26 August 2008 | IokFromTheCrypt
A Bug Ridden Mess
The launch of a Massive Multiplayer game is always problematic. Coping with the sheer number of players, server load, different configurations and humans doing what we do best - namely the unexpected - can cause serious problems for any game.
However, two months after release, Age of Conan is still an unplayable shambles of a game that's riddled with bugs, broken content and elements that simply don't work. I'm not talking about trivial bugs like miss-spelt names or items being the wrong colour. No, what we have here is a "game" that physically refuses to work. It's currently impossible to play for more than 30 minutes before a recurrent memory leak causes your entire system to lock-up. That's not good.
So what are Funcom doing to address this? Not a lot. Instead of fixing such major issues, they're instead playing around with the character balance, boosting some classes to the point of being God-like whilst lowering the abilities of others to make them as effective as a wet tissue. Not that any of this matters, of course, because it's impossible to play this mess of a "game" anyway.
Then there's the fact that the game was billed as a Direct X10 title. Not true. It's an unoptimised, flabby mess of a game that struggles on even the lowest of settings on a reasonable games machine. Be prepared to spend most of your time watching a 2 frames per second slide show if you crank your graphics up beyond even the most basic of settings. Even on high-end machines, the game still suffers from some terrible pop-in, poor frame rates and generally bad performance.
Credit where credit's due, the game looks pretty amazing. And the combat system is interesting. But beyond that, this is a perfect example of how not to launch an MMO: from the lack of content to the ineptitude of the Live Team to introduce fixes without breaking the game, to the lack of anything to actually do except kill creatures ad infinitum.
Put simply, don't waste your money.