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Age of Conan Downsizing, Bigtime

Funcom is shutting down well over half the servers for its medieval MMO. Is the end nigh?

Fewer lamentations being heard these days.
While Blizzard is amazingly still setting record subscriber numbers four years after World of Warcraft's release, Gamesindustry.biz has reported that Funcom is shutting down the majority of servers for its own massive swords-and-sorcery romp, Age of Conan. The global number of servers will be dropping from 49 to a scant 18, and here's the specific breakdown.

The reduction is more dramatic in North America and the Oceanic regions, where 24 servers are being merged into just six. In the US, only one player-versus-player server and two player-versus-environment servers will remain, with each combining the populations of six or seven existing servers.

In Europe, 12 servers will remain, due to the need to provide a variety of server types in each of four languages. English-language European servers are being cut from 13 to four.

(A quick glance at the number of servers on the WOW Realm Status page provides a disturbingly stark contrast to this sizable reduction.)

This news comes just a month after Funcom said it's still working on an Xbox 360 version of Age of Conan. I wonder if that's still true in light of this serious reduction? You have to admit, the climate for online games that aren't WOW has become decidedly unfriendly of late.

Anecdotally, the most common complaint I heard about Conan was a dearth of content at higher levels, though Jeff said it only held his interest for a couple of hours even at the beginning. Are you still playing the game, and why did you stop, if not? Brad Shoemaker on Google+
43 Comments
Posted by Brad
Fewer lamentations being heard these days.
While Blizzard is amazingly still setting record subscriber numbers four years after World of Warcraft's release, Gamesindustry.biz has reported that Funcom is shutting down the majority of servers for its own massive swords-and-sorcery romp, Age of Conan. The global number of servers will be dropping from 49 to a scant 18, and here's the specific breakdown.

The reduction is more dramatic in North America and the Oceanic regions, where 24 servers are being merged into just six. In the US, only one player-versus-player server and two player-versus-environment servers will remain, with each combining the populations of six or seven existing servers.

In Europe, 12 servers will remain, due to the need to provide a variety of server types in each of four languages. English-language European servers are being cut from 13 to four.

(A quick glance at the number of servers on the WOW Realm Status page provides a disturbingly stark contrast to this sizable reduction.)

This news comes just a month after Funcom said it's still working on an Xbox 360 version of Age of Conan. I wonder if that's still true in light of this serious reduction? You have to admit, the climate for online games that aren't WOW has become decidedly unfriendly of late.

Anecdotally, the most common complaint I heard about Conan was a dearth of content at higher levels, though Jeff said it only held his interest for a couple of hours even at the beginning. Are you still playing the game, and why did you stop, if not?
Posted by MrMiyagi

I played a character to 80 and stopped.
The content got scarce around level 50. That was a whole lot of grinding.

Posted by License_To_Bill

I got to 43, and there was nothing to do at that point. It never really felt like an online game. You would occasionally pass a dude while hunting stuff, but not a whole lot of people looking for parties or trying to talk in general.

Posted by Death_Unicorn

Sad.

Posted by End_Boss
Death_Unicorn said:
"Sad."
Good riddance. AoC was terribad.
Posted by snide

Conan was a great looking but terribly flawed game. I know I'm gonna sound redundant here, but the number one thing an MMO needs to focus on is combat. Conan had horrible combat mechanics.

Posted by Gizmo

The Xbox needs a good MMO, it's a shame this isn't it.

Edited by cosmothehound

this game was ill poop


my friend played for about 2 weeks and went back to wow.


1 other thing

the most important things of an mmo      is gear        the end-game           and imo diversification of abilities.

Posted by FallopianTube

i wonder when WoW's dominance will ever come to an end.

Posted by McBain

I can't believe WoW's subscription numbers are still climbing. However, it is an MMO and it will feel the test of time soon enough. Then again, by that time I'm sure a WoW 2 will have rolled around.

Posted by Kazona

Haven't played it, and never will. There's just nothing about it that appeals to me.

Posted by JoelTGM

People only need one MMO.  WoW is a great one, so all these other developers who think they can make a better MMO, it doesn't matter if you can because people aren't going to drop everything just to play it.  So far though, noone has made a better MMO, they're all just copying eachother now.

Posted by Kohe321

I stopped because the game was bad. Trailers looked so promising, but oh did the game let me down... Never trust a trailer, eh?

The first 20 levels were kind of fun, but once you got out of tortage it was like funcom yanked money out of your hands, yelled "Hahahahaha fooled you, sucker!" and ran away.

Posted by Shinryu

WoW has such a monopoly on the PC MMO genre that i can imagine it being nearly impossible to attain a big userbase. Valiant effort though AoC.

Posted by IncredibleBulk92

its still incredible to me that WoW is still growing, are there still people on this planet who haven't heard of WoW?  Conan looked kinda interesting to me but I don't think my PC could give me a stable enough frame rate to keep me happy.  If they gave out a few free trials then maybe I'd try it

Posted by TripMasterMunky

We need KOTOR MMO

Edited by TheTemplar

Played conan from pre-release up to a few months ago. I enjoyed it, espescially the combat. However lack of content really killed it for me. I might go back if they give me a reason, I really just want something to kill a few hours with here and there, can't really take all the raiding.


