Is Age of Conan a WoW Killer?

Age of Conan Logo

Well, we’ve had Age of Conan at retail for a little over a week now, and so far, it’s doing pretty well in stores. I mean, 400,000 copies in its first week is a solid start for any title. Additionally, the retail launch was pretty smooth, although some bugs were still present. All in all though, I agree with what seems to be (from my reading) the prevailing opinion that the AoC launch was arguably the best MMO launch ever.

The success of Age of Conan is a boon not only for the MMO market, but for MMO gamers everywhere. For the first time in recent memory, there are now two quality MMO titles competing for subscription dollars. With the release of Warhammer Online looming, it looks like that count will soon rise to three.

This means that there is now healthy competition in that market space, and that means that all 3 of the companies behind these MMO’s will be working hard to earn those dollars. That’s great for us as gamers, as it means we’ll get to see all sorts of new and exciting stuff in our MMO of choice.

Now, since all of this is true, it gets me to thinking about a question that is (I am sure) being debated in more than one venue, and that is this: What effect will the early success of Age of Conan have on World of Warcraft?

I think we can all agree that World of Warcraft is the 800 lb. gorilla of the MMO market. After all, at last count it boasted something along the lines of 10.7 million subscribers. Of course, prior to the release of AoC and Warhammer, I heard lots of people refer to either or both of these games as ‘WoW killers.’ I want to let you all in on a little secret: There is no WoW killer.

That’s right, WoW is nearly immortal in its own way. The only thing that can ravage it is time. However, that isn’t bad news for the other two big MMO’s. You see, WoW can easily withstand the loss of half its player base to these two newcomers to the arena. Take away half their playerbase, and they’re still left with over 5 million subscribers. With a little reduction and consolidation on the server side, WoW can continue to be profitable for years to come. Additionally, both Age of Conan and Warhammer Online should be tickled pink if they each grab 2.5 million players from WoW.

WoW LogoFurthermore, as has been the case in the past, players who have left WoW will likely continue to return to check out new expansions, even if it’s only for a few months. Heck, some people, like my colleague Shawn Sines, tend to hop from one MMO to another like a flea jumping around a pack of dogs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that for many WoW players, WoW was their first experience in an MMO game. I think most all of you will agree with me when I say that no matter how many games you play in a genre, you never forget your first. WoW brought a lot of new blood into the MMO genre, and I expect that many of those people will remain in WoW for some time to come, especially since many of them have massive amounts of time, effort, and money invested in their accounts there.

The biggest advantage I see for World of Warcraft is also its biggest handicap, and that is that it is the incumbent champion in this genre. The advantage is that players have an investment in it, and that the glaring bugs in the system have been ironed out long ago. Players are loath to continue playing a game that has players hitting max level in mere days from release due to exploits. However, the folks at FunCom seem to be on top of things, and are taking some appropriate measures to deal with these miscreants (Bannings and stripping of accounts, oh my!)

The disadvantage for WoW is that people are always interested in something new, specially if it is shiny. AoC and Warhammer are certainly trying to fill that bill, and so there will be an inevitable early rush of players to both games to ‘test the waters.’ However, Blizzard need not be overly concerned with this.

Simply put, World of Warcraft is in no danger of collapsing under the onslaught of Age of Conan and Warhammer Online. Perhaps some Vivendi stockholders may have difficulty making their payments on that second exotic sports car, but I think they’ll be fine in the long run. Sure, WoW may diminish some, but the only thing that it has to fear is World of Starcraft. MAKE IT, BLIZZARD! I BEG YOU!

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38 Comments on Is Age of Conan a WoW Killer?

Jonathan

On May 30, 2008 at 5:47 pm

World of Starcraft: i get the shakes just thinking about it…

Bounce

On May 30, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Tetris can kill WoW ..

RE4LiTY

On May 30, 2008 at 6:07 pm

AoC is by far a better game if you have a capable computer to run it. WoW is a watered down child’s game.

Matthew

On May 30, 2008 at 6:43 pm

I started WoW at launch, and quit. I started WoW again at Burning Crusade, and have since capped out on gear and experiences, and again quit. I play Guild Wars now, that is mostly because in WoW I just sit in town waiting for something worth doing to become available to me, and I find that sitting in town waiting for the game to give me a reason to play it, isn’t a reason to play it.

