Age of Conan, say hello to Auto Assault, your new roommate.

The current buzz in our little corner of the MMO blog world is all about the AoC beta and the game’s approaching release. Most sources are reporting major issues, both gameplay wise and on the tech side, ranging from sub-par frame rates to BSOD type crashing. Perhaps most surprising is that people are reporting poor performance with the game set to low settings. I’m guessing the game looks fairly close to absolute trash on low, as most games do? Has ANYONE had any luck with this game on high/max settings with a decent resolution?

Beta issues aside, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say AoC is in for a rough/disappointing launch. A potential niche game already, this amount of negative press certainly won’t increase box sales or pre-orders. Many already are taking a ‘let it get patched up’ approach, which sounds very similar to Vanguard. The problem is many people are STILL waiting for Vanguard to get ‘patched up’ or ‘turn the corner’, and had Sony not bought up Vanguard and put it on the MMO life support system that is the Station Pass, I doubt the servers would still be up.  Somehow I don’t think Funcom has the funding to fix up AoC with 25-50k active subs. I also don’t think AoC will be the type of game to start slow and then see a steady climb ala EVE. Aside from using a graphic style that does not age well, it also features an endgame (PvP) similar to what most predict will be the next big thing in Warhammer Online. Even if AoC had a strong launch, how many people are simply playing it as a hold over to Warhammer, or a break from WoW until the expansion hits?

My prediction (based purely on reading about it, I’ve never actually played AoC thanks to how ‘open’ beta was handled in terms of distribution) is that AoC has a very weak launch, and a huge drop in subs after the first month. It either dies a quick and silent death shortly after launch (3-4 month), or it teeters on life support with a skeleton crew managing it before finally going the way of Auto Assault in a year or so.

35 Responses to Age of Conan, say hello to Auto Assault, your new roommate.

  1. Bonedead says:

    Oooh, harsh. From what i understand there is currently an open and closed beta. I guess the closed beta is a more up to date copy with fixes for many of the open beta problems. I wanted to play this game at release, but I’m just not gonna. I hate being excited on release day only to get denied trying to log in or laggin around the newb area. I don’t even think my computer can run it.

    I’m definitely going to try the game, just not at release.

  2. opie says:

    I am playing the open beta just fine. I have it on high settings and get 30-35 FPS with an e6600, 8800gt. Certain zones are very laggy and hopefully will be fixed by launch. Bottom line is dont expect to play this game on a 2 year old walmart bought computer. I expect alot of people are playing the game from older computers/ laptops. If you havnt even played the game please dont forcast its death before it even launches.

  3. Bildo says:

    I think you’re a bit off, especially considering you’re talking about a game you haven’t played mate.

    AA failed because of many reasons, the least of which was open beta. It failed because of the premise of the game and the lack of cohesive marketing while the world was all over WoW’s nuts still.

    AoC will have a rocky launch, much like AO, and then continue onward for years to come because UNLIKE AA, it actually has an easily identifiable premise and one people will latch onto. Fantasy + Violence + Loot.

    This is my prediction anyway. And I have played the game, Syn. :P

  4. syncaine says:

    Well my prediction is simply based on market conditions, not anything gameplay related. (other than the PvP aspect that I mentioned)

    History has shown that plenty of great games never sell due to outside market factors. Even if AoC has the worlds greatest gameplay (and already we see plenty of people who disagree), the fact that it’s off to such a rough start, and that interest in it BEFORE all this was relatively low to begin with, means they have more than a bit of an uphill battle. I just don’t see how they will dig themselves out of the hole in time. Once WAR and WotLK hit, I doubt there will be much room for anything else for quite some time, and I doubt Funcom has the capital to keep AoC alive long enough to wait out that storm.

    I think their one shot at success was to establish a good niche base, and deliver enough quality to retain that niche and spread positive buzz, enough to lure people in. Right now, the exact opposite is happening, as that niche is already turning others away.

  5. isanox says:

    I say they hit near 200k at launch, but close half their servers by the end of the year.

