Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures

Preview: The riddle... of steel

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Guilds look to be getting a decent chunk of attention too. Once you've reached level 40 (of 80) you'll be able to start doing some serious crafting. But rather than just churning out attractive hats, this will allow you and your guildmates to establish a large, instanced base for celebrating your glory, with as many as 150 players sharing the space.

It's an amusing goal to aim for, and there's a small tactical advantage too, as the area offers opportunities for resource gathering, which will come in useful for PvP action.

Then dozens more details present themselves. Over 100 voice actors have been used for the NPCs, and from our brief play, they're pretty decent. It's a hefty relief to hear a Scottish accent in a game performed by an actor who's at least visited the country, even more so one who can offer an authoritative and impressive brogue.


There's a day/night cycle, which affects the behaviour of the NPCs. There are 2,500 animations for male and female characters, with hundreds of emotes to match (including getting drunk and the subsequent peeing).

What remains to be seen is whether the many years of effort will connect into a coherent and engrossing MMO. The combat, while much improved, will still provide an obstacle to new players merely by dint of being different from World of Warcraft.

We'd really like to see Conan succeed - hell, we'd really like to see any MMO different enough from WoW succeed. The open beta starts any moment now.

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