I have ground out factions X, Y, and Z to get their shiny mounts, I have beaten the raid bosses and sat through Ventrillo sessions with people I wouldn’t give a quarter to let alone share a seat on the bus with in the real world, simply because I need their presence to defeat a raid encounter. I’ve designed guild website after guild website and gotten a bit too friendly with that mage friend of mine late at night down by the river.

I am the hamster, and it is the wheel. I have since decided not to return to WoW, and of course that is me saying this when the game offers me nothing, but I hope to be able to stay clean from the digital crack even after Wrath arrives. I find that many of the people who came to WoW with me, were looking for that ultimate raiding experience, and instead they get a mirrored “wouldn’t it have been neat if Everquest did this?” experience, and most if not all of those types have moved on long ago. Those I see playing WoW now are a shadow of the original raiding heavies, and that to me, is a sign that the serious player just doesn’t see anything offered by WoW in its current form.

Raid encounters are too easily mastered and those that you would call hardcore in the current WoW community are softcore vs. what a more serious raiding game would have brought in, and been made a home for. It is a beautiful game, and a fun experience, but having equipped two 70′s with raid gear and killed just about everything there was to kill, it leaves me reminded that the kind of people I’d like to actually play with, have long ago decided that WoW was as an above poster said, a watered down version of what it once represented in our geeky MMO fantasies.

Ano

On May 30, 2008 at 7:09 pm

I dont know what you consider being hardcore is but many normal raiding guilds raid 5 days per week, practically not possible to raid more if you have a life(school, work). If thats not hardcore then the only hardcore people are the ones going to the unemployment office once a month?

Kezins

On May 30, 2008 at 7:40 pm

I knew it would be big, but this game has gone past what I could have possibly predicted. As far as being a WoW killer.. it’s possible. I think a lot of people were ready for something new.

Nice article

Duffz

On May 30, 2008 at 8:21 pm

hmm…. nice.

PWN

On May 30, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Yep AoC FARRR BETTER THAN WOW WOW IS CARTOONISH AOC U CAN CUT OF PEOPLES HEADS@!

Ein

On May 30, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Dont forget Aion!!

Rom

On May 30, 2008 at 9:35 pm

I’ve been playing Age of Conan since it came out, and while it is a great game, the only thing that’s keeping it from being “incredible” is that there are SO many bugs in the game. They’re the type of bugs that break quests. I know it’s only been out for a week, but you have to understand how long this game has been in production. It’s just a shame that such a great game (environment and gameplay wise) has to be dragged down by very annoying bugs.

Shabadoo or whatever

On May 30, 2008 at 9:51 pm

I am very similar to Matthew, except that I never raided, due to my former internet connection. Even now, I’ve been WoW free for 6 months, and I still feel like going back for another session or two every once in a while. It IS ing crack. It’s well designed in that way.

Daniel

On May 30, 2008 at 10:11 pm

I don’t know what everyone likes so much about AoC. I bought it the day after it was released. Played it for two days and uninstalled it. Combat is clunky and boring, quests are given with that crappy “listen to me talk to five minutes” formula, animations seem skippy (not my PC, i crank that game and still get 30fps) and it just doesn’t have the same quality as the top dog. Here’s hoping Warhammer will be better, cause AoC is crap in a box and on 2 dvd’s

FlakAttack

On May 30, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Being an MMO player since Meridian 59, I’ve been pretty skeptic of AoC from the beginning. It is different, but hardly revolutionary, and DEFINITELY not the best mmo ever. Neither is WoW, or CoH, or MO, or EQ, or LotRO, or UO, or SWG, etc.

Infact, my three favourite experiences were:
1. The beginning of Runescape (don’t laugh… it’s a sorry excuse of a game now though)
2. The beginning of Planetside… that game still calls to me sometimes, but because it is only a shadow of its former glory its more saddening to play than fulfilling.
3. EVE Online. That game changed my MMO expections forever. I now require full fledged economies, detailed combat, and a fair leveling system (in EVE, for those who don’t know, your skills don’t train by using them, but by “learning” them. Think the matrix, downloading content to your brain. It happens even while you don’t play)

I await the next great MMO. Who knows? Maybe it could be Jumpgate: Evolution…

xx-Thor-xx

On May 31, 2008 at 12:23 am

good article and i agree with it on everything… however the way

“This means that there is now healthy competition in that market space, and that means that all 3 of the companies behind these MMO’s will be working hard to earn those dollars.”

is worded makes it sound like blizzard hasn’t been working hard to get the subscribers that they are getting. they are constantly patching it and trying to balance the classes more and hell they even add content from time to time ie naxx, the sunwell, zul aman…

The only problem ive been having with AoC so far is a memory error that happens about twice an hour.. other than that its pretty good for early in its life cycle.

