Age of Conan going stale? LOTRO Out of left field!

Just over this past weekend I was playing Age of Conan. This would be my 2nd week playing it and I have to say I may have made a mistake putting it on my top 5. The first 20 levels are brilliant, and if the whole game played out at a tenth of that quality, I would be glued. Unfortunately every time I leave Tortage (where you spend the first 20 levels) the game takes a huge downward dip for me. I have made about 5 characters and have given it a fair chance, but I think this game is already going to get shelved until they do more with it. Am I mad I payed for it? Nope! When it does get good all I have to do is fire up my account.

I knew what I was getting into with the lack of endgame content, but my first impressions of the fighting system led me to believe I would be more than fine with mindless grinding, because fighting is fun. I’ve always loved the idea of more interactive fighting in MMORPGs but this game has me pressing combos of 3 keys just to execute one move. In later videos I’ve seen combos requiring 5 key presses to execute the move. To me, this got old really fast. While I never got tired of chopping someones head off or impaling them, I felt detached from the game, like I was playing a bad brawler fighting game rather than an MMO. Ohh and what’s with the drops? Will I ever get anything decent? There’s little incentive to enjoy combat if you only ever get a minute amount of money and some desecrated item that sells for less-than pocket change.

So in disgust, I sought out something else to try. I realized i had heard literally NOTHING about Lord of the Rings Online. I never bothered following anything on it because my computer had no chance in running it. After reading a few reviews I was pretty damn curious, and luckily they offer a 14 day free trial. One LONG 9gb download later, I started playing it. So far I really enjoy this game but the odd thing is that I can’t figure out WHY. The game feels really slow, and the UI reminds me of lesser free MMOs. I think it’s the story. I read a review on IGN and they said it best; You don’t go into instances to get awesome drops and exp (you do though.) instead, you go in to see what happens and how it progresses the story.

When I went and saw Fellowship of the Ring, I hadn’t read any of the books prior. After seeing it I refused to wait 2 additional years just to see what happens, so I bought and read the books. I think this game makes up for shortcomings by having a story many can get into. I created a hobbit burglar and during his intro sequence, you see events from the movie, like the Nazgul asking the hobbit where Baggins is, then running off. These events play out infront of you so the story unfolds as you go along. When i created an Elf Hunter, it started me in an elf city that was under seige by dwarves and goblins. In any other MMO i’d be like “Sweet!” *slash maim murder destroy* but in this one I actually cared, and wanted to know WHY they were attacking (turns out, this little bit is from a snippet of the story from before “The Hobbit,” so it was new to me.)

The graphics are amazing. Some terrains give Age of Conan a run for their money even. This isn’t a review on the game so I won’t go on much longer, but another thing i’ll mention is the arrow sounds. AWESOME. I don’t know about anyone else, but after seeing legolas do some of the shit he did, I wanted to go buy a bow! One of my FAVORITE things in this game so far is one of my attacks. In LOTR when they’re fighting off the orcs before Frodo and Sam escape on the boat, Legolas is up there owning people. There’s that one point where he takes an arrow, jabs an orc with it, nocks it, then fires it in a swift motion. They gave me that move at level 8! So cool.

Looks like I’ll have to make adjustments to my top 5 list. King Conan is about to be dethroned.


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