Behind the tall walls of the King's fortress press and gamers alike can play the game, meet and chat with the developers, collect amazing give-aways and observe live stage shows where Funcom will reveal and demonstrate brand new and never-before-seen locations, content and features that will be put into the recently launched massively multiplayer online game 'Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures' in the months ahead.
In 'Conan' the players will encounter a dark, lush, violent and sinful universe, presented in fantastic graphics and stunning 7.1 surround audio. In a world filled with cruel gods, mythical creatures, lost civilizations and a struggling human race, the mighty barbarian has finally seized the throne as king of Aquilonia. But Conan's rule is on the brink of chaos, spiraling towards the doom of ancient evils. In this twisted fantasy world, dark magic and brutal combat lurks around every corner, and each man and woman must carve their own unique destiny under Conan's reign. In the true vision of Robert E. Howard's dark universe it's now time for you to become a messenger of death.
Veteran Rewards Incoming
On the subject of veteran players, I can also confirm that we will be introducing new veteran rewards in the near future. As part of the next major update cycle, a new veteran reward system will be introduced that gives veteran players access to special vendors who will offer them a host of veteran benefits ranging from social status items to special items that will provide extra convenience items to veteran players. As an example of the latter, exp potions and similar bonuses, while not increasing the power of your characters, will provide veteran players with great time-saving rewards and options not available to new players. There should be something for everyone!
Now we get to the good stuff!
We have talked for a little while now about the fact that guild gameplay would be a focus for the upcoming update cycle. Today, I wanted to give you the first look at what shape those changes are going to take. The main feature of this area in the update will be the addition of the new Guild Renown system.
So what is Guild Renown?
Guild Renown is a system whereby the actions of any individual player count towards their guild’s reputation. Collectively, guild members can level up their guild in three distinct categories to gain access to new guild rewards and bonuses. The system has two primary components, the Renown level, and also Renown rankings which place guilds against each other and measure your successes against those of other guilds on your server.
Let’s take a look at the Renown levels first, before moving on to the rankings. Renown levels act much like the levels for your character, i.e., as you accrue Renown points through your actions in game, you will in effect ‘level up’ your guild.
Almost every action in the game will earn some form of Renown points for your guild. There are three categories of Renown points that contribute to your overall Renown level:
- Valor points: Earned from PVE gameplay, killing mobs, doing quests, beating bosses and raids.
- Glory points: Earned from PVP activities like winning mini-games.
- Artisan points: Earned through crafting actions.
Your Renown level is a combination of all three of these totals, which allows you to level up your Renown level in any way you choose. You do not have to do all of the categories if you do not want to. It will be perfectly possible to try and level up your Renown level with any combination of the above actions.
This will add another dimension to your everyday gameplay, and even a short ten minute session will be contributing towards your guild’s Renown pool and put them closer to the next reward tier! For example, getting a team together for a dungeon run, or doing a raid will both have the extra benefit of contributing towards your Guild’s Renown level.
As your Renown level grows, you will earn new rewards for you and your guild and access new features for your guild cities, like new pet or mount vendors, and even another new building type for your city, among other amenities. Some of these new rewards will benefit every member directly, and some will be for the guild as a whole. You will get more details on the rewards themselves when the update goes to the test servers.
So that is the Renown level. What about the Renown ranking system I mentioned earlier?
Renown rankings are where the competitive element comes in. People like to claim bragging rights, and the Renown ranking system will allow players to see how their guild has compared to others both on the overall Renown earned and also in each individual category. You will be able to see which guild has accrued the most Valor, Glory, or Artisan points in any given period.
The rankings will reset after each ranking period (currently planned to be weekly, but that may be adjusted during testing), and everyone starts on equal footing.
One area we have considered here is that we don’t want to have players feel ‘forced’ into merging guilds to compete for ranking placement. Thus, we will be making the ranking calculations only count the top X contributions from members in the ranking period (the value of X to be determined during testing). So let’s say we decide the contributing cap will be 50, then the top 50 contributors within the guild will be the ones whose efforts are counted for ranking purposes, even if you have 100 members. Please note that we plan for all members to be able to contribute to the Renown level, so larger guilds may level up quicker, but they won’t necessarily do better in the rankings - they might - but it is important that success in the rankings is down to effort, not just due to overwhelming numbers. With this, we hope that even small and medium-sized guilds will be able to make appearances in the rankings.
Likewise, by having ranking for all three of the categories, we hope to able to give those guilds that choose to focus their gameplay a chance to shine. So, even if your guild focuses only on PVP, and might not gain enough Renown in the overall rankings, you will be able to push up the Glory leader-board, if you are truly successful at PVP.
