Developer Quotes[]

I don't intend currently to make multiple ways of wielding a single sword per se. There are other layers of combat that can effect the way it is wielded, your stance could change as mentioned when using a defensive stance or reactive combat stance. Part of this is just due to the tons of animations I am already working in and the number of layers already present. 6 basic attacks, + reactive stance and styles, + defensive stance idles, + flourishes, +combo moves (lots of combo moves) and thats on a per weapon style basis not counting class specific combos general evasive manuevers and rolls etc. (I have not attempted to count the totals I just know Gaute originally projected approx 1600 male character anims and I am almost positive that has gone up dramatically)

Forums, 2nd February 2006 (Athelan)

Well, there are some similar elements to be implemented in Conan, as there are still different "damage types"--with Piercing, Crushing, and Slashing damage, as well as some for magical attacks. That said, it still remains to be seen how much we will utilize (in)vulnurability ratings and the like. It will probably be somewhat reserved as to not get out of control.

Forums, 4th January 2006 (Jayde)

I dont like to use the term aiming when it comes to melee combat since ranged combat actually does use aiming. I prefer to refer to it as a "soft lock", I'm not tabbing through targets, nor am I completely without a target.

Forums, 9th December 2005 (Athelan)

I can understand the confusion when discussing this, but I can assure you from experience it feels much more natural and transparent. If a guy is in my cone of attack I can tell and if I am engaging that one guy and he moves I will auto adjust so at least my cone of attack stays in the right direction. Now if he does an evade move and gets outside my cone I need to reaquire him, and I need to get myself into the range of my sword etc. But its not a case of oh I swung at his shoulder and his shoulder moved 4 inches to the left so I miss.

Forums, 9th December 2005 (Athelan)

The attack marks and target highlighting is primarily just there to provide concise feedback as to what direction the attack you are using is coming in from on the target. This will be easily visible from the attacks itself and should not be obstructing the view. You wont play combat in Conan like dance dance revolution where you are obsessed with the little <- <- -> -> symbols instead of whats going on.

Forums, 9th December 2005 (Athelan)

You get a soft lock on a target, this doesnt mean you are in range, you could swing your weapon at the air if you want but you wont hit anything. If you do strike a target you will still have to determine if you damaged your opponent and in that regard some back end stuff will come into play. Using active defense moves, stances, combo's, special attacks and the like will drain stamina.

Forums, 26th October 2005 (Athelan)

Let me start out by saying Conan combat plays quite quickly, and as Dave mentioned grappling is something we would love to see but horribly expensive to do right. Also, while this may be blasphemy towards the "classics" I feel our combat has already surpassed Severance/Blade of Darkness. We have a spectacular mocap artist and I got a chance to show him some of his work in the game client. And he even said "It's beginning to look like real fighting" now that to me coming from him was a huge compliment for our system.

Forums, 25th Obctober (Athelan)

As Dave has stated Conan combat uses a sort of "soft lock" system currently that will help keep you orientated toward your main target while doing evasive actions or moving around, you can break the soft lock by simply turning toward another opponent and engaging so it is quite transparent.

Forums, 25th October (Athelan)

The current iteration of our combat (3.1 I think) does contain a form of "lock-on". We found that it was really needed, because we are moving around so much. Earlier iterations had you swinging around and hitting pretty much everything except your intended target, who conveniently sidestepped and let his minions take the blows.

Forums, 25th October 2005 (DaveDread)

Grappling is very difficult from a visual representation perspective. Either you need runtime Inverse Kinematics (IE dynamically tweaking the animations so they fit together) which is horribly expensive both from a development perspective and for performance.

Optionally, you have fixed animations and control the size/position/rotation of the characters involved. In effect, the server takes control of your character and moves him around so the animations fit with the target. It also means you'll need to limit mesh differences so that no wierd stuff happens.

Forums, 24th October 2005 (DaveDread)

We have stamina in the game and it is consumed when you use various types of attacks or combo's

Forums, 20th October 2005 (Athelan)

Sparks/Pieces of armor/gibs/blood these things are more likely to be seen in Conan when striking a target. Not pretty sparkles or POW KAZAM BIFF effects.

Forums, 11th October 2005 (Athelan)

The lenght of the fight is easily balanced both in the AI system and the monstertool, and it is something we discuss every day. I'm sure we'll tweak these things all trough beta based on feedback from our testers. In some cases we may want the fights to be difficult and last for a while, while other may be just a few swings.. wait and see. PvP fights would depend on level and skills on both sides i guess.

