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Play Age of Conan For Free Forever

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 30 comments
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Play Funcom's Age of Conan for free, and yes, there's a catch.

Yesterday Funcom announced a special promotion for its barbaric MMORPG, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. The company is offering a free "trial" that allows gamers to wander the entire Island of Tortage for free. In fact, gamers can play the game forever without having to upgrade to a full subscription... or until Funcom says otherwise. That's certainly not a bad deal, but there's a catch.

According to the company, gamers must first create a free account, download the client, and then jump into the MMORPG before January 1, 2010. There's also another catch: the level cap is only 20, so don't expect to conquer the island as a level 100 barbarian. Funcom said that other restrictions apply as well: there's no trading with other players, no in-game mail, no public chat channels, and no posting on the forums.

But hey, gamers can play forever, right? "Our original seven day trial has been very successful so far," says Morten Larssen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Funcom. "We are confident that many of those taking advantage of this offer will choose to become permanent players, allowing them to experience all of what the game has to offer including all the additions and improvements introduced since launch."

This may be a good opportunity to check out Conan's virtual realm, especially for gamers who need more than seven days to thoroughly evaluate the overall experience. Maybe Funcom should switch to free-to-play and invoke the microtransaction scheme for "lite" gamers.

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  • 12 Hide
    icepick314 , December 15, 2009 4:12 PM
    not a bad way to attract new players...

    although i imagine it's hard to compete with other established MMOs and upcoming for Star Trek and Star Wars which have many following already...
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    icepick314 , December 15, 2009 4:12 PM
    not a bad way to attract new players...

    although i imagine it's hard to compete with other established MMOs and upcoming for Star Trek and Star Wars which have many following already...
  • 2 Hide
    hypocrisyforever , December 15, 2009 4:14 PM
    Yeah, I tried it out when it came out. Liked: violence not found in other MMORPGS, Did not like: everything else. I'll pass, stick with runes of magic.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , December 15, 2009 4:18 PM
    Eventually they are going to need to switch to "We'll pay you to try it!"

    Age of Conan sucked hard when it came out. Even if it got better with age, at best it could simply suck less but still suck.
  • 6 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , December 15, 2009 4:19 PM
    No public chat channels? It looks like they're offering a trial of the game as single player only, completely ignoring any MMO type stuff. I'm sure that will work, I mean it's better than any single player game already, right, right? No? It sounds like Funcom simply don't get what an MMO is about and how it is fun.
  • 4 Hide
    jellico , December 15, 2009 4:46 PM
    Spanky DeluxeNo public chat channels? It looks like they're offering a trial of the game as single player only, completely ignoring any MMO type stuff. I'm sure that will work, I mean it's better than any single player game already, right, right? No? It sounds like Funcom simply don't get what an MMO is about and how it is fun.

    +1... you hit the nail on the head! MMOs are entirely about socialization. I've played some pretty cool MMOs (like Neocron, Jumpgate, etc.) which suffered because of a lack of players. Of course, content is important too; but above all, you need a critical mass of players or the game is doomed. I play WoW not because it is the best MMO out there, but because there are always plenty of people online. People to raid with, people in the BGs, people to gank, people trading their wares and skills, etc. It's all about the interaction with other people. If that is missing, you might as well be playing a stand-alone RPG or shooter, or whatever. In fact, you'd be better off because those games are DESIGNED to be entertaining as a solo endeavor.

