No Auto-attack! In a world of stagnant Auto-attack MMORPGs, Age of Conan is a breath of fresh air. Melee characters in AoC enjoy a bloody "in your face" combat system where the player is given a choice of six different melee attack options at any given time. Each of these attack options is displayed as a button on the UI. The battle system also includes special combo moves that are acquired as your character gains levels. As attacks are executed, certain other attack buttons will light up symbolizing that they are the next move in a combo chain. There is also a chance to execute a mortal blow on the enemy. Mortal blows not only kill the enemy, it will also dismember them. Yes, you can actually chop off people's heads!
Targeting in Age of Conan also takes a turn from the norm. In most MMOs you select the mob you wish to attack via the mouse or a hotkey. However in AoC the nearest enemy is automatically targeted once the player draws their weapon. This may sound ineffective at first, however it allows for fast paced combat in large groups of enemies. If you want to get to an enemy behind a group of mobs you can charge through them hacking and slashing all the way through. Even casters use this same method of targeting. All combat spells are manually aimed by the player via line of sight or a mouse selected AoE area. The controls did confuse us at first but within two minutes we were quickly able to adapt and found them to be quite fun and effective. Having this kind of control over our character really does make the gameplay experience more immersive. If you enjoy leisurely drinking coffee while watching your character autoattack mobs, you might have trouble adapting to Age of Conan.
We also had the privilage to observe as Eidos took a small group through a high level 25 man dungeon. Currently, the player cap for a dungeon is set to 25, but this may change at some point in the future. Unfortunately, character creation was disabled in this version so we were unable to see how versatile it is. Eidos assures us that every visual aspect is editable via many slide bars and it is highly unlikely that you would run into another character that looks exactly like you. Player communities will be able to create their own guild halls and build their own cities. The extent of this we currently do not know.
Make no mistake, AoC is a mature RPG intended for an adult audience. It is a very gory, violent game that does include some partial nudity and is sure to push the limits of the M rating. Anyone who likes games like God of War should be excited about this game. I know we are.