Age of Conan:The harsh Reality

After playing the game now for about 3 weeks its time to get critical about AoC. Up to this point ive been quite tolerant about the game and when i say tolerant i really do mean that. Nobody expects an MMORPG to have no bugs at launch its part of the game genre and patches fix these issues over time. World of Warcraft had problems at launch from what ive heard but its had so many patches and improvements over the years thats its a well polished newbie friendly game with a solid good customer support base notice i didnt say excellent because it isnt but its better than funcoms attempt at the moment.

Funcoms Hype:
Funcom enjoy telling how many sales and users AoC has now it seems Funcom only care about hyping the crap out of it when they know that they released a unfinished disapointing game to the public.

Most players know this and we know the game was released in this state in order to beat the “Warhammer online MMORPG” coming out soon and to build enough subscribers to compete with Blizzards new WoW expansion WOTLK. Some say it was for “Financial Reasons” due to SCI’s and Eidos’s Finicial problems who knows.

Anyone whos played other MMORPGS can see through this and knows how poor a state AoC is in at the moment. The customer service is abysmal. I heard stories of people waiting 24 hours to get a reply from a GM not to mention the fact that you have to update your “Petition” every 4 hours in order to keep it alive.

Performance: Poor and were not even at Dx10 yet
At times its almost like your “fighting” your PC to play this game. The reason i say this is that ive spent a good amount of time changing my videos settings during the game. In a few on the instances that you can solo the ones in the “Noble District” in “old Tarantia” you actually have to turn the games shader model settings down to “2.0 or 2.x” due to a huge drop in the games framerate, its so bad it makes the game unplayable with framerates varying from 3-10fps. This is an issue ive seen on the forums from other people and hopefully will be fixed in a later patch.

From the poor performance the game gives considering the hardware my PC has is very frustrating. I bought an Nvidia 8800 GTS 640mb back in September 2007 so i could play this game if i decided to buy it but it was mainly for Crysis. Looking back i should have waited but thats the gamble that is PC gaming.

I was very dissapointed in the performance of AoC on my PC, ive tried it on Vista32,Vista64 and XP 32 SP3 and theres not much difference between them however Vista 64 seems to a bit better and is better for my PC since i have a 64 bit Processor and 4gigs of ram which 32bit operating systems cant support. I run the game with almost all settings on high and of course my Graphics card cant seem to handle that with framerates dropping from 40-15fps in built up areas. Even when you turn off and reduce most of the settings most of them seem to make to no impact on the games performance. The only settings i found that helped were;

Turning off shadows (gives about a 6 fps increase)
Turning off AA (gives 2-3)
Turning off Bloom (1-2 increase not sure)

My PC Specs:
Amd Athlon 6000×2
4 gig ram
Geforce 8800 GTS 640mb

DX 10 Enhanched-Not yet folks:
The back of the box says and i quote “Direct X 10 Enchanced” and as of launch Dx10 was dropped until a future patch which looking at the state of the games performance is a good thing. If Funcom cant get the game to run stable with Direct X9 what hope have they of doing Direct-X 10 any justice.

The game gives the options of 3 “Shader Models” which basically make the game look better/reduce performance. Shader Model 3.0 is DirectX 9’s default and make the game look its best with more lighting and shiny stuff, the other 2 are DirectX 8 and while they make the game run well they also make it looks really “dated” like a game you would seem from 2-3 years ago. Were told DirectX 10 is coming but i cant imagine its going to be any better than the current state of the game’s performance of course who knows.

Gamespots Age of Conan Hardware Performance Guide.

The very first thing i heard about this game when it lauched was “Theres a lot of Bugs”, it didnt put me off and still hasnt. There are bugs in this game which is no surprise however most of them ive been told and read either were working or have been broken since the “BETA”. I tried to get access to the “BETA” of the game before its launch but didnt get in.

To be honest i dont know what Funcom did in the “Beta” as from what i read they failed to fix many things before launch. The most annoying ones are the “Quest Bugs” where you cant either do the quest or finsih it because its not working. Now this really is something that annoys me, you do the quest hand it in and nothing happens and think to yourself “What the Frack?”. Then you ask in the chat channel is “XYZ Quest Bugged?” to of course the answer is always “yes it is at the moment.” Now im not 100% sure but i think in World of Warcraft they “Hot-Fix” these issues i.e the fix them without patches or downtime. This hasnt been done in AoC yet which is kinda dissapointing but i guess its too early for that yet.

