With every Age of Conan patch since the launch of Rise of the Godslayer, Khitai Proper seems more playable for my Priest of Mitra. However, last night I was still hit twice by the dreaded “Out of memory” message after the game so unceremoniously crashed me to desktop. Ironically, I don’t get the memory leak problem when running AoC on DX10. Instead, I get a whole host of other problems, ranging from atrocious FPS values to crumbling environments and other graphical glitches.
Thus far, still no problems in AoC’s “old world” nor in the Gateway to Khitai. Good news for my new Khitan toon as well as my Bear Shaman alt, but as for my level-capped PoM she’s SOL (save me, Funcom!) I’m able to do some light questing and exploring on her for the time being, but forget rep grinding or anything else that requires exuberant fighting. That means a little while longer to wait for my tiger mount, but I was still able to take some nice screenshots from beyond the Long Wall.
The Northern Grasslands Province
The mood changes as soon as you cross through the Gateway from Hyrkania and step foot in Khitai. Everything feels more imperial. Towering pagodas and crimson banners are everywhere, troops practice maneuvers in the courtyard as cavalrymen patrol back and forth. From this side, you can also see the wall stretch onwards towards the distant mountains.
Ride a little further and you’ll see the reason for the region’s name — the plains roll on as far as the eye can see. Right near the gate is also a shallow, slow-running river. I captured a screenshot of a player in the distance, running into the water chasing the herds of wild horses. The idyllic scene is deceptive, however. I left my character for about five minutes and came back to see her lying dead in the middle of the road. I think a bear was what got me.
I took a break in the village near the eastern border of the Grasslands before pressing on, to turn in some quests as well as allow the client some time to stabilize. I liked how a late afternoon sunbeam was spilling over the roof in this picture. The graphics in this game really are quite gorgeous, when they’re not acting up, that is.
The Province of Chosain
A giant statue sits at the entrance of Chosain province. It can only be Yag-Kosha, the cosmic being with an elephant-like head that Conan mercy-killed in the story The Tower of the Elephant, whom the people in the jungles of Khitai venerated as a god.
I’m not sure if I like the way Chosain Province looks. Its forests seem to be in a perpetual state of autumn, and while I admit the intense fiery colors of the foliage make for a striking first impression, after a while it just comes off as a little bit artificial and tacky.
Ten thousand miles from Tortage is the region of Paikang. Here, I finally see a little bit of the much acclaimed “jungles of Khitai.”
Beyond the old forests are the misty terraced rice fields. No one appears to be farming though. Venturing onto the paddies proved to be a bad idea — they’re crawling with crazed mobs that attack you on sight, with the guards standing nearby doing nothing about it.
The beauty of this region is the most distracting of all (for example, in the following screenshot I was so busy ogling the rocky range and waterfall in front of me, that I was running straight into a group of giant spiders without realizing it), and I haven’t even been to the coast yet.
Alas, I didn’t have time (or the patience with the game client) to explore the final zone of Kara Korum. In due course, I suppose.