Game Director’s Letter – May 2013

Game Director’s Letter – May 2013

Hi everyone.

As you all know, May has been an active month for Age of Conan. We've had server moves, anniversary celebrations and Membership changes. Let's talk about these features and their implications for the future of the game.

Server Merges and Moves

I’ll start with the server move. As I outlined in the letter last month, there are several phases in our plan to consolidate the population of Age of Conan and introduce the single server technology. The first phase was moving the servers to the same physical location. This phase has been completed and we are preparing to move towards the new phase.

In the wake of this, people have raised concerns about stability and latency. We are deploying a new network layer to the testserver, which should improve stability, reduce (and hopefully eliminate) the lag spikes. You can help us out by jumping on there and testing it!
The second phase, which involves the merging of same ruleset servers, will be completed as early as possible this summer. Consolidating the population and getting the game into a position where people will always have somebody to play with has been a high priority and we expect this to have an impact on both the PvE and PvP aspects of the game.

5th Anniversary & Event System

I'd like to thank everybody who joined us for the 5th Anniversary Event - it was amazing to see hundreds of people banding together to take down the five boss monsters who were spawning across the world!

Of course, during the 5th anniversary we also made permanent improvements to the Age of Conan Membership and gave out free gifts to all. There has never been a better time to join the fight!

Let me take a moment here to talk about an interesting part of the new tech that was involved in the 5th anniversary events and how it will benefit Age of Conan in the future.

In the olden days, we used to have to run a patch to begin an event, and a second patch to end an event. This was cumbersome for both us and the players - downtimes always involve a lot of people and this meant a lot of work to run a single event.

The new system allows us to create events and activate them whenever we wish. This means that we can run events on the fly, without taking down the servers and escalate them on the fly, as we did each day of the 5th Anniversary event.

It means that a GM can kick start one of these events in the game by running a simple command. Obviously this has many applications, but the upshot of it is this - you can expect to see a wider variety of events in Age of Conan going forward.

And they might be completely spontaneous, so keep your eyes peeled for strange occurrences (and no invisible horses don't count!)

Coming Updates

Finally, the Coils of Ubah Khan, a group dungeon in Dragon's Spine, should be available on Testlive and ready for testing. The next version that we have created has over 200 different bugfixes in both code and content and should be a step forward for stability and gameplay in Hyboria.

Above and beyond the Coils of Ubah Khan, you can expect to see a batch the new Unchained Dungeons ready to go live during the summer months. As described in my previous letter, these are some of the pre-80 dungeons, redone as level 80 content with new challenges and gear.

Once those have been delivered, the focus will shift to the Palace of Cetriss and the new minigame map which are being developed in tandem.

Work continues on the Unchained minigames and the systems team will have this as a focus during summer as well as the new tradeskill system. As I mentioned during the last letter, a part of the tradeskill system being held up is the other systems which interact with them. But there is another piece of this equation - the content.

The question is what becomes of Purple Lotus Swamp, Lacheish Plains and Poitain when we remove the crafting missions? These are areas of rich potential and plenty of space for enjoyable activities.

Currently we are weighing several ideas about what to do with these areas - but we would love your input! Head to the forums and share your thoughts.

Alright, thanks everybody for your time and patience. See you in Hyboria!

Joel Bylos
Creative Director