As detailed a bit in my last post, I have abandoned my Bear Shaman at level thirty. Not because he was not fun nor because he was not powerful, to the contrary he was a very fun class and quite powerful, but simply because I have not mastered the Age of Conan mêlée system enough to handle a class as complex as the Bear Shaman. I felt lost at times, especially during PvP.
So, I have decided to slow it down a bit and pick an easier class. I will come back to my Bear Shaman soon enough and hopefully be well-versed enough in the game that I can play a bit more effectively. To that end, I needed to pick a class to play and concentrate on. I needed to find one that was fun and easier to pick up. One that would take me to eighty and beyond. I spent the last week trying various classes and leveling each of them. I have finally come to a decision but first I want to detail each class I played and my experiences with each.
Tempest of Set
Leveled to eighteen
- Class is a healer so is always in need.
- Despite being a healer, the class can put out a lot of DPS.
- Easy to pick up and play.
- Incredibly boring to play at first.
- A bit squishy at low levels.
- No combo system.
The ToS would be a fantastic class in WoW. Or LotRO. Or Aion. Or any other MMO. But in AoC it lacks the combo system, which is the single biggest differentiator between AoC and any other MMO. Other than the healing, which is AoE like the Bear Shaman, the class would feel right at home in WoW. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing and the class does get better as you level, but at low levels it is very boring. You have basically two attacks; a lightning strike and a charged blast. Both have the same animations and do single target damage with “splash” damage. This makes the class very dull at low levels.
I know this changes at around thirty when you get “Stormfield”, which is an AoE centered around your character but at low levels it is very underwhelming. The melee system in AoC seems so alive and this, by contrast, just seems “same-old-same-old”.
Leveled to 20
- A lot of damage. Very quickly.
- High aptitude for stealth.
- Did I mention a lot of damage?
- Freud would have a field day with this but daggers are very underwhelming. Just not big and mean enough!
- Daggers also have the smallest reach of any weapon in the game.
- Not a heck of a lot of survivability. Hit and run.
The Assassin was a very fun class to play. He pulls off the “stealth” thing better than the WoW Rogue and without feeling like a “cheap” class as the Rogue does with his stun-locks. They put out a lot of damage, very quickly but are also very squishy. Hit and run is the name of the game with the Assassin. However, despite the potential of high damage, I had problems with control. Daggers have no reach at all, meaning that you have to be right on top of your target to damage them. No problem in PvE but in PvP I would finish a combo only to find I had wasted it on thin air. While not as complex as the Bear Shaman, that alone made the Assassin a very challenging class to play.
Herald of Xotli
Leveled to 20
- Melee combat with stellar AoE damage.
- You get to turn into a demon.
- Best of both worlds; magic and mêlée.
- You have a huge two-hander (Freud again?) to deal out damage.
- You are a raving lunatic running around with a burning sword!
- Light armor, so very squishy.
- Only one truly viable feat tree.
- Demon form bugs a bit and you change back only to find your character is now bald!
I had a blast on the HoX. Charging into battle with a flaming monster of a sword, breathing fire and turning into a demon. You can’t beat that! The two-hander provided reach so the mêlée system was easier to pick up and the fire breath AoE was devastating. I really, really liked this class. The AoE made the class easier to play even though it used the combo system. All in all, I really enjoyed the HoX.
There were a few downsides however. First, there is only one viable Feat tree. The viable one centers on the magic side of HoX and the demon-form mêlée tree is, by comparison, very underpowered. All of the must have feats are on one side, making the other side anathema to HoX players. This is very unfortunate and will hopefully be rectified soon. Secondly, the demon form will bug occasionally causing graphic glitches and disappearing hair. Not a big deal but irksome at times.
Leveled to 19
- Lots of DPS.
- A very good stealth class.
- Familiar feel.
- Powerful in the beginning.
- OP in the beginning but levels off by endcap.
- Lots of them around.
- Not neccessarily needed for groups. Do good DPS but other classes can fill that niche.
I felt right at home with the Ranger. The class uses the combo system that mêlée does but still feels like a hunter/ranger type class. Having played a hunter in DAoC and a hunter in WoW, I felt completely within my element. Rangers are the king of low level PvP. Their stealth combined with their ability to track make them excellent in PvP and ganking. Their ability to use crossbows and bows also give them a number of playstyles and feat specs to choose from.
They start out like gangbusters in the early game and are certainly on top of the heap for low level PvP, however I have read that they come back to earth by level 70 or so and end up as a middle of the pack class. Nothing wrong with that really and I have heard that talented Rangers can still defeat any class out there.
I also like that you get to use the combo system while still being ranged. It certainly gives the Ranger an edge for me when compared to the ToS or the other ranged classes in the game. He is different enough to stand out for this reason alone.
Level to 20
- This class and the barbarian are the classes the mêlée system was designed for, total annihilation with multiple weapon types.
- Lots of Armor and defense with good damage.
- Lots of group and personal buffs.
- Complex without being overwhelming.
- Not DPS but not a full tank either. Can not use a shield.
- Totem-like flag system needs fights to stay in one area for full impact.
As you can see, not a lot of weaknesses here. The conqueror is an extremely fun class that feels at home in just about any situation. I could jump right into the mêlée in PvP and feel like I was actually doing something. The buffs the Conqueror gives are phenomenal and they can really add to the team. Although not the best tank from what I have read and heard, they can tank and especially off-tank, both in 6-man instances and raids.
So, those are the classes I played over the past week. After sizing them all up, I had narrowed it down to three: Ranger, HoX or Conqueror. I finally threw out HoX because of its survivability and the one broken feat tree. This left me with Conqueror or Ranger. Both very good classes and both classes I had fun with throughout the leveling process.
So, which one did I pick?
Well, I will be telling you that tomorrow, as well as giving a full report on the classes and my adventures with it thus far. Please check back then and be sure to leave your guesses or suggestions in the comments!!