Thursday, November 6, 2008

4,000 copies of Age of Conan stolen

So bad is the reputation of Age of Conan nowadays, that bloggers greeted the news that 4,000 copies of the game had been stolen in Bradford with ridicule or bad reasoning. Massively thinks the heist was pointless, as anyone wanting to play a stolen copy of AoC would need to register with a credit card, and would be easy to find. I'd say the thieves themselves aren't going to care about that, as they certainly didn't steal a lorry load of computer games to play them. The games will appear on flea markets all over the UK, and even if the police catches a final buyer, it would be hard to track back to the thieves. And it is totally possible that even Funcom doesn't have a list of the 4,000 account keys involved.

Melmoth thinks the thieves should face the maximum possible sentence under the law: up to three years mandatory subscription, implying that nobody would want to play Age of Conan voluntarily. As far as I know there are still a couple of hundred thousand players in AoC, and the game will remain viable and profitable, even after WAR and WotLK. Age of Conan is certainly one of those games that just weren't for me. I didn't like the button-mashing combat, the crafting system was way too boring, and there were too many bugs. But for some people the action combat was more fun than the slower combat of WAR or WoW. And while the post-20 content of the game was a bit bland, the destiny quest series to level 20 in Tortage was excellent. I'm pretty certain that Age of Conan was more profitable for Funcom than Anarchy Online ever was.

So I don't think the theft was silly or pointless. They'll only get a few bucks per game, but a few bucks multiplied by 4,000 is already a tidy sum. But of course I don't condone theft, and I'd be careful before buying a computer game for half-price at a flea market. Especially an MMO, because you might well fall for a completely different sort of crime, and buy a game where the key has already been used.

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