I personally don't think Conan will close down. Remember, Funcom managed to turn a profit off Anarchy Online, one of the worst mmo launches ever. Didn't they report 800 000 sold copies of AoC in august? Which in just pure sales is good. At the same time I'm guessing that the current subscriber base doesn't exceed 100 000. I think funcom has waited for the population to stabilize and now they are merging servers to increase overall enjoyment and decrease server costs.

I'm not sure what the buisness arrangement is between Eidos and Funcom. I don't think Funcom themselves will close down Conan, but if forced by Eidos they might.
Posted by AndrewB

The way I figure it, if a game like World of Warcraft can't draw me in, given my love affair with the RTS Warcraft games, then an MMO like Age of Conan doesn't stand a chance.

I could strill see them putting the game out on the 360, though. The work to port it seems minimal, and the returns could possibly be enough to keep the game afloat, due to the large install base the 360 has acquired in North America.

Posted by ArtG

I got to about the mid 50s and stopped. My friends had stopped playing, rampant bugs curbed my progress and a lack of interesting content sealed Conan's fate.
The PvP was pretty fun for a while, but the lack of end-game content and general unfinished nature of the game is saddening. They needed another year to finish that game.

Posted by teknohed

I was interested in this game, but I don't really play PC games any more (except the odd RTS here and there).  I would be a lot more likely to play this game on my 360.   Who knows if I'll ever get the chance.

Edited by BigDo6

It is unfortunate that WoW the genre savior is actually the genre destroyer. With the failure of AoC and Warhammer (in terms of player population) it would seem no MMO can survive while World of Warcraft still exists. The loss of AoC is especially lamentable when you examine all the great things that the game brought to the table.

Posted by dagas

Well most of the players have been screaming for a server merge since the population is quite small. I've been playing since December and I think it's quite good. I'm not a huge fan of MMO games though, but it's not worse than any other MMORPG in terms of grinding and such and the grahpics are probably the best in any MMO game which is always nice. I'm a very casual player, only lvl 40 after one month, from what I've heard the problem with the game is the end game contet or lack there of, haven't had that problem yet though.

Posted by RHCPfan24

Oh well. This is why I don't play MMO's.

Posted by DJDarkViper

buddies tried to sucker me into Conan, whome all played to Level 80 and told me "The game doesn't start until lvl 50 or so"  but besides the fact im hearing alot of the total opposite, but seriously, WTF? "The real game dont start till lvl **"? that bullcrap, the game should start at lvl 1, and THEN the game gets awesome with additional content down the line.
Concentrate onthe first impression, you got yourself a deal setter.
I LOVED Wows intro to the Undead, the beginning quests were easy to digest and handle, and the fluid animations looked great.
I dont really play WoW as MMos arent my thing, but WoW definitely knew how to catch you initially. Which is something Conan lacked BADLY.

Posted by hide

18 servers isn't that small. Most these Asian MMO's run with one or two servers and those are mostly free-to-play.

Posted by kwyrt

The way I see it the only thing that stands a chance again WOW is a Star Wars MMO. Sci Fi instead of Fantansy. And already has a HUGE fanbase.

Edited by TheAdmin

I played till level 45 and then quit. The major reason was the client would crash after an hour or so of play with no fixes from Funcom (at the time). The other reasons were slimmer and slimmer content the higher the level, instancing levels at every chance making things feel small, castles/siege battles not in, a really poor crafting/gathering system... There were just so many bugs, that it got annoying to just play the game.

I loved the combat system and the lore/settings of the game... oh well...

Posted by Standing_Gopher

I stopped at around level 23 or so because everything past Tortage was just kinda boring. I ended up taking a break from MMOs and I just subscribe to GameFly now.

Posted by StaticFalconar

We all must bow down to the power of WoW

Posted by Dryker

It's funny how so many people consider AoC a failure. I they apply the same logic to a comparison of the Wii and Xbox 360, the 360 would be a failure as well: leaving the PS3 in some deserted bargain bin.

Posted by Weltal

AoC was a blast to play for the first month. I got my Barbarian to level 75 and I saw all I needed to see. While AoC had very little to do in the way of end game content at the time I'm pretty sure it's more my own mentality of playing a game till I'm bored of it that made me leave. I'd probably do the same for any MMO if I ever got to the end as I did with AoC.

Posted by Jimbo

At this stage it seems ridiculous to be talking about 'WoW-killing' MMO - half can't even manage 'Profitable Business Model' MMO.  I'm sure there is still a huge untapped market for MMOs, but nobody will access it by releasing WoW clones over and over again.  If person x wanted a level-based fantasy MMO they would already be playing WoW - they are likely too invested in WoW to drop it for something extremely similar in setting and gameplay.

