Age of Conan - 700,000 accounts

I think it just shows that licenses don’t translate to sales automatically (of which you can tell me duh). You have to sell the game (or experience) that people want and obviously the vision of LotR that Turbine created isn’t the same one people lined up in theaters to see.

I really think it may be the strong marketing emphasis on PvP in AoC that led to the big initial sales.

Given how many active multiplayer FPS players (CS/TF2/Call of Duty) players are in my guild (we use their vent server), I’m sure this is a contributing factor. For me it was the aesthetic and being bored with WoW. But I also briefly played PotBS and TR as well.

Mordrak, I’m not sure why you’d downplay the significance of the LOTR license for LOTRO when you’re the one bringing up a thirty year old movie to try to explain the success of Age of Conan. :)

FWIW, my gut feeling is that LOTRO will end up having more subscribers than AoC once Conan gets past its launch spike.

I visit LOTRO every now and then, but haven’t had the time to play. The guild is effectively dead as anything other than a way to see how long it’s been since any of us logged on. :) If (when?) I get back into it, I’ll probably try to find another guild. There are a few people here who’ve moved on to other guilds. I plan to ride their coattails.

And actually, I do need to get my level 45 to the cap in time for Mines of Moria this fall.


I’m telling you, the classes are absolutely uninteresting in LOTRO compared to the actual LOTRO movie. They don’t relate well to the characters because apparently the Tolkein Enterprise didn’t want PC’s who could do what the main characters in the movie could do. Well that takes all the wind out of the game, IMO. I think this issue is why the MMO license moved through so many hands and I think Turbine needs to go back to Tolkien and ask them to re-think their restrictions.

The attractiveness of AoC was in fact the classes. You have fire magic with interesting effects, you have versatile priests, you have fighters that are very different from the standard fare. I’m sure AoC got a lot of WoW players who found this aspect of AoC attractive. As Tom says, tits are a dime a dozen on the internet so I seriously doubt that is the main attraction of the game.

I’m going back to AoC in 6 months also, hopefully it’ll be ‘finished’ by then.

If that happened, it would be disastrous. That would mean that AoC churned ~70% of their active accounts. Now they might not be growing as quickly as they’d like, and may even be shedding some accounts when you get right down to it but they certainly won’t drop 70% in the near future.

Well, because, umm… ya. Heh. Maybe they should have licensed the films rather than the books? EA owns the license for single player games, maybe they own the license for a movie based MMO as well. I’m not sure how finely licenses are seperated.

I liked the Loremaster a lot, though when I played in beta they didn’t have their endgame abilities. Still, you’re right that AoC’s healers do pack a punch and the combo mechanics are at least something different. It certainly couldn’t hurt to go back and negotiate for a little leeway with the license as long as it’s not as drastic as SWGs new game experience.

But what main character in LOTR was a Loremaster?? I never saw any of the Fellowship summoning ravens. That’s the problem.

Loremaster is the closest approximation of Gandalf the game will let you get. That seemed pretty clear to me.

No kidding. I want to shield grind some castle steps while shooting orcs in the eye! Which character gets that skill?


People are dropping from Conan like flies.

700,000 accounts? Sure. Probably not even close to that many subscribers, though.

That’s the ranger in AoC, Tom…


Maybe not, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Part of what I liked so much about AoC was how fast the leveling was. Which meant far before my free month was up I had done most of the available quests and was left with grinding. So I cancelled. I would hardly be surprised if more people follow suite, especially with all of the crunchy PVP stuff not being implemented.

Hahah. Right now the “guild” is me plus some other dude I saw logged on one time. I’ve been playing a lot the last couple of weeks (after an 8 month hiatus), though a lot of that was on my new LM who I haven’t added to the guild. I’m mostly duoing with a friend of mine who used to be in the guild but has moved on to one that is active.

Anyways, I think a lot of the good and bad of LotRO is that things are fairly subtle in terms of magic and effects, though as you reach towards 50 swords start to glow. AoC seems to be more in the vein of the splashy WoW-style, though without the cartoonishness.

I like both Tolkien and Howard, but Tolkien is definitely my favorite of the two. However, when I think of kill-ten-rats MMO gameplay, the world of Conan is quite a bit more appealing. There’s room in that world for hordes of generic warriors kicking slightly less ass than Conan himself. LotR, on the other hand, requires that the players wedge themselves into the spaces between the main characters.

I had a lot of fun with Lotro (played it for more hours than any other game other than WoW I think) but I think you’ve definitely hit on something here.

I used to complain here that one of the things that was so bizarre about MMOs was the way that every player was a legendary hero even though that made no sense. If everybody is a legendary hero with amazing powers then that just means that’s the normal scenario and there are no actual legendary heroes.

And before Lotro came out I complained that it especially didn’t make sense in Lotro to have random hobbits adventuring all over the place given what we know about hobbits. But then when I actually played Lotro I initially felt that they had done a pretty good job of answering my criticism (I’m sure they read my posts lol)

And yet now that you mention that as a weakness I really think you’re right. There is something a little bland about the game in the end and this issue definitely has something to do with it. I think the main problem is that it’s way too similar to Wow but this is probably second.