End-Game, boredom and Quests Drying up:
Ive read that quests from level 55 upwards are scarce and a fair of “grinding” is involved. I decided from the start of this game that there was no way i was going to do that and i wont. Funcom who make the game as you know “Are aware” of this and are making new content for a future patch. Im only one level away this and im starting to get well fed up really in the current zone im in “the Egliphian mountains” the quests are running out plus after managing to save up enough gold for a mount,  im kinda getting a bit sick of it plus the zone looks very dull at least the first 2 areas of it.

Travel in game:
At the start the travel didnt bother me it seemed part and parcel of the game but when you need to go from “Fields of the Dead” to “Conarch Village” or “old Tarantia” to put some items up for sale it becomes utterly frustating. It doest help that while of one the best zones in the game “Conarch Valley” is beautiful its also huge and i mean huge your talking a good 20-30 min walk on foot if you decide to do it that way. The quickest way to travel in game now is to kill yourself and ressurect at the nearest resurection point near your destination. Ive had to do this a few times and i wasnt in a guild and i had no mount so i couldnt go to the “Guild Village” or ride through it on my mount.

Age of Conan has something missing:

Its a Multiplayer RPG right?
At times i have to ask myself this question as the game still fells like singleplayer RPG (eg. Elder Scrolls IV:Oblivion) with a chat system added in. One of the best things i found in World of WArcraft when i started out was that grouping up with other players was encouraged from the low levels.

My first run of the “Dead Mines” in WoW was such a great fun adventure that it got me right into loving the game. Grouping up with complete strangers in order to achieve and objective is such a fun and rewarding experience and AoC doesnt seem to have that at the early levels anyway. You get to do some of the “Elite Quests” in “Conarch Valley” at around level 30 and the mobs hit so hard that it really is an achivement to do those quests.

There is a lot of things missing from the game at the moment but theres one real important thing that any game needs and thats “soul” and what i mean by that is an immersive world that “flows” with characters and quests that give you a sence of achievement and make you want to log back in in fact make you never want to log off. I can only stand to play the game for a few hours at the moment for some reason i not sure why i think its just that so many things annoy me from the performance of the game to quest bugs thats its kinda hard to endure it after a certain amount of time. Even with todays patch i cant be bothered to log in and see what they have fixed. This is missing from the game, when i started WoW i felt it of course wow had 1-2 years of patches by the time i got to play it.

Customer Support and Community Feedback: Complete Failure
The forums contain hardly any replies from anyone at Funcom about issues that people post about and sure there busy doing other things it would be nice to know that at least they are aware of “xyz issue” and are working on it. Plus the in-game “Petition” system is complete rubbish. Theres no user-friendly form here just a command you type;
/petition “problem here”

Thats pathetic to be honest and shows how unfinished this game was at launch. It feels like they have hidden it from users so as they get inundated with support requests.

I havnt even talked about classes in the above criticism and theres plenty more to moan about there believe me.  All in all AoC feels empty, the loading from zone to zone ruins the immersive feeling that games like WoW have. Performance of the game is terrable and needs some serious work to get any kind of stable performance working. The Forums have people having every issue under the sun with the game.

A lot of players are sick of “World of Warcraft” including myself we want a “WoW Beater” a game that can compete with Blizzards game. AoC seems like it could be a least a good competion for Blizzard but thats in months to come and certainly not at the moment.

the Future of AoC:
The game has a lot of potential and will probaly pull itself together in the end but i think it will be far too late for most people. The game needs so much polish/work on nearly every aspect of the game that it will take 3-6 months for the game to be where it should have been at launch which is sad. People that came from other MMO’s are leaving no word on any numbers here but i read and see the tales on the forums.

Age of Conan:Is still beautiful

Latest Patch:
The latest patch seems to have fixed the previous problems of crashes i mentioned and added a performance boost so the game is running better than ever for me. Ive been getting back into the game and have enjoyed it.

However i encountered my first real “bugs” in the game and it was a bit of a downer. The funny thing is that i had read the chat in the zone where the quests where over the past 2 weeks and people had been saying that its bugged and asking “is enter the pyramid bugged?” and i found for myself that yes in fact they were. So i had to skip them which was a bit disapointing as the reward and XP would have been great.

Level 40 and a mount:
I recently hit level 40 a goal i was trying to hit in the game for the mount but then realised like most other players that i dont have enough gold for it. In game the mount is 3g which seems little but you dont get a lot of money in game and vendoring items is the main source of income at the moment. But that leads another problem the bags you get are ridicously small. The fact that items drop every 3-4 mobs you kill means that you will more often than not leave items you cant pick up of course this leads to the problem of having less gold. Having no mount is quite frustating as the zones in the game are huge and getting from to another is a real pain and becomes a “Suicide run” as you kill yourself to travel across the zone and i do mean that by the way.

