In the zone

Finally, the land of Khitai itself brings several changes to the Age of Conan game world. Five expansive new play fields have been added, all of them featuring the lush eastern terrain and architecture from Howard's stories. Morrison also spoke about Funcom's incorporation of player feedback on the initial game with regard to zones and feelings of linearity and disconnection when loading across huge distances.

"While we're still using our zoning technology, what we've done is kind of stitched the play fields of Khitai together so while we still achieve this fantastic level of high detail art, the experience is much more consistent for the player, the play fields are much more open and vast so when a player moves from one region to another they can literally turn around and see where they've just come from, with visual landmarks off in the distance that allow them to navigate," he said.

All in all, Rise of the Godslayer will certainly make a huge impact on the world of Age of Conan and its players. Stay with Massively for further coverage as the expansion draws closer to release.

Q&A

After the presentation, we had the opportunity to ask Craig Morrison a number of specific questions regarding the forthcoming expansion. Read on for his answers.

Massively: When you do the final boss fights in hard mode do you get certain achievements or titles?

Craig Morrison: You get better rewards. More and better rewards than normal mode. Its not just a tick box that you choose at the beginning, it's kind of cool that the designers have incorporated it into the gameplay, and we've actually done it in a couple of instances in the live game already as a trial. The players reacted really well to it, the more dedicated and hardcore, the people who raid all the time, people who play the instances all the time, really appreciated the opportunity to be able to step up. We got it, that was easy, give us something more. So the hard modes are cool like that, and it always amazes us how the really dedicated guys go straight to the hard mode.

Massively: The pet system, can you train one as your combat pet and one as your mount?

You could, there's still choice there, because there's wolves of the steppes and tigers, the two factions that you're responsible for earning, the tiger or wolf mount. The pets are different though. You can say, go all the way out and take the tiger mount, and then go to the wolves of the steppe, earn their loyalty and say use the wolf for the combat pet, but the wolf combat pet and the tiger combat pet are different. They don't have identical abilities, you're still making a trade off, you've still got a choice to make there, which of these do I prefer to have as my combat pet, if you do both.

Massively: You can't have multiple wolves?

No, it's like different MMOs...a lot of time in the MMO space these days people are expecting to have everything and here...it goes beyond that. You might have the tiger at the end of the loyalty chain, and the tigers might have an enemy, and the player might look at the opposing faction's gear and go 'man i really want that sword' but you can't have it. You have to choose, do you want that sword or do you want that mount? Now if we only had two factions that might be a problem, but when you have ten, this wealth of choice, and the players can go through in any way, pick these three or these two over here and they don't have to go the same route. There's such a breadth of choice that there's still cool stuff players can get from whichever faction they go to. We do allow players to betray their factions and give up their rewards and go to the other one if they want to.

Massively: That's what I was going to ask, if there is any way to earn your way back.

Yes there is, you can actually betray the one you're currently loyal with and try to earn favor with their opposition but you will lose all the benefits that you got from the one, because you've betrayed them, so their vendors aren't going to be open to you anymore.

Massively: But the items you already got from them can be kept?

We're still working on that through beta. Right now you won't, or maybe you will until you take them off, so I'm sure there might be some players that say 'well I'll never take this off because I'm going to betray them,' but we'll see, we're still working through that, the final phases, and testing.

Massively: Thanks.

Can't get enough Rise of the Godslayer? Check out the trailer below.