How Age of Conan is Doing Their Anniversary Right

By Jeff Francis
Age of Conan doing their seventh anniversary right

Whenever an online rpg manages to mark another year of existence, it's a good reason to celebrate. It's a hard-knock world for mmo games as there is a huge competition out there for your entertainment dollar. That's why I'm always pleased to see when an mmo celebrates an anniversary, but the truth is that not all mmo anniversaries are equal. One game that I believe has done a good job is Age of Conan, which is celebrating their seventh anniversary this month. I can't believe it's been seven years as it felt like only yesterday that my assassin crawled out of the sea and lopped his first head off. Let's flex our massive barbarian muscles as we examine how Age of Conan is doing their anniversary right.

Age of Conan Shadow of Vanaheim

To begin, Funcom is celebrating this Age of Conan anniversary with an update named Shadow of Vanaheim. The story behind this update is that a large group of Vanir, led by the powerful Thegn Heimdall, is gathering near the Cimmerian border. If that wasn't enough to give cautious players pause, there are also reports of an Asgardian warrior clan moving to the south with unknown intentions. It's up to the players to venture into the new zones of the Blue Mountains and Vanaheim to figure out what's going on and put a stop to it. There are plenty of new quests for players to undertake

Right away, I'm happy to see how the Age of Conan anniversary is being handled. I'm a huge content junkie as I believe that the more new things you can do and experience, the better. Getting a new quest chain in the form of Shadow of Vanaheim is just what the doctor ordered. Even better is the fact that the story being told could have serious repercussions in the virtual world of the mmo. What mighty Cimmerian warrior wants a horde of Vanir invading their ancestral lands? I've played other mmo games that offer a short quest chain for an anniversary that can be played through in an hour or two. While I think that's fine, I love the fact that the quest chain in AoC is much more detailed and encompasses a multitude of events.

Another aspect of Shadow of Vanaheim that is really nice is that a few new zones are being introduced. While playing through a new quest line is entertaining, there's just something about going somewhere new and exploring it for the first time. I guess it's the online equivalent of that new car smell. I'm also sure that with it being Age of Conan, such exploration also includes a great deal of carnage and violence.

Another part of the Age of Conan anniversary celebration is that Shadow of Vanaheim also introduces new side quests for players to undertake. These quests go along with the main story quest, but they have some interesting facets. The first is that there's a good number of them, and what side quests are available for the player to take will change on a daily basis. The game states that they have a system in place so that the combination of the side quests is maximized so that as many unique play-throughs as possible are created. Again, this is some solid planning and execution. Practically every mmo gamer loves doing daily quests, but AoC goes one step further by having a lot of them and randomizing them. This definitely should keep doing dailies from getting stale and boring.

Age of Conan bear mount

I know that there is one area of criticism that players will level against Age of Conan Shadow of Vanaheim, which is the expansion has to be bought in order to play it. The standard bundle costs 1750 points (the equivalent of $15). There are some that would argue that any new content dropped during an anniversary should be free, and I would concur that they have a point. However, I also think that, since the game is free-to-play, that there should be very little objection to buying some new content. The price for the basic package is the equivalent of month's subscription fee or catching a single movie. The upside is that the content is still available to play once the anniversary is over and that a new feature, the side quests, is being introduced that gamers should enjoy for a very long time. Online games are a business, and they have to make money somehow.

Even though you have to pay for Shadow of Vanaheim, I still think that Funcom is doing their seventh Age of Conan anniversary right. The new update includes a major quest chain and some new zones to explore. Even if the player runs through that quest chain, there are still the randomized daily side quests that should keep them entertained for quite some time to come. In the end, content is always king, and this anniversary sees the latest expansion delivering a nice chunk of it.

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