Archive for the ‘Age of Conan’ Category

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Battle Bards 10: Music From Age Of Conan

August 27, 2013

Battle Bards

A new episode of Battle Bards is live and ready for your listening pleasure!

Hard to believe we’re up to 10 episodes already! First of all, thank you if you’ve been listening all along, though you might have noticed a particular MMO with arguably one of the most renowned soundtracks has been left conspicuously unfeatured after so many weeks.

I am, of course, talking about Age of Conan! Well, by Crom, that’s because we’ve been saving ‘em all up for this one show! So sit back, relax, and join me, Syp and Syl as we take a look at the music from AoC and its expansion.

LISTEN NOW!

Age of Conan

Episode 10 show notes

  • Introduction (including “Northern Grassland”)
  • “Hamlets of Aquilonia”
  • “All Heroes Unite”
  • “Memories of Cimmeria”
  • “Villages of Khitai”
  • “Ambush from Three Directions”
  • “The Sands of Forgetfullness/Tortage Beach”
  • “The Damp Barachan Nights”
  • Mailbag
  • Outro

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Don’t Look Back In Anger

July 9, 2012

It was the summer of 2008, and I was sitting down to another session of Age of Conan, only to be bombarded with a whole host of problems ranging from minor graphical glitches to game-crashing memory leaks. After the third time I had to reboot my computer to restart the client, I said to myself, “ENOUGH!” and promptly switched over to play another game instead. Two weeks later, still getting problems and no fixes in sight, so I calmly logged into my AoC account and canceled my subscription. Anyway, that’s the story of me /rage quitting, guys, or the closest you’ll see me get.

Have I ever been pissed off by a broken game feature or mechanic? Of course I have. Have annoying issues ever made me stop playing? Sure. But has it ever made me lose faith in a developer completely? Hmm.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just too lenient, and it’s entirely possible that I’m not picky enough. If things get fixed, I guess I’m always willing go back. Or if they ever end up making a new expansion or game that catches my fancy, sure, I’ll check it out.

Which is why a couple years ago, I picked up AoC’s Rise of the Godslayer expansion at launch, and again — surprise, surprise — same problems. I was able to play a new Khitan character, but was unable to experience any of the new zones with my level 80 without crashing to desktop within five minutes.

Anyway, one would think I’d learn. When The Secret World was announced, yeah, I had my reservations that it was Funcom. I generally like what I see from them, but I’ve been burned by them in the past; in my case it was a myriad of technical problems and game instability during the early stages.

Still, as you know I did end up buying and playing TSW. Okay, so it’s not without its problems. I did have a few freak-outs especially at first when the game kept asking me to update my already updated drivers and starting up in a distorted window, and I still stumble upon little bugs and glitches, like this weekend when we had a complete meltdown of the chat servers. But hey, unlike my experience with AoC a few years ago, at least the game is playable. I’m immensely glad that I lucked out there.

When it comes to bungling companies, I guess I subscribe to the “I’ll never forget, but I can forgive” philosophy. And the truth is, I’m glad I keep giving Funcom chances because if I didn’t, I would have missed out on TSW. I don’t think I’ve had this much fun in an MMO in ages.

I hope they continue to fix any issues, because currently I feel they’re the biggest drawback. For instance, it’s hard to enjoy an investigation mission when you’re not sure if you’re just too bloody dense to solve a puzzle or if the quest itself is bugged to hell.

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Songs To Soothe

July 19, 2011

5 lovely game songs to soothe the mind, settle the stomach, fall asleep to when your  body’s on the mend.

Minecraft – Sweden

Back during my early days of playing Minecraft, I happened to chance upon a zombie pit while digging for coal in the side of a mountain. Because this was on Blue Kae’s multiplayer server back when all of us were still invincible, I was able to rid the place of the undead rather painlessly, plant my torches around the spawning pen and loot the treasure box at my leisure. Amidst its contents, I found a record.

Of course, it was another handful of days or so before I found the diamond block necessary for the (literal) centerpiece of my jukebox. I stuck it in, and the synthetic and upbeat “Cat” began to play. I think working on my in-game beachfront property to this tune is what made me fall in love with C418 and Minecraft music. When I bought the Volume Alpha soundtrack, this song “Sweden” was and remains one of my favorites.

It’s also my alarm because it’s such a beautiful song to wake up to.

Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer – Villages of Khitai

Thanks to composer Knut Avenstroup I think Age of Conan has the best soundtrack of any MMO. We had Helene Bøksle’s haunting vocals spicing up the soundtrack for Hyborian Adventures, but the Asian-themed expansion required something different. But the result is no less beautiful. I mean, my GOD, listen to this. If you’ve never listened to the whole thing, do yourself a favor or at least go to what in my opinion is the best part, which starts at approximately 1:39.

