The reports are exaggerated


RETRACTION for Age of Conan

This is the first time we have ever found ourselves in the position of having to post a retraction.  We are aware that the overzealous attitude we expressed on  No Prisoners, No Mercy Show 55  and our recent article entitled The Reports are exaggerated  may be a bit catching. If you got caught up in our excitement and  had a great time we will say “Bravo, good for you.” If, however, you had a bad time like we did, we apologize.  When we returned to Age of Conan this weekend we found the same problem that has plagued the game since day one, over two years ago – low frame rates per second (FPS) Even on our computer which exceeds recommended system specifications our frame rate per second never exceeded 20 fps, and usually hovered around 10 to 14 fps, sometimes dipping as low as 3 fps.  If anyone had as bad a time as we did, we apologize. We have, in fact, posted about it . While the letter in the post is not the one we sent to Funcom, we did send a letter to our contact at the company.

 Quite frankly we are a bit hurt by the whole thing.

The No Prisoners, No Mercy Team

Did you guess which developer is not like the others?
Did you guess which thing just doesn’t belong?
If you guessed Activision is not like the others,
Then you’re absolutely…right!

One of these developers is not like the others,
One of these developers just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which developer is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Activision, Cryptic Studios, or Funcom – which one of these game developers/publishers is not like the others? Can you guess the right one? You did? I knew you could.But maybe not for the same reasons I am thinking.

I am sure that there are those past employees of Infinity Ward that would relate to an old Smith Barney advertisement and claim “Activision makes money the old fashioned way…they steal it (by not paying royalties due – natch).”  Time and the court systems will eventually tell who is right, Activision, or the former employees of Infinity Ward, including Messers West and Zampella.  But no matter what you think about Activision or Bobby Kotick, there is much truth in the words of a former guest on the No Prisoners, No Mercy show who promoted them from “800 pound gorilla” to the “1 ton gorilla” on the block. When Activision speaks, people listen – even if it is to curse the name.

But all three companies mentioned above have had members of the gaming community curse their name at one point or another. And what’s more, while the outcome of the Activision/Infinity Ward lawsuits may change it, the Call of Duty series is still going strong.

No, that’s not the difference.

As long as Activision can include “Blizzard” in its name it will be more like the zombie gorilla than the 800 pound gorilla; no one will be able to defeat it.  In 2007 Richard Garriott denounced Worlds of Warcraft’s “carrot and stick” approach to end game as the “harbinger of failure.” Before that, Brad McQuaid launched Vanguard and originally pronounced it to be the next “Wow killer”.  Still, I don’t think there is anyone who will seriously consider predictions of the downfall of Activision for more than the briefest of moments (at least not in the near future).

Not so with Cryptic Studios and Funcom.

All one has to do is Google the names of either of these studios along with the word “failure” and you will find pundits who seem to have considered themselves the gaming version of the Oracle at Delphi and pronounced the doom of Champions Online, and Age of Conan.  And yet both mmos are still here; Champions since September 1, 2009 and Age of Conan since May 20, 2008. Not only are they both still going, but both still seem to be going strong. Consider that Cryptic is a subsidiary of Atari, and is in turn owned by Infograme – who, being one of the largest videogame developers in the world is not business of beating dead horses hoping they will eventually get up and win the Kentucky Derby. In fact a game developer friend of ours tells us that Atari is known for having a particularly short leash as a publisher. True or not, it seems that the death of Champions Online, Star Trek Online and Age of Conan, so zealously reported across the blogosphere at one point, has been greatly exaggerated.

Recently we had the pleasure of spending an hour talking with Glen “Famine” Swan and Oliver Kunz from Funcom about changes to Age of Conan, and their new expansion Rise of the Godslayer.  If you don’t believe us, you can go read Jef Reahard over at Massively, Gordon over at We Fly Spitfires , Brian over at Blue Kae  and listen to Brent and Darren talk about it in the return of the Virgin Worlds Podcast Number 147. In fact both Mr. Swan and Mr. Kunz were so convincing that they turned my prognostication into provocation to turn my WoW “parking fee” over to Funcom instead.  But it isn’t the improvements to the game that have me wanting to return. No, as our regular listeners know, I love animals, and the prospect of raising my own tiger or wolf mount is something that I find irresistible.

7 Responses to The reports are exaggerated
  1. Blue Kae
    May 19, 2010 | 12:08 pm

    I’m planning to post once I actually escape from Tortage, but as a sneak peak I wanted to mention that the game has been much more enjoyable on my current try. I think it’s a combination of having a new PC that’s DX10 capable, finally being in the right head-space for the Conan lore, and most of all having a group of people to chat with while I’m in the game. Global chat in Wiccana has nothing on Barrens chat.

  2. [...] Posted on May 19, 2010 by Drannos Like many, I’ve read through some of the recent conversation about Funcom’s first expansion, Rise of the Godslayer. I have to say, the temptation to [...]

  3. Sr. Julie
    May 19, 2010 | 3:27 pm

    Thanks both for the comments. Yes the pull is strong. Right now the only thing holding me back is the agreement on what characters get transfered to what account. Both our household accounts for wow are in my name and we will be keeping one open.

    Once that resolves I am hyboria bound.



  4. R.W. Harper
    May 23, 2010 | 5:43 am

    I have been playing AOC a couple of months and started back before the expansion. I have been finding it enjoyable and more stable than last time I played right after release. There is still a lot of technical “slop” in the game and bugs still around after 2-years but I can overlook many of them when I enjoy the gameplay experience.

  5. Sr. Julie
    May 23, 2010 | 7:46 am

    Thanks for the good report R.W. I look forward to trying it again myself once circumstances permit.


  6. [...] attitude we expressed on  No Prisoners, No Mercy Show 55 and our recent article entitled The Reports are exaggerated  may be a bit catching. If you got caught up in our excitement and  had a great time we will say [...]

  7. Fool Us Once
    October 22, 2010 | 10:52 am

    [...] already had our “fool us once” thank you (albeit with a different studio – see The Reports are Exaggerated) . We were told how much things had changed, when in fact they hadn’t changed at all.  We ended [...]