Forums, 7th October 2005 (Mjoellnir)

  • Yes, armors and weapons will have stat bonuses.
  • Both +attack rating with a weapon and +strength are stats.
  • We'll put in an effort to make stat bonuses make sense.

When handling stats that give bonuses to several things (attributes as strength or dexterity as examples), we'll place them where appropriate to the greatest extent possible. IE +Strength on a belt if fine, it supports your back and makes your musclegroups focus the energy to lifting, not supporting. +Strength on a dagger is wierd.

Having stats percentage based is tricky. When you have several %-based stats and need to calculate them they start behaving oddly, and you need to treat them as absolute numbers anyways.

Forums, 3rd October 2005, (DaveDread)

As Dave said I have worked on a systems design to add some of the feeling of counter attacks to MMO combat. I call this "reactive defense/active counter" system, maybe someday I will be famous for it :) .

As Khayman said the issue is lag, you cannot rely purely on reading an opponents moves and the twitch because of the synch time on your seeing the movement, than the 20ms rule of pattern recognition in your bran combined with the time it takes to send your response back etc.

Based on this I have built my system on top of our active defense and parry stances and active evasion moves like rolling. The system is locational with a degree of flexibility to allow for more effective and less effective rather than completely useless stance decisions.

The premise of the system is that when I am in reactive defense stance I am not only trying to defend myself but I am specifically looking for an opening to counter an opponents move. When an opening presents itself I can execute an attack or even a combo of attacks that are special for this purpose.

Forums, 3rd October 2005 (Athelan)

Not sure with bows, but given the way collision and hit detection work currently it would be hard to swing through your buddy to land a hit on an opponent if they were in the way. (Maybe if you were using a long pole weapon or spear but then it kind of makes sense like the old phalanx formations)

Forums, 3rd October 2005 (Athelan)

I expect there will be names and a con system somehow. But I hope that more things about a character identify them than just these. If you see my wicket looking snake tatoo's maybe you can tell I am a priest of set, and maybe to some extent the number or intricacy of them belies my skill in the order.

Forums, 3rd October 2005 (Athelan)

We have blood, and quite a bit of it. As far as dismemberment and decapitation they may be present but I am not sure it will be on players.

Forums, 12th September 2005 (Athelan)

The problem with active defences in a game like this is lag. Only a little bit lag will make active defence useless since you need to see where the attack is going to hit and counter it. So a defensive stance witch you actively have to enter will have less problems with lag. But we are still working on the combat system to make it fun and non-static.

Forums, 13th August 2005 (Khayman)

We can make armor/hit locations matter, but it needs to be carefully balanced. Leg Chop, Leg Chop, Leg Chop is dreadfully boring compared to a berzerkerish whirlwind of attacks on all body locations.

A similar issue is to have armor types with different strengths and weaknesses against weapon types. It's not fun having to swap weapon to a warhammer just because your opponent wears chainmail and is impervious to your blade. Personally I'd like it to make a differance but not to be something you as a player have to do to be successful.

Forums, 12th August 2005, (DaveDread)

A weapons damage output, as well as the defensive capabilities of armor, will depend on both the player attributes and the properties of the items. However, with our Real Combat system, player skill will have a much larger effect then in other MMO's. Simply having spectacular gear will not guarantee a win against an opponent with simpler equipment, we have a much more dynamic combat system then a simple competition of damage-per-second vs HP bars.

Forums, 11th August 2005, (DaveDread)

You will most definitively be able to learn new combat arts during the game. We are investing heavily into the combat aspects, and are doing our very best to make sure that you are constantly rewarded with new possibilities. With our motion capture studio and combat mechanics we have also been able to create combat into something incredibly lifelike and even realistic (that's why we have called it "real combat"). It's therefore not just about getting new special attacks and feats, but also mastering the system itself. It should be easy for anyone to learn, but it will take some time to master fully., 8th July 2005 (Gaute Godager)

Let us face it. The cut and dried "indirect combat" of most MMOs - and some old RPGs - won't cut it for a Conan game. The world and lore from Hyboria is all about feeling like a powerful combat god, not a "stat-accountant" - begging pardon. This more or less forced us into picking up the mantle and doing hands-on, action combat. The combat in Conan will not allow players to take power naps while others do the work. Summarized in one word... action.

IGN, 17th June 2005 (Gaute Godager)

First, we have the action combat. Hands-on direct combat, not indirect, turn-based fighting. In something we call Real Combat, the players can direct their attack towards one of six areas on the opponent. And not only in melee combat - also in ranged, and with something similar in magical combat. Directing your attacks towards these areas, in a certain order, will then lead to stringing combat moves together in combos.