Oh, and a funny thing about the above video is, whoever made it actually grabbed one of the screenshots they used from this very blog. At 0:36, I was like, “Helloooooo, that’s familiar”. It’s my very own Khitan alt Xiaohuli.

Rift – Stillmoor

Inon Zur is another genius in the music composing business and he does a lot of games. Rift actually has a pretty good soundtrack all around, but the first time I set foot in Stillmoor and I heard this beautiful tune I was floored. Still patiently waiting for the day Trion decides to release the soundtrack separately, digital download would be nice.

But this might not actually be as soothing as I think it is, because really, only the intro is like that and even listening to that part actually gives me chills every single time.

Lord of the Rings Online – Red Stone and Golden Leaves

Same as I wrote last year, the song “Hills of the Shire” remains my favorite LOTRO track, even though the Tom Bombadil theme comes close (seriously, doesn’t that song just make you want to kick off your shoes, put on a floppy hat and prance around in a flowery field outside) but ever since I hit level 30-ish this “Red Stone and Golden Leaves” song has started growing on me. It’s probably not a coincidence that this is around the time you get to Rivendell, and that’s the song that plays when you enter the city.

Dragon Age: Origins – I Am The One

Another gem from Inon Zur. I think everything sounds infinitely more awesome when sung by a woman with a somber voice in an unintelligible language, in this case, the Dragon Age elven language. Heruamin lotirien. I don’t know what any of it means, but it doesn’t make me love it any less.

There is also a DJ Killa remix which if I remember correctly played during the end credits. I don’t know what it is, but when I heard it I just thought it was the perfect conclusion. Is a song still considered soothing if it makes you cry?

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A Long Weekend Of Patches

July 5, 2011

I hope everyone stateside had a restful long weekend this 4th of July. Personally, I had planned on getting in some gaming time, but instead found myself distracted by other activities — activities such as grilling hotdogs and burgers out in the yard, and enjoying many nights of firework displays around town, for instance. It was my first Independence Day in America, and I wanted to make it count!

I might not have done as much gaming as I’d have liked, but while I bustled about, my computer and internet chugged away at downloading updates all weekend, which was just as well:

Star Trek Online

I almost missed this, but Cryptic had another one of their Tribble test events this weekend, inviting testers to check out Season 4. I dabbled for as long as I dared, without revealing myself to too many spoilers. What little I did see was impressive enough, and I am itching to experience the new and revamped ground combat system as well as duty officers with my character on the live shard. Spending an hour or two on the Tribble test server this weekend also qualified players for a special reward, and this won’t end until 10am PST today so there’s still time if you hurry.

Age of Conan: Unchained

I’d been talking about jumping back into Hyboria ever since last week when AoC officially went freemium, but of course, I’m procrastinating already. I didn’t take the time to update the client until a couple days ago — and it was a massive download. Oh right, I’ve been away for a loooong time.

I’m definitely tempted to play, especially since I miss my level 80 Priest of Mitra, but seeing as full access to all the best gear, the best zones, and all the best content including the Alternative Advancement system requires a premium membership, looks like there’s a good chance of having to shell out at some point if I intend to do anything fun.

World of Warcraft

Another game I haven’t touched in a while, but decided to update anyway because of Blizzard’s recent announcement that you can now play WoW for free until level 20. I also got an email from them offering me seven days of free game time to experience Patch 4.2 Rage of the Firelands. Not that I have any interest in any new raids or gear, but one thing I do regret is canceling my WoW sub earlier this winter without first playing the Goblin starting zone. I may jump back in one of these days just to do that.

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Developer Appreciation Week (DAW): Saying My Thanks!

March 21, 2011

Last year, Scarybooster came up with a concept — one that I would love to see become a tradition — called Developer Appreciation Week (DAW) where for one week, gamers put aside all their criticism, gripes, and general negativity to show our devs some love.

I thought this was a wonderful idea. I mean, we all play the games we do for a reason, right? We play them because we like them, and because we find things we enjoy about them, and because they are fun. But too often when I look around the blogosphere, these reasons are overshadowed by even the smallest grievances and complaints. So how great would it be that for one week, we get to bury all that for a change, and just focus on the good things? To lavish praise where it is due? To be given leave to be as big a fanboy/fangirl as you please?

