Age of Conan Basics

I’ve been trying to convince a friend of mine to buy this game for a while so on a message board I stated my case and made this huge ass post complete with screens I captured myself. And then I was like “Mort, you have a blog, put it there you dumb jerk!” So here I am putting it here. This is just a very basic guide on how the nuts and bolts of AoC works. The writing assumes you have knowledge of the genre as I use a lot of terminology that is MMO specific. Without further ado…

Ok, so here is a basic shot of the game in action.

Things to note!

1. Combo System – Most of your special abilities aren’t just hit the button once and it happens type shit. I hit the button to start my bleed combo (it has a better name than that, but its a bleed) and that little box pops up telling me what buttons to hit to make that combo happen. If i do it correctly, I do the move. If I do it incorrectly, I don’t do the move… and the cooldown on the ability is tripped anyway… so messing up button presses during combos can get you into a lot of trouble.

2. General combat/shielding – As you can see this dude has white markers around him…. 2 on the left, 1 on the right. These are his defenses and these will change over the course of a fight as the AI adapts to where you are hitting them. A thing to note is that there is *NO* autoattack in the game, every swing is a manual button press, as seen in the hotbar are the bottom (mapped to 1,2,3). As you can guess, 1 hits the left, 2 the middle, 3 the right. So you swing where the defenses are not. In this picture for autoattacks hitting him in the face is the best course of action because he currently has no defenses set up there. It’s also worth noting that combos do more damage than your regular swings, obviously, but the combo hits the direction of whatever the last button press is. So I tried to set this guy up by hitting his left a bunch and it worked because he moved 2 of his defenses over and then started a combo that hits the right side. Obviously it would have been better to do one that hit his face, but like, it’s a lot to juggle. And generally, in a 1v1 fight it doesn’t matter all that much, I could probably beat him only hitting his most defended areas… but there are few fights in the game that are 1v1. The thing that is cool about AoC is that whatever is in the path of your sword swinging takes damage… so you are basically always AoE fighting.

Also, if you are wondering about my weird keybindings (page up/down, j-k-l, etc) its because I mapped those keys to extra buttons on my super mouse.

The rest of the shot is pretty self explanatory, my quest goal in the upper right, I put my potions on my hotbar in the lower right, etc.

Ok, so here is a sequence of shots of me doing this quest.

This guy is a pather, so Im stealthed (all classes can stealth to some extent, my class is pretty good at it) waiting for him to come up more and kick his ass, I can already see where his shields are so I know where to open my attacks. The image up above with my awesome drawings and writing is actually of me fighting this dude, so lets skip ahead to after his death…

I stealth my way further into these dudes camp. That marksman behind the flag is gonna attack me when I open up on the merc, so if i was smart id drag the merc over to the marksman (basically a hunter), but im not smart, as you will see.

So I’m fighting this dude, she loves to throw all her defenses into one spot, making my white attacks easier. I did a knockdown move, so she is actually laying on the ground right now while I beat on her unmercifully. But I’m getting picked off by the marksman. Also, every time i take a screenshot the game freezes on me for like 5 seconds, so I’m getting beaten on pretty bad.

Merc dead, running over to the marksman, hitting screenshot is gonna screw me but I do it for you, readers. FOR YOU!

And this is what death looks like. What happens when you die is you resurrect at a graveyard (any in the zone that you have found, you can chose which one) and you get a small debuff, it’s not a big deal, but they stack, so if you die like 10 times in a row you will be noticeably weaker. You can remove the debuff by going to where you died and clicking your gravestone, however.

Just a shot showing how the questing system works… for the most part it tells you exactly where to go get whatever you need for your quest, that X on the map marks the spot. It also lists your tombstones if you got killed like a moron taking screenshots.

Here is the talent trees, I randomly moused over one to show ya a tooltip. My class is Barbarian, we are kinda like rogues but use 2h weapons, but our armor sucks. So it’s like a fury warrior/rogue hybrid type of dude. I am going down the tree that ups my 2h wep damage (there is a dual wield tree also) and has lots of knockbacks and stuns and shit.

