I've had some people ask about this game and if I recommended it or had interest in it. As such, I did some reading and I can't say the game peaked my interest. By no means do I think the game will be a failure. To the contrary, the numbers the game is posting with regards to sales are outstanding. Nevertheless, I have two major concerns with the game as a whole.
The first issue I have with the game isn't really a fault so much as it is the intellectual property of Conan being redundant with games like WoW, LoTRO, and EQ2. I've played EQ1, EQ2 and WoW extensively and the advent of learning and playing another fantasy MMO doesn't appeal to me. Sure, I do find the combat system as a solid innovation to the traditional fantasy MMO but the game play isn't what I find redundant despite the hot key based system to which most gamers are accustomed; What I find needs changed is the fantasy genre in general. We can only grind casters, tanks and dps classes for so long, despite the innovative combat system the game employs. Something different as far as setting would have peaked my interest more. Most of the classes in AoC, by in large, seem to be rehashed versions of EQ and WoW classes (e.g. Dark Templar = EQ Shadowknight). Perhaps this is a product of my apathy more then a flaw in the game but this article really isn't written to point out flaws with the game; it is simply a list of things that concern me about the game as a whole.
The second concern I have with the game has to do with the overall system requirements. This is something that Tobold touched on today and I agree with him in most aspects. Something I have said with persistence is that World of Warcraft is the pinnacle of MMO marketing and that creed rings true in most aspects of the game, including the minimum system requirements. This allows more casual gamers, who aren't in the habit of updating their computers frequently, with a game that can operate without issue. By contrast, the system requirements for AoC are amongst the most demanding I've seen in a game to date. My current desktop, purchased in 2004 (NVIDIA GEFORCE 6800GT 256 meg, 3.4 single core p4, 160gig hard drive and 2 gigs of ram) could barely run the game using the minimum AoC requirements. These kinds of requirements relegate a game to only the most tech savvy of the populous at release. Nevertheless, this will not deter hardcore gamers from obtaining the game. Past history has shown that dedicated players will upgrade their systems to run a game they feel passionate about. My primary concern is that the game will still fail to operate with minimal latency even with a system that meets the required guidelines. In a game as twitch based as this combat system appears to be, an optimal system with little to no graphic lag or latency seems paramount to the game's success. This is my primary concern.
Does this mean I won't attempt to get into the open beta? Probably not. I will in all likelihood attempt to download it although this will be quite a download. By in large, I don't expect to purchase the game unless I find the game to operate without issue on my machine and the game surprises me in fun value or game play. Perhaps the open beta will change my preconceived notions.