The Age of Conan: The comeback kid
By Ron Keith
Don’t you just love a comeback?
Sure you do. Doesn’t everyone?
Whether it’s the sports team that unexpectedly comes back to win the game or the celebrity who rebuilds his or her life after a bout with booze and drugs, we love our comeback stories.
Didn’t the oft-choking Red Sox gain a special place in your heart in 2004 after coming back from a 3-0 game deficit in the League Championship Series to beat the Yankees? Weren’t you rooting extra loud for Lance Armstrong, after he overcame cancer and came back to win the Tour de France all those times? Don’t you find yourself thinking of Apple as a scrappy, little fighter, rebuilding itself into a corporate giant after almost going out of business in the 90s?
If you scrape and claw your way out of a seemingly bottomless hole, we’re with you. We’re there to root for you and cheer you on. We want to see you succeed against odds that would make most of us curl up into a little ball and cry for our mothers.
The world is filled with comeback stories. Sports, entertainment, politics, what have you. In almost every walk of life you can usually find a good comeback story.
But MMOs don’t stage comebacks, do they? If an MMO fails to capture gamers’ imagination, they’ll gradually lose their subscribers, slip into maintenance mode, and, maybe, eventually shut down their servers. They don’t stage a bottom of the ninth comeback. Once gamers lose interest in them, an MMO just fades away. That’s what’s expected of them.
Someone forgot to tell the Age of Conan to go gentle in that good night.
In spite of receiving generally good reviews at its release, AoC did not score big with the MMO community. Some of the complaints, depending on which review or forum you read, was that the game was too buggy, it lacked non-combat activities, and that it was unfinished at the higher levels (An all too frequent complaint with new releases: Aion, STO and Champions also come to mind.). Its subscriber base slipped and interest in AoC seemed to wane a little more with the release of every new MMO.
It’s not surprising that many gamers might have considered AoC out of the running. But while many gamers left in the seventh inning, thinking AoC too far behind to stage a comeback, FunCom has quietly been fighting back. They eradicated bugs and added content with updates like the Gangs of Tarantia. They made the game free to play in the tier one area in an effort to bring subscribers back to the game, help to stabilize the subscription base.
That’s great, but gamers who left probably weren’t considering returning and it sure didn’t seem like FunCom could ever rekindle significant interest in the game… Until today.
Did you hear that sound?
That’s the sound of FunCom hitting one out of the park. You knew as soon as you heard the crack of the bat that this one was going to clear the bleachers. On Tuesday, May 11, FunCom’s expansion to the Age of Conan, The Rise of the Godslayer, was released.
An expansion for AoC?! Really?
What, did you forget? It was announced a year ago, but you probably forgot about the expansion. Maybe you decided FunCom wasn’t actually going to deliver, that they were just going to roll over and lose. They’re not.
The Rise of the Godslayer looks every bit like a winner: a whole new region; lots of new content; alternate advancement systems; more social elements; improved graphics and significantly improved audio. The Rise of the Godslayer is sure to revive interest in the game, and probably in a big way.
If you left in the seventh inning, you should come back. It looks like things are going to get interesting. And you better bring some popcorn. There’s a comeback brewing.