News (and Baseless Rumor) out of Champs and AoC

Massively reported over the weekend that Funcom has hired about a dozen new devs to work on Age of Conan.

Although there is content in the works (the Refuge of the Apostate dungeon, among other things,) there’s not really been anything on the table so big as to imply the need for a dozen new devs. That makes me think, despite the lack of an announcement (yet) that there’s something significant in the works. Maybe it’s just to replace staff moved over to the Secret World, or maybe there’s another expansion in the works and we just haven’t had an announcement yet. There is, after all, a new movie coming out this year, and some kind of substantive change or addition could use that to draw extra attention to what has developed into a pretty good game. Or maybe Funcom is looking to shift AoC to some kind of Free-to-Play model.

Personally, that last is news I would welcome. AoC is a game I like a lot, and Beau’s vid over the weekend made me want to get back to it, when there’s time. But there’s the rub – if it were free I’d have already gotten around to it. That I’d have to otherwise pay to resub (with my very limited schedule) has me wanting to wait until I have some free time… and I’m taking at least one class this summer, so that time will likely not arrive soon.

There’s also substantial news out of Champions Online, which already is free-to-play. In the second installment of April’s State of the Game, Producer Rob Overmeyer talks lairs, the new Heavy Weapons Framework, scaling instances and Resistance the next Adventure Pack, slated for mid-May.

There’s also, more excitingly, plans for Series content (parallelling that of STO’s Seasons,) and for Hideouts, which are essentially going to be instanced housing. We don’t know how customizable these will be when they hit the live servers (my guess: not very) but the ones that are coming first look really neat. Plus there’s new costume packs and such on the way… I gotta spend my Atari Tokens on something, after all.

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