Last year I participated in DAW with a post that thanked entire teams and companies for making the MMOs I have enjoyed over the last twelve months, and I think I will continue with that format today. It’s too difficult for me to even pick one creative team to focus on, let alone an individual person! As Scary himself says, it is such a hard process to find a specific developer to praise because each of them deserves it. It takes a team to make a game, and they’ve all done such great work in my eyes.

To Funcom and the Age of Conan team – Thank you. Thank you for all the hard work you’ve put into improving AoC and for the Rise of the Godslayer expansion released last year. You brought to life the breathtaking world of Khitai and gave me the chance — even if it was only for a brief time — to experience the meaning of true beauty in an MMO. To this day, the time I spent in AoC remains one of my most immersive experiences. To Funcom, keep up the good work and I look forward to The Secret World.

To Cryptic and the Champions Online and Star Trek Online teams - Thank you. Thank you for being the company that works its butt off. Cryptic will always have a special place in my heart, for all the great memories their MMOs have given me and continues to give me every day. In making Champions free-to-play, I was able to jump right back into a game I never truly really wanted to leave in the first place (technical difficulties) and I never realized how much more fun it was in that game to play with other people. F2P makes that easy — I look forward to fighting villains with my friends Blue Kae, Talyn, Oakstout and others again soon.

To Daniel Stahl and the hardworking men and women developing STO, the good things I want to say can probably fill a book. I was so happy to be part of their one-year anniversary in-game celebrations. The game has had its ups and downs, that is true…but I have seen much passion and effort in the past year reflected in the updates and Q&As, and you listen to your fans, which I respect immensely. I still feel this game is one of the more underrated ones on the market; issues with ground combat and complaints about the awkwardness of ship maneuvering abound, but rarely have I seen real praise for what I truly believe is a unique and innovative crew system. And no appreciation post would be complete without a nod to their Feature Episodes — I am eagerly awaiting the next arc, as my weekends feel a little more empty now without them.

To ArenaNet and the Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 teams - Thank you. Thank you for daring to be different, and for giving gamers the gift of more choice — from offering us subscription-free business models to other innovative approaches in online gaming. I was glad for my opportunity to delve into Guild Wars this last year, and I am eagerly awaiting to see what Guild Wars 2 will bring. It is hard not to get excited, when each piece of news or information that comes out is filled to the brim with creativity and interesting ideas.

To Turbine and the Lord of the Rings Online team – Thank you. Thank you for giving me a home in Middle Earth and for the months of joy LOTRO has given me this past year. I’ve always thought of the game as my “MMO spa”, a place to which I can escape for a relaxing game session — and going free-to-play did not change that. My compliments to the developers, who have worked so hard in ensuring that when I log into LOTRO, I feel as if I’m entering a different world. They’ve done so much in creating an immersive experience and fostering a fantastic community, I can’t help but repeat a thought I had last year — that if J.R.R. Tolkien was alive to play the game today, I think he would be damn proud.

To Blizzard and the World of Warcraft team – Thank you. Thank you for still being willing to take risks even after more than six years of success. Despite what others may say, I did think Cataclysm was a gutsy move. I know I’ve complained enough times about my disdain for WoW endgame, but have rarely ever talked what I did like about the expansion — questing and leveling. Yes, I know I say that about practically every MMO I play, but the new quests in Cataclysm were really something. Even if it was only five levels, I personally enjoyed them for what they were. Questing my way through each zone was like working my way through a storybook, and for the first time in years, I actually felt interested and excited about what WoW quest text had to say again.

To BioWare and BioWare Austin – Thank you. Thank you for advocating a bigger focus on lore and character, for pushing the boundaries of video game writing, and for putting story first. Thank you for making groundbreaking RPGs in recent years like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, and delighting me with choices, consequences, and interactions with the game environment and NPCs in ways I’ve never imagined. Thank you for the desire to bring those elements to MMOs. To the Star Wars: The Old Republic team, I appreciate all the weekly updates on the game, even the Fan Fridays and the tiniest lore reveals. Not too many companies do that for their fans.

To Trion and the Rift team - Thank you. Thank you for releasing a complete and polished MMO. And the more I play Rift, the more I find to like about it — from rifting to artifact collecting, from the soul system to running dungeons with my guild. I’ve seen for months people saying Rift is a fun game, but that Trion hasn’t really made any huge breakthroughs or done anything that new — but I tend to disagree. For one, the devs have bent over backwards in some cases to listen to their players. Yet they’ve also stuck to their goals, to bring about their vision for the game. And finally, they made full use of the beta process and managed to pull off an incredibly smooth launch. I feel Trion has in fact managed to do something very few MMO companies have done before. I know it’s a different argument, but it counts for something.

