As we mentioned, Funcom's Hyborian MMORPG Age of Conan is set to expand. As of yesterday, the concept art first shown at Leipzig is now available to view, courtesy of GameSpy. The dragon banners, pagoda-like structures and mask style suggest that Khitai, Robert E. Howard's composite version of China, may be the setting. If so - and this is only speculation - it might be a promising choice, despite not receiving much attention in the original Howard tales.
Khitai is far to the east of Aquilonia, Stygia and Cimmeria. In A Witch Shall Be Born, Howard portrayed Khitai as a place of sorcery and deep tangled jungles: 'He was a magician from far Khitai, returning to his native kingdom after a journey to Stygia. He took me with him to purple-towering Paikang, its minarets rising amid the vine-festooned jungles of bamboo, and there I grew to womanhood under his teaching. Age had steeped him deep in black wisdom, not weakened his powers of evil. Many things he taught me...' The current race options in Age of Conan don't allow any race but Stygians to be mages, so a Khitai-based expansion could change that. The Tower of the Elephant also mentions 'priests of Yun' who dwell in the lost jungles of Khitai. If the concept art shows rogues and soldiers, a player character Khitai race could be the first to have access to all four class options.
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