  6. Beau Turkey says:

    I think talk about the game failing has more to do with MMO audiences getting their fix quicker than ever before. Players get bored as quickly as they do with other anything else. Nowadays, in the age of high speed downloads and MMO trials being able to be played within an hour or the moment of interest there should be no surprise that an audience is saying the game is a failure during BETA.
    And coming from someone that hasn’t even played it. While I have heard the same hype that the writer has, I don’t buy into it. You know what I’ll do? Try it out for myself. 50 or 60 bucks ain’t going to kill me.
    I do the Vanguard fan podcast and I can tell you it’s the same thing with Vanguard. I just heard it was so bad, I had to try it. And you know what? It’s a great game. Buggy? Of course. But are issues being addressed? Yep. And has each patch brought more stability and more good features? Yes.
    Same with AoC. While they might release it too early, I still don’t blame them for every problem the game has. Making these games is hard. Period.
    I’m going to let it come out, and try it in a while. People said this same stuff about Tabula Rasa, and it’s a great game.
    Players get bored faster and faster nowadays. It’s to the point that people judge a game months before it comes out due to only screenshots.

  7. Talyn says:

    I was on the fence about AoC all along, and my technical beta experience didn’t exactly help matters. Funcom upgraded all us techie beta guys to closed beta the same time they released the not-exactly-open Fileplanet beta and I’m a bit fuzzy as to what I can talk about still since I’m under NDA. Due to the timing of it all, and technical issues and crashes on the first CB client I could access (having to forcefully shut down via the power switch is never a good sign) I don’t have much experience yet in the game, and haven’t had the “magical light bulb” go off in my head like Darren just did. I’ll put my time into CB and give feedback when I have time off this month, but the very first impression I got when loading into the game world was “nope, I won’t be playing this.”

  8. Rick says:

    I’ve played the open beta, and I’ve had a rough time of it. Click my name if you want to read about it, I won’t repeat all the details here.

    That said, the two times I’ve been able to play without trouble, I found a game that I could really enjoy, and I think a lot of people could really enjoy. I played the Auto Assault beta, and this is head and shoulders above Auto Assault. There’s no comparison, it’s the difference between a minor league team and a major league team.

    I’ve heard from closed beta testers that the open beta code is older than what closed beta is seeing, and what’s being published. I haven’t heard anyone in the closed beta complaining about any of the problems I’ve had in open beta.

    Aside from the fact that I think Funcom made a tactical error choosing a build for open beta, if they can correct that before launch, I think you’re going to hear a ton of positive reports from beta. Combat is fun, the 1-20 storyline is both a nice innovation and a good introduction to the Conan universe, PvP seems like fun, the character models are very well done, and it’s offering PvP gameplay you can’t get in any current generation mmorpg.

    It won’t be as successful as WoW, clearly. Nothing on the horizon looks to be that popular. Yes, WAR may be more popular when it releases. But shoot, if Funcom puts a stable build into open beta, and launches fairly smoothly (I don’t think either assumption is out of the realm of possibility), Age of Conan will definitely be worth playing. The potential for success definitely exists. If this “stable build in closed beta” isn’t myth (*looks at Bildo*), I’d say the chances for success are much higher than the chance for failure.

  9. Van Hemlock says:

    I quite liked Auto Assault :(

    Knowing, like Syncaine, only what I see other people writing about the thing, but also, like Syncaine, being well aware of the bigger picture that the charts at MMOGchart.com paint, I reckon it’ll do ‘okay’, probably rivalling EQ2 and SWG first year numbers.

    Hard to make any kinds of reliable calls until at least four months in, I find, but wouldn’t be surprised if isanox’s guess turns out to be accurate. Probably won’t die outright for a good few years, but then again, if the folks playing it like it and it pays it’s bills, that’s nothing to be ashamed of!

  10. [...] lay not at Doom’s feet the troubles of Age of Conan, for even Doom knows better than to patch an open beta client a few hours before said beta begins. [...]

  11. Cryptor says:

    Wow, how to hell doe sit happen that someone who has no idea at all about what they are talking about writes an “article” about it and people actually listen to him ? This guy has never even seen the game !

    I am playing AoC, great, I mean truly great game. I never had a crash since I started playing, no lag ( so far ). The only bug I saw is a tree and few animals without skins ( just blank 3D form ). I don;t know if the reason why I am nto getting any crashes is that I am running 64bti Vista or 4 Gb RAM but either way my experience has been by far the most positive beta I have ever been in.

