Game Director Letter – March 2015

Hi everybody,

I’ve just spent the past two weeks in the US and Canada finalizing the roadmap for the year and working out our ambitions for Age of Conan. I’ll talk more about that later in the letter, but for now, let me cover our recent updates and what is coming next.

The Achievement system was patched live in early February and thus far it has been well received by the community. It has added a broad range of additional content to the game, providing new reasons to visit old regions and dungeons, as well as other activities in the open world such as the Playfield Races and the Leaps of Faith. Personally I have particularly enjoyed watching the Leap of Faith videos being posted on Youtube.

We’re not done with the Achievement system yet, as the second wave of achievements is well under way. This next update will include the Panoramas – 139 of them which range from the Acheronian ruins to the Purple Spires of Paikang.

The update will include the hidden treasure system revamp. After the update, all chests/digspots will provide a 1 time reward of loot appropriate to the level of the location of minimum uncommon quality with a good chance of at least rare quality. The revamp ties into our new achievements for finding all hidden treasures.

In addition the update will also add more solo/dungeon/raid instance challenges which bring additional dynamics to classic encounters and new rare bosses will start to appear across Hyboria…

Looking forward, the roadmap for Age of Conan in 2015 starts with a focus on the arena we have announced. We’ll roll this out over a couple of updates, starting with the solo pvp and the pet fighting mechanics, followed later by the team version. The reasons for this are fairly simple, a scripted system works perfectly for the small scale PvP and PvE components, but for the larger team content we will need code resources to reliably control team signup.

From there, our attention turns to a couple of major features that will expand our endgame progression system. You already know about the crafting system, of course, but the other piece of this puzzle is an expansion to the AA system.

As this system is in the early stages of design, it is important to note that our plans might change. But currently, we are planning on using the system to expand the weapon types available to various classes, as well as unlocking new combos and abilities for those weapons. This will create a greater amount of versatility within each class – and allows us to itemize the game with new weapons made useful for expanded.

Combined with the new crafting system, we expect it to have a significant impact on the end game of Age of Conan and provide us multiple options for itemizing our upcoming content.

My other main reason for the trip to visit the team in the US and Canada is because I have been moved into a different role in Funcom. This will take all of my focus for the foreseeable future, so I have been handing off my duties to various people on the live team.

It has been a pleasure for me to return to Age of Conan after being away from the project for a few years, and taking up the reigns of Howard’s creation once again is a huge honor. Over the past couple of years, we’ve attempted to create content that brings added value to the game, making it repeatable and providing players with that “something to do” every time they log in.

I’m very proud of what the team has achieved and I am 100% certain that they will continue to deliver amazing content and systems for the Age of Conan community.

The Game Director Letter format will change slightly due to this change. Senior Community Manager Sezmra will now be writing the community updates every month. She will interview the developers to find out all of the nitty gritty details of what they are working on. Expect to hear more diverse voices than simply mine every month, and hopefully a more rounded insight into the development process through these community updates.

And speaking of the community, you’ve always been vocal and passionate and being a part of that passion has been a great experience for me over the past couple of years. Your love for the world of Hyboria is as motivating and humbling as bringing my assassin to a PvP minigame!

Thanks for everything,