Eurogamer: Is the new loot going to be more powerful than existing equipment in Age of Conan?
Craig Morrison: It'll probably be a mix for the rewards at level 50 for the outdoor content. It'll probably be better than what's available at the level range right now - a slight upgrade.
For the team instances, they'll be slightly more powerful than the rewards we give for max-level content in Godslayer. There will be some armour sets; you can't go to an area like Turan and have that magnificent Persian theme without bringing in new armour sets. But we want to distribute them down through the levels as well, so some of them will be available at level 50 to people doing the solo content. And then we'll spice up some of the drops later on. We always want to make sure it's worth it for the players.
For the endgame stuff we'll probably be continuing the raids in Tier 4, which is the current Tier that's in progress in the game.
Eurogamer: What's the new epic questline about?
Craig Morrison: There are two or three different story arcs. There's an overarching story that explains what's happening and a plot on a grand scale that involves kings and generals and an attempted coup and the player won't know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.
One of the two main arcs has players meeting Ela-Shan, the master thief, who's down on his luck and is trying to form a new thieves guild and you'll be tasked with helping him.
On the other side, players meet Arthas, Conan's pirate ally from the movie who, at the time of our game, is head of the Red Brotherhood group of pirates. He's having an internal dispute with the pirates about who they should back. Conan can't help him because he's king, so he sends the players to help instead.
Preview: Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer
The fall and rise?
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With over 700, 000 copies being shipped on launch day, Conan has already compiled a healthy user-base. But will it be a winner in a hugely competitive field which is claiming some rather famous scalps at the moment? Only you can decide. Well. You the public, not only you specifically, that's unnecessarily melodramatic.
Eurogamer: Why aim the Savage Coast of Turan content at players level 50 or above - won't newcomers excited by the Conan film miss out?
Craig Morrison: One of the strongest elements of the game and one of the parts we've always had the most amazing feedback on is the beginning of the game. Everyone that plays the game, almost universally, loves the experience in Tortage and getting from level one to 20 in that very solo-centric way. We've never felt like we've needed to mess with that. It works, and we know that it works.
Rather what we focussed on in the last three years was improving that area between level 20 and 40 to really get the players into the MMO. It's actually one of the areas now where it's got a lot of diverse choices.
Levelling isn't really that hard or slow in Age of Conan: players can get to level 50 relatively quickly. As soon as they play the game they'll realise it's not that far off. And when you get to level 50 you immediately get the chance to start another character at level 50.
We placed the Savage Coast of Turan content at level 50 because that's really where players want additional choice. It's a chance to add a big chunk of new content to the game's progression and solve the last of those content issues for the players.
It was a risk, but it was a calculated risk. We have faith in the beginning of the game.
Craig Morrison is creative director of Funcom Montreal and executive producer of Age of Conan.