    Combat is really nice and adds alot to the game. Makes most morpg “click & wait” combat look just silly. Every time you talk to an NPC you get dialogue options ! Graphics is outstanding, music superb.

    This really is a good game, a really good game. I highly recommend that if you are thinking about it don;t listen to anyone and go ahead and try it out.

  12. Chuck says:

    I think you are bit off base as well. I’m not even sure if I like AOC yet, but if you are going to slam something you should probably at least fire it up once. I’m in the open beta and I have newer hardware and the game run well on high settings. Lags some places and I had one crash, but overall works fine. The combat is definitely “different” and I can’t say that I’ve taken to it yet. I also don’t like the amount of instancing although I’m told once you hit 20 that changes.

    Overall an interesting game I will probably buy. Not sure if it will pull me away from LOTRO yet though.

  13. swiftvoyager says:

    from Chuck: “…but if you are going to slam something you should probably at least fire it up once.”

    I agree with that in principal, but on the other hand, I rarely bother with downloading a demo before I buy a new game. The only times I remember downloading a demo before buying a game was for one of the Total War games. I wasn’t sure if my computer could run the game or not.

    Other than that one time, I’ve based all of my purchase decisions purely on reviews, word-of-mouth, looking at the box on the shelf, etc. I think I’m a fairly average person in that regard. So, if I’m actually average, and most people will buy or not buy the game based on what they hear about it, rather than trying it out, then I’d say Syncaine is correct. There’s just not enough positive stuff to convince me to subscribe to another MMORPG right now.

  14. Rog says:

    Auto Assault simply wasn’t fun.

  15. Iroh says:

    I agree with swiftvoyager in that I too as an “average” gamer do not usually buy a game (especially a subscription based game) until I am confident it will run well on my box and until I have either read good reviews of it or heard positive feedback about it from specific friends.

    I will keep up with the buzz and if after release this game meets my abovementioned criteria, I will probably give it a try.

  16. I think predicting AoC’s demise is extremely premature. Yes, there’s been some negative press, but there’s been positive buzz as well in other places. I would be very surprised if what you describe comes to pass. For one, even if Funcom doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to support a game that founders at launch until it can be made viable (as SOE did for Vanguard,) they certainly have more resources than tiny NetDevil. There’s really very little cause that I can see to assume that AoC will have a launch as bad as Vanguard’s, and the buzz on it is certainly better than the buzz two weeks before Vanguard’s release – which if you’ll recall managed 200K copies sold at retail despite widespread (and largely deserved) negativity and a near-total lack of positive talk.

    I do not imagine it will be a spectacularly great launch, mind. All reports seem to indicate that there will be problems, but then, most MMOs, including WoW, launch with problems. But I don’t expect it to simply crash and burn as is predicted here.

    Also, I hate to shatter the dreams of those who look to Warhammer as the next great MMO that will descent to earth in a golden chariot strewing booze and strippers in its wake, but I’ve played it – and am not under NDA – and it’s really nothing special and nothing new. I think it’ll do well, but unless it changes significantly between the time I tried it and launch (which is possible,) it’s not only not going to challenge WoW, it’s going to have a tough time trying to be as successful as LotRO, and I think it’ll pull in roughly the same kind of numbers – 300K or so subs some months later when things settle down. That’s not a failure by any means, but it’s not the second coming of Elvis either.

  17. syncaine says:

    The major difference between AoC and Vanguard is Vanguard had a huge portion of the EQ community excited about the game, as it was build as the spiritual successors of EQ1. This is also around the time EQ2 was in rough shape, so people were really looking forward to something more EQ1-like. AoC has nothing like that going for it.

    Also keep in mind that anytime someone talked about Vanguard, they always mentioned it has huge potential due to the underlying systems, and that it’s flaws were purely on the tech side. For AoC, not only do you have major tech issues, you also have some potential design issues, like the combo system that people seem to be 50/50 on.