With the rankings being reset regularly, we hope to avoid guilds being able to ‘bank’ and constantly top the rankings. These rankings should reflect your current status as a guild, and your current dedication to your chosen causes!
The rankings will confer status bonuses to the winning guild - mainly cosmetic items or bonuses for bragging rights. Gold, Silver, and Bronze positions, for example, will be visible in your character’s guild tag.
The rankings are not something we intend to be about bestowing extra power on the winning guilds - they are meant to be an additional part of the system that allows players to prove that their guild is up there with the best on the server, either in their chosen area of expertise, or in all areas!
So there you have it, a little bit of insight into what is coming up in the near future for Age of Conan. Of course, there are also a couple of other significant additions coming in the next update cycle, namely new zones in the form of House of Crom and Thoth-Amon’s Stronghold, as well as new Tower-based PVP objectives in the Border Kingdoms, but those will be the subject for future letters!
Game Director Age of Conan
In addition to incredible graphics and sound, the game will be filled with unique features like the "Real Combat" engine; a revolutionary new multi-point melee system which allows the players to swing their weapons where they direct it, in real-time! This easy to learn and fun melee system lets the players truly feel they are on the battlefield, and goes head-on against the formulaic nature of online RPG combat. In 'Conan' you can also, for the first time in an online RPG, create player-made battle formations where you can command NPC's and other players in combat, making for epic multiplayer battles. The multiplayer game also allow the players to form guilds and lay siege to enemy castles, letting their catapults sing their merry song of death as the enemy is crushed to a pulp.
- The first official Conan online RPG sends you on a brutal journey in the footsteps of the worlds' greatest fantasy hero. Meet Conan's friend and foes, battle demons and monsters known from 70 year of Conan history, and step up to the ultimate challenge and befriend the mighty king Conan himself.
- Enter a gigantic and unique gameworld containing more than 30 distinct regions spread across the three mighty nations of Aquilonia, Cimmeria and Stygia. Explore deep jungles, burning deserts, inhospitable mountains, vast valleys, dark dungeons or gleaming cities, and take part in an incredible journey of exploration and adventure.
- Experience Funcom's revolutionary Real Combat engine, and fight mounted or on the ground. A new multi-point melee system allows the players to swing their weapons where they direct it, in real-time, going head-on against the formulaic nature of online RPG combat. The Real Combat engine also allow players to team up in battle formations and command both NPC's and other players in epic multiplayer battles, as well as giving you the chance to participate in massive sieges.
- Emerge as a hero from the story-driven single-player experience and embark into even greater adventures in the massively multiplayer part of the game. The branching single-player story is created by the award-winning writers behind The Longest Journey, Dreamfall and Anarchy Online so expect something extraordinary.
- Meet the ultimate resistance in human opponents, and enjoy crushing the skulls of fellow players in mini-games, sieges, arena fights and drunken brawls. Charge into the world of Conan, and fight monsters and demons alone or in groups.
- Form guilds in the multiplayer game and lay siege to hostile castles. Let the catapults sing their merry song of death as the enemy is brutally crushed to a pulp. Team up with other players in large guilds, and explore a large range of social gameplay opportunities. 'Conan' also offers extensive solo gaming opportunities, taking you through an amazing single-player journey and deep into the lands of Hyboria.
- Besides bringing the most brutal experience ever seen in a MMO, Conan also promises to deliver what all fans of MMOs love and enjoy. Vast character customization opportunities, a deep character creation, lots of social opportunities, crafting, a deep and fun RPG system, exciting classes and player-made cities are but a few ingredients in this powerful RPG.
- 'Conan' takes graphics in MMOs to a new level! With the latest and greatest in technology and an amazing art direction the graphics in 'Conan' immerses you into a world as never before seen in any online fantasy universe.
- Listen to a powerful and epic soundtrack in 7.1 surround. Hear gripping voices recorded by professional actors, and enjoy a dynamic soundscape bringing players to the edge of their seats.
- 'Age of Conan' delivers a brutal, mature and compelling storyline that will send you headlong on a journey of brutality, intrigue and depth. Mixing the finest of storytelling found in classic RPG's with the open-ended approach found in MMOs, 'Conan' delivers a rare and special story experience.
- In the true and barbaric vision of Robert E. Howard, 'Age of Conan' promises to bring mature online players something dark, new and refreshing. This is no cartoony fairytale, 'Conan' is made by grown-ups, for grown-ups, giving online gamers the chance to unleash the ultimate havoc and fury.
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