IGN, 17th June 2005 (Gaute Godager)

Most definitively, the very essence of the Conan universe is all about brutal action, so we are doing all we can to keep this a vital part of the gameplay (we expect a mature rating for one). To facilitate this we have invented a revolutionary new “Real Combat” engine which allows the players, for the first time in an online RPG, to fight it out in real-time! I add exclamation marks and all to this (marketing bla blah, but STILL!), because this is truly a step-up from the static combat found in most online RPG’s. We are also adding in player-made combat formations and sieges, and a truly realistic AI, so there should prove to massive amounts of brutal action in Conan.

Gamecloud , 19th May 2005 (Jørgen Tharaldsen)

Can players be disarmed? This is to be decided.

Gamespy, 17th May 2005 (Gaute Godager)

Is there a different fighting system for fighting computer controlled mobs than for fighting another player? No, the fighting system is the same. The difference is that in PvP your level is boosted to the closest tier point and you can use your special PvP levels and abilities to win.

Gamespy, 17th May 2005 (Gaute Godager)

The most importance thing to remember in Age of Conan is that it does not have indirect combat. When you click, you will swing! It doesn't matter who is in front of you. It doesn't matter if you are too far away. It doesn't matter if you have an opponent at all. When you swing, you swing. This is not a turn-based game, although there is difference in weapon speed and spell speed, so you can't win by punching buttons faster than your opponent. Nturally you can't be locked in battle with this type of system. You have to be careful, move about, and think quickly to survive.

Gamespy, 17th May 2005 (Gaute Godager)

As a player you will recognize the weaknesses of the opponent not just through statistics, but through interactions with them. Around the target players will see a selection of six directions. As the player attacks towards a certain direction, the result will be displayed as damage numbers in the traditional form above the head of the opponent. Criticals and combos will be marked independently.

Gamespy, 17th May 2005 (Gaute Godager)

Since this is Conan's universe, there will be a fitting amount of blood! The best analogy for describing one-on-one combat in Age of Conan, though, is "the Dance of Death". It should be violent, brutal and gracious. This is how Conan acts in battle, especially when you read the works of Robert E. Howard. He was not only brutal and big; he was cat-like in his grace as well.

Gamespy, 17th May 2005 (Gaute Godager)

The larger battles come in two major forms: player-versus-player battles against other guilds in the border kingdoms and battles against monsters that build their own villages in your resource and building regions. You can add non-player characters to your group, but only by cooperating with other players will you reach proportions that can be deemed an "army." The focus is on cooperation between the members of a guild. The NPCs are temporary, excluding the followers mentioned previously.

Gamespot, 11th May 2005 (Gaute Godager)

One analogy I like to use in terms of the Real Combat engine is the "dance of death." You should move with swiftness and grace, just like Conan did, while brutally dealing death all around you.

Gamespot, 11th May 2005 (Gaute Godager)

We call the engine Real Combat, and it is based on six directions, or ways, of attacking an opponent with a sword. First, you can hack down against the head. Second, you can slash diagonally down from the right, while the third is slashing the same way from the left. Fourth, you can thrust against the torso. Fifth, you can slash diagonally up from the left, and sixth, you can slash diagonally up from the right. The point here is that these directions lend themselves naturally to being strung together in combinations. These combos unlock additional damage and faster combat, if done well.

Gamespot, 11th May 2005 (Gaute Godager)

The core of this experience is the hands on "Real Combat" engine. The place you strike is defined by you, the player, and by striking in certain order, and with certain timing, you can even change your series of strikes into "combos".

IGN, 11th May 2005 (Gaute Godager)

Stringing directions together might lead to a special move. Imagine raising your hands, holding the long heavy chain, and swinging against the right-side neck of the bloated slaver - as he is grinning at you with his blackened teeth and cracking his wet whip, soaked in slaver blood. Would it not, after slicing his right neck, make sense to swing against the left side of the neck, one second after? It would seem easier than swinging at his legs, would it not? It comes with the motion of the weapon I would think, and players will learn this instinctively as if they held the chains themselves. "Real Combat" analyzes (with our help - hehe) the motion of the professional fighters we used for motion capturing the animations, giving players room to let instinct and feeling guide their moves! When I pick up the rumble-joypad, it almost, almost, feels like I am there. There in the lush, sinful and brutal Age of Conan, crushing skulls. When the deck rumbles as the slaver gut crumbles the floor, you will know you chose correctly.

IGN, 11th May 2005 (Gaute Godager)