    And yes, Vanguard sold 200k copies, and then had something like 50k subs after the first month. I not only doubt AoC will get 200k in sales, I think the turnover rate will be higher than 1/4 after the first month. We will see very shortly exactly what happens. Note how quickly PoTBS had to consolidate servers after launch.

  18. Jake M says:

    Maybe you should get off your pedastool and quit acting like some MMO Mogul the latest patch to AoC fixed 99% of the problems and as it is right now the game is extremely stable.

    Next time you decide to blog about something maybe you should make sure it’s something you have a clue about instead of trying to poo poo a game that hasn’t even left Beta just because you failed to get access.

    This blog is pure Failure.

  19. [...] Linkage to Topics Discussed In This Episode Age of Conan = Auto Assault? Games trapping themselves into imitating WoW EvE Online Five Year Anniversery Does APB = GTA [...]

  20. ScytheNoire says:

    So a game you haven’t played, that hasn’t launched, which hasn’t been using a release client of the game, which used an outdated open beta client, and you already think you know the fate of it?

    How about judging it upon release, judge it on a modern PC, not these outdated crap PC’s that most people are probably using. I have a machine with a year old graphics card (EVGA 8800GTX KO ACS3) and a couple years old mobo/cpu (Athlon64x2 4200+ on nForce4 with 2GB OCZ Platinum DDR), and the game will run great on it. And that’s not even a new PC, which would run things even better.

    I think you are just trolling, and your post makes it rather obvious you are just trolling for traffic. But I guess it worked, even though you haven’t played the game and have no clue about what it is really like, since it hasn’t even launched yet.

  21. Dan C says:

    Awful reviews from some moron that has never played the game. Go report for Fox News you douche bag.

  22. AWN says:

    This game cost $200million to make, are you sure they don’t have the resources to get it up and running? Don’t forget Microsoft is partly backing this… if the rumor’s I’ve heard are true, Microsoft has some capital.

  23. Stome says:

    You know to base all this off nothing but what forum trolls and simpletons with poor pc’s or to stupid to run their pc does nothing but show yourself as a idiot.

    Got to love the iternet. Every retard thinks his voice and thoughts mean something.

  24. Mar says:

    I think you are just trolling, and your post makes it rather obvious you are just trolling for traffic

  25. Ma says:

    ther than that one time, I’ve based all of my purchase decisions purely on reviews, word-of-mouth, looking at the box on the shelf, etc. I think I’m a fairly average person in that regard.

  26. Maser says:

    Also, I hate to shatter the dreams of those who look to Warhammer as the next great MMO that will descent to earth in a golden chariot strewing booze and strippers in its wake, but I’ve played it – and am not under NDA – and it’s really nothing special and nothing new.

  27. HHH says:

    History has shown that plenty of great games never sell due to outside market factors. Even if AoC has the worlds greatest gameplay (and already we see plenty of people who disagree), the fact that it’s off to such a rough start, and that interest in it BEFORE all this was relatively low to begin with, means they have more than a bit of an uphill battle.

  28. I hate being excited on release day only to get denied trying to log in or laggin around the newb area. I don’t even think my computer can run it.

  29. Glok says:

    But I guess it worked, even though you haven’t played the game and have no clue about what it is really like, since it hasn’t even launched yet.

  30. Hemoroidy says:

    Lags some places and I had one crash, but overall works fine. The combat is definitely “different” and I can’t say that I’ve taken to it yet. I also don’t like the amount of instancing although I’m told once you hit 20 that changes.

  31. [...] nic ze swojej wartości. Wszystko to, co w stylu retro jest na topie. Do takich niepospolitych i sympatycznych przedmiotów z duszą należą właśnie ćmielowskie porcelanowe bibeloty. Niewielkie, lecz [...]

  32. But I guess it worked, even though you haven’t played the game and have no clue about what it is really like, since it hasn’t even launched yet.

  33. I think you are just trolling, and your post makes it rather obvious you are just trolling for traffic. And yes, Vanguard sold 200k copies, and then had something like 50k subs after the first month.

  34. Got to love the iternet. But I don’t expect it to simply crash and burn as is predicted here Every retard thinks his voice and thoughts mean something.

  35. And yes, Vanguard sold 200k copies, and then had something like 50k subs after the first month. This really is a good game, a really good game.

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