Wiff

On May 31, 2008 at 2:57 am

The only MMO I’ve ever played was Runescape (the second one), I played it for about 3 months, reached lvl 79 and then….Well, then I realized how pointless it was and I quit, never looked back, I’m still very embarrassed of myself for wasting 3 months of my life on such nonsense sh!t :sad:

John

On May 31, 2008 at 3:01 am

i tried this game today and didn’t like it at all and i returned it the next day and will be buying boondocks season2 unratated with the gift card future shop gave me

Grundy

On May 31, 2008 at 3:35 am

AoC is fun because it’s different than WoW.

The game is buggy as hell. Just god awful. The complex fighting with combos and such is a chore without a macro interface. I know there is a hidden macro interface but there is very little documentation at the moment. The game is like WoW at the start, it is a frigging glorified beta product and I am very disappointed at the toils of the developers for 5 years or whatever and they bring me a buggy mess.

The PvP servers are devoid of a MMO feel since you think everyone is going to kill you and usually just get caught up and targeted like another mob and bam they dead or you’re dead and you rez and move on. Even guildies can be ed with then if the GM es at you for guild killing you can gquit.

I mean there is this damn air of paranoia without a core faction watching your back, nobody talks in general, or groups very often, or asks for help. Seems like everyone is in it for their own leveling. And that’s the gist. There is no benefit other than PvP leveling (alternate level system for PvP) which you can’t even access until higher levels. There is no benefit of PK nor detriment. At least in UO, there was murder and justice, there was player looting and prevention from murderers entering towns.

Ultima Online had one of the finest FFA PvP systems ever. You had to weight the pros and cons of a gank. You had to be a complete bad ass and just take a perma red murder count and never enter a town or safe zone. You had to risk your own life and gears because there was no level tags, you couldn’t tell point blank if the cat you’re killing is grade a green or a skilled pvper, because the game alotted you only points to distribute as you worked on a skill, levels weren’t even in the game. Want to be a crafter? The limited points prevented a craft toon from being much of a threat to a pure fighter or mage. Want to tame dragons? The taming skill plus all the supplement skills prevented you from being any good at fighting so you completely had to rely on your beast.

This game if fun as hell atm. I like to kill people on a whim. It needs work, yes, but so did WoW. Again I ask AoC, wtf is the point? If you allow ffa pvp, let me loot my es like I used to in Deciet when guys would die to Liches. Then let them gank me and take back their . And let me then kill them to go red for revenge and then be unable to go to town for a long time and have to run from all the murderer killers everywhere who think I am free game since they can kill me without taking a count themselves.

This meaningless ganking to prevent somebody killing a mob or to laugh at them is ing stupid. It can only work with a faction to watch your back. In WoW, that’s fun. This game has three races, and guilds, and you can gank your race and your guildies just for s and giggles. I have killed the same guy I think 3 times at most for no reason, then I just get bored and say, this is stupid as hell and go do what I need to. I even have killed some guy 2 times then invited him to group to complete a quest and I mean he is not mad at getting ganked or anything.

If it’s supposed to be hardcore ffa then you need benefits. If it’s supposed to instill camaraderie in people then you need wide wafts of people(factions) who can band together to watch each other’ backs. As it is, it’s ing failure and I think I want to reroll PvE since they have your standard WoW general nonsense and you feel like there are real people there.

StvanI

On May 31, 2008 at 8:46 am

WoW is a joke so I hope Conan wins :lol:

TangentCollision

On May 31, 2008 at 10:43 am

I don’t think anything could kill WoW (short of a zerg rush or the addition of rape as a profession, or worse, both) I don’t really care for MMO’s and I dislike the game play style of WoW. I love the style of guild wars, mainly because it plays like it should…without the need for excessive amounts of interaction with people you don’t know, actually child friendly.

