The last time I talked to Funcom's Joel Bylos, he was Game Director for The Secret World, overseeing its business model transition. In the wake of some staffing changes at the MMO developer, he has now been put in charge of content development for all three of Funcom's active products: The Secret World, Age of Conan, and the venerable Anarchy Online. We recently had a chance to ask Bylos a few questions over e-mail about his new role, the challenges of one team working on three game simultaneously, and what the future might look like for each of them.
Age of Conan
Last month, we reported that Funcom was instituting "temporary layoffs" of a significant number of its staff. Recently, The Secret World's lead designer, Martin Bruusgaard, told Develop that he was among those laid off along with "most" of the studio.
You've read the review, now build the best character, find the dev team's favorite items, survive your first PvP encounter, and get the most out of Star Wars: The Old Republic with our enormous 10-page launch guide and behind-the-scenes coverage. Then bury your nose deeper into the February 2012 issue of PC Gamer US for previews of 2012's biggest games, including Diablo III, BioShock Infinite, Guild Wars 2 (which may just change everything we know about MMOs), Mass Effect 3, and more, as well as an all-star lineup of reviews, including Minecraft, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Modern Warfare 3, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
You can find it all and more on newstands now! Or, if your house is surrounded by small rabid beasts which have somehow made it clear that only your flesh can satiate their voracious appetites, you may want to stay inside and check us out on Coverleaf.com and Apple Newsstand.
Earlier in the week we talked with Game Director Craig Morrison to get some details on Funcom's new Age of Conan expansion: The Savage Coast of Turan. The six minute dev trailer also walks us through some of the vast environments and intriguing stories that will be included in the expansion. You may want to dust off your broadsword and grab a new loin cloth because this expansion is shaping up to be a nice addition to AoC's barbaric adventure.
UPDATE: The winners have been chosen, and will be contacted shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered! Even if you didn't win a Premium Membership, you can still get the full experience of this "sexy, savage, and brutal world."
Only a month after its announcement, Age of Conan's free-to-play incarnation, dubbed Age of Conan Unchained, is to be released tomorrow, and we've got the exclusive look at the official launch trailer to celebrate it. We're excited: we previously discussed the details of how the business model works, and now it's time to try it out for ourselves.
First up, I think I'll pick out a new companion to accompany me on my journeys from the store. Funcom gave us the exclusive scoop on new "tempress" pets being added to the game's cash shop that'll replace your silly non-sexy pet that currently follows you around with a seductive lady of the night. There are several different varieties, and while interaction is limited, Funcom stressed that this was a change they could only do because they're now free of any rating restrictions in the new free-to-play mode. Of course, the usual lineup of weapons, armor, potions, and all that jazz will also be available in the cash shop.
Read on to learn more about the new content and characters as we talk with Executive Producer Craig Morrison to hear what he's doing on launch day and get his tips for those jumping into AoC for the first time. We're also giving away 11 60-day Premium Membership subscriptions—details inside.
This week, Head Intern [sic] Anthony assembles a team consisting of Lucas, Chris and PCG's newest editor, Tyler Wilde (formerly of GamesRadar) to stop the Reapers and save the Galaxy. But first, they must discuss the topics of the week that was. Stories include Modern Warfare 3, League of Legends' new Tribunal system, Age of Conan going free-to-play, the announcement of Ghost Recon Online, Windows 8 and Duke Nukem Forever finally going gold. We also do a round of Truthiness and Falsity, answer your questions and say our goodbyes to Anthony.
PC Gamer US Podcast 274: Hello Tyler. Goodbye Anthony.
Funcom just announced that their gritty MMO, Age of Conan, will be adopting a hybrid free-to-play business model (meaning there will be an optional subscription and cash shop available, much like LOTRO and DDO). The upcoming update will also add a lot of new content at the same time, including new areas, items, and storylines. We sat down with Age of Conan's Executive Producer, Craig Morrison to talk about how their hybrid business model will work, what they'll be charging for, and why AoC's mature content and siege-focused combat systems still has a lot to offer MMO players!
Age of Conan is set to grow with a series of new solo-questlines designed to add extra instances for players who prefer to adventure alone. New dungeons and solo boss encounters are set to be added to the exotic realm of Khitai added by last year's Rise of the Godslayer expansion. Read on for details.
Reviewing an MMO is like being asked to step outside and put a score on the moon. No matter how long you look, you’ll never see all of it. What follows are impressions of Age of Conan’s first expansion, gleaned from a sliver of its hundreds of hours of content.