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Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (abbreviated AoC and often called simply Age of Conan) is an MMORPG developed by Norwegian game developer Funcom and published by Eidos Interactive. The game released on May 20th, 2008 for PC and was expected to be released in Fall 2008 for the Xbox 360. However, the Xbox 360 version has been pushed back until further notice.
This article concerns itself with the development and history of Age of Conan. For information on gameplay, browse elsewhere in this Wiki; a great place to start is the Introduction to Age of Conan
The game is set in the world of The Hyborian Age, created by author Robert E. Howard more than 70 years ago. The world has since been further developed through many comics, novels and short stories by other authors, and in two films. The game is set about a year after the events of the Conan novel The Hour of the Dragon, after Conan has regained the throne of Aquilonia.
Developers have tried to keep as close to the lore as possible while designing the game, making the game reflect the dark and sinister Hyborian Age. The game is primarily based on the lore created by Howard himself, not the comics and derivative woks created afterwards. However, some divergences are apparent, e.g. the game has more female warriors than Howard's stories.
Funcom delayed Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures on January 21, 2008 and again on March 24, 2008. The delays were widely reported by online game magazines such as IGN. Once released, the game sold over 500,000 copies worldwide by June 1, 2008. Six days later one million copies had been shipped in total.
Between March 2005 and January 2006, Funcom periodically revealed concept art and screenshots from Age of Conan. The Art Director for the Conan project is Didrik Tollefsen, known for such classics as The Longest Journey and Anarchy Online – Shadowlands, which won the Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction award in 2003.
On January 24, 2006, Funcom unveiled the community portal for Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. By this time, much of the pre-launch community had gathered around the forums and IRC chat of the official Age of Conan website. There were informal events such as IRC chats with the developers and, in summer 2006, community contests.
In April 2006, Funcom created a forum for guild recruitment entitled the Guild Hall for its pre-launch community, allowing forum members began organizing their player guilds.< In January 2007, several important updates were announced regarding the expected launch window for the game. Also on January 12, 2007, Funcom announced the original twenty-three classes had been merged down to fourteen classes to avoid the lack of diversity between them.
On February 7, 2008, Funcom and Eidos announced that over 500,000 people had signed up for the Beta Testing of Age of Conan.
On May 19, 2008, GameZone.com presented a series of original fictional stories by Michael Lafferty, stemming from the massively multiplayer online world of Age of Conan – Hyborian Adventures. The stories were written with the permission and cooperation of Funcom. The tales explore the world, the characters and the lore involved in Hyboria.
In September 2008, Gaute Godager, the Producer and Game Director resigned from his role in Age of Conan and from Funcom, a company he had been involved in for over 16 years. In his press release, he revealed that he was not happy with elements in the game's development since release. He was succeeded by Craig Morrison, previously live Game Director of Anarchy Online, and community manager for various Funcom community forums.
On August 18, 2009, Funcom launched a website showcasing the upcoming expansion, Rise of the Godslayer. Set in the mythical land of Khitai, it features a new Eastern theme.
The expansion was released on May 11, 2010 and provided new areas for low level characters in the form of a home zone for the new playable race, the Khitans; and also provided four additional regions for characters of advanced level. The new content also includes new companions that can be trained for use as combat pets, or as mounts. A faction system was introduced in order to add variety and re-playability to the new zones. The expansion was largely intended to add diversity to players' experiences at the end of the game. Through new quests, group instances, and raids, players are able to gather tokens to buy new armor sets. An additional incentive is the Alternate Advancement system; a new tree of character feats or perks that are acquired by means of a dedicated point system.
New original music was added by composer Knut Avenstroup Haugen to convey the Asiatic atmosphere of the expansion region.
Funcom's Game Director has indicated that yet more content for the expansion, as well as upgrades to the DX10 version of the game, will be added later in 2010.