Age of Conan: The Future of MMORPGs

“Play AoC!  Because… because… you don’t even need to be online to level up!  It’ll just happen!”

I simply cannot understand the groupthink session that went into creating this bizarre feature, unless they were trying to trump the rest system seen in other MMOs.

What’s the point here?  What’s the message they’re trying to convey?

“Our game is so lame that we want you to play less of it?”

“The REAL game starts at the level cap, so we’re gonna get you there ASAP?”

“You’ve shelled out your $15 this month, so here — have fun with an officially sanctioned cheat?”

“Age of Conan: we reward lazy players who can’t be bothered to log in?”

I’m sorry, I sort of see where they were going with this, but it just smacks of counter-productivity.  What’s next, handing out epic gear every seven days, just ’cause?

Oh well.  Who needs to actually play games anyway?

30 thoughts on “Age of Conan: The Future of MMORPGs

  1. I’m totally surprised about this offline leveling, and I don’t feel I understand why the Funcom team wanted to implement it.

    But I can think up several ways it could useful. Leveling an alt, for instance. Supplementing casual play. Giving you one extra level to get you through a particularly grindy area faster.

    It’s optional. And in my book, more options = good.

  2. That’s what I was thinking, Stabs. How is this any different from the real-time skill queue system that is so popular with EVE players? Admittedly, I was the kind of person in UO who AFK macro’d and 8×8’d and would do the same for WoW Honor if possible, but still. I don’t see how this is any different than EVE, which I don’t have a problem with.

  3. Eve was designed from the ground up to work this way. It doesn’t strike me as the sort of feature that it would be particularly wise to bolt onto an existing game with a traditional “do stuff to level up” design.

  4. Another thing to consider is that it would take 200 days to get from level 30 to level 80. This honestly isn’t that game breaking; if people are going to take ~7 months to 1) level a character offline while 2) not playing… uh, that’s alright in my book.

  5. Why not just ramp up the exp people get to rediculously high levels for characters who have been inactive? Been offline for four days with a character? You get a 400% bonus to exp for a level. It basically does the same thing, without being completely arbitrary or allowing players to completely avoid levels.

    And if that’s too much, at least come up with a RP reason for why this makes sense. Call it the “Your character’s been busy while you’ve been busy” feature… and ensure that there’s some nice little RP story that at least explains wtf your character has been doing while you’ve not been playing it. At least, that way, when you suddenly log onto your instantly-higher-level character, there’s something to look forward to… LOL.

  6. Also a great feature for those who play with friends who have slightly differing schedules, save up the days and then you can catch up with your friend after you arn’t around online for a couple of days and they want to play.

  7. It’s only four levels, if I’m understanding the source correctly. I’d be a little more worried if you could get, say 15 or 20. This is a little strange but no biggie, IMO.

  8. It’s not really similar to EVE. Eve is a skill based system and there is no level cap: people are still advancing the same character they’ve played everyday for 5 years.

    I don’t like this in principle because I abhor the ‘get to level cap quick to get the same epic loot everyone has so I feel as though I’m worth anything: ‘dem carrots’ theme of most MMO’s. This – in principle – doesn’t encourage a ‘take it nice and slow to experience what the game has to offer’ attitude.

    It’s like children raiding the biscuit tin, eating it all in one go and throwing up all over their crossed legs whilst screaming “There is no more chocolate! Where is my CHOCOLATE!?” /vomit

    In practice though, it might not make that much difference to the actual levelling speed: but now people will be more conscious of XP bar watching and that is something not needed.

    If it was going to happen, they should have taken a poll of which areas are a grind – and reduced the XP requirement of these levels.

    I’m SO grouchy this morning. I don’t like who I’ve become.

  9. I don’t mind this feature at all. It’s totally optional too. As in, you don’t “level” characters, you gain experience into a “central” pool. You can then assign the XP to whichever character you wish.

    So ultimately, it’s a nice way to get over certain bumps, i’m sure everyone that leveled their chars to max in AoC in the past will be intricately aware of the Villa-system they had [repeatable instances that automatically adjust to your current level] . You’d run the 4 villas like a “daily” to get that extra xp when you’re at certain levels where you’d hit certain content gaps . In the end, while a nice feature it got real boring and grindy and even led to burn out.

  10. Also to add, even LOTRO with the “Destiny point” system is only a tiny step away from this. You build up Destiny Points and then buy stuff like the XP-Bonus [double XP] to level faster.

    Funcom basically just figured out a way to make subscribing whether you play only weekends or every night worth it.

    It means the more casual players can actually reach max level.

    So it’s ironic how everyone and every blog have a topic about “weekend warriors” and how EQ2s latest attempt is not solving any issues for those types of players then Funcom comes with a solution that first BOTH the casual player -and- their own profit margins…and suddenly it’s bad?

  11. Seems a little odd but I suppose I can understand Funcom’s reasoning behind it. If players have some sort of carrot, they’re more likely to play. Still, why not just reduce the exp needed to level if Funcom want people to get through the content faster?

  12. I don’t believe it is bad. I often complain that many games do not offer ways for new players coming in an easier way to catch up the masses. This is no different than what WoW has done to speed up leveling 1-70. Diku-inspired MMOs are about the end game and forcing new players to grind it out, mostly solo, years after a game has launched is a sure way to lose the potential subscription.

    This was a good move IMHO.

  13. It’s basically rest experience, as far as I’m concerned. Considering there’s a whole new “lateral” leveling system coming with May’s expansion I don’t think the 1-80 game is going to be as prevalent anymore. But I could be wrong, I still don’t know too much about the expansion.

  14. @We Fly Spitfires

    “Still, why not just reduce the exp needed to level if Funcom want people to get through the content faster?”

