Massively: We know the NA version of the game will contain everything but full nudity. Will there be any method -- possibly via age verification -- to unlock the 100% uncensored version of Age of Conan?
Jørgen: No, I am afraid not, but please note that there is no "uncensored" version. In fact, the North Americans ARE getting the full uncensored version of Conan as we created it and intended it, so there is no secret version some place. Perhaps some sunny day over the rainbow it will be ok for games like Age of Conan to contain full nudity, without causing complete havoc, but that day is sadly not there, yet.
The system requirements for Age of Conan have been officially announced. Are they where you planned them to be? Do you plan to work on further engine upgrades like the Cheetah 2 improvement?
Yes, I would say so. I think we have achieved what we set out to do, which is to create a game where you can scale the settings a lot compared to what kind of machine you have, while at the same time truly pushing the boundaries of PC MMO graphics. It is TRULY a nightmare to develop PC games with their moving target hardware, but I think we have pulled it off.
We will continue to optimize our engine, and new iterations of Cheetah will be deployed to the beta prior to launch to further improve performance. That work will continue post-launch as well, and for many years to come.
Were you aiming more for mid-range or high-end PCs with the system requirements?
If you look at all the PCs in the world we were definitely aiming at the higher spectrum, but if you isolate the PC gamers from that mass I would say we tried to hit as broad as we could. This plays into a much bigger choice as well; with a mature game like Conan, would a cartoony approach work as well as the "magical realism" approach we have chosen?
How much flexibility will players have when customizing their UI?
The players will have quite a lot of flexibility, and we know how parts of the community will soon start to tamper with what we have created. Ultimately the combined efforts and brains of our community are much better than ours, so as the months progress, I think we will see some ingenious solutions we hadn't even thought about. That is the beauty of MMOs I think, how smart the users are and how much care they take in improving the game experience for themselves and fellow gamers.
Did any particular class pose a challenge to implement from design to the actual game?
Every single class posed a major, major challenge to implement! There are no short-cuts in this, no "first iteration – Done!" shortcuts to be had. It's a nightmare of excel sheets, item balance, PvP balance, PvE balance, feat balance, group vs. solo balance, group vs. guild balance, etc. etc. In fact, NOTHING is easy when it comes to the class balance, as everything you do affects so much else. And when you launch it really becomes tricky, as people get so attached to their character that nerfing in itself can cause complete havoc. I don't envy Andrew Griffins, Evan Michael and the other class balance guys, to put it like that. They have a motherload of a challenge to overcome on a daily basis.
Does Age of Conan lean more towards PvP or PvE content? What would you say is the overall ratio?
With Conan we have really tried to make the best of both worlds, and you will both find a lot of PvE content and a lot of PvP content. We know that MMO gamers can't be pinned down to one specific group of people so we have just tried to ensure that you get really good gameplay regardless of what your preference is. (and yes, we are aware of the dangers of trying to please everyone and making no one happy but still, we have hopefully found the right balance)
The ratio cannot be given as a lot of the content is dynamic, and i.e. on the free for all PvP servers the ratio is naturally a bit different than on the PvE servers.
How long would you say it takes an average player to reach max level?
It depends on what your goal with the game is, and how you play, but we have estimated around 240 hours of playing time on average to reach the max level. This is a number which really means nothing though, after all, the essence is how much fun did you have while doing it, what happens when you reach the end, and how much fun it is to roll an alt. You know, after some time the players will work together and hammer and push at every single aspect in the game to make it go faster. I guess that is a part of what expansions and updates are forď