Friday Update: Answers from Kalanthes 1

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What’s on the mind of the Age of Conan community? Today, we find out. We’ve compiled some of the questions and put them to the wisest man in the land.

In looking at some of the interviews, mounted combat looks very exciting, and would make travel a little nicer, but one question came up for me since where I preordered from gives you a free mount. Can mounts be hurt or killed to the point where you permanently lose them? If so, will it be hard for a player to get hit or knocked off a mount without the mount dying first?

When you get on your horse (or mammoth or rhino or whatever), you and the mount share the same health and stamina pool. That’s not to say there won’t be bonuses for being on them, but the game will treat the “you” and “the horse” as one unit, so when you get killed or run out of stamina, the horse gets killed or runs out of stamina (though, yes, you can be unhorsed). However, you will not permanently lose them. There may be a penalty for getting your mount killed, but you will not lose them forever.

Will the damage done by mounts be realistic ? (like a mammoth “crushing” enemies or a rhino “horning” (damage with the horn^^)

All of the mount attacks are based on the sorts of things that mount would do in real life. For example, horses kick (to the front or to the rear) and mammoths will use their tusks against their enemies, while rhinos will use their horns for their attacks. There will be other attacks, but they will be within the realm of the realistic as well.

1. Are we Still choosing our archetype at level 5 and our class at level 20? Or has that changed recently. I am not sure if you saw the banter on the forums, but there are several threads saying that you now choose your archetype/class at level 1. Does this help with the concept of not knowing who you are when you arrive on the beach?

2. What is up with the square-shaped haircut you have on your forehead?

1. You will choose your class at character creation. We decided that some time ago. The “grow into your archetype and class” idea was one of those that sounded great on paper, but proved to be not-so-great in gameplay, for the simple reason that nobody likes spending 10, 20, 30, or more hours playing their characters, only to find out they screwed up, picked the wrong archetype for what they want to play, or they really don’t like playing a “barbarian” after all that time spent. We also heard (from our testers and elsewhere) that people wanted to feel like they were playing a class right away, rather than waiting days or weeks to actually start playing as their class of choice. Ultimately, it was punishing the player for choices they made when they were new, which is a surefire way to make them stop playing. Think back to all those old adventure games where you had to pick up an item on the second screen, you couldn’t go back, and it was impossible to beat the game without it, and you only found that out after spending a month of playtime on it. Saying, “Surprise, you picked the wrong thing at character select! Try harder, noob!” after weeks or months of gameplay makes people a bit testy.

2. When you get as old as I, you will understand how strange and hilarious hairlines can become and smirk when young people ask you questions like these.

Will there be a sidekick/mentoring-type system in the game, so lower-level players can play with their high level friends?

We are planning to have something like this and it’s currently being worked on internally. More details will have to wait.

If I may ask, will there ever be a time where formations, either rigid or loose, will grant bonuses to players in the land of Hyboria?

Player formations will have some bonuses (in the game mechanic sense), but it is built around a few of the classes rather than being a universal thing. For example, Conquerors will have abilities related to formations that grant bonuses for being close to them, which keeps the original intention of the formation system (rewarding coordination and cooperation) without forcing people to play the game a certain way or lose control of their character.

That said, I would be extremely surprised if people didn’t figure out their own formations and group layouts. For example, a tight hallway might be used to keep swarms of enemies back with only a small number of people (and see 300 if you’d like to see how that might work), and it can be impossible to escape when an enemy has you surrounded (without hacking your way through them, of course), simply because of the collision system.

Will there be corpse runs and, if not, how will we regain our bodies? Also, how long will it take to rez and be back in a battle for PvP?

This is something we’re still messing with in beta at the moment, so these words should not be held as Gospel truth, but as a statement of where we are now. At the moment, there are no corpse runs, but once you return to the land of the living at a resurrection point, there is a debuff (stat hits) for dying. This debuff can be taken away by running back to where you died, finding your tombstone, and clicking on it. This works the same in PvP, so it would only be a few minutes before you’re back in the fray. However, the death penalty can be quite significant. If one guy has a huge death penalty and the other does not, the guy with the death penalty will probably lose the fight (all things being equal, of course).

Can you jump in AoC? Can you Swim? How exactly do you regen mana outside of combat or is there even an "in combat feature"?

Yes, you can jump and swim (the water effects are very cool!). Mana is regenerated in the usual way, by being out of combat, sitting down and resting, etc.

In other online games I like mages that cast big bad spells. In Age of Conan which class do you think would help fit that role that I like?

Of the mage classes, the Necromancer and Demonologist are the two that are closest to the “guy who stands in the back and rains fiery death down on their foes” traditional archetype, however, both of these have their own strengths, weaknesses, and quirks.

Seeing the way testers have played the class, the Necromancer has an array of nasty things they can do to their foes, but the class plays best with an eye on their pets and using their pets tactically to their best advantage. You can just blast away, of course (and it can be a lot of fun), but controlling and coordinating pets and working with them and your team will be your focus if you wish to excel.

The Demonologist also has a pet, of course, but they tend to be more focused on putting out a lot of nasty magical damage directly, with the pet as a supplement, rather than a focus. Of course, both sport their own unique abilities in teams and have an array of buffs and things to make them useful, with the Demonologist having a slightly more offensive focus of the two.

Wise Kalanthes, While minding my own business at my usual table at the cavern, this welp of a man knocks the beer I was nursing from my hand and embeds a shoddy knife into my table, inches away from my left hand. I like that table, so naturally I was displeased. I demonstrated this by quickly inserting his own knife back into his skull--handle first. The resulting mess caused a problematic stain on my tunic which I have been unable to expunge, despite all manners of effort spent on the cause. This also displeases me. Wise Kalanthes, help rid me of this stain.

In your debt, Fenris Nighte

I have seen several methods that work well. Cold water can help, if the stain is still relatively fresh, as can spit (yes, spit). Using simple soap and cold water may also help, and your local laundress can suggest various methods (or even do it herself) if my advice fails you. Finally, you may consider spending more time at the tavern, as getting in enough disagreements with knives can result in your tunic having that particular stain all over it, turning an unsightly mark into cutting edge fashion.

Are PVP servers free for all or kingdom based?

While we haven’t decided what the final PvP ruleset will be, as it’s in testing now, the class balance between the races isn’t setup for a “race wars”-style server.

If Age of conan gets popular, will I then be able to buy "gaming-cards" like in Wow and LOTRO, or do i have to pay with creditcard?

We have plans for game timecards, yes.

What does the AoC team look for in a beta tester?

Lots of different things, actually. Sometimes, it’s about the hardware they have (like we need to test high-end machines, low-end machines, laptops, whatever). Sometimes, it’s location-based (like we need more North Americans to test servers there or something like that). Sometimes, we pull from the forum “veterans,” as we call them, and selection criteria there can basically be described as “Has this person been around for a while? Are they a good poster that would give us useful feedback?” rather than simply relying on their registration date or postcount. Above all, we look for a good attitude and someone who seems like they can deal with the fact that it is beta and not a free trial of the game, rather than someone looking to play for free or demanding a key for various reasons.

Got a burning question for Kalanthes? Email with Ask Kalanthes in the subject, and you may just get selected for the next installment of Ask Kalanthes.

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