I played a decent amount of WoW when it came out, a little Conan, Guild Wars, City of Heroes.  There are differences between them obviously, but by and large they are all the same game.  I have no objection to getting hooked on an MMO, but I have no interest in playing level-chase in fairyland anymore.

There will be succesful MMOs in the future, but they have to appeal to the people that *aren't* playing WoW - rather than trying to steal WoW's users.  That means a non-fantasy setting and a different style of gameplay.  Jumpgate Evolution has some potential if it's actually good (unlikely).  KOTOR has potential if they can make it so you're playing for the story and content, rather than the levelling (unlikely).

I figure there's still room for a modern warfare MMO, along the lines of BF2 or CoD but with a persistant world - shooters are popular (at least as popular as Fantasy RPGs) and a lot of FPSers wouldn't be seen dead playing WoW.  Somehow make it Multi-Plat (a la FFXI iirc) so that 360 users can take on PS3 users and you're set! 'Your System Needs You!' :)




Posted by Hamz

Played this game for two to three months after launch. Probably one of the best examples of a game that gets next to no support from its developer and was released a good 6 months before it should have been. Bad game, bad support, great graphics. Thats Age of Conan in a nutshell.

Posted by DukeTogo
kwyrt
on Jan. 12, 2009
The way I see it the only thing that stands a chance again WOW is a Star Wars MMO. Sci Fi instead of Fantansy. And already has a HUGE fanbase.

They tried that, and actually launched before WoW.  It had some great ideas (along with some terrible ones) but they tried too hard to chase the casual fan and ruined the game.  The fact that you don't know about Star Wars Galaxies or the fact it is still live speaks for itself.

As for AoC, I played it up to the part where you left the island.  But the lack of an explorable open world and the steep system requirements forcing me to play at minimal settings made it a chore.  They also kind of threw everything but the kitchen sink at the design in terms of clas mechanics, four fewer classes and some more deliberate class roles would have helped.  When I left almost every class was a hybrid and parties were non-existant.

If the 360 version is indeed still in the works a move to make the only current gen console MMO would be a way to carve a niche into an untapped market.  There were quite a few people looking forward to the 360 port back when it was announced.  A console MMO isn't a pipe dream, it just needs to have the looks and play mechanics to keep people interested.  The main issue before was the lack of a Hard Drive, FFXI showed it could work and it too is still alive and playable on consoles.
Posted by Duke_Lion

I am not the least bit surprised,  I felt the game was great until level 20.  Its almost like they just made the first 20 levels good so the game would receive good reviews and after that they did not care.

Posted by Hamz
Duke_Lion said:
"I am not the least bit surprised,  I felt the game was great until level 20.  Its almost like they just made the first 20 levels good so the game would receive good reviews and after that they did not care."
Tortage was brilliant and had such atmosphere to it that once you left and hit the other areas of the game it became obvious that it was rushed in developement. After tortage there was barely any content.
Edited by BawlZINmotion

Most people I spoke to who played through the Tortage content (1-22, roughly) thought it was one of the best MMO experiences they ever had. Myself included. However after that Age of Conan just starts to fall apart. Almost every comlaint or issue can be grouped into one description, AoC was no where near completion and should have never gone live when it did. In fact during closed beta when Funcom announced it would be ending, many people were quite surprised. It's really too bad because AoC had a lot of potential. Perhaps the 360 version will benefit from longer development and lack of competition. I'd like to see a finished version of this game do well.

Posted by sheira

I played up to 46, then it simple bored me to death. I felt like I'am forcing myself to start playing and grindin'.

WoW sux, but there is really nothing else..

Edited by ultrapeanut

It was fascinating to watch the evolution of this game's public perception. When everything was new and shiny, people were so excited about it! So many people were into it, and a lot of people really believed this was the next big thing in MMOs. And then, just as quickly as it burst out of the gates, the entire house of cards imploded so dramatically Icarus would have blushed.  I mean, there have been entertaining MMO failures before (sup Hellgate), but this one really was amazing.

Maybe Funcom will salvage this like they salvaged Anarchy Online. I'm looking forward to trying AoC out in 2012.

Edited by Shadowsquire

Too bad. I played for about a month and really liked the game. I only stopped playing because the guild I had started out in fell apart. Its a very guild oriented game and if you dont have one, it sucks. The only thing i didnt like about the game was the armour. Everything looked the same! But other than that it was great. Looked amazing, combat was fun and acutally interactive, there were guild cities and such. Just a bit of a shame it didnt work out.

Speaking of new MMOs, has anybody ever heard of Darkfall? I just looked it up again and apparently its coming out in Europe on the 22nd! This is an MMO that i really wanted to get a look at.
Posted by Media_Master

I never played Conan or WoW...

Posted by BiG_Weasel

Personally, I'm glad WoW retains such a high user base. It keeps all the turds away from my Warhammer Online. :)

Posted by Bucketdeth

Yeah read my review on it, the game isn`t that great.
My review is supposed to be 2.5 stars not 5.