Here is a list of some of my abilities. Basically my “spell book.” Some stuff is greyed out because its for DW only.

Here is the stats page, on the right you get like 50 points per level to add to whatever skills you find useful. For my class I find bandaging and hiding and climbing to be the most important… other classes get other shit (like casters get an ability to dump points into to make it so you don’t get interrupted or knocked back while casting).

Basic inventory screen. One thing of note is on the right, my bag, you will see tabs that say quest and resources…. these things don’t take up your normal bag space! Hooray for that shit. Having to delete items to pick up quest items is really dumb and I’m glad Funcom realized that.

So im alive again and decided to go exact some revenge on that fucker that killed me. Here is the death blow. Note the blood! Also, the game has fatalities, much like Mortal Kombat did back in the day. Basically if you finish someone off with a combo (and not a normal swing) you have a set chance for a fatality. There are a few of them, but they are gruesomely awesome… you will chop motherfuckers heads off, arms off, throw your sword into their gut and make this gesture at them like “WHAT NOW BITCH!” They don’t happen often, but they happen enough… also, you get a buff when you do them, so pulling one off on someone mid battle (like if you are fighting 4 dudes) can really help swing the advantage in your favor. Also, blood splatters onto your screen. Basically what I’m saying is that it’s the most awesome thing ever.

So that’s the end of the picture show. As for classes, they are pretty unique. First off, all classes can DPS pretty well… so picking a healer or tank isn’t gonna make you want to kill yourself while leveling. There are 4 archetypes: Tanks, Healers, Rogues and Mages. This is an extremely limited overview, I haven’t played all of them, or even half of them, and other than the Barbarian and Assassin I haven’t gotten past level 5 with the others.

Tanks – There are three of them, one is like your stock MMO tank… shield/sword, takes a fuckton of damage. One is slightly magic based, you can leach life and shit to make up for some of the mitigation you are missing… another is aura based, kinda like a paly, but they don’t heal or anything.

Healers – There are 3, one is a straight up priest, plays like you think it would. One, the bear/shaman actually does a lot of their healing by dpsing (doing DPS combos do AOE heals to your group), the tempest of set seems to be hot based and has a ton of offense also.

Rogues – There are 3 rogues… the barbarian, which I am…. like I said it’s basically a fury warrior and rogue combined (in wow terms), then there is the assassin… who is more just like a straight up wow rogue, but does some magic damage also. Then there is the ranger, which are more like EQ rangers than WoW hunters. Lots of snares and shit. No pets!

Mages – There are 3 of these also… 2 of them are pet classes (demonologist/necromancer) one is actually pretty much a melee class, but you turn into demons and shit to do it (and you have some aoe magic spells). Casting in the game is similar to other games but with the addition of button sequences for combos. But it’s not as involved as melee. Well, what i’ve seen atleast. I think at a certain level you can start “Spellweaving” which i have no idea wtf that even is, but people say it makes the combat much more in depth.

There are 3 races, but you don’t have “racials” like WoW does. Or at least that I can tell.

about this great game. Check them out, And this covers the basics of how Age of Conan works. There are tons of pages popping up on Squidoo. Check them out, suckas!

The game is not perfect though, as with every MMO launch ever, it has its share of bugs, bad performance, downtime, areas thin on content, etc. So if you are used to the very complete experience that WoW is you may find yourself disappointed and want to wait a few months for these issues to get worked out. But if you want to be there in the thick of things as this game expands (and the game as it stands now is fun as hell… so why wouldn’t you?) I’d recommend running to the store ASAP and grabbing this wonderful game.

Edit: Finally got a screen grab of a fatality, it’s one of the tamer ones (just a simple decapitation) so there isn’t much blood, and I took the picture a second too late (ie. after I lopped her head off, not during)… but this gives you a general idea of what they are like. Also if you are wondering why it’s darker than the others it’s because its night time in the game…

Yeah, that’s her head on the ground behind the legionaire’s shield markers.   Tasty.


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