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Author Topic: AoC CE Impressions (now with Game Impressions below)  (Read 1748 times)
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rittchard
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« on: May 16, 2008, 11:41:24 PM »

In the time honored tradition of days past in Gone Gold, I will post my early review of the game.... packaging!!!  Sorry, not much else to do while waiting for release  icon_lol

In the UPS confirmation, the package was listed as 1 pound.  The box I found at my door seemed significantly larger.  Now while I can't weigh it exactly, I'm guessing this hunk is about 2-3 pounds.  Definitely would pass the old GG lift test  icon_biggrin  Opening the outer box, indeed the full size was very much in line with the CE boxes from WoW.   I think the WoW box is slightly heavier, but it's very comparable.  The box is fashioned in the form of a large book volume, very very classy.  So the sides of the box look like pages.  The front cover is a deep red with a golden lion in the middle, again very classy when looked at from afar.  The box opens up like a book, which I loved, with an inside front cover of Conan at his throne and a quote from Robert Howard on the front page.  Finally you get to the insides.

First thing is the gorgeous art book.  I'm a sucker for these things but YMMV.  It's not hardbound, so a little chintsy there.  Paper and image quality is top notch inside, though.  Next up there's a map.  It's not just any old cloth map though.  It's a "richly tooled" leathertte map, again very classy but boy does it smell funky.  Now that it's been sitting a while, the smell has abated some, but yikes!  This game is for mature audiences, and so was that smell.

Next up are some coupons and ads for other junk, also some papers to write down codes for guest passes.  Unclear how it will work (I guess you have to login or something first) but there are 5 included, 7-day passes.  Next comes the foldout box for game disks, bonus DVD and soundtrack.  Very nice, similar to a TV series DVD box set (like Buffy).  I like that unlike some other CE's they didn't just dump the regular game box inside a bigger box.  Finally on the bottom is the standard game manual.  A little disappointing the manual wasn't also specialized but what can you do.

All in all I give this box a thumbs up.  All the bases covered, good weight and quality throughout.  A few shortcuts taken but all in all a classy piece of work. 
« Last Edit: May 20, 2008, 09:09:16 PM by rittchard » Logged
Harkonis
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2008, 11:42:58 PM »

You're just excited that now you have some stylish oil paintings of scantily clad well-muscled warriors, you're not fooling anyone!  ninja
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Hamlet3145
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2008, 11:45:38 PM »

Quote
This game is for mature audiences, and so was that smell.

I LOL'ed.
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Jafisob
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2008, 04:40:57 AM »

Quote from: rittchard on May 16, 2008, 11:41:24 PM

....  A few shortcuts taken but all in all a classy piece of work. 

Nice reivew rittchard!  I am glad you are happy with your purchase.
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rittchard
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2008, 07:05:38 PM »

I'm also extremely impressed with my super CE in-game ring, which allows me to lvl 0.02% faster than normal!!!  Woohoo!!  Note the number is 0.02 of a percent, NOT 2%.  That means for every mob you get 100 xp for, I get 100.02 xp, w00t!!   puke
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DArtagnan
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2008, 08:48:44 PM »

I just had the pleasure of listening to some of the songs from the CE soundtrack, and I'm extremely impressed. So many games downplay this aspect, but this is definitely not the case here.

No. 5 (I think it was) is possibly my favorite piece of music for a game in years.

I've ordered the regular edition for myself, but after hearing this I'm gonna get the CE and give the other one to my GF - whom I've persuaded to play the game with me after some sweet-talking  ninja
« Last Edit: May 18, 2008, 08:52:15 PM by DArtagnan » Logged
CeeKay
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2008, 12:21:04 AM »

Quote from: rittchard on May 18, 2008, 07:05:38 PM

I'm also extremely impressed with my super CE in-game ring, which allows me to lvl 0.02% faster than normal!!!  Woohoo!!  Note the number is 0.02 of a percent, NOT 2%.  That means for every mob you get 100 xp for, I get 100.02 xp, w00t!!   puke

what about the drinking cape?  have you been using it to get drunk?
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Knightshade Dragon
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2008, 05:30:49 PM »

I guess I should figure out how to activate all that stuff.  I don't see it in my inventory but I am running the CE pre-order key.
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2008, 05:58:31 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on May 19, 2008, 05:30:49 PM

I guess I should figure out how to activate all that stuff.  I don't see it in my inventory but I am running the CE pre-order key.

If you've put the CE key into your account (and tossed in the CC info so you can be billed in 30 days), just type in /claim into the chat bar. Any and all characters you create can get the 'bonus' items (an 8-slot bag, a Mammoth you can't use until level 40, and a ring that doesn't give you squat).
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rittchard
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2008, 09:08:53 PM »

Actual Game Impressions (from about 20 hours in Early Access):

The worst thing I can say about the game and pre-launch experience is the extended down-times STUNK!  A large portion of prime playing time was negated by servers being down for various forms of maintenance, patching, whatnot, and each estimate was followed by an extra hour, etc etc.  That had the majority of us waiting to play chomping at the bit.  That said, the good news is/was that I (and apparently many others) found themselves completely addicted and anticipating our next game session. 