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1 Year Of Blogging

January 12, 2011

Okay, so I knew my blogoversary was sometime in January, but er, little did I know I’ve already missed it by five days. I just can’t believe it’s already been a whole year. To understand my shock, you have to realize that some of my hobbies in the past have been extremely short-lived, and that I’ve never seriously kept a blog before (well, unless you want to count that site I started a few years back, which was mostly just a collection of incoherent ramblings from a college girl and her drunk Life Sci major friends…) MMOGC is really the first blog I’ve ever written with a focus on a specific topic, that I’ve also managed to maintain for more than a few months.

In many ways, I still consider myself a fledgling blogger, which is why I can’t tell you how surprised I was (but also flattered and deeply, deeply honored) to find my little blog listed on Massively a few weeks ago beside other blogging greats, many of whom are writers I respect immensely. I remember my motivations for starting this blog — a desire to write for fun about a hobby that I enjoy, as well as be part of a community to talk about the MMOs and other games that I love. Even so, I never expected at the time that a year later I’ll still be banging away at posts on this thing, and that people will actually read my stuff.

I had no idea either that I was going to make so many friends in my first year. That, to me, has been the most rewarding part about this experience. Most of my friends in real life are not gamers, and because of that, I have very little opportunity to talk about games outside the internet. This blog has served as a jumping-off point for me, opening a window to the greater online gaming community and connecting me to the a social network in which I can talk with others about games and all the other geeky things I like.

I also started this blog to track my gaming habits and dialogue my thoughts, so I can look back at any time to see what I’ve been playing. Based on number of posts, Star Trek Online, World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, and Lord of the Rings Online seem to be the MMOs that I spent the most time playing in my first year of blogging. For a game that’s not even released yet, Star Wars: The Old Republic racked up a lot of posts too, but if I’ve established any kind of tradition over here at MMOGC, it would be writing about the weekly SWTOR Friday updates. And that will probably continue until the game comes out.

Do I have any regrets? Well, yes, actually, one. Believe it or not, it would have to be naming this site MMO Gamer Chick. Honestly, I wish to hell that I had come up with something more catchy, perhaps something more original. The day I made the blog though, I remembered a text I got from a friend while we were both in grad school. It was “ya crazy MMO gamer chick!” in response to the way I juggled 4 nights of WoW raiding on top of all the readings, mountains of assignments and responsibilities of practicum we were burdened with. I worked hard to manage that schedule, and was proud of that, leading me to embraced that identity at the time…but I’m not sure if I want the name for the blog forever.

Finally, to you, awesome reader, I just want to say thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you. MMOGC may be just a blog, but it has been a big part of my life for the last year. Whether you’re a long time reader or are just dropping by, thanks for checking out my little corner of the internet; you know I love sharing it with you! May Year 2 be even better than the first!

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Playing Catch Up

August 22, 2010

There has been a lack of regular updates as of late, since the puppy has been making it extremely difficult for me to get anything done. His royal majesty the Heir of Gondor craps and pees like every hour, sleeps for only short periods at a time, and likes to wander everywhere when he’s awake and do things like steal my socks and panties from the hamper and eat anything he can sink his teeth into — lint, acorns, wood chips, shoelaces, you name it. Yesterday the little devil even managed to grab hold of a band-aid I had on my hand, tore it off and tried to make off with it. Ewwwww.

But then he can also be oh sooo adorable.

Mr. Tiger has since been redubbed Mr. Maimed Tiger. Approximately 8 hours after this photo was taken, puppy bit off his right arm.

Okay, enough with the cute. Hopefully Strider will gain more control over his bladder over the next couple of weeks and I’ll be to catch up on some gaming:

  • Star Trek Online — I still have my sights on making Vice Admiral and dammit, I’m not going to rest until I grind enough non-combat exploration missions for the last 60 diplomatic experience points needed for T’Androma to make the rank of Attaché. It is my understanding that after that, things will finally get somewhere.
  • Three weeks later, the new computer is finally loaded up with most of my MMOs (I told you our internet is slow) and both Lord of the Rings Online and Age of Conan are looking gorgeous using DX10 with all the video settings turned all the way up.
  • World of Warcraft is the only game I’ve been playing with any consistency lately, but usually late at night and only because my husband the big WoW nerd insists on it. The Terrific Tauren Two are almost ready for Northrend.
  • I still need to install the Guild Wars trilogy, because my Twitter feed has been filled with people talking about it lately, and I’m getting the hankering to fire up the Nightfall campaign.
  • Tonight, I also started downloading the EverQuest II Extended client. I have no idea when I’m going to find time to play all this, but what I do know is that I can’t argue with free.

Have a nice rest of the weekend!

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