    Funcom should be offering a free-forever account like what is described above, but for the first half-month or month, it should be completely unrestricted. Then, after the unlimited trial expires, start deactivating stuff one at a time over the next few days until you get to the situation described in the article. THAT is how you get people to whip out their credit card.
  • 5 Hide
    kittle , December 15, 2009 4:51 PM
    the problem with unrestricted access by free accounts is the gold spammers would soon takeover the public chat and you would have Age of GoldSpam instead
  • 6 Hide
    Ogdin , December 15, 2009 4:53 PM
    Its set up that way so botters can't take advantage of the free accounts.
  • 1 Hide
    sliem , December 15, 2009 4:59 PM
    Same thing with warhammer.
  • 2 Hide
    Onus , December 15, 2009 5:12 PM
    No thanks. I've read enough good about this game (along with the bad) that I'd like to try it, but not until / unless it switches to the Guild Wars model of no ongoing pay to play.
  • 1 Hide
    madman1391 , December 15, 2009 5:25 PM
    Hmm sounds like game company's have started to take after Runescape's creator Jagex. They have had a free version for a long time. Although this does appear to have many differences.
  • 0 Hide
    bydesign , December 15, 2009 5:40 PM
    Not a bad move and no current MMO can beat levels 1-20. Those first 20 level are the best. After that it all starts to unravel. With better leadership and a clue it could have been a great game for years. It was never going to beat WoW in subscriptions. This is how they should have opened the game after the first three mouths.
  • -2 Hide
    nicklasd87 , December 15, 2009 5:57 PM
    I signed up, and uninstalled after 10 minutes of gameplay...I can see why they would need to coax people to even try it out...But then again I am not a fan of MMO's in general, but at least WoW will continuously attack when you tell your guy to attack, instead of having to click over and over again...and also hit the guy you click on, that was another nice issue i had. Nothing like clicking on a guy to attack, then having to click the attack type, then watching your guy turn away from the enemy to swing the weapon and end up swinging at air...yeah, fun times...
  • 1 Hide
    RADIO_ACTIVE , December 15, 2009 6:11 PM
    LAME!!!
    I played this game when it first came out the first 20 levels were completely AWSOME!!! Then after 20 there was no more voice acting, world looked boring, dungeons were blah etc..... I saw the title for this acticle and thought hey maybe I will go reinstall it and check out the changes they made, but NO! only to the first 20 levels and a buncth of other restrictions :( 
  • 2 Hide
    deathblooms2k1 , December 15, 2009 6:22 PM
    I played this game on release. The starting Island of Tortage and the first 20 levels of the game were the only polished part of the game. Everything else was a complete mess. I cannot imagine the game has improved that much, I gave it 3 months and they would provide the community with false promises every week (this, this, and this will be resolved next week). Perhaps I'm spiteful for the 50 bucks I felt was wasted on an incomplete game. But I still think it's fair warning to tell people that the experiance after tortage (lvl 20) is completely different and that's what they are making you pay for.

    Also there are 80 levels in the game, I'm sure you can hit 20 in probably 8 hours or less. WoW offers 2 week trials with a lvl 20 cap and similar restrictions. This looks like pretty much the same thing except the took out the 2 week restriction. The difference is WoW's 1-20 experience isn't false advertisement for what you should expect from 20+.

    That said it has some great concepts, it was just rushed and I strongly feel the development staff lack the mathematical skills that are needed to create a balanced game that makes sense. Case in point: On release item values did not work, people who ran around naked were the same as fully geared players. Jewel Crafting was not released until a couple months into it, when it was released it was completely broken and over powered to an extreme.

    Take it from me, don't waste your time like I did.

    /end long post+rant

  • 0 Hide
    jerreece , December 15, 2009 6:36 PM
    Quote:
    so don't expect to conquer the island as a level 100 barbarian.


    You can't get to L100 with a paid account either...... ;)  Just so you know, for any future articles.
  • 0 Hide
    jellico , December 15, 2009 6:42 PM
    kittlethe problem with unrestricted access by free accounts is the gold spammers would soon takeover the public chat and you would have Age of GoldSpam instead

    That's a very good point. Well, an easy solution would be to allow the paying customers to silence the free players. Some sort of report spam function. Make it so that if a player gets like 50 or 100 (or whatever reasonable number to allow it to work but prevent undeserved harassment) reports, their communications is terminated.

    Another way of doing it is to require a credit card for the free unrestricted trial portion, but emphesize that the card will only be validated, not charged.
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , December 15, 2009 7:28 PM
    Disney did this with their Pirates of the Caribbean game. You can play up to level 20, you only get a limited selection of abilities and items, and you can only play in windowed-mode (so they can display banners around the window), but hey, its free. Of course, I dumped that game, too childish and simple, but no surprise seeing it was Disney.
  • 0 Hide
    irishmettle , December 15, 2009 7:36 PM
    Quote:
    That said it has some great concepts, it was just rushed and I strongly feel the development staff lack the mathematical skills that are needed to create a balanced game that makes sense. Case in point: On release item values did not work, people who ran around naked were the same as fully geared players. Jewel Crafting was not released until a couple months into it, when it was released it was completely broken and over powered to an extreme.


    The stats, mechanics, and gems have all been reworked. Gear actually matters now, but not so much that a better geared noob will be able to take a lesser geared player who is more knowledgeable and skilled with their class.
  • 2 Hide
    aethm , December 15, 2009 8:11 PM
    Played this game at launch and also periodically over the past couple years. I do think that this is the best MMO on the market. It has a lot to offer and they HAVE fixed most of the glaring problems that harried it's launch. The have added a lot to the game to fill it out nicely. It may not have the content and community of WoW.. but it beats War, Aion, and CO hands down.
  • 0 Hide
    knightmike , December 16, 2009 12:59 AM
    Link?
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