December 23, 2008

Dungeon of Xibaluku Trailer and Concept Art

Just a few days ago Funcom released a new issue of Clan of Conan. It's always late to arrive in my e-mail for some reason, but thankfully you can just read it online. The Age of Conan team wishes us happy barbaric holidays, and I have to say I love this "Christmas version" of Conan! :) (Download the full version of the poster here).


In addition you can get a free holiday item - the Kosalan talisman of clarity - by typing /claim in-game. The stats on it are laughable, but I suppose it looks pretty cool. Besides, it's the thought that counts, right?

The newsletter also talks about the upcoming updates for a bit. You can find out more information about the Update 4 which will be coming next year in IGN's interview with Craig Morrison, and read about the additional PvP enhancements - such as PvP resources -  on the AoC community site.

We will also get two new high-level dungeons sometime next year, namely the Slaugherhouse Cellar (a lvl80 solo dungeon), and the Dungeon of Xibaluku (instanced lvl80 group dungeon located in the Thunder River). Interestingly, you have to finish a special quest in the Slaughterhouse in order to be able to access Xibaluku. Funcom promises "smart" bosses with special skills and the need for player strategy and tactics in order to be able to make the run. Among the loot will be social undead pets - as funny as it sounds, I suppose rotting zombies fit AoC better than some cute creature you'd likely see in other MMOs.

Speaking of Xibaluku, there's also some concept art available for it. I must say I've always been impressed by Funcom's artists, and this is no exception:


In addition to the concept art, there's also a Dungeon of Xibaluku trailer. If I'm not mistaken, you can see some new armor sets there:


The video quality isn't very good, so you can download a high quality version from Age of Conan community site.

December 14, 2008

Interview with Funcom's CEO Trond Arne Aas

We've seen a number of interviews with the game director of Age of Conan as well as other members of the AoC dev team. However this time GamesIndustry.biz have done an exclusive interview with the big man himself: Trond Arne Aas, the CEO of Funcom. Even though they talk about other subjects as well, the main topic is still Age of Conan since it's Funcom's flagship MMORPG. Here are some facts from the interview that I found interesting:

  • Funcom are not doing any major changes to their US division; the recent layoffs were made primarily in Quality Assurance and Customer Service teams. As of now, there are no plans to do similar cutbacks in Europe.
  • The main priorities for Funcom are: free updates for Age of Conan throughout 2009; bringing fully localised versions of AoC to Russian, Polish and later Korean markets; development of their new The Secret World MMORPG as well as a number of casual and/or browser-based MMO projects.
  • The company already has a separate team working on the upcoming Age of Conan expansion and it will be increased in size starting from January 2009.
  • Funcom is still working on an Xbox 360 version of Age of Conan, but they do not commit to any deadlines yet.
  • Mr. Trond Arne Aas mentioned "positive trends" in terms of subscriptions thanks to Funcom's latest initiatives, although he did not disclose the exact subscriber numbers, only talking about the 400,000 they had back in August.
  • The Secret World will be based on the same DreamWorld engine that Age of Conan uses (but you probably already knew that as it was announced months ago). Hopefully it won't be as slow and buggy at the launch as Age of Conan was.
Head to GamesIndustry.biz to read Matt Martin's whole interview with Trond Arne Aas.

December 4, 2008

Age of Conan server merges begin

Funcom officials have recently announced the details of the upcoming server merges, all of which will be performed in the next few weeks before the Christmas holidays. US servers Bloodspire and Hyperborea are the first to be merged, with more to follow soon. There are two forum threads on the topic, namely server merge information and server merge FAQ. It seems that Funcom are taking things seriously: the FAQ topic answers most of the problems that could occur during the merge and explains how they will be adressed. The resources guilds have spent on their battlekeeps will be reimbursed, for example, and the PvE guild cities will simply be moved. In case of duplicate character names, priority will be given to older accounts.

Funcom will also be offering a one-time character transfer service in the future for those unhappy with their realm for one reason or another. Interestingly, there will be no restrictions for moving between servers with different rulesets or even languages (except of course you won't be able to move your character between US and EU ones):

The option to transfer characters to another server will be available after all server merges have been completed. Every character will be eligible for one free transfer and this offer will be valid for one month after the final server merges have been completed. This transfer will be free of charge and can be used once per character and will be available from your billing pages.
This option won't be available for entire guilds however, so if your clan wants to move, you will have to abandon your guild city and use the single character transfer service like everyone else.