Watching players ride around on their mounts (pre-order people got a rhino or mammoth) both of which look really cool is frustrating. I know that to gather that amount of gold is going to take a long time. Someone said in the chat channel that they didnt get their mount till level 50+! Long way to go still with only having 80 Silver at the moment.

The different zones in the game are amazing and the graphics have me running round like a photgrapher taking screenshots all the time heck im even using them for my desktop background. Make no mistake the graphics and sound in this game are top-notch with some of most spectacular scenery ive ever seen in a game. Im going to post some of the amazing screenshots ive collected so you can see for yourself.

So far so good:
So far im still enjoying the game and having a great time exploring around.  The game still feels like an RPG with a chat system but thats to be expected when your a bit of an anti-social outcast  who likes to level and quest by themselves.  Having done all that in WoW questing and finding things out for yourself is still great fun.

Age of Conan-Stabilty Problems

Just when i was getting into the game and liking it and heck even leveling fast now im getting constant problems with the game. Stabilty must be the number one priority in any game or program but since the last patch in AoC (16th june) ive noticed more crashes than before with the game.

Ive tried running the game on Windowx XP SP3 and Vista 32 SP1 (default OS) but two problems remain;

  • “Grey Map Bug”
  • “Out Memory Error”
  • Game crashes on loading new zone, hangs on “updating Content”

Ive been checking the forums for a fix and tried a few suggestions out and ill link them later. From reading the forums alot of people have the same problems with the game and thats not to mention the bugs which to the most part i havnt really noticed or have been effected by too much well apart from the “Hide” Ability of the “Assassin” which is about as random as rolling a dice.

Coldplays – Viva La Vida, New Album is out

coldplayalbumcov.jpgIve been a huge coldplay fan since i heard there first single way back in 2000 called “Yellow”. I was struck how such a song with simple lyrics and acoustic guitar intro and video of chris martin walking along a beech could sound so great and fresh at the same time.

Around that time there was only Oasis and few other bands doing the rounds as the whole Dance Music scene took off. But Coldplay were a breath of fresh air and remain to be so.

Their last album X&Y was great with some fantastic songs on it, an album that reminds of going to work in the morning on my bike back in 2006. Played it non stop for about 2 weeks.

Their new album came out yesterday but was leaked on the net about 2 weeks ago i believe. After grabbing it from I-Tunes ive yet to listen to it in full. So expect a mini-review of each track soon.

In the mean time you can read RTE’s review of it at;


I-Tunes Album Review:

1) Vida la vida:
A Great Triumphant anthem that builds up nicely to sort of heavenly euphoric chorus. The violins make it sound sweet and uplifting.

2)Life In Technicolor:
Is an instrumental track that starts out slow then has a kinda indian drums and guitar riff building up into something quite uplifing.

3) Cemeteries of London:
Starts out kinda slow and feels sad then builds up into that familar Coldplay sound with the Acoustic guitar in the background and electric echoing out solos.

4) Lost!:
Using church organs to start out with a drum loop makes it feel “disorientating”, feels like a “Album Filler Track”.

5) 42
Minor piano chords give away the area this song is heading in with sad lyrics about about death for the first 1min 30 of the track, it then takes a U Turn with an electric guitar kicking in playing over drums and then ends up back in familar Coldplay territory and back again to the start. Strange song.

6)Lovers In Japan / Reign of Love
An up-tempo start and feel good factor kicking in, builds up nicely into a feel good song.

Has an Arabian sound to it but doesnt seem special

8)Chinese Sleep Chant
Distorted guitar riff loops over drums while chris martin whispers over the track. This song is a bit of a “Grower” a couple of listens

9) violet hill
There 2nd single from the album is fairly soild and typical coldplay but annoying guitar chord change seems to un-balance the song a bit.

10) Strawberry Swing
Another guitar riff almost silent in the background plays over the song as chris sings softly for the first two mins where the acoustic guitar comes to forefront and the song feels like a sort of day dream love song.

11) Death and All His Friends:
Sad slow intro start with a mellow piano playing and mute electric guitar echoing in the background. Then the piano kicks in strongly and then the song really starts to build up into a chorus of chris martin singing hits. I expected a “Fix you” like chorus here but it was cut short.