I’ve found WoW to have tons of problems with balance, and not to mention the only way to play free is through some bull PvP server with 60x rates on everything from drop rates to exp rates and items that deal 10,000 damage a hit and provide just as much armor. GW was at least reasonable, always free to play, only required buying the game (all that’s needed, in my personal opinion) I hope Age of Conan kills WoW, I really do…but warhammer online is going to top my list…hopefully…(flayed ones and monoliths anyone?)

Kevin

On May 31, 2008 at 1:26 pm

I’ve played AOC and it is utter garbage to even compare it to WOW, its not even in the same class to compare!

Professions suck, no pvp rewards for anything, repetetive grinding,

the only reason kids buy it is for nudity, and they think its a more serious mmo, they forget its still a videogame, youre still a nerd for playing an mmo

Rollett

On May 31, 2008 at 3:50 pm

@John Why would you be such a ass as to return a MMO.. its yours for ever once you enter the code.. so why return it and get your money back.. thats just low.

Eric

On June 1, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Age of Conan is a bug riddled title that has decent elements but ultimately should have been delayed another 6 months.

I will not say it is better than World of Warcraft at this time because, it is not. I like the idea of Conan but the execution was extremely bad.

Evismang

On June 1, 2008 at 2:50 pm

It’s not better than WoW because WoW has been out what, 3 years now? That’s 3 years of fixing bugs and balancing classes. AoC’s launch has been way better than WoW’s, and less buggy. Stop trying to compare a 3 year old game and a 2 week old game.

John

On June 2, 2008 at 6:55 am

@Rollett well because i didn’t like it one bit and wanted my money back i wasted on that game not an ass because of me returning a game i didin’t like one single bit

lolRIGHT

On June 3, 2008 at 8:27 am

@Kevin
…there is almost no grinding in AoC. The action feels smooth and enjoyable, just like the character progression itself.

To the rest…it’s being taken care of. It’s as if WoW didn’t have it’s share of problems when it first came out!

Oh and..screw macro’s. I really hate how people feel like they should implement a way to do everything they want with just a press of one key. Where’s the skill in that?

Icarus

On June 6, 2008 at 5:26 pm

@Rollet

He’s lying, you can’t return subscription based games if the seals been broken. Company can’t risk reselling a product when someones used the serial.

aircondition

On June 7, 2008 at 12:24 pm

naw ive returned subscription based games ive returned the wow 3 month game cards

Kaim

On June 9, 2008 at 6:32 am

@Evismang: Since AoC can draw heavily on the (right and wrong) examples of other MMORPG’s like WoW you would expect them to be able to deliver it more complete from the beginning, especially after 5 years of not having to find things out for themselves and just concentrating on delivering a game that hits like a kick in the face but then in a good way.

In general: I played AoC for a bit, until my character reached level 24 and I was outside of Tortage wondering if my sound system had suddenly started failing. I was getting quests from a bunch of mutes all of a sudden who couldn’t even say something as simple as “hello” and I couldn’t even get myself to read what they wanted. Not that I needed to, cause it shows on the map what you need to do.

Yes, the game looks pretty good in comparison to WoW but movement is not what you’d expect for such an advanced game, and it’s far from complete. The “innovative” combat system is far from intuitive and the lack of any speech outside of Tortage was either a bug on my system or a bug in the game that might give it the deathblow. Frankly, those in-game “fatalities” everyone is so lyric about are getting stale after you’ve seen all whopping 3 of them for the gazillioned time.

My opinion is that something should be done about all this right quick, or the game is not going to kill WoW, but rather will it commit suicide.
I allso think that calling a game more mature cause it has pixelated nudity and blood splatters is either saying a lot about the person that brings it up or a very sad way to excuse the purchase of a far from complete game.
I think that if you decide to produce a game like this and deliver it a few months too early for it not to suck in a lot of area’s, you could at least make it freeuntill it stops sucking so much.

Bounce

On June 14, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Bloody Tetris is a WoW killer. Horrible dumbed down mainstream game.

hekynn

On June 16, 2008 at 2:05 pm

I’m sure Conan will win :D I’m enjoying Conan on my gaming pc at high settings :D

Martin

On June 18, 2008 at 1:59 pm

I can’t see this game taking more players from WoW, if the rest of the WoW players where at all interested, they would have bought it by now.
I really agree too ” The only thing that can ravage it [ WoW ] is time ”
though I really think that World of Starcraft would kill WoW.

