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Hands-on with Age of Conan's Barbarian class

Dan O'Halloran

Last week at CES, I was able to do a hands on with Age of Conan's Dark Templar class. I also spent a good couple of hours ignoring the dirty looks of conventioneers as I hogged the Barbarian class demo machine as well. I was able to take a couple of shaky videos of gameplay (I blame the excitement) and write down some of the abilities of the class currently in beta.

Before you dive in after the jump, you might also want to check out Michael Zenke's hands-on impression of the game, his interview with with Conan Designer Jason Stone about the graphic upgrades recently introduced to the closed beta and Age of Conan's newly announced Collector's Edition information, And if that's not enough information, you can also check the extensive tour and interview Akela Talamesca had of the game in December with more video coverage than you can shake a DV cam at.

Now, on to the details of my test drive with AoC's Barbarian class.

Gallery: Age of Conan CES 2008 Gallery | 10 Photos

The Barbarian class is a rogue archetype. That means high melee damage and little armor. Hey, if you can kill your opponent faster than he can kill you, it's all good, right? While I was playing this character on the convention floor, I was able to copy down some of the information I saw on the screen.

Barbarians have two specialty Feats trees: Berserker and Reaver. One of the cool abilities I saw in the Berserker tree was No Escape: Throw your weapon to impale the enemy, causing massive damage and stunning him. Disarms you. I wasn't able to train Feats in the demo, but if I could, that would be the one I'd like to try.

Another ability I saw was in the Reaver tree. Armageddon Falls: For the next 12 seconds you have a 100% chance to proc a debuff on your opponent that will do additional damage. How much damage? I don't know, but it was fairly deep in the tree, so I'm guessing it's the "who wants to see a blood bath" key.

I copied down a few combo moves as well. You can see three of them in the videos embedded in this piece. Available combo moves are based on what kind of weapon you have in hand. For Barbarians the choices are two-handed weapons and one-handed weapons.

Here are all special combos that Barbarian's had access to at level 24 using two-handed weapons: Stunning Punch, Power Bash, Butcher, Cyclone of Steel, Savage Rage and Wreck Armor. I'm guessing the last one is an armor debuff so the entire party can deal extra damage.

As for actual game play, I found the Barbarian to be much gorier than the Dark Templar tanking class I played earlier in the day. This would be in line with the lore of the class. I couldn't accurately gauge how well the class evaded attacks as I was in GM mode for the demo, but I could see the power, strength and ferocity of the combat moves and those were quite impressive. Check out any of the videos above to see what I mean.

Personally, I'm eager to get my hands on a Priest class as I usually play some kind of healer/hybrid in my various MMO explorations. With the game landing March 25, hopefully beta will expand to include me and I won't have to fly to Vegas again to get my next hands-on.

Gallery: Age of Conan Gallery | 85 Photos

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