Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another miracle patch for AoC

I patched Age of Conan with the latest patch yesterday night, and to my great surprise found that since then my framerate nearly doubled. Previously I had 40 to 50 fps at medium settings, and since the patch they shot up to 80. So of course I tried high graphics settings now, and got a quite playable 40 fps now, in the PvE adventuring zones. Boy, AoC sure is pretty at high graphics settings!

The patch also contained a note saying that "withdrawing coins from the bank should now correctly add them to the coins in your inventory, instead of overwriting them". This is the kind of patch note that scares me, because it reveals the gravity of the bugs they are fixing. But I must say that Funcom is the master of miracle patches, with every patch bringing big improvements to the game. The trader (NPC doing bank, auction house and mail) is now working, which he wasn't on release. And of course now being able to run AoC at high settings and without crashes is also a big plus. And there was also an announcement that Funcom banned the people who used an exploit to get to level 80 quickly. So while the game still isn't quite at the level of excellence I wished it would have, the speed of improvement is certainly laudable.

I'm still not a big fan of Age of Conan's user interface. For example for selling items you have to scroll through an alphabetical list of all your items, you can't just click on them in your inventory. It's far too easy to accidentally sell something you wanted to keep. But as Relmstein pointed out, it is possible that the user interface has been designed to work well on a console, and not only with mouse and keyboard. Age of Conan is planned to come out for the XBox 360 next year, so it would make sense to already design the user interface in a way that it can be played with an XBox controller. The last dual platform MMORPG I played was Final Fantasy XI, and I actually used a gamepad to control the PC version, because that just played better. I'm just wondering how Funcom plans to port the awesome PC graphics onto the XBox 360. Now *that* would really require a miracle patch.

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