    I don’t think that’s what they want you to do at all. Funcom wants you to subscribe for the long haul. Making that $15 count whether you play it every day or not, THAT is what they’re doing here. If you think about this a little the people who’s going to use this the most are the ones that are not playing alot, so where they would have QUIT/CANCELLED their sub entirely only to renew 1 month at a time when they got time, they will now keep the sub active “until i have time to play”.

    If you look at what Funcom has done with their subscription model the past few months, they added in the “Veteran Points” systems ALSO . You get these points based on how many months you have subscribed , you can then buy in-game stuff with these points. The longer sub you take out, the more of these points you get.

    So it’s quite clear to me, instead of going the Warhammer route of quazi “F2P” model, they are opting [and experimenting i’m sure] with how to make the subscription model sustainable and “value-adding” whether you play every night or once a week.

    I have a LOTRO sub for the next 3 months, i’m currently taking a break…you know how annoyed i feel knowing that i now get ZERO benefit from my sub?

  15. Actually this sucks, because people are forgetting that levels in general aren’t static: the later levels usually take more exp than the latter. Being able to bank free levels might destroy upper level party play. Though to be honest, I don’t know the specifics of that for AOC.

    And while people are saying it takes 200 days to level a character to cap, if i read it right in one month from this program start, a character will have banked 11 levels. That’s a lot to skip. It’s also not restricted, so a hardcore player will be accruing these levels too, and will greatly speed up.

    I can’t say it’s all bad though. I think we need to kill the meaningless grind that passes for content in MMOs. Only when it’s dead can they go back to being worlds instead of math exercises.

  16. I think Silvertempler has it right on this. It’s a clever non-game breaking yet tasty carrot to keep people subsrcribed.

    Case in point, I love to play Fallen Earth and LotRO but due to various RL factors I rarely subscribe for longer than a month or two at a time, always returning a few months later when time permits. If a similar mechanic was introduced I am certain my sub times would be longer and my down time would be shorter.

    Also, who among us hasn’t, despite rich content and engaging gameplay, hit the leveling doldrums? This happens to all of us, even if, like myself, leveling isn’t your primary focus. When the doldrums hit the game becomes a grind and grinding leads unsubscribing. This mechanic would help bootstrap a player out of or past any doldrums. Happy players are paying players.

  17. I very rarely disagree with Syp, but this time I do. 😦

    I would rather a sub based MMO do this than…you know, throw a a sparkle pony into the game’s cash shop, where players with disposable incomes only seemed to be the ones valued.

    And I also don’t consider this, when done modestly (which it is) a form of cheating. No more so than rest experience mechanics in most games or offline skill up mechanics in EVE. And even if you still view it is, it’s far less so than many F2P’s games that allow you to pay your way to max level.

  18. I think it sounds like a good move.

    Yes, they are definitely recognising that there is an issue with the leveling system, be it that

    * it may potentially be a bit grindy
    * that there are level ranges that are less fun than others
    * that repeating content with alts is not as fun as the first time

    It is rest XP on stereoids in a way, since it is not tied to a specific character. I think it is good that the put the decision with the player how this “rest XP” should be distributed.

  19. It won’t be a bad thing at all. As I mentioned on my writeup, AoC is a very guild-oriented game and a lot of veteran players (they’ll benefit the most from this, not the newer players like myself) want their alts to level cap so they can not only raid, but more importantly so they can help contribute to building the guild city.

    Bildo was right, this is essentially Rest XP, which AoC does not have. In WoW/LOTRO/etc. you cannot avoid Rest XP however if for some reason you want to level slower. Rest XP is always accruing even if it’s only a small amount. AoC’s new system is completely optional — the levels are put into a bank and you can choose to use them or not.

  20. I think this is a great idea for a pvp game. All the best pvp always happens at the highest levels so if you’re just playing to fight why make yourself have to go through all that boring pve content again? Great idea, wish more games used it.

  21. People need to stop trumpeting EVE so much, because EVE’s system sucks.

    Offline leveling sounds good, but playing EVE I found that what I missed the most was the player contact you got leveling as a party. Corps simply aren’t the same, because most PvE is done solo, and most PvP is a lot of dead time, much more than LFP.

    Yeah you don’t fall behind but you don’t have much to do.

  22. Where MMORPGs are going to? Everything the companies do is about money, money and money. They don’t care about the consequences of their actions on the game enviroment and the fun of their games.

    This feature is not to make the game better or more interesting. It’s just to keep players playing the game more time.

    Why a player who don’t play the game deserves to evolve on a game? How can a player learn a skill if he doesn’t play the game? ^^

    This is so ridiculous and I must laugh at people who agree with such thing: they are called newbies.

  23. I think that this is a great idea. I love to play a lot when I can, but sometimes real life gets in the way and you are unable to play for one reason or another. This system helps you keep your character closer in level with your playing group when you are unable to play, as well as lowering the feeling of obligation to play that happens when you are subscribing to a game.

    I don’t feel that I will be “missing” parts of the game, or using these levels to skip any content. It will definitely assure me that I should never be at a level where I have run out of quests, as I can use the extra levels at that time to qualify for more. There are lots of quests anyway, so that may never be necessary.

    People want to insist that this makes the game easy mode, but it’s far from it…the glacial pace means that this would NEVER be a preferred way to level. It is MUCH more fun to play and level, and about 3 billion times faster. I, for one, agree with above posters in saying that this mechanic will continue to keep me subscribing (along with the fact that the game itself is awesome) where other MMOs have failed to do so.

  24. in think this game is bad … played 5 hours and boring after 2 hours 😦
    i have waited for that game so long….

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