Very interesting.

Good precedents: Adult themed MMO’s with blood, gritty world, and T&A are viable.
Bad precedents: Release early and as long as you can keep the servers up everything else will be forgiven if your game has a good hook and is compelling.

My opinion is that AoC is very compelling in parts.

That’s actually pretty close to a quote from Syndrom (aka Incrediboy) from the Incredibles
" …Everyone can be super! And when everyone’s super, [laughs maniacally] no one will be."

The opposite of that - IMHO - was also the appeal that SWG had, namely being the “Uncle Owen simulator” but with enough room to create your own saga, without the need to squeez between the legendaries.

But what main character in LOTR was a Loremaster?? I never saw any of the Fellowship summoning ravens. That’s the problem.

I’m not sure there’s a very interesting “class” breakdown in the Fellowship anyway. Wizard, dwarf warrior, elf ranger, human ranger, human warrior, hobbit amateur, hobbit amateur, hobbit amateur, hobbit amateur (not even a burglar, as Bilbo stayed home). If you allow that Gandalf is basically a god and lorewise you don’t want a lot of Gandalfs running around, it gets even more limited. Which is OK from Tolkien’s point of view as he was writing a book not an RPG ruleset.

I don’t mind that the classes in LOTRO don’t directly correspond to the books, but they still feel pretty bland in terms of game mechanics, at least insofar as I have experienced them. “Game mechanics” are a subtle thing too – a combination of graphical razzle-dazzle, variety from one spell to the next, even a sense of solidity in the clicking/UI feedback. Just as a contrast, my minstrel in LOTRO walks up and casts one tune, then casts some other barely-distinguishable tune, then casts another tune, then maybe he does a Scream or a heroic strike… I dunno, feels a bit bland compared to my WoW druid (roughly same level) who will slap on a Rejuv, nuke with moonfire, root an add, turn into a bear, bash maul maul…

12 levels in and I still haven’t a clue what the actual effect of each minstrel song (apart from the healing one) is. Some debuff/buff combo. I keep having to lean in to read the tooltip text, and then I decide not to bother because the monsters seem to die anyway. You might say, “well, you should pay more attention,” but the point is, in WoW I didn’t have to – I learned the nuances of the spells without any apparent effort. Because they felt different, even starting with the difference between Moonfire vs. Wrath, or Frostbolt vs. Fireball, or Heroic Strike vs. Rend – very very early spells.

Y’know, I fell in love with the WoW warrior class pretty much because they get Charge at like level 4. That is still one of the coolest “spells” I have ever seen in an MMO. Maybe it’s the little things that hook you.

All the soldier classes in AoC get a charge ability or two. And yeah, it’s one of the main reasons I still love playing a warrior in WoW. Too bad mine’s a Gnome. :(

Anyway, I was pretty surprised that AoC took off like it did. The open beta was hugely popular and the huge sales on release seemed to come out of nowhere. Hell, before playing in the beta, I had no interest in the game at all. But what hooked me is it’s the closest an MMORPG has come to feeling like a real action game instead of a clicky roll-of-the-dice game like all the others, even though it is actually the same as those. There’s just a really nice, visceral feel to the combat and it’s just a damn good-looking game. I don’t know if it has legs, but it’s a helluva lot of fun for me right now.

Cancelled my account last weekend after I bought Burning Crusade. AOC gets really old with the rubbish community.

I’m one of those 700,000 purchases and I will not be renewing my subscription once my 30 days is up. From what I’ve seen, that’s hardly unusual.

AoC is a gorgeous game with some of the best character customization I’ve seen in an MMO. However, it just feels hollow. I know it’s early in the life of the game but I’ve been riddled with bugs since I’ve started playing. I don’t find the combat system that engaging. It feels like I’m playing a single player RPG when I play it, especially with the gated instances. God help you if you want to play with someone who is more than 5 levels above or below you.

LOTRO may not have fantastic classes or nudity and blood (I actually find the blood splatter to be beyond cheesy.), but it does evoke the feeling of the IP. It does a great job of drawing you into the gameworld and making you feel like a part of the story. It’s not as beautiful as AoC, but it still looks great. As an RP’er and an explorer/socializer player it suits my needs better than does AoC.

Edit: I do agree that LOTRO could use a bit of tweaking on it’s classes. My main is a level 50 minstrel and there is an over-reliance on shouting in the game. Part of the issue is that the devs were hamstrung by the lore. Without the ability to have wizards or clerics as player characters, it’s hard to fit into the traditional RPG class system. They tried to think out of the box a bit with minstrel, and I’m not sure they were totally successful.

As for your level 12 struggles Gordon, that’s not unusual. There isn’t much difference with those lower level songs. Most classes in LOTRO start to come into their own around level 15 or so and level 20 (I think) gives you the ability to use war-speech, which is good for solo play.