As some of you no doubt already know, I’m a stickler for proper immersion. It’s the difference between feeling thrown into a living world and a game that starts the same way 2D side scrollers did in the 80’s *cough* Hellgate.
Age of Conan is doing something different. Heck, I think it’s flat-out fascinating.
The game is single player until you’ve hit a few levels. It’s so simple, yet I can’t think of a better way to grant the storytellers 100% control over a brand new player’s environment for those first few all-so-crucial levels.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. It’s a cliche’ but it’s true. You want your players to have fun those first few levels, and removing the chaos factor at the very beginning sounds like a powerful way to accomplish that.
Yes, it’s an MMO, a social game. The whole point of the genre is to be “massively multiplayer”. The real question when I finally play the game will be, “Did I enter the multiplayer world soon enough?” Quite frankly, I like the idea of being able to get my bearings the first time I play with the guarantee of not having some jackass following me around spamming /dance.
Also, consider for a moment how busy the game is going to be upon release. Starting the game off in single player mode means you won’t be competing with crowds of people for the same spawns. Now imagine those players were beta testers and you weren’t. Not having to compete with them until I know how to swing my sword sounds doubly appealing.
I’ve read about the fighting system, and all the other “new” things Funcom has done with AoC, but I have to admit, what intrigues me most is how well this new attempt at immersion is going to work.
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.