Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures receives its Update 5 today, setting the seal on Funcom's complete overhaul of its MMO with a new RPG and itemisation system, as well as adding new high-level content.
Servers were taken offline at midnight and downtime is expected to last 12 hours, as confirmed on the official forums.
Update 5: Gangs of Tarantia adds the Tarantia Commons zone. New quests, instances, bosses, rioting, rooftop action, leper colonies and three-way factional gang warfare all feature in this slum area of Hyboria's capital city.
More significantly perhaps, the game's stats and itemisation system receives a complete rethink, making stats easier to understand, items more powerful, and therefore loot more desirable. This brings Age of Conan closer in line with MMORPG conventions and has been at the top of players' wish-lists since the game was launched just over a year ago. Every character class will also be receiving a major overhaul in the update.
Additionally, Update 5 boosts the ranking benefits of player-versus-player minigames, improves the guild cities, adds social pets, and overhauls the gem crafting system.
You'll also have the option to create one new character at level 50 if you already have a level 50 or higher, an extra character slot if your account is over six months old, and improved guard AI, vendors and travel options.
You can read more in an official preview hosted on MMORPG.com, in which Funcom hints that the next update will please guilds.
After a troubled first six months for Age of Conan, word from the Conan community and our own Rob Fahey is that the game is much improved, but the reception of the changes in Update 5 will be crucial to its future. We'll be looking at them in more detail soon.