'Funcom are removing the mature content from Age of Conan!' Yes, it's that rumor again, springing back up like that man-eating plant boss on White Sands Isle that someone else always seems to be fighting first, so you have to sit politely by the cage in the side of the room and hope they don't think you're going to gank them, then while you're waiting for it to respawn someone else arrives... where were we? Oh, yes. In a patch from nearly a month ago the formerly topless prospecting trainer Gera in Purple Lotus Swamp was unceremoniously clothed, as well as getting a new hairdo and some more prospector-ish accessories.
Looking at her former attire, can we honestly say that wasn't a bug fix? Girlfriend, that brown belt does not go with that... er... blue thing made of straps. Even so, the loss of a cherished pair of NPC breasts caused outrage in some quarters, where it's still being seen as the latest in a line of allegedly censorious changes.
We've seen this sort of thing before, of course. When a set of saucy female emotes (including the well-loved floor squirm) were rendered unavailable by a patch, there was a storm of protest at the 'censorship'. People even reported, just as they are doing now, that quest dialog had been changed to a tamer version - which it apparently hasn't been, at least, not since AoC went live. The emotes are back, but it hasn't stopped people protesting.
For the many thousands of us who weren't in the AoC Beta, there is no easy way to tell what the game used to be like. It's been reported that there was a lot more nudity, for one thing; succubi, say the hoary tale-tellers from the Times Before Launch, used to have nipples. The danger now for many of the players who joined at launch, with no experience of the Beta, is to see Beta as a sort of lost Golden Age of wanton nudity, of which the launched version is a pale imitation.
Why pay attention to rumors at all? Because they're all too often repeated as fact. To give one example of anxious player response: 'The game was advertised as one thing, and is slowly being ALTERED, dialog trees are changing, npcs are changing, content is being changed!'
The game has unquestionably been changed since Beta, but Beta is one thing and post-launch is another. AoC still contains plenty of bare breasts and adult dialog (including a potentially infinite supply from the players themselves) and as we've shown, at least one example of breast-coverage seems to be a simple fix to a bugged outfit. It's easy to assert that Funcom are making the game tamer because of the forthcoming console version, or the ratings board, or whatever other motive you ascribe to them; it's a lot harder to come up with any sort of proof.
Do you have evidence of changed dialog trees, changed NPCs or changed content? Share it with us!