Monday, June 30, 2008

Travel in Age of Conan

I managed to recently get a friend in Age of Conan to loan me some money so I could buy my first horse. Much like World of Warcraft mounts serve as a great money sink since everyone needs one to cut down on travel time. Traveling is particularly annoying in Age of Conan since it doesn't even have a system of flight paths. This makes going back and forth between Field of the Dead and Old Tarantia a nightmare. You would think I would know the zones in between like the back of my hand, but I always find myself taking a wrong turn.

Also not helping the matter is that Age of Conan has a bug where your map can become grayed out and useless. It fixes itself when you zone, but that doesn't help when you find yourself in the middle of a huge zone that you're not familiar with. I don't know why, but this bug always seems to happen to me when I go through Connal's Valley and I end up wasting a lot of time back-tracking down its many paths. Now with a horse I can easily afford my sense of misdirection since the movement increase is quite noticeable. I should just make a barbarian character and play through the Connal's Valley zone so I know my way through there.

One thing I noticed while leveling my characters is that I haven't had any problems finding quest content to level on. My conqueror only did the Wild Lands quests and I haven't really quested in the Stygian or Cimmerian starting zones. I did do a couple instances on epic with my friends and I guess that gave me enough experience to get a head start over most people. I find it funny that most of the instances we did on epic didn't even have blue rewards in them. We were just doing them to get some practice running dungeons. Funcom has since added low level blues so you can do a lot of the 20-40 instances on epic and get decent rewards now.

My regular group is actually starting to have problems forming up for dungeon runs. Age of Conan has the same hearth/bind system that was pioneered by Everquest and it has the same limitations. Often we'll find ourselves with hearth on cool-down and our bind locations being nowhere near the dungeon entrance. This shouldn't be too much of a problem once we all have mounts, but at the moment it can take 15-20 minutes for everyone to get at a specific location. It seems unusual that Age of Conan doesn't have some sort of public transportation; like flight paths or summoning stones. At the very least you think they would reduce the costs of the slowest horse to be a bit more in line with what a lower level character can make.