12)The Escapist
Instrumental nothing really to say.

13) Lost?
Not sure the difference between this verison of the song and the other at the moment

14) Lovers in japan(Acoustic)
Acoustic and still great.




Big Brother – First Housemate out

bigbro_steph.jpgLast night Big Brother’s Stephaine was voted off the show in what was a kinda dull eviction and sort of surprise.

I can only guess that again the female vote of jealousy struck, something thats been happening quite a lot on Big Brother. Where all females every seem to vote out all the good looking female housemates in some kinda jealous rage.

Not to say that Stephaine didnt have this coming her sulking bitching and moaning over the wedding task was childish and stupid and probably cost her spot in the house.

WoW Fatigue and Age of Conan-First Impressions


Thought i would try it out for the 30days to see if its a “WoW beater”. All ive heard about are Bugs,Bugs and more bugs. But ive been impressed with the graphics and videos ive seen and the sales alone of the game have been very good. I havnt read anything about the game except one article on an mmorpg site.

WoW Fatigue:
First i must explain that im totaly frustrated with WoW atm. The recent announcement i read on about Season 4 and Season for Honour being put back possably to August was kinda the last straw. Well this is weird i had read that yesterday and now Blizzard have said June 24th is the start.

Its probably to late for me care anymore now, when you only play WoW for PvP your days are numbered really. Id had tried to get my frustrations known on the site but of course i was kinda muted by the response. One of the repiles exclaimed “Wow is a PVE game” i quickly thanked that person for pointing that fact out.

One of the things about WoW and i guess any MMORPG (ive only played WoW so far so i cant speak for the other games in the genre) is the constant repetition. You do the same thing over and over and over again so many times that at the start you find it frustating but it you find it so much that it just wears you down and you forget that your the same thing again and again. Now this may not be a bad thing but after a while its time to stop. PVP is like that i normally try to do the daily quests on a few alts and log off quickly, thats about all i can take of WoW at the moment. Ive tried Arenas but i dont think there for me. Needless to say the chance to try out a new MMORPG in a new land with next-gen graphics was a tempting offer and thats where AoC comes in.

Age of Conan:

Character Creation:
Is great fun and very detailed, theres a tonne of options and settings you can use to create your own character and class. I spend quite a while picking mine and going through all the options.

Graphics & Sound:
First thing that strikes you is the graphics and sound they are amazing. The “water” effects are incredible, the water looks so real that you can almost reach out and touch it. “White-Sands Isle” is incredable a beautiful beech like island with tigers and panthers roaming round. “Tortage” is incredably detailed and must have taken a lot of time to create. Down by the docks the ships are quite amazing looking. Wandering around you will be awe-struck by the detail.


High-Res Screenshot:


The game play is fairly straight-forward as your guided easily to the town of “Tortage” where you quests begin. The quest log and map are a little “cluttered” and confusing (compared to wow) but after a few mins you get used to it. You are guided along on your quests slowly and once you figure out how to read the map a handy orange arrow points you in your direction.

Is straightforward with the keys 1,2,3 being your attacks you gain new abilities after each level which do more damage and you can find items of mobs you kill.

Yes there are bugs but they are minor ones and dont ruin the game play. A funny one i noticed was that in cut-scences the female characters boobs in the game “Twitch”.

So far i like it,because its different and its unknown territory. However i must say ive only played it for one day and dont know too much about it but its quite good fun exploring and learning things. Is it a WoW beater? that remains to be seen a good competitor at least i think. Ive noticed a lot of WoW players fed up with Wow playing it. Of course whether we all come running back after a month or when WOTLK hits is another story.

Big Brother 9 has Started


Its started over here in the Uk and Ireland on channel 4 and it marks the start of summer on TV and so far its been quite good i must admit. The Fake wedding was a good idea and the house mates seem to be an interesting bunch of people. There is of course a good mix of people from an Albino to a blind person.

Of the girls Rachel is my favorite (shes got a few fans in the house too) shes beautiful,cute,smart and a genuine person. Shes my ideal woman.


It seems channel4 have gone this for 2 “charlies” from last years BB. Both Alexandria and Sylvia are very irritating, arrogant and very very full of themselves. Alexendria seems to mope about with a scoul on her face about moan about anything. Her outburst at Mikey (the blind person) was out of order but thats what makes good TV and so far its quite good. How they can top the fake wedding i dont know will be interesting to see.

You can catch up with episodes on channel4’s excellent 4oD service.

BB9 Official Site