

Andy: it can run on XP systems, but is set for DirectX 10 and Vista (and 7.1 surround sound!). Imagine the kind of computer you'd need to run that game AND Vista?! ... I'd have to get PG to steal some hardware from NORAD. You'd need a 5ghz processor and minimum 3 gigs of RAM. And a T3 internet cable. (actually, I think they've done a good job with server-side latency/etc. so lag should be fairly minimal)

Gives me a good excuse to save up for a new system, though. >:D