Technical Stuff

As many others have also noted, I didn't have a single crash while playing during this period.  And I was crashing big time during beta, pretty much every zone in/out.  Aside from an error window popping up every time I quit the game, I had no technical issues to speak of.  So from that standpoint, I was very impressed.

Graphics

This game is gorgeous.  I keep hearing people repeat that in guild chat when they come across a new area, and have repeated it myself on many occasions.  It takes the LOTRO look and takes it a bit further in terms of depth and detail.  And this is with the DX9 client only so there's more/better to come.  I love the attention to detail in each of the city/town areas I've explored, and each has seemed very unique.  The city graphics are just full of atmosphere, very nicely done.  And then the outdoor areas, gorgeous.  Best looking MMORPG to date, IMHO, possibly one of (if not) the best looking RPGs in general.  Character graphics are also some of the best I've seen, the bodies are all nice to look at slywink

Gameplay

The core game plays very well at the outset.  The introduction portion (approx. levels 1-20) in Tortage is possibly the best beginner section in an MMORPG to date.  Taking a beat from many single game RPGs, the game sets you up and gets you invested in a single player story similar to something like Oblivion.  However, you are also given the option to branch out and group with friends, etc. and complete a variety of conventional side quests, also similar to a single player RPG (except for the grouping part of course).  This turns out to be a great way to get into the game, you can choose to experience it solo or in a group, and in fact you are even given the option at a certain level to just bypass the storyline and move to the mainland.  If it's the first time you're playing, and you are a fan of single player RPGs, though, I recommend you play through it at least once.  The finale is a little underwhelming and unsurprising, but the journey through the storyline is well done.  What's also nice is that each of the 4 main class branches (mage, thief, priest, warrior) experience slightly different branching storylines which all lead (presumably) to the same conclusion.

Once at the mainland, the game becomes very much like a conventional MMORPG (LOTRO or WoW), where you can choose to branch off and explore, or complete series of quests, etc.  Main focus is on lots of little quests.  The general feel is most reminiscent of LOTRO, but the pacing feels better to me.  Each of the 3 races' town areas is filled with quests and side stories to explore, providing a relatively pain-free way to advance your character.

The X Factor

Something I've commented on a couple times now in guild chat.  There's a weird factor influencing me while playing this game and I can't put my finger on it.  In essence the core gameplay is pretty much exactly the same as all the other MMORPGs I've played, mixing in a bit of this with a dash of that.  All the things that typically irritate me and I've criticized (fedex quests, running around all over the place, focus on levelling, limited improvements on levelling, same spells/skills on level, load screens, static NPCs) are in this game, yet none of them have really bothered me.  Maybe it's just new game euphoria, but somehow I'm just content to play the game, and I constantly feel like there's a ton of stuff I want to do and I just don't have the physical time to do it.  I want to complete the quests in the town I'm in, I want to explore the other towns and crafting areas, I want to learn some resource gathering skills and do craft quests, I want to visit all the major cities, I want to explore and look for instances, I want to kick more Vanir ass, etc etc etc.  And all the while as I play I seem to be levelling at a very nice pace and rarely staring at my xp bar.  Obviously I expect this is going to slow down at some point, but for the opening experience, I am very pleased to make significant progress with my character just by sheer nature of playing the game. 

I've seen multiple people express concerns about loot, and again it's one of those things that just hasn't concerned me in this game.  When I get a nice quest reward of course I'm happy and always looking to upgrade, but when I don't, I'm not thinking about it at all.  I just want to keep playing and it feels like everything will come along naturally.

In terms of things to look forward to longer term, there's the horse and mounted combat at level 40, plus crafting and city building, and late game hopefully city sieging and PvP.

- - -

So we'll see if/how my opinion changes as the days and weeks go by.  Thus far I'm having a blast, best time I've had in a new release in years.  What's nice is that others seem to be having the same experience, as indicated by the 10+ of us playing hooky yesterday morning, and that's always a great feeling.

Can't wait to get back to it!!!   thumbsup
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Razgon
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2008, 09:28:49 AM »

okay...thats just bad, it seems the buddy keys systems isnt working yet?? appearently, the servers arent up to capacity?? that is pure nonsense and quite bad planning - I actually PAID for my five buddy keys...well, they are included in the CE edition.
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2008, 12:03:08 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on May 26, 2008, 09:28:49 AM

okay...thats just bad, it seems the buddy keys systems isnt working yet?? appearently, the servers arent up to capacity?? that is pure nonsense and quite bad planning - I actually PAID for my five buddy keys...well, they are included in the CE edition.

Yup. They want to give a better playing platform for those who are actually paying verses those who haven't bought the game yet. Don't worry - they'll get it running soon.
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2008, 08:51:48 AM »

hmm..I'm surprised people didnt talk about the Art Book, and the serious nudity it contains ;-)

Appearently, the chick from Conan has been in playboy, and the full nudity picture is in the back of the art book...hehe, the text is rather funny, saying something about it being a "Nice mix between CGI and real life models" :-D
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