Age of Conan: Unchainedby Aethyna Dec 11, 2014 | 1 Votes | 0 Played | 0 Reviews
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Previously a subscription-based game, Age of Conan: Unchained became free-to-play (but with several restrictions) just 3 years ago. This game has one of the best low fantasy lore ever written (You surely have heard of Conan the Barbarian!) and an innovative yet tough-to-master battle system that rivals that of TERA. There are also huge battlekeep sieges between warring guilds as well as an interesting mounted combat in this game. For PvE fans, Age of Conan provides plenty of instances, both big and small (6-man to 24-man), to sate your appetites. This is a solid game that every fan of the MMORPG genre should try! Don’t hesitate, unleash your inner barbarian and download it today!
The game is set in a semi-historical ancient world, called the Hyborian Age, created by Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian, as well as influenced by Lovacraftian lore. This age is set during the time in between the sinking of Atlantis and the start of recorded history. The world then is large and consists of many various nations and races.
The timeline in Age of Conan: Unchained starts shortly after King Conan regained the throne of one of the largest nations of the world, Aquilonia. Prior to becoming king, Conan has played various roles in the past, including a captain of the guard, a pillage, a pirate and even the leader of a band of bandits. However, King Conan is now facing a more sinister evil that seeks to overthrow him. And this is where you come in! Being an ex-slave who escaped from a shipwrecked slave galley, fateful circumstances has brought you to King Conan, to help him vanquish the evil that is threatening the land. Are you up to the task?
Ready to start exploring the beautiful world of the Hyborian Age? Just download the game, install it, patch it up and you’re set to start!
After selecting a server (PvE, PvP or Role-playing and PvP servers) that suits your play style, you’ll need to create a character to explore the world with. In Age of Conan: Unchained, there are 4 races available, namely Aquilonian, Cimmerian (the race of King Conan), Stygian and Khitan (that comes with the expansion pack, which you will have to buy).
The game also has 4 archetype character classes – Soldier, Priest, Rogue and Mage. Each of these classes can be further specialized into 3 sub-classes, making the total number of classes to be 12. Soldiers, for example, can specialize into Guardians, Dark Templars or Conquerors. Though, you should be mindful of which character you choose since free-to-play players are only allowed to create up to 2 characters per account. Furthermore, each race will only be allowed to choose certain classes, for instance, Cimmerians can be rogues, soldiers and mages, but not priests.
Next, you’ll need to customize your character. Age of Conan provides its players with an extensive array of character customization options, such as character's height and build, character’s voice, and even his or her body or facial markings! With so many options, any player will be able to make their character look unique!
Now that you have your character up and running, you might want to know how the game works. Unlike most MMORPGs, combat in Age of Conan is designed to increase player involvement and is comparable to that of TERA. Firstly, there is no auto-attack or targeting features in this game. Players are, instead, given full control over their attacks. For instance, the basic melee attack allows you to attack from the left or right, or in the middle. Furthermore, since you cannot target your enemies, you’ll also need to properly position your character to face your enemies in order to get a hit. It is, of course, best to attack your enemy’s unprotected side for maximum damage. The game even has a combo system, allowing players to follow certain chains of attack to deal more damage to the enemies.
This combat system also applies to ranged battles, whereby instead of clicking to target an enemy, the player has to actually aim instead! There are a few ways of aiming at your enemy; some deal more damage while requiring more skills. Others, on the other hand, can be easier to aim, but are less effective. This tougher ranged combat system makes skills very important for ranged classes. An interesting point to note: since there is no such thing as ‘targeting’ in this game, this means that you may even be able to deal damage to more than 1 opponent if you have the skill to execute such manoeuvres.
Spell casters in Age of Conan: Unchained have their very own one-of-its-kind combat system, called spellweaving, as well. While casters have normal spells to use against their opponents, they also have spellweaving that allows several spells to be combined together, dealing a more catastrophic damage in a single attack. Multiple players are even able to cast a spell together by mixing spells from different caster classes to produce a unique and powerful spell that can perform awesome feats.
Owing to the very hard combat system Age of Conan provides, the PvP scene in this game can be rather demanding to play. Don’t get fooled by the tutorial whereby enemies will fall by your blade in a simple hack and slash. Other players will definitely put up a much tougher challenge. After all, humans can sometimes be very unpredictable.
Age of Conan: Unchained also offers mounted combat to its players. Rather than just using mounts as a way to travel from one point to the other, you can actually engage in a fight from the back of your mount. This is true no matter what kind of mount you have - horses, camels or the other special mounts in the game. Despite being rather unique feature, mounted combat is disappointingly limited in the game.
