Age of Conan has been getting some good press lately and, given that I'm without an MMO home, I thought I'd try the free trial.
I just went back and re-read Brasse's original review of the game and I have to say that, two years later, I still think all of her comments are on the mark.
Who are the people who think that AoC is a beautiful game? I agree with Brasse that the foliage is pretty and everything, but as she said, the animations are terrible--distractingly awful. My character runs like his feet aren't really touching the ground. The combat animations are so hard to interpret that I can't tell what my character is doing.
But let me get to the worst part of it: the pets. I rolled a Stygian necromancer because I like pets. My first pet is some ice monster which appears at random, runs around like a seven year-old girl, then disappears. I can't control neither when it is summoned nor what it does. Great. My second pet, which is a permanent summon, only attacks things after I have attacked them. A mob could beat me to death and this thing would not raise a finger. Also, it appears to do next to no damage and, as far as I can tell, has no agro-holding ability at all. I thought the root I got at level 5 would help, but as far as I can tell it also does nothing. Of course, there's no animation of any kind to go along with it, so I can't even tell when it's active.
Did I mention that there are no casting animations?! I click the button to cast a spell; if this were EQ2 or Aion, my character would wave his hands or glow or something to let me know that he's casting. In AoC, there is just a little progress meter that fills up until, BWOOSH!, shards of ice come flying in from the sides of the screen. What is up with that? I find myself constantly clicking on spells that are already casting because I can't see the little progress meter against the annoyingly busy backgrounds. This is totally inexcusable. I mean, do the classes with swords just click a little button, watch their character stand there while the "slashing" progress bar fills, and then try to guess whether they have slashed yet? Egads.
Ack. I wanted to like this game. The re-reviews were glowing. But I don't think I'll be able to play this game.
I am sad. I cannot find an MMO that suits me. FFXIV and Rift look like they might be good, but they're far from release--maybe another year or more for Rift. Tera looks awesome, but I'm not jumping into another Korean game any time soon, thanks. Gak.
Other than EQ2, are there no other at least semi-modern PvE-centric fantasy MMO's on the market which are worth playing, assuming you like mage classes (which, in my mind, seems to rule out LOTRO, which seems to be more about stabby classes)?