The weekend saw me drop about 5 late-night hours into Age of Conan, all of it on my nominal main, the Barbarian Turlough.
I’d left off finishing up some stuff in Connall’s Valley while trying to reach level 30. Alas, everything I had left was group content that I didn’t feel like rustling up people for. Even the solo quests were in areas with elite mobs, and I wasn’t at the top of my game. I may be able to play comfortably in LotRO (mostly) or WoW without enough sleep or caffeine, but AoC’s combat is less forgiving. The greater amount of challenge is actually a good thing and one of the reasons I like the game.
To make a long story short, I had some scattered other quests, so I headed down to the Wild Lands of Zelata and ran a couple there to push me to 30, then headed back up to Conarch Village to run the long-awaited next Destiny Quest, which sent me to Khopshef Province in Stygia. At level 30, though, it was a little too challenging in my deteriorated state. But there were other quests aplenty in the area, so when I returned after gaining two more levels and adding two more via offline leveling (putting me at 34,) it was still tight, requiring careful pulls and the right combat strategy, but I managed it easily enough.
I’m still adventuring in Khopshef Province, and I’m new to Stygia, only having gone there before for a brief sightseeing trip. It’s really extremely cool, capturing the ancient Egypt meets Bedouin deserts thing perfectly. One of the quest hubs there is pictured above, a caravanserai in the middle of the bleak desert. Actual in-game caravans wind their way there from the coastal village of Bubshur, and the place has several short storylines going on.
Khemi is also pretty cool, much smaller and more compact than Old Tarantia, with narrow streets that make it a bit claustrophobic. One of the best things about Tortage is the town itself; its winding alleys, evocative detail and plethora of NPCs about made it seem more alive than any MMO city I had seen before or since. Khemi is like that, and Conarch Village (the Cimmerian 20-35ish hub) has a totally different but but equally evocative feel. Old Tarantia is kind of bland in comparison, mostly because it’s much more spacious and spread out, although it’s still better than cities in other MMOs.
Something else interesting I’ve discovered: Age of Conan has built-in video capture. I’ve started fooling with this but can’t at present decode either QuickTime (which I don’t want to install on my system) or .mov formats. I’m working on this, though.