Do you like the massively-scaled castle siege battles of old? Who doesn’t, right? Siege combats in Age of Conan are technically PvP battles of epic proportions! This form of combat provides the players with an assortment of siege engines and special mounts that are designed to bring down mighty guild-owned battlekeeps in the PvP zone, The Border Kingdoms. Guilds in Age of Conan are allowed to build player cities as a way to impact the world. Player cities act as the base of operations of the guild and provide the opportunity for guild members to construct buildings. Moreover, NPC vendors can be set up in player cities not only for guild members to sell items, and also for other players from various guilds to come and buy.
Love to raid dungeons or instances? Well, Age of Conan: Unchained offers a wide variety of 6-man group instances that you can sign up for after you reached level 30. There are also several tiers of 24-man raid instances that are available for max level characters looking for some end-game raiding. However, most of the instances are currently accessible to payers only. Free-to-play players have a rather limited choice when it comes to instances, though this may soon change as the director of the game plans to open up more end-game content to free-to-play players.
Let’s not forget about quests as well! The quests in this game are the usual ‘kill a certain enemy’, ‘talk to a particular NPC’, ‘collect items’, or a combination of the above. These quests usually reward either items or money. However, what’s interesting is that, in Age of Conan: Unchained, you are given several dialogue choices when you are conversing with an NPC. In other words, you can choose what you want to speak! Though, these dialogues do not contribute to the development of your character or the progression of your quest in any way (there aren’t any karma system in this game).
If you’re a crafting nut instead, don’t worry, Age of Conan has something for you too! At level 20, you will unlock the basic gathering professions and at level 40, you will be able to learn 2 crafting professions out of the 5 offered at your crafting trainer. The professions in this game are very easy to level and can be levelled alone. However, once you reach the top tier of certain crafting professions, taking alchemy as an example, you will need to be in a guild that has an alchemist’s workshop constructed within the guild city in order to proceed.
Furthermore, Age of Conan is a game that encourages exploration. It provides rewards in the form of hidden chests when you veered off your questing path to explore side-trails. These niches will usually contain some enemies for you to fight as well – you can’t possibly expect the game to give away free stuff for nothing right? It’s a game on “Conan the Barbarian” for goodness’s sake – you’ll have to at least hit a few enemies around for your loot!
This game also has a multipurpose trader. You should definitely pay him a visit if you want to put up stuff for sale, store mementos from your adventures, use the postal service as well as buy items at the auction. It’s convenient in the sense that you won’t need to run all over town just to do some ‘business’ to earn money in this game.
The only qualms on this game would probably be its rather stingy inventory and the lengthy name selection process. In this game, you are only allowed 12 slots. With potions and food taking up some space, you have hardly enough space to adventure freely without the need to rush back to town to sell your loot every 10 minutes. Thankfully, the quest inventory, where all your quest items are stored in, is separate from your main inventory. Not to mention, most of the names in the game is somehow unavailable… even the most obscure ones. You’ll definitely be spending some time trying to come up with a name that someone has never thought of before, short of rolling your face across the keyboard and hoping for the best, of course.
If you’re planning to try this game, you should understand that this game has some pretty mature content, including virtual gore (virtual blood that splatters across the screen, for example) and some other R-rated visuals. However, this also means that the community that you’ll be interacting with in this game via chat are mature and well-mannered. For more lengthy discussions on the game or on Conan in general, you can head over to the forums to do so. You may even meet fellow fans of Conan the Barbarian (the comic) there!
In addition, despite being a free-to-play game, Age of Conan: Unchained is not plagued with the incessant spamming of in-game currency sellers. This definitely makes the game much better than some other F2P MMORPGs. The game also has a group of dedicated players who, as quoted from the website, “provide voluntary assistance to both players and GM” called the Followers of Asura. This means that the community in Age of Conan regulates themselves and keeps all the miscreants (the trollers, spammers and the like) in line. It’s like having the powers of a mini-GM, pretty cool, huh?
Although Age of Conan: Unchained has rather dated graphics, it is forgivable considering that the game is released in 2008 – in 2008, the graphics in this game is considered as one of the best. Nonetheless, the game does have several beautiful marvels like the House of Crom or Jade Citadel. You can go ahead and Google to see screenshots of those places if you wish!
The sound in this game, although soothing to the ear, is average at best and not particularly memorable. Its voice overs for the quest text are rather fragmented as well - some parts of the text have voice overs while other parts seem to be missing their audio files.
The transition of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures to Age of Conan: Unchained has been a very well-received move, particularly to the free-to-play community. This game features a great combat system that, although has a steep learning curve, is comparable to that of TERA. The game also provides plenty of other unique combat systems, including spellweaving, battlekeep sieges and mounted combat. Furthermore, Age of Conan promotes exploration in the well-designed game world by rewarding players who went off the beaten track. All in all, if you don’t mind the slightly old-fashioned graphics, view the tough combat system as a challenge and has an obsessive (The word ‘obsessive’ may be a bit exaggerated here) love of everything ‘Conan’, Age of Conan: Unchained is a really good MMORPG that you should try out!