It’s always great fun to have a meeting with the developers of a game, and not the PR-people for a change, and today was no different.

We met up with the guys from FunCom a few hours ago and had a nice talk and presentation about their upcoming expansion to MMORPG Age of Conan, called  “Rise of The Godslayer”.

For this first expansion, they wanted to stay true to the work of Robert E. Howard, on which the AoC game is based, and decided to go with Khitai. Khitai, the all-new playable race actually isn’t mentioned a whole lot in Howards’ stories, but the expansion aims to remain true to anything mentioned by Howard. For the most part though, they had an immense amount of creative freedom to till in what this new race in the game should be like.

Eventually, they opted to draw inspiration from ancient Korean and Chineese culture, but not Japanese since they felt that that’s been heavily over-used in videogames already.

In the expansion, conan is king of the remote region of Khitai, a title that doesn’t do him any good though. In his travels he ran across an elephant creature that had been held captive and tortured for 300 years, and decided to put it out of it’s misery. But when it died, it explained it was a god, the god of the Khitan.
Ever since, the Khitan have hated Conan with a passion, and Khitai has slowly been slipping out of nirvana. After 25 years, an evil ruler has stood up, started making trouble, and that’s where the game kicks off.

The new Khitan race features no new classes, but the expansion does add the new Khitai lands to roam, factions to befriend or fight, creatures to kill, and quests to play. Each faction allows you to earn new pieces of armor which eventually add up to a full set of equipment, and the various levels of trust each offer a full set of armor.

Another change in the world of AoC is the way of moving from one place to the other. Gone are the NPC-warps that were used to travel back and forth to more remote areas, and you can now run from A to B on foot, or mount one of the new creatures to speed up the journey and enjoy the beauty of a landscape as far as the eye can see.

Speaking of which, these mounts aren’t as easy to get as the ones in the original game, as they are wild animals, and predators, which aren’t used  to carrying people. As a result, both the Tiger and the Wolf must be captured young and trained to bear the weight of a human. They also have abilities like stealth, and are a bit faster than in the original AoC game.

Unlike what developers for other popular MMORPGs are doing, the level cap has not changed for AoC, instead, the difficulty has been tweaked, it’s harder and takes longer to reach the highest level. Existing players will also find that a hole slew of new things to do, and places to level up have been added, removing the often-heard complaint that the game got boring after you would reach level 20. Luckily for AoC gamers, the developers actually do check the AoC forums in search of things to improve, and have resolved those with the Rise of the Godslayer expansion.

Players will also be able to learn brand new spells, combo attacks, and other abilities through new added content for the expansion, and the alternate advancement system.