Via a post on the Age of Conan forums, developer Funcom has announced that the early access scheme it offered as a pre-order incentive has now "sold out".
This means that pre-orders taken between now and the fantasy MMO's release next week will not come with early access. What's more, players who have already pre-ordered and received their keys - but have not yet registered them - won't be able to use them.
Cue a very long and very angry forum thread, naturally. However, there are still a handful of slots available to those starting on French or German-language servers, and the exclusive items offered to pre-orderers - including the rhino and mammoth mounts - will still work for everyone.
Funcom apologised for the "misunderstanding", but stressed that it had always said that there would be a limit to the scope of the early access scheme, and noted that it had encouraged players to hurry to register while supply lasted. The limit to registrations was to guarantee that all early-access players would be able to download the game's (enormous) client and get on the servers in good time.
"With an unlimited amount of players, that would not be possible," said community manager Oliver Kunz. "That the registrations would reach that set limit as fast as they did we didn't quite expect," he admitted.
Although it will leave many disappointed, the early-access sell-out is an indication of the strength of anticipation for Age of Conan.
Age of Conan launches next week, on Tuesday 20th May in the US and Friday 23rd May in Europe. Eurogamer MMO will be holding a Conan Week to mark the launch, with extensive coverage, including our impressions of the beta test, and a report on the extraordinary launch event held in Funcom's home town of Oslo. Fire-breathing, Norwegian heavy metal, roasted pigs and an Olympic ski jump arena all feature. Stay tuned.