Tom

On June 19, 2008 at 11:09 am

AoC is epic fail. There are tons of bugs, like patching bugs which make you have to manually delete files to even be able to play at all, and bugs that throw you out the game for no reason, and bugs that make your map go grey and your memory fail so the client crashes. Not to mention the bug that DISCRIMINATES BETWEEN GENDERS making some female characters of classes have a lower attack rating – attacking 25% (!!!) slower than their male counterparts.

This game isn’t finished. There are too few quests for certain level ranges so there’s a tedious, monotonous grind required to level up… Doesnt matter what you’re facing anyway, all you do is hit the same combos you have over and over again till everything hostile stops moving. Yawn…

This game goes out the back door. I played WoW for the 10 day trial, thinking back to it it seemed to have so much more, but the cartoonesque graphics turned me away from it. Also because I had already purchased Guild Wars and Ive been playing that ever since. Now there’s a game with great gameplay. I eagerly await Guild Wars II…

Blikje

On June 20, 2008 at 8:31 am

I played aoc for the free 30 days, i’m still not trough but i allready stopped bothering with logging in most of the days.

I want WotLK, AoC is booooooring and buggy

iKiddo

On June 20, 2008 at 8:57 am

Wow is desperate just look at the patches … Yes it is the wow killer when it gets rid of all its bugs etc.

Quaade

On June 20, 2008 at 11:26 am

AoC could had been a good game. Bugs can be expected and to some degree accepted, stuff that has been advertised as being in the game at time of release and not being it. That’s downright wrong and not acceptable in any way shape or form.

SKL

On August 15, 2008 at 2:39 am

KOTOR online/Stargate Worlds :wink:

LocoSean

On May 7, 2009 at 10:34 am

I think both WoW and AoC offer completely different things in-game. While WoW might offer the often fun and easy gaming experiance, AoC offers the first half decent fighting system I’ve seen in an online MMO, MUCH better graphics and a more inventive side to the game with the Guild City Building tool. AoC may come with bugs but they get sorted eventually. I suppose it depends what the gamer wants from the game. If they’re looking for an easy, sit back and spam your hotbar but still have fun sort of game, The best choice is WoW. For a more intense and difficult game which would probably keep you interested for longer sort of game, try AoC. If your still unsure, just try the demo. I don’t think one game is better than the other, it’s just a personal view.

Nick

On July 18, 2009 at 1:46 am

Well i have been playing wow since the begging. i have done all the raids and got all the pvp gear. since BC wow has become a kids game that requires little or no skill.

After reaching no life status in the game i stopped and sold my account, got 400 dollars for 3 toons. and picked up warhammer and age of conan from my local game store. got about halfway threw warhammer when i got bored of the pvp and quality of people, went over to age of conan and instantly loved it. wow may have the 13 gb of material in the game, but it can never beat ripping somebody’s head off in a bg just to watch his friends run away. age of conan graphics just rape wow’s. pvp in age of conan is not button mashing and cc out the ass, it actually takes skill. raiding and end game content is just about the same. but where age of conan takes wow by storm is in the questing, age of conan has much more involved quests just because of the engine the game has. the classes are so diverse that you could never really have multiple toons that you know everything about. the only reason people defend wow is because they spent all their time leveling an account, and they want to think that there time was spent well and dont want to waste new time leveling up an account in a different game that they know nothing about. truth is wow is dying they are becoming desperate for new content(look at what other games give players, and watch what wow copies).

Weather you want to admit it or not wow is dead, just look at the new patch. mounts are available now to people at lvl 20 ask your self why Blizzard would do that and you will see that there is two reasons. Reason 1: blissard needs subscribers and the trial account ends at 20 so why not give them the option to feel a mount more material for the potental subscribers. Reason 2: for the people who already have subscribed and want to start an alt isn’t it easier to level a new account in wow when you have a mount to run around on, wouldent you want to play a game that feels rewarding to reach level cap and not one that can be done by a monkey.

Dont get the wrong idea about me, i loved my lvl 80 lock to death. the truth is Wow is fun but there is no reason to stay if they are just going to be adding new raids and making the game easier. the only reason you should stay is if your comp cant handle the newer and more graphically challenging games. take the advice of a lvl 80 warlock and sell now, and pick up age of conan prob one of the best decisions in your gaming life.

This is not an opinion its fact, hope it helped some people